Whenever I see videos like this, I wonder how many other treasures are out there that haven’t been found. “A Documentary by Jeff Broz” could use a better title, since it’s FREAKING STAR WARS BEING FILMED in the footage, but I guess this will be getting a lot of attention nonetheless. Shot in 1982 in Buttercup Valley, CA on Super 8 and then cut together with Amiga titles, the footage was uploaded to YouTube two days ago and not surprisingly, already has tens of thousands of views. It’s silent footage, but fans of Star Wars won’t care. Hat tip, Tom Rose at Gather.
Return of the Jedi: A 7 1/2 Minute Behind-The-Scenes
So here’s the video:
This is from the famous early section of Return of the Jedi where it looks line Han Solo is going to get dropped into a bottomless-looking, toothy creature known as the Sarlacc (movies were so cool back then). Obviously, the filmmakers couldn’t get footage of that, but what they did get is pretty awesome. There’s some lightsaber fighting in here, and you get to see some of those crazy vehicles getting craned into the action, bounty hunter Boba Fett on wires, and how about some C3P0 and R2D2? And lest we forget, the prize shot of them all: Princess Leia in that iconic slave-girl outfit.
I love this footage because it’s a different window into what we know of Return of the Jedi. It’s silent, with no commentary or industry wags sounding off about the film and how they think what they are doing is the best thing ever. It’s got a different perspective: I wonder what the people shooting this thought when they saw this, with the movie’s release a year away. They had no clue what they were seeing, and imagine how cool that was when they saw the scene in movie theaters.
Taking this footage without context (not to mention sound), it adds mystery and intrigue to the filming process, while at the same time…this remote desert on a different planet is brought to you by the good ol’ US of A. And behind that amazing set, a bunch of parked cars, another day at work for the film crew.
It was a terribly-kept secret they were shooting there in ’82, even though George Lucas and company tried to make people believe a horror film called Blue Harvest was being shot there. But once people started seeing Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill around the town of Yuma, AZ (right on the California/Arizona border), the subterfuge didn’t last, and that’s lucky for us, because we get to see stuff like this today.