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Star Wars: The Costume Thread

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Because I couldn’t find an equivalent on the first few pages, or an easy way to search the forums.

I’ll start:

As I’ve noted in the past, while writing the original Star Wars film in 1975, George Lucas considered having Princess Leia’s torture at Imperial hands be considerably more graphic.

Among other injuries, Leia’s back would likely have borne half-healed whip marks from a flogging (as in Lawrence of Arabia), and one of her eyes would be swollen shut, like Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars.

Darth Vader’s thugs would even have installed a cyborg dataport on her head, in order to access Leia’s memories, leaving one side of her head half-shaved afterward. Anyone who’s seen THX-1138 might find this imagery familiar.

The end result, as seen in the Ralph McQuarrie storyboards below, was that once Luke rescued Leia, he’d be running around the Death Star corridors alongside a bare-breasted, blaster-wielding princess with a punk hairstyle and a very pissed-off mood.

"The princess (is) revealed as her true goddess-like self..." -- George Lucas, The Star Wars 1973 story synopsis

La liberté is definitely guidant le peuple right here.

Eugène Delacroix would be proud. (And yes, this is why John Mollo notes that a “Tarzan-like” costume was considered for Leia in the (SW Costumes* book.)

Oddly enough, on the last season of History Channel’s Vikings, the character of Thorunn the shieldmaiden received injuries in battle which are a pretty good approximation of what George Lucas wanted for Leia’s facial wounds:

Is this alt text?

Yep. Definitely alt text.

They even worked in the half-shaven hairstyle.

(This is even more remarkable when you consider that, judging by McQuarrie’s 1975 concept sketches, Lucas evidently wanted Leia to be a Wagnerian-type blonde who shared Luke’s hair color.)

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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In which version of the script was all of this mentioned?
A bloodied, bruised and bare-breasted Leia is quite a departure from the child-friendly SW we now know. But from what I’ve gathered, the film was meant to be a lot more adult even up to the point when they were getting ready to start filming. Having glanced through the first 10 pages of Mayhew’s 1976 script I’ve noticed a slightly more “brutal” description of the fighting on-board the Tantive IV.

Also is this thread meant to be about SW costumes in general, or early ideas for costumes?

Anyway, here’s an early design of Leia I think looks quite cool;

It has a very Flash Gordon-esque feel to it.

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Indeed, that image is from Alex Tavoularis’ storyboards for the third draft (which is when the ideas I mentioned above were being mooted).

Leia being beaten up and bloody is mentioned in the same third-draft script – Carrie Fisher has remarked on how that detail was present in the script she got for her audition.

Both the McQuarrie thumbnail sketches above, and another unfinished Tavoularis sketch of a topless Leia, are included in The Making of SW. John Mollo’s words from the Costumes book also indicate the idea of THX 1138-style onscreen nudity was considered at one point, though it was never written down in script form.

Not that that’s surprising with GL, mind you – after all, Ralph McQuarrie also did a whole series of production paintings featuring a female Luke around the time of the second draft, an idea which similarly didn’t find its way onto the script pages.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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I remember the first time I watched SW as kid. Even then, I thought Leia’s interrogation was too mild; a floating black orb comes in and that’s it? She doesn’t get so much as a hair knocked out of place?

I don’t know if I would have wanted to see Leia half-naked with bruises all over her face, but some effort should have went into the final film to show that Leia’s Imperial captivity wasn’t just Tarkin and Vader throwing big evil villain speeches at her.

I H8 mammon and flip it all the birds. Sue me.

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DuracellEnergizer said:

I remember the first time I watched SW as kid. Even then, I thought Leia’s interrogation was too mild; a floating black orb comes in and that’s it? She doesn’t get so much as a hair knocked out of place?

I don’t know if I would have wanted to see Leia half-naked with bruises all over her face, but some effort should have went into the final film to show that Leia’s Imperial captivity wasn’t just Tarkin and Vader throwing big evil villain speeches at her.

And, you know, blowing up her home planet as she looked on helplessly…

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*sigh* I was talking about acts directly done to her.

I H8 mammon and flip it all the birds. Sue me.

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ATMachine said:

Because I couldn’t find an equivalent on the first few pages, or an easy way to search the forums.

It’s not a great solution but using Google to search

site(colon)originaltrilogy.com xxx

will sometimes provide good results. It might also result in ot.com porn but that’s your problem.

JEDIT: Had to write (colon) because the markdown syntax screws up : followed by “o.”

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DuracellEnergizer said:

I remember the first time I watched SW as kid. Even then, I thought Leia’s interrogation was too mild; a floating black orb comes in and that’s it? She doesn’t get so much as a hair knocked out of place?

I don’t know if I would have wanted to see Leia half-naked with bruises all over her face, but some effort should have went into the final film to show that Leia’s Imperial captivity wasn’t just Tarkin and Vader throwing big evil villain speeches at her.

Well, the radio drama from 1981 (which did count as Lucas-canon) did have this; https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/content_link/54GWwsFAL1eqWpKtp6UaSM4T9wgD6UbAXhjQekXlPmbbcW2mDgnw7Pb4nqEJfayn/file

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It’s implied Leia was drugged and interrogated. (Dr. Ball did have a hypodermic needle.) Physical torture would just have been too nasty and dark.
I don’t even want to imagine what those other attachments are for!

We see Han being tortured in Empire, and that doesn’t seem to leave any marks.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Back on costume topic! I do know that at one point Obi-Wan Kenobi was to have a “Tatooine farmer” outfit, separate from his Jedi robes. This was basically an outfit very much like Luke’s, with a white shirt and white pants with puttees. The main change was that Ben wore a pocketed utility vest.

I’ll see if my scans of John Mollo’s sketches for that are still around somewhere.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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Here’s a picture of John Mollo’s costume sketch for Obi-Wan’s Tatooine farmer outfit:

Have some alt text.

As you can see, it’s basically a variant on Luke’s outfit, along with a utility vest with lots of pockets.

Contrast this with Mollo’s design for Ben Kenobi’s Jedi robes. At this stage, the robes were to be fairly elaborate, with a silver tassel hanging from the end of the hood on his cloak – befitting the idea that Ben had kept his “Jedi uniform” stored away for a long time.

And even more alt text.

Presumably the extra costume for Obi-wan was a casualty of the budget cuts that impacted the production around the time the fourth draft was written at the start of 1976. And if that hadn’t happened, SW Internet forums wouldn’t have so many debates about why Ben is supposedly wearing “Tatooine farmer robes.”

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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ATMachine said:

Here’s a picture of John Mollo’s costume sketch for Obi-Wan’s Tatooine farmer outfit:

Have some alt text.

As you can see, it’s basically a variant on Luke’s outfit, along with a utility vest with lots of pockets.

Contrast this with Mollo’s design for Ben Kenobi’s Jedi robes. At this stage, the robes were to be fairly elaborate, with a silver tassel hanging from the end of the hood on his cloak – befitting the idea that Ben had kept his “Jedi uniform” stored away for a long time.

And even more alt text.

Presumably the extra costume for Obi-wan was a casualty of the budget cuts that impacted the production around the time the fourth draft was written at the start of 1976. And if that hadn’t happened, SW Internet forums wouldn’t have so many debates about why Ben is supposedly wearing “Tatooine farmer robes.”

That is pretty cool, and makes a lot of sense, but I have to say; Ben’s first appearance might not have been quite so “mysterious” if he’d just been dressed as Luke. I know he’s technically still just wearing some simple robes, but the hood definitely adds to the moment (e.g. the musical cue as Ben removes his hood and looks at Artoo).
It’s at least nice to see how Lucas could make something good out of compromises back in his pre-fame/CG days.

Also, where did you get these pictures?


Also, here’s another early Leia costume design with a Flash Gordon-esque feel to it;


Any idea what draft of the script this is from?
(As well as where I might find it in a higher resolution.)

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That drawing of Leia (presumably by Alex Tavoularis) is featured in the book The Cinema of George Lucas, where it’s (likely mis-) labeled as being by Ralph McQuarrie. I’d say it’s from around the time of the third draft, which is when Leia was reintroduced after being almost entirely cut out of Draft 2.

I agree that Alec Guinness’ gesture of removing his hood adds much to the feeling of Ben Kenobi as a wise old wizard. I wonder if that was improvised? It’s amazing how much GL could get out of his actors simply by letting them do their stuff.

Also, here’s another Mollo drawing of Ben Kenobi’s original Tatooine outfit.

And just for good measure, here are some drawings by Ralph McQuarrie for Ben’s Jedi robes. The rightmost drawing, showing a set of fancy blue robes, was apparently meant as a ceremonial outfit for Ben to wear during the medal ceremony at the end of the film (before GL decided to kill off Obi-wan on the Death Star).

Incidentally, blue and white seem to have been intended as the colors of the Rebellion during pre-production on the first SW film. Several John Mollo sketches of Rebel soldiers show them wearing blue jumpsuits and white armor plates.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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in addition to the rebel colors thought, Red Squadron was Blue Squadron in the novelization.

Army of Darkness: The Medieval Deadit | The Terminator - Color Regrade | The Wrong Trousers - Audio Preservation
SONIC RACES THROUGH THE GREEN FIELDS.
THE SUN RACES THROUGH A BLUE SKY FILLED WITH WHITE CLOUDS.
THE WAYS OF HIS HEART ARE MUCH LIKE THE SUN. SONIC RUNS AND RESTS; THE SUN RISES AND SETS.
DON’T GIVE UP ON THE SUN. DON’T MAKE THE SUN LAUGH AT YOU.

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Oh! I almost forgot to answer where I got the pictures of John Mollo’s costume designs for Ben Kenobi from.

Mollo’s drawings of Ben of him in Tatooine farmer garb are from The Making of SW and the 1979 The Art of Star Wars (which also provided the McQuarrie drawings of Ben in Jedi robes). I think I found the Mollo picture of Ben’s Jedi gear while searching on the Internet, though.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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ATMachine said:

Oh! I almost forgot to answer where I got the pictures of John Mollo’s costume designs for Ben Kenobi from.

Mollo’s drawings of Ben of him in Tatooine farmer garb are from The Making of SW and the 1979 The Art of Star Wars (which also provided the McQuarrie drawings of Ben in Jedi robes). I think I found the Mollo picture of Ben’s Jedi gear while searching on the Internet, though.

Right, thanks. There’s a lot of books I’m going to have to get a hold of now, googling it will only yield so many results (and rarely in high res.).

EDIT: I just googled The Art of Star Wars and it seems pretty expensive. Is there any difference between the 1979 first edition and the later versions with “A New Hope” added to the title?

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AFAIK the main difference is that the later versions add in a postscript with notes on changes made for the 1997 SEs.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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Returning to this thread: in a little-noticed detail, Ralph McQuarrie’s 1975 designs for stormtrooper armor differed from the film version by giving lower-ranking troopers helmets with chrome tops.

This was probably the inspiration for Captain Phasma’s chrome armor in TFA (albeit used to signal higher rank rather than the opposite).

Also! Not a costume per se, but here’s a Ralph McQuarrie design for the Death Star torture robot, along with a probably-unrelated helmet design:

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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A small strange mystery:

JW Rinzler in The Making of Star Wars erroneously describes the third image in my previous post as a sketch for a droid “in the bottom-left corner” of McQuarrie’s painting of the Death Star prison-block elevators. But one look at those threatening mandibles (not to mention the needle in the droid’s right claw) reveals that this is an early iteration of the torture droid used on Princess Leia.

This seems to be deliberate obtuseness (or censorship?) on Rinzler’s part… since the droid’s two pincer arms in McQuarrie’s sketch were almost certainly inspired by the early Christian legend of the martyr Saint Agatha (a frequent subject for Renaissance painters). During the persecution of Christians under the Roman Empire, Agatha, a convert from a Roman noble family, was tortured and had her breasts cut off by red-hot pincers.

And what’s on the very same page of The Making of SW, in the bottom left corner? Ralph McQuarrie’s pencil storyboards of a bare-breasted Princess Leia.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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ATMachine said:

A small strange mystery:

JW Rinzler in The Making of Star Wars erroneously describes the third image in my previous post as a sketch for a droid “in the bottom-left corner” of McQuarrie’s painting of the Death Star prison-block elevators. But one look at those threatening mandibles (not to mention the needle in the droid’s right claw) reveals that this is an early iteration of the torture droid used on Princess Leia.

This seems to be deliberate obtuseness (or censorship?) on Rinzler’s part… since the droid’s two pincer arms in McQuarrie’s sketch were almost certainly inspired by the early Christian legend of the martyr Saint Agatha (a frequent subject for Renaissance painters). During the persecution of Christians under the Roman Empire, Agatha, a convert from a Roman noble family, was tortured and had her breasts cut off by red-hot pincers.

And what’s on the very same page of The Making of SW, in the bottom left corner? Ralph McQuarrie’s pencil storyboards of a bare-breasted Princess Leia.

So in what draft exactly is this mentioned?
Also looking at the storyboards you mentioned, I can’t really see the same as you do. It just looks like she’s wearing a white outfit, and if I’d have to compare it to anything it’d be Padme’s outfit during the arena scene in AOTC.
The closest I can find in Rinzler’s book to suggest this costume, or rather lack of costume, is this unfinished drawing by Tavoularis whcih seems oddly out of place with all the other concept art;

However, speaking of censorship, or at least Lucas going for something more kid-friendly, I find it interesting how Tavoularis’ storyboard show stormtroopers where you can actually see their eyes. Not only are these third-draft storyboards more violent in general (there’s a lot of limbs being torn/shot of in this version) but giving us the ability to see their eyes really makes them a lot more sympathetic and human, as opposed to the faceles Imperial grunts that we’re used to. I think it’s really fascinating how simply covering up someones eyes can makes such a huge difference.

I can only imagine how different SW would have been had moments like this actually ended up in the final film;


On a completely different note however, having started reading Rinzler’s book myself recently, there is one unused costume in the concept art which has fascinated me quite a lot.
A lot of the drawings of Han Solo has him wearing this weird helmet-like thing (I really have no idea what to call it). It looks really cool and I can’t really figure out why it was never used in the final film considering it was used so prominently in McQuarries artwork (it even showed up in the fourth draft storyboards by Ivor Beddos, only Ben wore it instead of Han).

The only explanation I’ve been able to find is that it might have been too similar, or perhaps too obviously inspired by Flash Gordon, that they might have tried to avoid legal problems or maybe Lucas simply felt he needed to make something more original.

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Ralph McQuarrie’s helmet for Han was definitely inspired by Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon, as he himself said. You may be right about the similarity being too obvious for film, though.

The August 1975 third-draft script for SW states pretty clearly that Leia is bloody and bruised from Vader’s torture, so much so that she remains unconscious until the garbage compactor scene and Chewbacca carries her around.

The idea of a barebreasted Leia isn’t explicitly mentioned in the third draft – but then the idea of the second draft’s Luke Starkiller being turned into a female protagonist also didn’t make script form, and Ralph McQuarrie made half a dozen color drawings of girl-Luke. And of course THX 1138 had onscreen nudity.

In the second Ralph McQuarrie storyboard storyboard in my first post, Leia appears to be covering her bare chest with her right arm, and holding a blaster in her left hand:

A detail from another McQuarrie drawing of Leia and the torture robot shows that her dress has fallen down to expose her left breast:

John Mollo in the Star Wars Costumes book states that Leia was going to have a “Tarzan-like” outfit at one point. Of course Johnny Weissmuller wore just a loincloth, but earlier Tarzan movies had the Jungle King wear a garment with one shoulder strap, so that he only exposed half his chest.

Either way, it’s very likely that GL wanted Leia doing a French Revolution Liberty Leading the People cosplay:

This goes back to the 1974 rough draft, which describes Leia as “half-naked” after being assaulted by the Ureallian trappers (of the same species as green-skinned swamp thing" Han Solo).

It seems that GL abandoned the idea of on-screen nudity around the January 1976 fourth draft, which is right around the time he was becoming desperately afraid that his film was going to flop at the box office. Making sure the film got a PG rating instead of an R was one way to maximize profits and increase the chances of him being able to make SW sequels. Of course in the event he didn’t need to worry.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”