Today in vaguely surreal photographs: Peter Mayhew, the 7’3″ actor and mainstay of the traveling sci-fi/comic book convention circuit whose claim to fame is being the man inside the furry costume that transformed a gentle Englishman into the mighty Wookie Chewbacca posted a whole bunch of set photos from the set of Star Wars on Twitter.
Mayhew, who tweets from the account @TheWookieeRoars, shared some really fascinating images with his 40,000 followers. As mythologized as Star Wars has become–both as a film and as a cultural institution–the photos do a remarkable job of capturing just how much fun it seems to have been to make. There’s a shot in which Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, grins next to Peter Cushing, who played his on-screen nemesis in the first Star Wars, Grand Moff Tarkin; another features Hamill and Carrie Fischer, who played Princess Leia, laughing as they perform their rope stunt in the film; one from the set of Return of the Jedi shows Fischer and her stunt double laying out in the sun in their Leia-as-Jabba’s-prisoner bikinis. Making Star Wars films looks like a blast.
There are also surreal moments, when the actors–in costume as their characters–enjoy normal, human experiences. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker take a moment while on Tattoine to hang out with George Lucas and share a drink and a birthday cake for Sir Alec Guiness (who played the wise old Jedi). The children of Gary Kurtz, who produced the first film, pose in full Jawa costumes (sans hoods) with Anthony Daniel, who wears half of his C-3PO costume. It’s a fun, weird reminder that this thing that happened a long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away) was done by real people–something every myth could use more of.