Things We’re Digging This Week – Star Wars Week – Our Favorite Extras

The gang has a few favorite things they love from the background of the Star Wars universe

Each week the Lewton Bus gang will get together and write up a brief account of something we’re digging hard on this week. It can be a movie, TV, Star Wars, music, or anything, really!

In celebration of the release of Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, this week the Lewton Bus crew has been publishing oodles of delicious Star Wars content. Check out our other pieces for STAR WARS WEEK here!

This week’s Digging will be a little special. We thought it would be fun to home in on some of the background players and things that help to make the Star Wars universe so special and unique. Enjoy!

Adam Bumas The Imperial Data Vault

Star Wars‘ greatest strength has always been its unfamiliarity—there’s a reason so many children have been drawn to a story about a world filled with untold magic and evil, where the heroes are the ones who have never seen it before. To create something that feels authentically Star Wars, you have to be very careful what elements you combine—to make everything feel futuristic yet kind of old, and balancing the bold, awe-inspiring science fiction with something you can actually use in your adventure movie.

That’s why I adore this big evil library thing from the climax of Rogue One. Part Apple store, part skill crane, part Blockbuster wall (that’s meant to be real magnetic tape in there!), and part jungle gym, it’s the best synthesis of that intangible Star Wars quality, maybe since the original movie: We’re introduced to it with a lighthearted action scene, the information we hear inside gets tantalizingly science fictional,1 the heroes finding what they’re looking for becomes a deep emotional moment, then it all segues to an exciting action sequence where our heroes have to climb the thing to elude some goons. I’m just in awe at how much use they get out of something that could easily have been a computer terminal or something.

Mavis Roberta McGeeWhoever The Person On The Right Is

Who is she? What’s her deal? I know she’s a First Order spy but I kinda love her and I want to know everything about her.

Shannon Hubbell Ken Ralston’s Sneaker

Say what you will about Return of the Jedi (I’m a defender of the film), the final space battle over the Forest Moon of Endor is an all timer. That film came out 34 years ago and there still hasn’t been a space battle that beats it. What makes it work so well? Is it the amazing model work? The editing? The breathtakingly dynamic motion control cinematography? It’s all of these things, obviously, but I feel there’s a certain secret sauce—something subtle—that manages to push the Battle of Endor over the top into greatness.

That would be a shoe.

In a 2003 interview with Star Wars Insider magazine, visual effects artist Ken Ralton had this to say:

“I was always trying to stick stuff into shots,” Ralston laughs. “JEDI has my tennis shoes and also a yogurt container as part of the ships in the background! Who would know? It’s like there’s all this stuff going on – and I thought, ‘Hey, it’d be fun.’ It was my way of just saying, ‘See what you can get away with?’ Some people noodle this stuff so much, fretting about it, but it’s like, you know, you can’t tell what this stuff is – just stick it out there!”

So, there you have it. It’s impossible to spot in the final film, but somewhere in there, buried under a blizzard of TIE fighters, is an old sneaker. I like to think it’s fighting the good fight.

That’s all for our digs this week, folks. Maybe you discovered a new favorite background detail or extra when you caught The Last Jedi this weekend? Be sure to stop on by our Spoilerdome to discuss the movie! And let us know who your favorite extras or background element of Star Wars you love the most down below in the comments. May the Force be with you.

  1. All those sinister “Imperial project codenames” we hear, which could all conceivably refer to the Death Star, is such a clever touch.