Star Wars creator George Lucas showed up at Star Wars Celebration today to talk about all kinds of cool Star Wars stuff at the 40th anniversary panel. While he was there he showed off some very early concept art that was done for Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, R2-D2, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia.
The legendary filmmaker also talked about the process he went through in casting Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia. In the process, he reveals why ultimately cast Mark Hamill in the role of Luke. He said:
“We did a lot of testing for a year, a year of sitting in a little room, talking to actors every five minutes, weeding those out… We went on and then we did screen tests. We did screen tests with all the finalists for three main characters and we would mix them. I think we had maybe two or three of each of you and you would each test with another person. We found the combination of the group that worked the best together. The group that was ready to be an ensemble and played it as old friends. I was trying to get that even though they start out not knowing each other. I wanted to have the chemistry built in. That, and the fact that he was shorter than I was.”
I know he may come off as joking around about Hamill’s height playing a role in why he was cast, but I can’t help but think there’s a little truth to it. Regardless of that, it sounds like he went through an intense casting process! It worked, though! Lucas ended up with the perfect cast for this film.
You can check out the concept art below, and is it just me, or was Luke Skywalker originally designed to look like George Lucas?