These days it’s nearly impossible to get anywhere near a Hollywood set. Even when filming in downtown Manhattan, security is pretty tight. Video and photos leak out, but it’s usually nothing more than a quick shot of a vehicle driving by, or a crowd photo without any of the primary actors involved.
But things were different back when George Lucas was filming the original Star Wars trilogy. So different that back in the spring of 1982 when a Star Wars fan Mike Davis heard rumors that production on a movie called Blue Harvest: Horror Beyond Imagination was out in the desert, filming in a Southern California region known as Buttercup Valley. Mike decided to go camping in the desert nearby and check it out. He started hiking with his friends and this is what they found:
Mike had wandered into the middle of filming on the Jabba’s sail barge scene from Return of the Jedi. He hung out nearby and kept snapping photos, resulting in these amazing images, which capture filming in progress on the last great Star Wars movie…
Kind of makes you long for the good old days when George Lucas still built actual sets, doesn’t it? Had Mike wandered on to the set of Revenge of the Sith all he’d have seen was a bunch of people milling around in front of a green screen. Actually building a sail barge to film on will always be better than computer generating one after the fact.
See even more photos from Mike’s 1982 journey through the desert around the Return of the Jedi set by heading over to Prop Store.