As we trudge through the long wait until Star Wars: Episode VII hits theaters next year, lots of people have been looking back at the making and origins of the original trilogy we all fell in love with. And thanks to the Internet, we get to see all sorts of amazing things you previously wouldn’t have likely had access to without a tour of Skywalker Ranch or weeks spent digging through archives. Now let’s all take a moment to thank the gods of technology that you can now use this picture of director Joe Johnston’s amazing Darth Vader cosplay as your desktop wallpaper.
Yep, that picture shows Johnston, the guy who would eventually direct films like The Rocketeer and Captain America: The First Avenger, all decked out for the 1976 Industrial Light and Magic Halloween party. Yeah, you may think your Halloween ideas are pretty badass, but I can assure you they’re not nearly as badass as wearing a Darth Vader costume half a year before the movie that made him an iconic villain even hit theaters. The dude on the right is special effects wizard John Dykstra, who worked on Star Wars as well as Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man flicks, and the original Battlestar Galactica TV series.
Even better, Johnston’s Vader costume is actually modeled after Ralph McQuarrie’s original design for the character, which you can see below.
Speaking of Johnston, one of his most notable resume entries was designing everybody’s favorite bounty hunter/sarlacc appetizer Boba Fett. Devoted Star Wars fans will likely already know that Fett’s first appearance was in the justly maligned 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special…except it actually wasn’t. His very first appearance ever was in a parade at the San Anselmo Country Fair parade on September 24th, 1978. What the force?
See, San Anselmo, a small city 20 miles north of San Francisco, was home to Lucasfilm at the time. As such, Fett marched alongside Vader in the town’s parade, because that’s apparently just the sort of amazing shit you got to see if you were living in San Anselmo in 1978. The dude in the costume is Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi assistant film editor Duwayne Dunham, who told StarWars.com:
I would imagine that [for] most people seeing the two, they just figured it was a new character aligned with Vader. We were at the front end of the parade; we were leading the whole thing. We just walked side by side down the street. It was a little funny. My focus was on making the movie. San Anselmo is a small community. There weren’t that many people there and I don’t think any press outside of the San Anselmo newspaper covered it in any way.
You can see more pictures, each of them worth at least a thousand words, below.