The Man Who Literally Built ‘Star Wars’

Esquire interviews Roger Christian, set decorator from Star Wars:

ESQ: And you also did the first light saber, or “laser sword” as it was called, right?

RC: Yes. The laser sword was one of the most challenging props to find. Several attempts at mock-ups made by John Steers’ SFX department had been rejected. I knew the laser sword or light saber had the potential to become the symbol of Star Wars, like Excalibur was to King Arthur, so it had to look the part. And the Prop Master Frank Bruton, who had to get everything on trucks for Tunisia for the start of filming, was hounding me, and nothing I had found to adapt was feeling right. One day at the camera shop we rented equipment from, I asked the owner if he had any spare parts somewhere. And he pointed to some boxes buried deep under the shelves and there in the box were several Graflex flashgun handles. They were perfect, heavy, and had a red button for firing the flash. I could not believe my luck. I used rubber T-strip as a base, which I had also used for the Stormtroopers’ Stirling sub machine guns, and I pulled out my superglue and stuck strips along the base to form a handle grip. Then I had found some interesting bubble strip from an old calculator LED strip and they fit perfectly into the grip where the Graflex attached to the camera. I placed some chrome tape over the Graflex name and voila.

(Via Dan Moren.)

Wednesday, 7 May 2014