Star Wars: The original cast looks back
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From Gloria Hillard and Dennis Michael
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Harrison Ford, who first played gun-for-hire Han Solo in "Star Wars" more than 20 years ago, has since become one of the most successful actors of the "Star Wars" series -- since then, he's gone on to leading roles in the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" series and was named this year's favorite all-time movie star in the People's Choice awards.
While the first set of "Star Wars" films -- including that first one, known to aficionados as "Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope" -- may not have provided the same springboard effect for the rest of the original cast members, it has helped shaped their lives in ways they will never forget -- partly because no one will let them.
Carrie Fisher: Princess Leia
With two tightly wound buns on each side of her head, Carrie Fisher made her mark as Princess Leia. Despite her success later in life as an actress, novelist and screenwriter, Fisher says she still can't shake her "Star Wars" persona. Her mother Debbie Reynolds even identifies herself as "Princess Leia's mother."
Billy Dee Williams: Lando Calrissian
Billy Dee Williams knows what it's like to be haunted by his "Empire Strikes Back" role as Lando Calrissian. He says everybody used to want to talk about it. In encounters with fans, he says, "I'd get into these big discussions about me betraying Han Solo, not only the kids (at the school) -- but the airline stewardesses." But Williams admits that was kind of fun for him.
Mark Hamill: Luke Skywalker
Mark Hamill landed the role of Luke Skywalker in his early 20s. But if he had his druthers, he may not have chosen to play the young Jedi. "I might have rather played a cynical pirate," he says. "I might have rather played an icon of villainy in this horrendous death mask, but I was just lucky to be along for the ride."
Clive Revill: Emperor Palpatine
Clive Revill says he got a lot of recognition for a little work as the sinister Emperor Palpatine, also known simply as the Emperor, in "The Empire Strikes Back." "That, in fact, was the shortest job I've ever done in my life on a major motion picture, and that is the reason I get piles of mail from all over Europe -- and sometimes from all over the world -- of people asking for photographs of the gentleman who did the voice of Emperor Palpitine."
Even the original "Star Wars" characters whom you might not recognize out of costume waxed nostalgic about the film at a recent comic book convention in New York.
David Prowse: Darth Vader
Director George Lucas picked bodybuilder David Prowse to fill out Darth Vader's costume. He did offer Prowse the chance to play Chewbacca, but Prowse went for the dark side instead. "I said, 'Thank you very much George. I'll have the villain's part.' That was it, as simple as that. I didn't have to read or do anything." Readings were quite unnecessary: In post-production, Lucas decided to have James Earl Jones revoice the character.
Kenny Baker: R2-D2
Kenny Baker, who played R2-D2, says he didn't think the original movie would take off. "We all thought, 'What a load of rubbish. This is going to be a non-event.' How wrong we were, 600 million pounds (US $976,500) later." Playing R2-D2 wasn't easy, either. Baker had to wobble around in the metal costume in the 120-degree heat of Tunisia. To add to his discomfort, the costume was heavier than he. "The thing weighed about 80 pounds... I weighed 70 pounds."
Jeremy Bulloch: Boba Fett
Actor Jeremy Bulloch may be best known for his four lines in the armor of the Mandelorian commando armor of Boba Fett in "The Empire Strikes Back." He admits he flubbed one of those lines. He was asked to say: "Put Captain Solo in the cargo hold." But what came out was: "Put captain cargo in the solo hold." "Wrong line -- I'd messed it up," Bulloch says. But it wasn't anything that a little post-production couldn't fix.
Peter Mayhew: Chewbacca
Chewbacca, a.k.a. Peter Mayhew, is convinced his Wookie character and some others will reappear in other prequel episodes. "We've gotta come in either two or three, in order to be there in four. Because of the relationship between Lando -- where did the (Millennium) Falcon come from? How did Boba Fett get Wookie hair in his helmet? All those answers have to come in (episodes) two or three."
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