Every sci-fi fan, and most certainly everyone who claims to be a diehard Star Wars fan, knows what you mean when you speak of “Blue Harvest,” the code name that Lucasfilm used to cloak its production shooting and top-secret plot information for Return of the Jedi. For years, hats and shirts with Blue Harvest patches, which not-so secretly were printed in a familiar Empire Strikes Back font, as well as production memos and call sheets (with the intentionally-crafted “worst title and subtitle for a real film ever” of Blue Harvest: Horror Beyond Imagination reference) have surfaced, but not until this week has the mother lode of Blue Harvest reference material been revealed to the public, for free even.
This week, everyone’s favorite prop supply house, The Prop Store, posted on their website 38 photos taken during the Spring of 1982 in Buttercup Valley in the Southern California desert. They were taken by one uber-fan named Mike Davis and a small band of mercenaries dead set on sneaking up on a real, live Star Wars trilogy production shoot. Unlike a lot of paparazzi photos for any number of films you’ll find across the Web, and unlike other productions, the Lucasfilm crew let Davis & Co. shoot photos and hang out so long as they stayed out of the way. It’s a scene straight out of Fanboys, the film with Veronica Mars star Kristen Bell about a group of Star Wars fans trying to get into Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch to get a sneak peek at Star Wars: The Phantom Menace before it premiered. If you’ve never heard of this indie film, it’s a must-see along with the recent fanboy-themed release, Paul.
If you’re a Star Wars fan like me, you’ll find that you can lose two hours easy checking out every corner of these photos. Highlights include:
- Boba Fett, more than you see in the actual movie
- The first look of Mark Hamill as a Jedi Knight
- Every angle you’ve never seen before of Jabba the Hutt’s sail barge
- Every angle you’ve never seen before of the sand skiffs
- Strange bikes that will be familiar to you, but not on Tatooine
- The actors and stunt actors performing in the desert skiff scene
- Carrie Fisher on the set where she wore her famous slave girl outfit
- Kenny Baker outside of his R2-D2 unit
OK, if you haven’t just jumped ahead and checked out the link for yourself, get on with it! I particularly think any cosplayer working on a Boba Fett uniform will appreciate the several angles of this best version of the Mandalorian armor. Boba Fett is no doubt the best background character-turned-icon of all time and I can’t get enough of him, despite him getting killed off in such a lame way in Return of the Jedi. If you ever get to meet the man in the suit, Jeremy Bulloch, he shares a lot of great stories. Here he is at a Con back in 2005 with yours truly and a member of the 501st Legion:
Enough already! Here’s the link to the exclusive photos hosted by The Prop Store. Mega “props” and thanks to Mike Davis for letting The Prop Store share this great experience with us that Davis lucked into more than 30 years ago. Check out The Prop Store website for great entertainment memorabilia and this link for past stories here about the company.