The actor who played the head-banging Stormtrooper in the original Star Wars movie speaks out on the infamous blooper. Today marks the 40th anniversary of George Lucas’ original film (which has since been retitled Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope). It’s astonishing that an original story created all those years ago has spawned what has become the global powerhouse franchise, especially considering that many people involved with the production believed it was going to flop.
It’s no secret that production on the original film hit several snags, so much so that Lucas thought it was going to fail. He had conceived an entire galaxy of characters, locations, and stories from virtually nothing, and he used ground-breaking techniques and technology to bring the world of Star Wars to life on the big screen. Of course, that didn’t bar tiny mistakes from slipping through the cracks, such as the infamous Stormtrooper who bumped his head against the blast shield door on the Death Star making the final cut.
To coincide with the 40th anniversary of George Lucas’ original Star Wars film, THR tracked down the actor who played the infamous Stormtrooper, Laurie Goode, to discuss how that scene came to be, and how it ended up in the final cut of the film. It turns out, it was all one happy accident; he only got the part after Peter Dukes called out sick last-minute. Unfortunately, he ended up getting sick, too, and that’s how he came to bump his head.
“On the second day of filming, I developed an upset stomach. By midmorning, I had paid three to four visits to the loo/bathroom. Having re-dressed myself and returned to the set, I felt the need to rush back to the gents’ toilets, but I was placed in [the] shot. On about the fourth take, as I shuffled along, I felt my stomach rumbling, and “bang,” I hit my head! As I wasn’t moving too fast, it was more of a scuffed bash, so it didn’t hurt, but as no one shouted “cut,” I thought the shot wasn’t wide enough for me to be in frame.”
Goode said that he didn’t know the scene would end up in the final cut until he saw the film — and his blunder — in theaters. The entire time, he thought he wasn’t’ in frame. “But when I did see it in the cinema, I thought: ‘OMG, that’s me!’ I’ve been telling people the story ever since it occurred.” Since he was an extra, though, no one believed him. In fact, several people have attempted to claim his glorious mistake over the years, which forced Goode to defend his story. He proves it in his song, “Who Was the Stormtrooper Who Banged His Head?”
It isn’t too surprising that someone like Goode, whose one mistake all those years ago, has ended up becoming immortalized in Star Wars lore. Star Wars fans have peculiar interests in characters who don’t speak (or hardly speak) and are relegated to the background, so much that those characters themselves get backstories. Case in point, one of the most highlighted moments from J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens was the one Stormtrooper who yelled, “Traitor!,” and attacked Finn. The galaxy far, far away is filled with unsung heroes — and Goode’s Stormtrooper is one of them.