This week marks the 44th anniversary of A New Hope production start. Mark Hamill celebrated by posting some information on social media about his first day on set. According to some, the date was March 25th, 1976, but the official Star Wars website has it listed as March 22nd, 1976. Regardless, the anniversary just took place and not a whole lot of people took notice since there's so much else in the world going on. With that being said, fans were happy to see Hamill talk about the day.
Mark Hamill helps to keep the original Star Wars legacy alive on social media and he has for years. He often answers fan questions and gets into friendly debates about the best/worst toys from the franchise. When he was alerted to the anniversary of A New Hope earlier this week, he shared some stories from the first day of production. He had this to say.
"1st day was in Tunisia, North Africa. Only cast there was Alec Guinness, Kenny Baker & Tony Daniels. Wouldn't meet Carrison & Harrie until we returned to UK. My 1st shot was me emerging from my home towards the Jawa droid sale-I had high hopes it would be a good movie."
A New Hope, or as it was called back in the day, Star Wars, had a difficult start. The pre-production phase lasted nearly three years as George Lucas tried to figure out how to bring his vision to the big screen. Plus, he was looking for a studio willing to invest some money into the project. At the time, nobody was interested in the sci-fi adventure, which seems hard to believe after all of these years.
When it finally came time to roll the cameras, some of the cast and crew took off from Pinewood in the U.K. to Tunisia, North Africa. After a lay-over and a long drive, the cast and crew were wiped of all energy and found out that their accommodations were less than stellar. They were staying in fourth-rate hotels, "sometimes doubled or even tripled up in rooms." Producer Gary Kurtz says, "That was okay for two weeks. We could survive that. But if it had been two or three months, we would have had a riot on our hands."
On the first day of production on A New Hope, they aimed to get three things done: parts from the scene where R2-D2 and C-3PO are being purchased, Luke Skywalker observing the twin suns scene, and the scene where C-3PO and Luke Skywalker rush out to look for R2. Batteries and other droid problems plagued the first two day, but the production soldiered on, even as the weather turned out to be another issue. All in all, Mark Hamill had a good time on set, far better than Anthony Daniels who had to wake up earlier to get stuffed into the C-3PO costume. You can check out Mark Hamill's Twitter thoughts on the first day on A New Hope.