Total Nerd

Cheap Store-Bought Items Or Junk Used As ‘Star Wars’ Props  

Crystal Brackett
112.7k views 15 items

Star Wars is an epic space saga that takes place through the eyes of both director George Lucas and set dresser Roger Christian, who created most of the intergalactic spacecraft and futuristic knickknacks that can be seen on screen. Anyone who has seen the stellar film series has most likely found themselves wondering how Star Wars props were made. With a limited budget, the set design team of Star Wars: A New Hope certainly didn't have much to work with. In order to construct the entire movie from head to toe, the set dressers went DIY in order to design authentic-looking yet cheap Star Wars props. Regardless of the finances, the team armed themselves with both their movie magic and engineering skills and found a way to make the scrappy sets into some of the most iconic and phenomenal cinema endeavors of all time.

So what did they use for Star Wars props? While a lot of airplane scrap metal was involved, the team didn't shy away from adding a little flare from personal care products, broken audio-visual equipment, Tupperware, and appliances in order to construct new and futuristic devices for the cast.

The Original Lightsabers Were Made From Camera And Calculator Parts
The Original Lightsabers Were ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Cheap Store-Bought Items Or Junk Used As ‘Star Wars’ Props
Photo:  20th Century Fox/Flickr

Without an adequate design in place for the laser sword, Roger Christian was left without suitable props. One day, he decided to dig around a London camera shop for some spare parts. Whether it was by luck or fate, he found exactly what he needed.

Leaving the shop with Graflex flashgun handles, he completed the lightsaber with superglue, leftover rubber, chrome tape, and some bubble strip from a calculator.

The Jawas' Scavenged Parts In 'The Mandalorian' Are Volkswagen Fuel Injection Rails
The Jawas' Scavenged Parts In ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Cheap Store-Bought Items Or Junk Used As ‘Star Wars’ Props
Photo:  Disney Media Distribution/Ebay

During The Mandalorian's second chapter on Disney+, the titular bounty hunter meets a collection of Jawas who've scavenged parts from his ship. In order to get The Child to its destination and receive his payment, the Mandalorian must retrieve his parts from the Jawas and put his ship back together. 

Fans were quick to point out that some of the scavenged parts the Jawas appear to be transporting are actually Volkswagen fuel injection rails. Reddit /u/spannerboy69 says he recognized the parts immediately because he replaced "dozens" of them during a 2013 recall on a VW vehicle. 

The Millennium Falcon Was Made From Airplane Scraps, Including Containers Used To Heat Airline Food
The Millennium Falcon Was Made... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Cheap Store-Bought Items Or Junk Used As ‘Star Wars’ Props
Photo:  20th Century Fox/Wikimedia Commons

Since nobody was buying up old WWII Rolls-Royce airline scraps out of the junkyards, the discarded metal gave a cheap and authentic feel to the set of the Millennium Falcon.

Jet engines, food containers, pilot seats, and scrap metal were all deconstructed and rearranged to comprise Han Solo's starship from cockpit to exterior. Roger Christian claims that the orderly design of these parts made them the perfect materials for re-engineering into new parts and shapes.

The Prototype R2-D2’s Head Was The Top Of A Film Studio Lamp
The Prototype R2-D2’s Head Was... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Cheap Store-Bought Items Or Junk Used As ‘Star Wars’ Props
Photo:  20th Century Fox/Flickr

When it came to constructing R2-D2, Bill Harmon, a carpenter who created all the props for Monty Python, was brought on set.

The body of the robot was crafted out of marine plywood, which was whittled and edged away until the proportions were just right. For the prototype's rounded crown, a metal studio lamp was placed on top.