Is there any story left untold about the original Star Wars trilogy? Thirty-eight years after A New Hope, whole industries have risen and fallen dedicated to revealing behind-the-scenes secrets of the films that kickstarted one of pop culture’s most enduring franchises. (Remember the Behind the Magic CD-ROM? Remember CD-ROMs?) But director Jon Spira has an intriguing new angle on those long-ago stories about that far-far galaxy. Elstree 1976 documents the experiences of the actors who played some of Star Wars‘ most iconic characters — usually under a mask, or buried beneath makeup.
It sounds like another triumphant Star Wars victory lap in a year full of them, but the trailer for Elstree exudes melancholy, tart humor, and just a pinch of light cynicism. Talking to actors like David Prowse (Darth Vader), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett), Paul Blake (Greedo), and Garrick Hagon, who actually got to show his face off as the quickly-extinguished Biggs Darklighter, Elstree offers a clear-eyed view of these actors’ careers. (“Star Wars is my main source of income,” says Prowse, laughing a bit ruefully.) If nothing else, Elstree 1976 is definitely one of the most interesting Star Wars movies coming out next year.