Nudity in Star Wars: A New Hope Got George Lucas in Trouble

Nudity in Star Wars: A New Hope Got George Lucas in Trouble
Image credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The filmmaker repeatedly had to resist the studio's demands that a certain character wear at least some clothes.

Before George Lucas forever changed popular culture and cemented his place in cinematic history with the release of Star Wars, his brainchild underwent significant changes prior to hitting the silver screen.

Looking at old concept art by Ralph McQuarrie, it is sometimes hard to recognize familiar elements in the original designs of characters, spaceships, droids, and more.

One of the characters that changed the most during the development of the first Star Wars movie, later renamed Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, was Chewbacca, Han Solo's alien companion of the Wookiee species.

Lucas didn't really like McQuarrie's original design (which was reused many years later to create the Lasat species for Star Wars Rebels), instead getting an idea from his own Alaskan Malamute dog and asking the artist to make Chewbacca more animalistic.

A Sudden Menace

Nudity in Star Wars: A New Hope Got George Lucas in Trouble - image 1

This resulted in the hairy alien's design resembling what we all know and love today, but suddenly another completely unexpected problem arose, because with Chewbacca now resembling more of a humanoid dog, he wasn't wearing any clothes, which was a problem for the studio executives.

According to Mark Hamill 's commentary on the 2004 DVD release of A New Hope, George Lucas had to fight tooth and nail against the studio's repeated demands that the character at least wear shorts.

However, this was not the only reason for conflict between George and the studio, who had to stand his ground several times to preserve his vision, but as we all know, the filmmaker eventually came out on top.

Nearly half a century later, Wookiees remain one of the most creatively designed alien races, and putting them in suits or even shorts would have undermined much of their fluffy charm and, frankly, made them look ridiculous.

Fortunately, Lucas' original idea was preserved, and even the early concept, as mentioned above, was given new life in the form of Zeb Orrelios from the Rebels animated series.

Source: Chicago Tribune