New 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' Featurette Turns the Nostalgia Dial Up High

Can 42 years really feel so long ago and in such a galaxy far, far away?

A new featurette shows the behind the scenes filming in multiple "Star Wars" episodes. It includes glimpses of beloved actors who passed on (Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, and Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca), and other actors still with us who changed from juniors to elders (such as Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker).

It's all in preparation for "The Rise of Skywalker," Episode 9 of the series — an episode that launches into theaters Dec. 20 and is meant to wrap up the main "Star Wars" storyline that began with "A New Hope" 1977. The featurette mixes nostalgia with wonder, as it shows actors reflecting on the legacy of "Star Wars" in clips through the ages. Naturally, the clip features obligatory shots of the Millennium Falcon starship, lightsaber battles and glimpses of actors getting ready for takes on crowded sets.

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Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford on the set of "Star Wars: A New Hope" (Image credit: Lucasfilm/Disney)

There's Alec Guinness, the actor who voiced Obi-Wan Kenobi and died in 2000, speaking in archival footage: "As I see it, this has nothing to do with past, present or future. 'Star Wars' could be in any of these areas."

"It's a big part of what makes these films so important to pass on from generation to generation," adds Harrison Ford in newer footage; he reprised his role as Han Solo as late as 2017, and perhaps he'll make an appearance in 2019 as well.

We also hear from Anthony Daniels, who continues to play the role of C-3PO in the new films after pioneering the role in 1977: "I had my doubts about whether another 'Star Wars' would work, but I now get that phrase, 'Thank you for my childhood,' because it's something that people carry with them now, forever and ever and ever." 

Newer actors to the series express their own sense of awe. "I feel honored that I've been allowed to continue the journey," says Daisy Ridley (Rey), who played starring roles in 2015 and 2017 and will reprise the role again in 2019. Adds co-star John Boyega (Finn), "It feels just like I was in a time machine, and I had traveled back to when they first had filmed 'Star Wars.'"

The featurette opens with a charming out-take back when Hamill, Ford and Guinness were filming the first "Star Wars" film on the set of the Millennium Falcon, in 1977.

"It'll take a few minutes for the navi [navigation] computer to calculate the co-ordinates," says Ford, holding the script so far.

"A few minutes?" Hamill sputters at high speed. "Are you kidding, at the rate they're gaining …" He trails off. 

Ford jumps in. "Oh, what is it?" Pause. "Do you have to shoot this?" The actors, realizing they've forgotten what to say next, then begin riffing off what they remember of the script, perhaps to try to save the take. 

"Traveling through hyperspace is like dusting," Ford begins, then corrects with, "it ain't like dusting crops, kid." He boldly plunges on, probably realizing no matter what his efforts, the take is lost. "Without precise calculations, we fly too close to a store, we bounce into a supermarket, and then, it'll be a hell of a mess."

Ford and Hamill do their best to finish their lines and wrap up the take amid laughter. Guinness, ever the professional, stays stoic throughout, delivers the line "Yeah, sure, I'm taking it very cautiously" perfectly, and exits the scene in his stately Obi-Wan way without breaking character for a moment. 

After Guinness leaves the scene, Ford gives a stern look at the camera person. "You," he says in his best space commander voice, first pointing and then breaking into laughter. "Go away with that."

Off-camera, Hamill asks innocently: "Bounce too near a supermarket?" Ford laughs again. End scene.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: