Jedi at 40 | ILM Legend Thomas G. Smith
Here’s the latest from: StarWars.Com
By Dan Brooks
General manager of ILM in the early to mid-‘80s, Smith reflects on the rancor, working with George Lucas, and the fate of a memorable Easter egg.
It may be hard to believe, but some good actually came from the Empire’s second Death Star.
For Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Industrial Light & Magic had built a huge model of the new technological terror’s surface — “two times larger than a tennis court,” legendary ILM general manager Thomas G. Smith tells StarWars.com — and it was too large to be stored after filming. On the orders of George Lucas himself, who usually saved and preserved every model from the Star Wars films, it was to be trashed. So, Smith and some other ILMers took the model apart, rented some trucks, and drove the pieces to a nearby garbage dump. But someone actually wanted to save the Death Star.
“My son was working at summer employment there, and he saw all these pieces going into the dump and he thought, ‘No, no, no,’” Smith says. “‘Some of that stuff looks good!’” Smith’s son saved a box of pieces for himself and held onto it for years — ultimately putting it to ironically good use…