A big-budget movie has hundreds, if not thousands, of moving parts that need to work in unison for just a single scene. When a good portion of those pieces are people, errors are bound to occur, and sometimes those mistakes make it all the way to the finished product. One of the more memorable bloopers occurred during the filming of 1977’s Star Wars, when a Stormtrooper bonked his way into the annals of cinema history.
Forty years after the film’s theatrical release, the man behind the (dented) mask has revealed the story behind the blunder.
“On the second day of filming, I developed an upset stomach,” Laurie Goode explained to The Hollywood Reporter. “By mid-morning I had paid three to four visits to the loo/bathroom. Having re-dressed myself and returned to the set, I felt the need to rush back to the gents’ toilets, but I was placed in [the] shot. On about the fourth take, as I shuffled along, I felt my stomach rumbling, and “bang,” I hit my head! As I wasn’t moving too fast, it was more of a scuffed bash, so it didn’t hurt, but as no one shouted “cut,” I thought the shot wasn’t wide enough for me to be in frame.”
“Believing I probably wasn’t in frame, I expected it to end up on the cutting-room floor,” he continued. “But when I did see it in the cinema, I thought: ‘OMG, that’s me!’ I’ve been telling people the story ever since it occurred …”
Unfortunately for Goode, there was no way for him to prove the blooper was committed by him, as the Stormtrooper’s face is hidden. Many other extras have tried to take credit for the blunder over the years, and Goode opened up about one such instance, “The first convention I attended, I think in 2006, I told one of the organizers that I was the Stormtrooper who banged his head, thinking he would say, ‘Great — that’s fantastic!’ But he just shrugged his shoulders and told me he had heard that from so many others, adding [that] everyone was banging their heads! So, as I had no way of proving it, I thought I’d better keep quiet about it. As time marched on, people started telling me that [the late] Michael Leader was claiming the Stormtrooper blooper. So it left thinking, ‘How can he prove it?’ That’s when I decided to speak up.”
Goode did more than just speak. Last year, the actor made his case by creating a parody of the infamous blooper:
The controversy caught the eye of one dedicated Star Wars fan, filmmaker Jamie Stangroom, who has taken it upon himself to clear up the mystery surrounding the gaffe by starting up a crowd-funded project, titled The Empire Strikes Door.
Regardless of who ends up being the official culprit, the intergalactic thump from a long time ago appears like it will echo for eternity. Fans will next be able to return to the galaxy far, far away when Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives Dec. 15.