The Star Wars franchise is known all around the world thanks to its many signature aspects: Lightsabers, Jedi, the Force, talking droids and––believe it or not––a head-banging stormtrooper. Yes, you heard that right. There's a famous blooper scene in #ANewHope where a group of stormtroopers come running through a door and one of the hapless squad appears to miscalculate the distance and smacks his head on the doorframe.
It was an extremely brief moment, but fans caught it and loved it. It became such a sensation, in fact, that even #GeorgeLucas added a "bang" sound effect to the scene to make it stand out. With so much traction behind that hilarious moment, one wonders: Who was the man behind the helmet? His name is #LaurieGoode, and he's finally telling the story behind the scene.
In honor of A New Hope's 40th anniversary, The Hollywood Reporter tracked Goode down and managed to get an interview with him. In it, the actor offered an in-depth explanation of what happened before, during and after filming the scene.
Getting Into Star Wars
Surprisingly, he wasn't originally meant to appear in A New Hope. He got into the film as a replacement for another actor. At the time, Goode had no idea what "Star Wars" was.
"It was a last-minute casting for me. I received a phone call from my agent, who asked me for my measurement details. Having told her, I was then asked if I would be free to replace fellow actor Peter Dukes on something called Star Wars, as Peter had phoned in sick."
How The Famous Doorway Blunder Happened
Turns out the bump wasn't due to clumsiness. Goode was sick from an upset stomach and it started giving him trouble while filming the scene. That, paired with the restricted vision inside the stormtrooper helmets caused him to bang his head.
"On the second day of filming, I developed an upset stomach. By midmorning I had paid three to four visits to the [...] 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."
Fortunately it didn't cause a serious injury, but it has been the reason for many fans' laughter while watching A New Hope. Believing he hadn't made it into the scene, Goode moved on with his life, until he saw the film for the first time. After that, he couldn't resist his excitement telling everyone about his role.
"I thought: 'OMG, that's me!' I've been telling people the story ever since it occurred. In fact, the blooper once landed a small role in a Star Wars-themed pop promo in 1999. The act was called The Indian Rope Man, who performed 'Sunshine of Your Love.'
Unfortunately, his excitement for his contribution to the Star Wars franchise didn't last long, because the subject did not come without its troubles.
Troubles With Everyone Trying To Steal His Thunder
A number of people began to claim they were they clumsy stormtrooper. That caused credibility issues when he told others about the scene, so he decided to keep his role a secret.
"The first convention I attended [...] 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 [...] told me he had heard that from so many others [...] So, as I had no way of proving it, I thought I'd better keep quiet about it."
Later on though, he was forced to break his vow of silence when the late Michael Leader, a British actor who also appeared as a #stormtrooper in the movie, began claiming it was him in the scene. How did Goode clear it up? By writing a song called "Who Was the Stormtrooper Who Banged His Head?" and putting it on iTunes. No, really:
"People started telling me that Michael Leader was claiming the Stormtrooper blooper [...] That's when I decided to speak up [...] I decided to write a song about the subject. It's now out on iTunes, also on YouTube."
Like I said, that song does exist. It's available for purchase on iTunes and it's one of the weirdest things you'll probably listen to. If you want to dive deeper into this whole stormtrooper business, check it out.
That, my fellow Star Wars geeks, is the complete story of how the "Head-banging stormtrooper" scene came to be. Who would have thought that one of the funniest scenes in the entire franchise became a reality because of a stomach infection?