Why Rob Lowe Saw Part of ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ Before It Came Out

Rob Lowe never appeared in a Star Wars film, however, he saw early footage of Star Wars: A New Hope. Because of this, he got a taste of the saga before most audiences did. Here’s what he thought of the film before it became a major hit — and how he reacted to the Millennium Falcon.

C-3PO and R2-D2 on Tattooine in a scene from Star Wars: A New Hope
C-3PO and R2-D2 | FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images

What happened when Rob Lowe saw the Death Star on the set of ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’

In Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography, Lowe said his mother knew a man named Dr. Steve Wilson. Wilson’s brother and sister-in-law were working on Star Wars and took him to the film’s special effects workshop. He revealed the workshop was in the San Fernando Valley near porn warehouses and chop shops.

When he arrived, “battle scenes” were being filmed. He felt the special effect workshop smelled terribly and learned this was because of its costumes. Little did he know those costumes would become iconic.

Lowe saw a platform covered with “monochromatic battleship-gray miniature towers, buildings, trenches, gun portals, and radar dishes,” He added “I see that it is constructed with spray-painted egg cartons, elements of model battleships and tank parts, and other pieces of toys and everyday items… it looks like the surface of an absolutely enormous alien planet.”

The Millennium Falcon navigates an asteroid field

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When Lowe asks what this battleship was, he learned it was the Death Star. Someone told Lowe a spaceship would fly over the shot of the Death Star. He asked to see the spaceship and saw “a six-foot-long model of the coolest spaceship I’ve ever seen. ‘It’s called the Millennium Falcon.’”

Lowe saw R2-D2, the “wooly-mammoth” costumes for the Banthas, and Luke Skywalker’s hovercraft. During his time on the set, Lowe saw “rough footage” of the film. He described the experience as making the “the hair on my neck stand up.”

Rob Lowe gives friends a taste of Star Wars: A New Hope’ before it came out

Lowe states the next day, he told all his friends about his experience on the set. “I tell all my friends about this amazing new movie that isn’t coming out for months but is going to be “the coolest thing ever. In my opinion (and I am hardly alone), Star Wars did change the world.”

A Star Wars teaser

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Lowe states that the “era of the blockbuster” arrived with Star Wars. Along with that, corporate America arrived in Hollywood and “ended an era when the movie business was run by people who, first and foremost, loved movies. Through all the years and the changes they brought, I still feel lucky to have witnessed the birth of the movie that changed it all.”

How the world reacted to ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’

Star Wars performed incredibly well. IMDb reports the film earned $461 million in the U.S. and $314 million overseas for a total of $775 million. In addition, it influenced many subsequent Hollywood movies. It appears that Lowe’s assessment of Stars Wars was right on target.