‘Star Wars’ TBT: Time to Revisit the 1977 Original Film’s Infamous Bar Scene
With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker about to premiere, the film’s release may bring nostalgia to movie-goers who saw the very first movie that launched the intergalactic franchise.
One scene in particular is sure to be forever etched in the memories of those who saw the 1977 original film Star Wars (retroactively titled Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope). Picture an array of aliens bellying up to a dive bar on the remote planet of Tatooine.
Welcome to the Mos Eisley Cantina
Introduced by Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi as a “wretched hive of scum and villainy,” the Mos Eisley Cantina – the local watering hole on Tatooine – became a character in and of itself in the groundbreaking film. Creator George Lucas went to great lengths to capture the perfect alien essence of the outer space speakeasy, where he actually shot the scene two times – once in England and once in Los Angeles – utilizing two different teams of aliens and make-up artists, according to Yahoo! Entertainment.
During the shoot in LA, Lucas was short on time and money, so he used staff members as extras for the scene. Yahoo Entertainment reported that “There was a cattle call; they had secretaries and people from accounting” in the segment.
While the scene is beloved by diehard Star Wars fans, the Cantina has only been shown again in the 3D CGI animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Cantina song goes disco
The infamous watering hole offered live entertainment, with the band named Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes (though their moniker was not given in the movie) playing to a mix of bounty hunters, pilots, smugglers, and those from outer space.
According to ScreenRant, the group was comprised of seven Bith musicians from the planet Clak’dor VII. There were actually eight members of the group, but one decided to sit out a song in a nearby booth. The catchy tune played during the scene was called “Mad About Me,” by composer John Williams. Lucas’ suggestion to Williams for inspiration was “imagine several creatures in a future century finding some 1930s Benny Goodman swing band music in a time capsule or under a rock someplace.”
The song caught the ear of music producer Meco (whose real name is Domenico Monard), where he then went to Casablana Records pitching the song as a disco cover. Meco got the green light and produced the album “Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk” in 1977, which showcased a disco mash-up of The Star Wars theme and “Mad About Me.”
Meco hit pay dirt with the album, outselling the Star Wars soundtrack and hitting the coveted Billboard Hot 100. His song “Star Wars Theme and Cantina Band” even earned a spot in the “Guinness Book of World Records” as the “best-selling single of instrumental music.” Not bad for a disco version of an alien bar song.
Bar staff and menu
The employees at the Mos Eisley Cantina were quite the colorful bunch. The bar was owned by Chalmun the Wookie, and gruff bartender Wuher made sure patrons followed the rules such as no droids and no fighting with blasters. Assigned to bouncer duty, 7-foot Tork would show inebriated customers causing trouble to the door and enforce the establishment’s closing time.
The impeccably detailed guide “Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know” revealed that the beverage menu included blue milk, Jawa Juice, the Tatooine Sunset, Yatooni Boska, and two Hutt concoctions – Tatooni Junko and Hutt’s Delight.
ScreenRant reported that the Cantina rules were posted on the door:
“Leave your droids outside. You don’t want Wuher on your case. Keep your blaster holstered! Why ask for trouble? Find an empty table or barstool. Crowding other customers will only end in tears. Be friendly. Buy a drink for your neighbor at the bar. Applaud the band—even if they’re way off-key!”
For fans of the film that started the franchise, whoever is at the helm of the next installment should really consider revisiting the Mos Eisley Cantina.