They may have been villains, but the Stormtroopers of Star Wars weren’t always suave. In a now-infamous scene in Star Wars Episode IV — A New Hope (1977), one of the white-helmeted foot soldiers marched straight into the top of a doorway. (Space ships weren’t meant for tall people, apparently.) In honor of the movie’s 40th anniversary, the actor underneath that helmet finally told The Hollywood Reporter what happened: He had to poop.
Actor Laurie Goode came down with a stomach bug on his second day of filming. He had already run to the bathroom several times that day, and was about to duck out again when he was put in the shot. His attention was, understandably, somewhat distracted from the task at hand.
As he told the Reporter:
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.
Presumably he was too busy planning out just how he was going to get out of that body armor in time.
It happened to be the last take before the crew wrapped that scene, and Goode didn’t know his fumble had made it into the movie until he saw it in theaters. It has since become an integral part of the movie, and the 2004 DVD re-release featured enhanced sound effects to make the subtle blooper more obvious.
However, the identity of the Clumsy Stormtrooper is actually a bit controversial. Previously, actor Michael Leader claimed to be the hang-banger. (Leader died in 2004.)
We’re inclined to believe Goode, because most people don’t make up stories about their diarrhea emergencies from 40 years ago, but then again, people do crazy things for fame all the time. Considering the design of those helmets, more than one Stormtrooper probably whacked his head over the course of filming, even if only one incident made it into the movie.
Star Wars YouTuber Jamie Stangroom is currently crowdfunding a documentary that aims to get to the bottom of the Clumsy Stormtrooper mystery, so we may one day have a more definitive answer. But for now, we’re happy to believe the bathroom emergency theory.
[h/t The Hollywood Reporter]