Lucasfilm / Twentieth Century Fox, April 1975 - July 1976,
John Mollo's personal handwritten costume design manuscript and diary covering the period of April 1975 to July 1976 including the production of George Lucas' Star Wars released in 1977, the first film John Mollo was employed as Costume Designer for, the volume of 450 pages with approximately 180 pages devoted to the Lucasfilm Ltd / Twentieth Century Fox production, detailed and broken down sketches and workings for the majority of characters featured in Episode IV A New Hope, with notes and drawings in black ink, these include; 'Darth Vader', 'Luke Skywalker', 'Han Solo', 'Princess Leia', 'Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi', 'Chewbacca', 'Biggs Darklighter', 'Tusken Raider', 'Stormtroopers', 'Jawas', 'Cantina Aliens', 'Imperial Guards and Gunners', 'Tie Fighter Pilots', 'Rebel Fighter Pilots' and others; with in-depth designs of belts, fastenings, helmets, insignia and footwear, key costume pages and designs include;
Page 180 - An early concept sketch for 'Han Solo', in pen and ink with annotations in Mollo's hand Jersey or shirt, utility belt, gun holster.
Page 215 - Early concept sketches for 'Han Solo' and 'Princess Leia' (2).
Pages 216-217 - An initial concept sketch for 'Darth Vader' including a breakdown of key soft/hard parts (helmet, armour, chest detailing etc.)
Page 217 - Three sketches for Imperial Officers and guards, in ink and coloured pen, with additional workings for head and helmet attire.
Pages 222-223 - Detailed pen and ink belt designs each titled in Mollo's hand; Owen shoulder belt, Imperial officers and guards, Luke, Ben, Han, Chewbacca and Darth Vader.
Pages 230–233 - Three further pages of illustrations detailing the design of 'Darth Vader's' costume, including trousers, jackets and overlays with a complete sketch of the villain with helmet.
Page 233 - A large sketch of 'Obi-Wan Kenobi' in colour pencil, front and profile designs.
Page 240 - A pen and ink sketch of 'Chewbacca' with side profile drawings of his head.
Page 247 - Colour pencil drawings of an assortment of 18 aliens for the Cantina bar scene.
Page 249 - A draft pencil sketch of 'Luke Skywalker', a side sketch of 'Rebel Fleet Trooper' helmet with side comms-box/antenna, together with a detailed black ink and graphite sketch of 'Darth Vader', with a breakdown of his helmet annotated in Mollo's hand These drawings added in 2005 initialled JM.
Pages 250-251 - Feature designs for the 'Rebel X-Wing Pilot' helmet and further designs for the 'Rebel Fleet Trooper' helmet seen during the opening scenes aboard the 'Rebel Tantive IV' craft.
Pages 294-295 - A double page of over 20 pen and ink sketches of 'Princess Leia' in her diplomatic hooded gown, documenting how the dress would look from various angles and poses.
Page 309 - A full page black ink design for an 'Imperial Sandtrooper' (the 'Stormtrooper' variant required for the films 'Tatooine' scenes filmed in Tunisia), showing the parts of the costume including the helmet shoulder pauldron, webbing and proposed back-pack for the sand troopers in Tunisia.
Pages 352-353 – Two pages featuring six coloured pencil near-final designs for Rebel crew including; 'X-Wing Pilots', 'Fleet Troopers', 'Ground Crew' and 'Ancillary Rebels'.
Pages 360-361 - A double page of detailed sketches of 'Imperial Death Star Gunner', together with over 20 designs for the Imperial Insignia (which would ultimately become the Imperial "Cog" emblem).
The sketch book is interspersed with diary notes for forthcoming pre-production meetings with George Lucas, studio days at Elstree, costume meetings during filming, and general costings, pages of interest include;
Page 194 - Titled 'Bermans and Nathans' in Mollo's hand, with a list of costume styles for certain characters:
1. Peasant Type Costumes (Russo-Japanese),
a) Luke, b) Ben Kenobi, c) Uncle Lars, d) Aunt Beru,
2. Western/US Cavalry/Motorcycle Type,
a) Han Solo, b) Rebel Officers, c) Luke, d) Fixer and Friends,
3. Nazi Type uniforms/armour/cloaks,
a) Darth Vader, b) Imperial Pilots (sic), c) Rebel Troops,
4. Space Technology,
a) Imperial Pilots, b) Rebel Pilots,
5. Ladies mock medieval/Tarzan Type, a)Leia 6. Semi-monsters + weirdies[sic] and armour,
a) Jawas, b) Tuskan Raiders, c) Pirates, 7. Monsters,
a) Chewbacca, b) [indistinct]
Page 208 - Detailed meeting notes in Mollo's hand...with George Lucas discussing the key character costumes, dated 7-01-1976:
1. Luke Starkiller [working name for Luke Skywalker]– moccasin boots...Japanese shirt...long sleeves...light colours
2. Han Solo – t-shirt ...pullover...leather waistcoat
3. Ben Kenobi – monklike brown hooded cloak...contrast of light and dark
4. Biggs – black Russian shirt...baggytrousers...field grey cape
5. Rebels + Generals – commander type look, Russian tunics, helicopter pilot helmets
6. Imperialists – different uniforms, must be well cut...guards helmets like US helmets;
Page 214 - Shows Mollo's costume process flowchart [as illustrated in the catalogue], an example being: -Read script-Costume breakdown- prepare budget/Sketches/ prototypes/research- finalise designs and stock- make helmets, masks, belts/make costumes Bermans/make Stormtroopers- pack and send to Tunisia- shooting
Page 241 - Showing Mollo's month planner for February 1976, a key month for the production given the need to complete many of the costumes, including the somewhat-rushed 'Stormtrooper's' - all of which were needed in time for the 18th March "freight-day" when they were due to be shipped to Tunisia for the Tatooine scenes.
Pages 244-245 - List progress of all principal characters including costumes the then as-yet uncast 'Luke Skywalker' role (Mark Hamill), plus agenda points for one of Mollo's production meetings with George Lucas.
Page 254 - A listing of costume armour and helmet quantities required (ultimately provided by 3rd party vac-former Shepperton Design Studios in Twickenham) with initial draft budget - Imperial Stormtroopers white 50, Imperial Starpilot black 15, Imperial Troops MK 1 (cheese grater) 25, Imperial Troops MK II (with face visor) 25, Rebel Pilots with movable eye shields 50, Rebel Troops MK I (2 plates) 50, Rebel Troops MK II (2 plates long neck) 50, Rebel Troops MK III (USA communications) 25 with later amendments to numbers required and costings.
Page 258 - Lists belts, gun holsters and bandoleers required for Tunisia shoot for characters including; 'Luke Skywalker', 'Ben Kenobi', 'Han Solo' and 'Chewbacca'. Includes Luke's friends, Fixer, Deak and Windy, for early scenes set on Tatooine, which although filmed were ultimately cut prior to the films final release.
Page 276 - A comprehensive list of all characters and costs for all costume Mollo was asked to design ranging from 50 for a Head Jawa, 550 Darth Vader black leather motorcycle outfit, 500 Leia ceremonial dress, 350 Luke star fighter suit, [currency is not stipulated]. Page 291 - A page of diary entries from 23rd February – 19th March documenting daily meetings with Bermans & Nathans, Art Department, George Lucas, Bapty's, shopping trips, Prop meetings, Andrew studio [Andrew Ainsworth] ending Get to Tunisia.
Additional research approximately 20 pages for the Seven Years War, possibly used for Barry Lyndon; black ink military costume sketches with coloured pencil detail for Officers, Grenadiers, Sergeants, Riflemen, Gunners, Corporals, Musketeers and others; notes for various commercials; TV productions Anna Karenina, TV commercials including one for 'Hamlet Cigars', workings for books and other professional and personal projects, the journal of 450 pages measures 14.25in x 9.5in (36cm x 24 cm) pages 181-362 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
This important workbook includes hand drawn and occasionally coloured character designs and artwork for the main characters, many based on George Lucas instructions and Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston's original production illustrations and designs. The notes and sketches were John Mollo's personal account of his design process. Taking George Lucas' vision and creating workable and durable costumes. It was vital for Lucas that Star Wars looked unlike any other sci-fi film. He wanted his characters to reflect light and dark. He did not want the over-dramatic costumes or anything too fanciful. While Mollo confessed that he had very little experience or understanding of the science-fiction genre, previously only working on film productions as a consultant for historical military accuracy, this was to be his advantage. Lucas wanted a more regimented look for The Star Wars, as the film was originally titled. Who better to bring this to life than a military costume expert who had little understanding or regard for fantasy film apparel. While there is drama created by the sinister 'Darth Vader' and monochrome 'Stormtroopers', comedy and quirks from 'C-3PO' and 'R2-D2' and extraterritorial imaginings in the form of the 'Cantina Alien rabble', they are set against regimented German inspired Imperial guards and Generals letting the audience focus on the sets, fight scene and spaceship models. The protagonists 'Luke Skywalker', 'Han Solo', 'Princess Leia' and 'Obi-Wan Kenobi' all wear relatively simple understated costumes based on peasants, cowboys, medieval and monk attire. Contradictory to how they are viewed now, which is as some of the most iconic film wardrobe ingrained in Hollywood film history.
This important manuscript helps to show the production workings for putting these principles into practice. John Mollo's draftsmenship is seen in his breaking down of key costume elements, working out shapes and how practically these are to be put into motion. He scoured costumiers Bermans & Nathans collection of military uniforms and costume for hire to find the basics for many of the characters. As he elaborates 'For Darth Vader I had to go to three departments: the ecclesiastical department for a robe, the modern department for a motorcycle suit and the military department for a (Second World War) German helmet and gas mask. We cobbled it all together and there was Darth Vader.' This was the start of a very arduous process for the art department's Brian Muir, together with John Barry's input, who was given Mollo's design and tasked with making Vader's helmet come to life. This was also later in the design schedule and as such he only had time to produce a single concept. Thankfully George Lucas approved and a single costume and helmet were made for filming.
Serving also as Mollo's personal production and development diary the volume contains detailed meeting notes with the films development team including Producer/Director/Writer George Lucas, along with budgets and costume groupings. The fundamental themes for the main characters, Imperialists and Rebels were discussed. It was from this that Mollo began the costume design and production process. Extensive diary planning and liaison with other departments and teams is also well documented.
From The John Mollo Archive
COTTA VAZ, Mark & HATA, Shinii The Star Wars Archives, (Virgin Books), 1995
TITELMAN, Carol The Art Of Star Wars, Episode IV, A New Hope, (Titan Books), 1994
ALINGER, Brandon Star Wars Costumes, The Original Trilogy, (Titan Books), 2015
For more images from the sketchbook, please contact the department.