Star Wars fans know nearly everyone who played the most minor part in the original trilogy, even those hidden behind helmets, masks and make-up. Actor Alan Harris was lucky enough to play a variety of roles across Star Wars: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, and he was even an integral part in creating some of the most iconic props of the trilogy. Unfortunately, Alan Harris has passed away at age 81 after a long battle with cancer, but we remember his contributions to Star Wars below.
Imperial Signings, an organization that specializes in autographs at conventions in the United Kingdom, posted about the passing of Alan Harris on Facebook. Though Harris had various health complications in recent years, he still attended many conventions, took photos with countless fans, and signed endless autographs for the most hardcore Star Wars fans. So who is he?
The most famous role Alan Harris had in the Star Wars trilogy was being the man under the mask of the lizard-like bounty hunter known as Bossk in The Empire Strikes Back. The character appears in the line of bounty hunters along with the likes of Dengar, 4-LOM, Zuckuss, IG-88 and Boba Fett (all of which would have been in the scrapped movie focusing on the Mandalorian character). Funnily enough, Harris had a key role in the creation of the latter beloved bounty hunter.
As we know, Jeremy Bulloch wore the armor of Boba Fett in the movie. But what you might know know is that Harris was the body used to mold the pieces for the Boba Fett costume. You can even find photos of him online wearing the prototype white armor before it was painted to appear as seen in The Empire Strikes Back. And that’s not the only prop that Harris helped create. Harris was also used as the body to create the mold for Han Solo frozen in carbonite.
Beyond his work behind the scenes and under masks, Harris had several appearances where his face could be seen. In A New Hope, Harris was part of Princess Leia’s Rebel escort, in Empire Strikes Back he portrayed a Rebel trooper on Hoth, not to mention a Stormtrooper, and in Return of the Jedi, he acted as C-3PO’s stand-in and played a Stormtrooper.
But it’s in The Empire Strikes Back that Harris’ most significant contributions come together in a single scene. During the scene where Boba Fett is walking Han Solo in carbonite to his ship on Bespin, Harris played one of the two Bespin Wing Guard members tasked with escorting the bounty hunter and his prize. So in one shot, you can see Harris’ face along with the two iconic props that he had a hand (or rather body) in making.
Outside of Star Wars, Alan Harris was a reliable extra on many film and television sets. He played a variety of roles in the series Space: 1999 (seen above left), as well as playing a General in Flash Gordon, a man on the Daily Planet rooftop in Superman: The Movie, and a ballroom dancer in The Shining.
Our thoughts go out to Alan Harris’ friends and family at this time. Rest in peace, sir.
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