American actor Mark Hamill on the set of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi directed by Welsh Richard Marquand. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Return Of The Jedi’s Crew Hated Sand Just As Much As Anakin
Filming for the desert scenes in “Return of the Jedi” took place in Arizona’s Yuma Desert for just two weeks; however, this would prove to be a terrible and grueling experience.
Director Richard Marquand wanted to create a sandstorm for the movie, which used a possibly poisonous mixture since real sand wouldn’t work well enough.
Marquand commented on the fake sand: “The sand is a mixture composed of small balls of styrofoam and a blending of talcum powder. The talcum powder is terrible.”
He added, “I hope to God it’s not carcinogenic, because it certainly gets everywhere. The powder is used to give some thickness in the background. We didn’t use sand.”
Audiences might recall Anakin Skywalker’s dialogue in "Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones" when he declares that he hates sand, saying, “It gets everywhere.”
Marquand was apprehensive about possibly putting the cast in danger and devised the creative solution that the characters would have desert survival gear.
The director said, “We came up with the idea that we should probably get these sort of blankety-looking, cloaklike things and some goggles for the actors to wear, just in case.”
Costume designer Aggie Rodgers suggested they also show minor characters wearing the desert gear to explain why the heroes would have such equipment.
The sandstorm only played a small part in “Return of the Jedi” for visual flair and sense of place, as it seems that Marquand didn’t want to have to keep working with the mixture.