Glenn Van Dyke

Glenn Van Dyke

My 3 days on Star Wars: Return of the Jedi ... that almost wasn't. I dabbled a bit in Hollywood back in the early 80's. I'd just joined an agency in San Francisco, and a week later I received a phone call to go to Lucas Studios for an audition the next day. It was for a bit part in Return of the Jedi. I didn't sleep at all that night. Like so many people around the world I had been swept up in the phenomenon of the original Star Wars movie. Even a simple audition was like a dream come true. Arriving on set, in San Rafael, there was 4 guys for 3 parts. Never had to audition. They simply took a look at us ... they chose 1 guy and took him away. Chose a 2nd guy and led him away. It was now down to 2 of us and my heart was beating. After a 'hmm,' they chose me. I was taken to wardrobe and sized for clothes, then sent to makeup, where I spent 3 hours being turned into a lizard, reptilian looking creature. Then came the clothes and voila, I became one of Jabba the Hutt's bad guys. The next 3 days, we shot that same scene 65 times. I was in the scene with the sail barge out in the desert where we were taking Han, Luke and Chewbacca to be thrown into a pit to be digested. We were working in a steel warehouse in above 100-degree heat with no air conditioning. The big mask they'd glued to my face was cumbersome and claustrophobic. The clothes were heavy. And as we sat on a massive jack holding up the barge high in the air, the sweat was trickling down my neck and back. It was grueling. But it was also a memory I wouldn't trade for anything. I got to be there and witness it all, for 3 days anyway. I made friends and had some great experiences. I learned that... Harrison Ford was quiet, and kept to himself. Didn't talk to those around him even though I was standing four feet away from him in the scene for 3 days. Carrie Fisher was annoyed when I said hello. Didn't want to be disturbed. Billy Dee Williams, Lando...was a family man. Brought his kids on set and was sooo friendly. Very talkative and a genuinely nice guy to be around. Always had a broad smile for everyone. But my favorite was Mark Hamill. Because of the intense heat, between filming 'takes,' Mark would take a blow dryer and holding it to the long snout of my lizards facial mask, shoot air inside to me. It was hot air, but it felt incredible. It helped me get through those record setting days of heat. When we broke for lunch, he invited me to go with him. The two of us had lunch alone, sitting and talking about the movie, the acting biz etc. I got to know him. He was empathetic and caring. Hollywood hadn't gotten to his ego even though it was his 3rd movie in the series at the time. He was humble. And I'll never forget his great attitude. It was him that made it a great experience. As for my having gotten a scolding from George Lucas, yeah that happened too. In the first 'take' I almost got fired. My role was to hit Chewbacca in the back with a 6 foot long rifle as the 3 main stars discussed their escape plans. My lizard roar telling them to be quiet. But...I hit him way too hard and Chewbacca went flying forward. I didn't know that the actor had a limp or a bad leg. It was "CUT, CUT, CUT." Lowering the jack for the barge down to the floor, "What the hell are you doing? You weren't supposed to really hit him." After a brief discussion, probably about whether they should fire me or not, they reset to do it again. The 3 days that was ... almost wasn't. After I regained a bit of self-respect, I was able to make continuity suggestions that they were missing from the different camera angles...and I became a part of the team. It is my fondest memory of my Hollywood days. It was the inspiration for my becoming an author later in life. I owe my hobby turned career to Star Wars, the driving 'FORCE' behind it all. ​ Glenn Van Dyke, co-author of 'EARTH'S LAST WAR' series. Welcome! EARTH'S LAST WAR began with our wanting to find the book we'd always wanted to read, but couldn't find. A hybrid sci-fi / fantasy story built around likable and memorable characters with truthful and realistic personal interactions. Full of twists and turns, we hope that you too will find it to be a surprisingly human look at an enduring love that is worth fighting for across the depths of time. We hope you enjoy the read of this unique novel, GLENN VAN DYKE RENEE VAN DYKE

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