Tim Donaldson Interview – Jawa

Jawas were a sentient species of meter-tall humanoids native to the Outer Rim desert world of Tatooine.

What Jawas hid underneath their heavy robes was subject to much speculation from the colonists who settled on Tatooine, with rumors claiming they were giant rodents or devolved humans. Although Jawas were typically small, measuring only one meter, some of them were significantly taller than that. One of those abnormally gangly Jawas was almost as tall as a 3PO unit, a model of protocol droid measuring 1.71 meters.

According to the gangster Adwin Charu, Jawas had a musky, animal odor which he likened to a fraternity of wet rats.

How did you get the role of a Jawa in Star Wars: A New Hope?

I was 5 years old and my parents lived and worked in Death Valley National Park, George Lucas and a few support personnel came to my elementary school looking for kids to be Jawa’s. The costumes were from previous filming in Tunisia so we were measured for appropriate height. I along with 7 others was lucky enough to be chosen.

What was the costume fitting process like?

We were taken to the local motel on the first day where we tried on the costumes. The most memorable part of this day for me was trying on the Tusken Raider helmet.

How would you describe your time working on set?

We were on set for two days in Death Valley, we filmed the scene of R2D2 being carried up to the Sandcrawler as well as a few other pickup scenes. I remember some frustration with the crew because R2s head kept falling off.

What was it like filming in the Jawa costume?

It was like nothing that I had ever worn. It was bulky and heavy, living in Death Valley I am not even sure if I even owned a heavy coat.

Do you have any favourite characters from the movies, if so, who are they and why?

Obi-wan is my favourite character, he is always calm and cool even under great pressure.

Did you ever think that the franchise would ever be as successful as it now when you were working on the film?

When I filmed Star Wars, it was nothing. Unlike anything anyone had seen. We were cautioned by our teacher not to get to excited as it probably wouldn’t even get to the box office. My mother wrote a letter to my grandmother stating that I was an extra in a “2nd rate B grade Sci-fi film”.

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