By the end of 1976, “Star Wars” had found financing and the team moved to Elstree Studios in the UK to begin making the sets. Immediately they realized they didn’t have the space to build a full-scale set of the Millennium Falcon, so they built half of the exterior along with specific sections of the interior of the ship.
Christian’s idea of the Falcon having this look of, well, as Luke Skywalker famously said in the first movie, “a piece of junk,” led him to the junkyard.
“I had the idea that if I bought scrap junk airplanes I could break it down and build the sets,” Christian said. “That was key to making the Millennium Falcon.”
With an okay from Lucas, Christian set out to get the airplane scraps, which entailed him getting on a prop plane and flying to three different airfields that were basically airplane graveyards.
“I went in and found mountains of junk,” he said. “I could buy it for nothing. I bought 20 jet engines, a ton of cockpit gear, containers that they used to heat up food, anything I could get my hands on.”
It was all sold by weight so most if was very cheap to purchase because it was light metal for airplanes.
“It would be 50 pounds for a whole load,” Christian said.
Back at Elstree, the prop room was completely cleared out and a giant 18-wheeler pulled right up and all the airplane scraps Christian bought were unloaded into the room. The prop department was then instructed to break it all down, as Christian would then use certain pieces for the interior Falcon sets.
“I had no clue if any of this would work,” Christian said. “But George loved it.”