Screenshot: YouTube

For all its still-impressive special effects, there’s a scrappy immediacy to the original Star Wars that remains a part of its enduring appeal. While that was washed away with the CGI sparkle of the prequel trilogy, the currently unfolding trilogy retains a bit of that grit, with practical effects galore and sets that don’t look like anesthetized doctor’s offices. But it’s hard to imagine even those movies keeping in something like the infamous shot of the Stormtrooper parading through an open doorway on the Death Star only to bonk his head, cartoon-like, on the frame. Viewing after viewing, it only grows more apparent over time, and gets funnier as it goes.

The Hollywood Reporter has an interview today with the actor Laurie Goode, who claims to have been that infamous Stormtrooper. He was 31 at the time of filming, and his explanation for the blunder is compellingly graphic:

On the second day of filming, I developed an upset stomach. By mid-morning I had paid three-to-four visits to the loo/bathroom. Having re-dressed myself and returned to the set, I felt the need to rush back to the gents’ toilets, but I was placed in shot. On about the fourth take, as I shuffled along, I felt my stomach rumbling, and “bang,” I hit my head! As I wasn’t moving too fast it was more of a scuffed bash, so it didn’t hurt, but as no-one shouted “cut” I thought the shot wasn’t wide enough for me to be in frame.

Goode was as surprised as anyone that the shot made it into theaters, and as it took on a life of his own, he’s had trouble claiming the moment as his own. The actor Michael Leader has also claimed to be the infamously inept soldier, and there’s even an IndieGogo campaign currently collecting funds for a documentary that promises to get to the root of the subject, uncovering with finality which actor can be thanked for this moment of lo-fi charm. And they say journalism is dead!