A Forgotten Sci-Fi Show Sent Star Wars Scrambling To Redesign The Millennium Falcon

MOVIES

“Space: 1999,” for those who are too young to have grown up seeing reruns on network TV, took place in the eponymous year inside Moonbase Alpha, a scientific research facility on the dark side of the moon. In the show’s pilot, a massive nuclear explosion knocks the moon out of its orbit, causing it to rocket out into deep space. The moon also passes through a few wormholes, leaving it stranded somewhere in the universe. The denizens of Moonbase Alpha essentially ride the Moon like a massive starship, traveling around the galaxy looking for a new Earth to orbit. “Space: 1999” starred Martin Landau and Barbara Bain as the Moonbase’s commander and chief doctor, respectively. The series lasted only two seasons, spanning 48 episodes. It was canceled in November of 1977. 

The show’s co-creators, Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, were best known for their many TV shows and movies filmed in a process they called Supermarionation, which replaced human actors with marionette puppets. The most famous Anderson Supermarionation shows include “Fireball XL5,” “Stingray,” “Thunderbirds,” and “Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.” When it came to making models and fetishizing starships, few could do it better than Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. 

The Eagle Transporter was the most visible ship in “Space: 1999,” and, as seen in the photo above, proves to be a definite forebear to the ships in “Star Wars.” The Eagle is the Falcon by way of NASA. 

According to Star Wars Insider, the original Falcon, designed by Colin Cantwell, looked remarkably like the Eagle, with a similar up-front cockpit, elongated body shape, and eleven engines mounted on the back end. Industrial Light & Magic were given four weeks to redesign the ship. 

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