In the documentary, “The Force Awakens” production designer Darren Gilford told the story of running into Ford at a store. Gilford said:
“I tap him on the shoulder, I said, ‘Mr. Ford, my name is Darren, I’m one of the production designers on Star Wars, I’m actually building the Millennium Falcon right now.’ And he goes, ‘The toggle switches.’ And I go, ‘Toggle switches?’ He goes, ‘When we built it the first time, none of the toggle switches had any springs in ’em.'”
My first thought was, okay, so they didn’t feel springy. How does that really affect anyone but the actor? The thing is, you could see it, according to Ford, who spoke in the doc about this right after Gilford. Ford said:
“They bought broken switches because they were much cheaper. So if you stood there long enough, the switch, which was in this position [points down], and you moved to this position [points up], would slowly come down behind you while you were standing there because there was no spring in it. No budget for springs. ‘Can you put the springs in the switches this time?’ He says, ‘Yeah boss, we got the budget for that.'”
With the juggernaut that “Star Wars” ended up being, it’s hard to imagine a time when they were opting to get switches without springs because they cost less. Still, no one knew when they were filming that “Star Wars” would change the cinematic landscape forever. Perhaps they would have sprung for working switches if they’d known. It makes you realize what a labor of love that first film was. Maybe it will inspire other young filmmakers to go out there and hit the discount shops for props. You never know what you’ll end up with.