Hobby Musings: Catching up with Star Wars’ Andrea Wickman Miller – Many fans of the Star Wars franchise dream of being a character in one of the films. For Andrea Wickman Miller, that dream was a reality as she portrayed one of the Jawas in A New Hope. A fun experience was rekindled for not too long ago as she had the chance to return to the Star Wars community via fan conventions. Taking a Twitter handle of @hotjawa, she was kind enough to take some time out of her schedule to speak to me about her experiences with Star Wars and its fan community. The following interview was conducted via email.
KS: How did you become involved with the Star Wars film?
AWM: In 1977, I was living in Death Valley. I was 7 years old and a film crew came to our school. They needed eight kids to dress up as Jawas. Of course, we had no idea what a Jawa was! Basically, I just got incredibly lucky that I happened to be the right height to fit into the outfit.
KS: What are your memories from being in it?
AWM: It was really exciting, we were let out of school for two days. The first day, we were fitted for our outfits. The second day was filming. Our big scene was picking up R2-D2 and carrying him to the Sandcrawler. My biggest memory is the outfits. They were awkward and heavy. Very hard to walk in! Picking up R2-D2 was incredibly difficult as he was so heavy for eight kids. There are pictures of the kids standing around, while some of the film crew are working on R2-D2. I think they were trying to lighten him up for us. At one point, R2-D2s head falls off while we are carrying him. The film crew didn’t realize that was the reason we stopped walking, and kept shouting “keep going, keep going.” Finally they realized what had happened. By the end of the day, I was definitely ready to go home!
KS: Were you able to keep any memorabilia from your appearance in the movie?
AWM: No, unfortunately we didn’t. I would love to have that Jawa outfit. It would fit my son perfectly!
KS: Did you ever imagine that the film and its fandom would become as big as it is?
AWM: Never in a million years! I remember seeing the film as a child and being in awe of the movie. I instantly fell in love with all of the characters. In fact, I just couldn’t believe how lucky I was to have touched the lovable R2-D2! I can say in all honesty, I had no idea the level of the fandom until about two years ago.
KS: All this time later, how did you get involved in appearing at fan conventions?
AWM: There was an article written for the 40th anniversary that I was featured in. A short time after the article came out, I got a FB message asking if I would be interested in signing some things for a group of Star Wars autograph collectors. Fast forward, I became friends with two of the collectors that arranged the signing. One of them presented myself and another fellow Jawa, Tim Donaldson, with the opportunity to go to Birmingham, England to be guests at the convention.
KS: What was your reaction when you were first asked to do them?
AWM: I REALLY had a hard time wrapping my head around why people would want my autograph. At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it. I talked to my family about it. My husband and three kids are huge Star Wars fans, and their excitement for me made it very clear I should go!
KS: Could you have ever imagined being asked to sign autographs or pose for pictures because of the film?
AWM: No never! When the film came out in 1977, that year I dressed up as Princess Leia for Halloween. When I went trick-or-treating, one of the doors I knocked on, the adult asked me for my autograph! My response was “Oh sure, but I wasn’t really Princess Leia in the movie, I was just a Jawa…” This response was met by a smile and a laugh.
It was such a wonderful experience at the convention, meeting so many fans, signing autographs and taking pictures. I never even considered that people would want to take a picture with me too! My heart melted when a young girl, who was about eight, brought me a picture she had drawn of a Jawa with my name on it. She just loved Jawas and wanted to meet one.
KS: What items do fans typically ask you to sign?
AWM: I signed many beautiful posters that people have been collecting signatures on for over 40 years! I signed lots of Jawa photos, action figures, trading cards, and bobble heads.
KS: What is the strangest thing someone has asked you to sign?
AWM: Probably the strangest or maybe just most surprising was a cardboard cutout of a Jawa.
KS: There are so many different kinds of Star Wars memorabilia out there. Is there any type of Star Wars memorabilia you’d like to see your character/yourself depicted on whether it be a trading card or specific to your character action figure?
AWM: There is more than I ever imagined out there. Apparently, a lot of people love Jawas! I’ve just started collecting Jawa pins. I collect baseball caps and I would love to see a Jawa baseball cap. I haven’t been able to find one yet!
Editors note: While Andrea Wickman Miller has yet to be featured in a Star Wars trading card set from Topps, there is a lot of great content from A New Hope available. 2018 Black and White: A New Hope features iconic imagery from the movie with stunning black and white photography. Rusty Goffe represents the Jawas with an autograph in that set. 2017 Star Wars 40th Anniversary trading cards also celebrate A New Hope and feature Jawas in the base set and another Rusty Goffe autograph. One can assume it will only be a matter of time before Andrea Wickman Miller has her own signature on a Jawa card in an upcoming set.
Hobby Musings: Catching up with Star Wars’ Andrea Wickman Miller
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