The Many Connections Between Superman and Star Wars

With the latest “Star Wars” movie, “The Rise of Skywalker” in theaters at the moment, we look back at Superman’s connection with Star Wars over the years.

A 2018 “Icons & Legends of Hollywood” auction sold an interesting item that was used in both the original “Star Wars” movie and “Superman: The Movie”.

With both movies filming at Pinewood Studios in London in the late 1970s, many of the same production crew were used on both films. But did you know that a particular prop was used by both Lex Luthor and Obi-Wan Kenobi?

The item in question is a trunk or chest in which Obi-Wan Kenobi stored the Lightsaber he would give to Luke Skywalker. The same chest was used by Lex Luthor to hide the Kryptonite which he’d retrieved from Addis Ababa, and which he would hang around Superman’s neck.

In 2017 The Hollywood Reporter delved into their archives and uncovered an interview in which Darth Vader spoke about his time helping Superman get into shape.

The “Darth Vader” in question was of course actor David Prowse, who was the man inside the Darth Vader costume in the original “Star Wars” films (James Earl Jones provided the voice). The “Superman” he trained was none other than Christopher Reeve, who director Richard Donner described as a “skinny little kid” when he cast him in the role for “Superman: The Movie” in 1977.

As a bodybuilder and weight-training instructor, Prowse received a call from Donner asking him to train Reeve over a six week period to help him bulk up for the role of the Man of Steel.

“He was fantastic. He was a very lovely person,” Prowse said of Reeve. “We were like brothers, we got along so well together. And during the course of the period I had him, I took him from 170 pounds when we started and he was 212 [pounds] when he went into the suit.”

In an interview done while he was training, Reeve said he ate four meals while on a high protein diet and he took vitamins.

“The thing is, on this part particularly, you have to start from the outside and work in,” Reeve said then. “You can do all the interior work you want to do, and it still isn’t going to get you to Superman if you don’t have the physical strength to go with it.”

While she will forever be remembered as Princess Leia from the “Star Wars” films, Carrie Fisher (who passed away on December 27, 2016) was also part of the Superman family, having starred in an episode of “Smallville”.

Carrie Fisher appeared in “Thirst”, the fifth episode of Season 5, playing the role of Pauline Kahn, the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Planet.

In this episode, after initially giving her a hard time, Kahn gives Chloe Sullivan (played by Allison Mack) a job at the Daily Planet newspaper.

We can’t forget that composter John Williams created both iconic musical themes for Star Wars and Superman in 1977 and 1978 respectively.

Zack Snyder posted the following mash-up trailer on his Vero account back in 2016, bringing the world of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” together with that of the Star Wars universe. “Dark Side Knight v Super Jedi”.

This was one of a number of Superman/Star Wars mash-ups Snyder posted around the same time.

Earlier this year Superman fan APRICE PRODUCTION released an extended edition of their fan film showing Superman engaging in the battle with the Death Star.

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December 20, 2019 10:33 am

I feel very lucky to have been a little kid in the late 70’s and early 80’s because the first 2 movies that I have clear memories of seeing are Star Wars and Superman in theaters. This was also a time when you had The Hulk and Spider-Man on tv and my grandpa would go down the store at the end of our street and pick me a comicbook off the spinner rack next to the counter. He didn’t have any particular plan about it he just thought it might be something a little boy might like. Funny thing was… Read more »

December 20, 2019 2:36 pm

thank you for posting this Steve illustrating two of my favorite franchises that’s foundations of my geekdom. But there’s is one thing you forgot I do not remember his name but head SFX of STM was also done the SFX on the 1st
star wars.

December 20, 2019 3:04 pm
Reply to  smallvilletna

Are you thinking of John Dykstra? He also worked on the original Battlestar Galactica.

December 23, 2019 12:28 pm

Here’s another connection: Mark Hamill and Christopher Reeve shared the same birthday (September 25), albeit a year apart.