Hardware Wars is an eleven minute short film spoofing Star Wars. The film, in the form of a "coming attraction" trailer, features broad spoofs of Luke Skywalker (Fluke Starbucker), C-3PO (4-Q-2, who looks like the Tin Man), and R2-D2 (Artie Deco) amongst others. The Chewbacca equivalent is "Chewchilla the Wookie Monster," a brown googly-eyed hand puppet and Cookie Monster look-alike. The Wookie Monster mostly growls, pantomimes, rolls his googly eyes, and in one scene, hungrily gnaws on the coiled sticky buns adorning Princess Anne-Droid's hair.
The film was made by several San Francisco based artists who also worked on Sesame Street animated inserts.
Hardware Wars (1977) is a short film spoof of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The thirteen-minute film, which premiered in theatres only seven months after Star Wars, consisted of little more than inside jokes and visual puns that heavily depended upon audience familiarity with the original.
Hardware Wars was written and directed by San Francisco native Ernie Fosselius. It was structured as a mock-movie trailer, and Fosselius even secured a voice-over from Paul Frees, the same voice talent who had narrated the original Star Wars teaser trailer. Deliberately low-budget effects and props were used, most notably ordinary household appliances such as toasters and irons as spaceships (hence the title), and an exploding basketball in place of a planet. The characters, played by actors who were just as low-budget as the props, were also parodied in name and appearance; for example, Chewbacca the Wookiee was replaced by "Chewchilla the Wookiee Monster," an obvious Cookie Monster puppet with a brown dye-job, and Darth Vader's counterpart, "Darph Nader," wore a welding helmet that distorted his voice so much that no one could understand anything he said.
Hardware Wars won the award for Most Popular Short Film at the Chicago Film Festival. It is considered to be the most profitable short film of all time, grossing $500,000 as compared to its paltry $8,000 budget (a much better profit ratio than Star Wars itself had). George Lucas said in a 1999 interview that Hardware Wars was his favorite Star Wars parody.
To spoof the "Special Edition" re-release of Star Wars in 1997, which included additional scenes and more advanced digital special effects, Hardware Wars was re-released as a twenty-minute "Special Edition," with new digital "special defects."