Doikk Na’ts, Trinto Duaba, Ohwun De Maal (A New Hope)
Interview: December 2020
Are they the Star Wars version of Led Zeppelin or The Rolling Stones? The Modal Nodes have been popular with Star Wars fans since May 25 1977. One of the members of this Cantina band was played by Kim Falkinburg, who donned several other costumes of Cantina visitors. For this website she shared her quite remarkable story from 44 years ago!
How did you get involved with Star Wars?
I got involved with Star Wars through my dad, Jim Nelson. He was an uncredited associate producer. The office needed someone to run things. It was the very beginning of the special effects department and obviously as time went on there were several other people hired to work besides me.
If I’m correct you were only 19 or 20 when A New Hope was filmed, making you one of the youngest cast members. What do you remember from your time on the set?
Yes, I was only 19 when I first started. And yes, I was one of the youngest both on set and in the office. The set for the second unit of the cantina scene only took a couple of days to shoot, and I was only on set for one day. It was a lot of fun in both capacities.
Can you tell any remarkable, unique, strange or funny things that happened?
There were so many fun highlights during that time. One of the characters I played was called Duros. In order to shoot it, myself and another person had to be fed oxygen through a tiny tube when I had the costumes on. A production assistant would remove the tube when they called “action” and then reinserted it when filming stopped so we could breathe. There were only two of us that volunteered for that costume, probably because we were young and crazy!
You played several aliens in the famous Cantina scene. Did you get to pick the characters yourself?
I played several characters during that shoot. They randomly picked people depending on our size and who volunteered since the costumes were quite small. I not only was I a Duros, but I also played a member of the band, Doikk Na’ts, and Trinto Duaba, a character that looked kind of skeletal with a shroud. I was also the only person who volunteered to be that character because my real eyes were showing and so they had to put dark eye make up around my eyes so you couldn’t see my skin.
Several of your characters have been popular with the fans and even got their own action figures. Have you kept up with this and do you have those figures?
I have only one action figure that a fan gave me and it actually wasn’t a character that I played but I was named that actor in the credits. The name is Djas Puhr. I also have an unofficial figure of me as the band member in the cantina scene.
When Star Wars was released it became the biggest movie of all time. What did you tell your friends and classmates and how did they react to the fact you were in it?
When the movie first came out nobody thought it was going to do as well as it did. So in the very beginning it wasn’t a thing to tell people. As it became such a big movie I started telling more of my friends what I did. It actually wasn’t until years and years later that people became so excited to hear my stories. Even to this date I tell people about my journey and the excitement is so crazy!
What was your reaction when you saw the finished movie for the first time?
Believe it or not…I actually only saw the finished film at a cast and crew screening. I never saw it in the theater nor have I seen any other episodes. It’s never been a genre that interests me.
Have you never been curious about how the original trilogy ended? Or seeing yourself as several aliens on screen?
Not really… I never even followed the story or plot of A New Hope…crazy, huh?
Your father helped George Lucas to launch ILM and worked on Star Wars, but had his name removed from the credits. What is the story behind this?
My father was extremely instrumental in launching ILM. He and George and Gary Kurtz had a falling out regarding his promised profits not being honored which is why he requested to have his name removed from the credits. Unfortunately, that is all I can comment on the subject.
You have attended conventions, signing photos and other memorabilia. What is your general feeling to signing things and meeting fans?
I have signed a lot of photos and memorabilia! It really started in 2015. Prior to that I was never approached to sign anything or go to a convention. My first signing was a private one that I was paid for. It took three hours and a massive hand cramp to complete. After that I did another private signing that I was paid for and again a massive hand cramp. I’m not sure how it started but I started receiving things in the mail from individual people all over the world. Most people asked if they could send me a trading card or an 8×10 photo to sign along with whatever I wanted to charge. I let these people know that I would not take any money but would just like them to send a self-addressed stamped envelope, especially the overseas ones. With every request the person would send a very kind note along letting me know how much it meant to them. I’ve saved every note and will always treasure them. In 2017 I was asked to go to a convention in England and in 2018 I went to Germany. Those were the first and only times that I had ever been “across the pond”. It was so very exciting and I met some of the people I had signed from privately while in both countries and have maintained friendships with several of them. In 2019 I signed at a local convention. Each convention I was paid handsomely and all expenses paid including airfare, food, and beautiful hotel accommodations. Not a bad deal! Unfortunately with COVID-19 these conventions have been put on pause, but hopefully they will continue one day. Being treated like a queen and having met such nice people everywhere is a great perk!
How do you look back at Star Wars and in which way is it a part of your life today?
Star Wars has become an integral part of my life and I hope it remains that way for years to come.