Alan Fernandes Has Passed Away


Staff member
Aug 21, 2021
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We're saddened to hear of the passing of Alan Fernandes, known in the Star Wars community as the bantha riding Tusken Raider from A New Hope. Our hearts go out to his friends and family.

Jeffery Durazzo of Blue Milk Celebrity Management had this to say about his time with Alan:

Mr. Alan Fernandes, known for his portrayal of the Bantha riding Tusken Raider from Episode IV, A New Hope (1977), passed into the Force on November 16th from complications after emergency surgery. I have had the extreme pleasure of spending the last four years of his life as his friend, confidant, and

Alan was working as a large animal handler and trainer when Mr. George Lucas and his team approached Marine World to use their elephant, Mardji, for filming. During what became one of the most iconic films of all time, Alan was chosen to accompany Mardji. His job was to keep her safe and happy during the filming in Death Valley. Mardji, who was costumed as a Bantha, needed a rider, and of course, Alan was chosen. Covered in burlap, in 100 plus degree weather, Alan made his way into Star Wars lore as the Bantha Rider.

I was lucky enough to travel with Alan to many shows across the country, where Alan cherished his fans and friends more than you would ever know. He loved meeting all of his Star Wars family and during a convention in Oklahoma, while appearing with his friend, and fellow Star Wars actor, C. Andrew Nelson, was inducted into the 501st legion as a legacy actor. Alan cherished this honor and I remember the tears of joy this wonderful man expressed, when awarded this lifetime honor. Signing autographs and meeting his army of loyal and loving fans was always a great honor for Alan.

Hidden away from the public eye for over 40 years, Andrew was a huge influence in getting Alan out and appearing at conventions. Billed as "Vader and the Raider", Andrew’s influence, love, and guidance added years to Alans life, bringing one of Star Wars' lost heroes back into the public’s appreciative eyes. Alan instantly became your favorite uncle the second you met him. I sincerely appreciate Alan’s family for allowing me to be part of this announcement and his life. May the Lord’s ever-loving grace be with you on your next journey.

It is with a tearful and saddened heart that I present this announcement to our Star Wars and Rebel Scum family. Alan will be missed more than he will ever know. MTFBWY always.

If you have any memories of Alan or thoughts you'd like to pass along to his family, leave a comment below.

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Reactions: GNT
Very sad news RIP Alan he will forever live on in such an iconic scene. May you be reunited with Mardji I'm sure she'll be happy to see you!
Sad to hear about his passing. Are the other people in the pics just fans or also SW actors as well?
C. Andrew Nelson is the tall one wearing the jacket in the third row of pictures.

Last picture is Emily Swallow and Jeffery Durazzo.

I'm not sure who everyone else is, Jeffery supplied the pictures.