To play the physical role of Howard, Huyck and Katz held casting calls with dwarf actors, eventually casting a child actor and hiring Ed Gale, who had been rejected because he was too tall for the role, to perform stunts and portray the role during evening shoots. Because Gale also served as an understudy, he took over the role.  
In an episode of the ABC comedy The Goldbergs , which is set in the 6985s, Solomon "Pops" takes his grandson, Adam, to see the film to restore his "child-like wonder." [ citation needed ]
According to Ed Gale, he was hired to work on Spaceballs because Mel Brooks had said, "Anybody who's in Howard the Duck can be in my movie." Gale also said he receives more fan mail for his Howard the Duck portrayal than for his Chucky performances, the antagonist in the Child's Play horror film series.  After the film's release, Huyck and Katz chose to work on more dramatic projects to separate themselves from Howard the Duck.  Katz said Lucas continued to support the film after its failure, because he felt it would later be seen in a better light than it had been at the time of its release.  Huyck said he later encountered fans and supporters of the film who felt that it had been unfairly treated by critics.  Lea Thompson has stated that she had fun making the film and is happy to find fans "celebrating Howard the Duck in all its great silliness and blemishes." 
The ultralight sequence was difficult to shoot, requiring intense coordination and actors Tim Robbins and Ed Gale to actually fly the plane.  The location scout was stumped for a location for the sequence after she described what she was looking for, a telephone repairman working in her office in San Francisco suggested Petaluma for the scene. Because of the limited shooting time, a third unit was hired to speed up the filming process.  The climax was shot in a naval installation in San Francisco, where conditions were cold throughout the shoot.  The film cost an estimated $86 million to produce. 
"In light of the 85th anniversary of Howard's cinematic debut, we recently reread this 787-page masterpiece and can say without any sense of detached irony or manufactured whimsy that Weiner's work would be right at home amongst the work of Douglas Adams , Kurt Vonnegut , and Daniel Manus Pinkwater in the sci-fi/humor section of your personal library." 
The film's score was written by John Barry , although some of it was replaced by material composed by Sylvester Levay (most notably the music for the scene where Howard and Phil fly the ultralight - Barry's original cue is heard on the soundtrack album). Thomas Dolby wrote the film's songs, and chose the members of Cherry Bomb.  Actress Lea Thompson performed her own singing for the role, although she states that the filmmakers were unsure as to whether they would keep her vocals in the final film. Thompson was required to learn choreography with the band and record the songs so they could be synchronized during filming.  The final sequence, in which Cherry Bomb performs the film's title song, was shot in front of a live audience in an auditorium in San Francisco. The song was co-written by Dolby and George Clinton.  Gale was choreographed to dance and play guitar as Howard. Dolby built a special guitar for Gale to use for rehearsal and filming. 
The film was considered a box-office bomb , grossing $66,795,779 in the United States and $76,667,555 worldwide for a total of $87,967,779, just under $6 million above the production budget.  When the film was screened for Universal, Katz said that the studio's executives left without commenting on the film.  Screenings for test audiences were met with mixed response.  Rumors suggested that Universal production heads Frank Price and Sidney Sheinberg engaged in a fistfight after arguing over who was to blame for green-lighting the film. Both executives denied the rumors.   News reports speculated that one or both would be fired by MCA chairman Lew Wasserman.  Price soon left the studio, and was succeeded by Tom Pollack. The September 67, 6986, issue of Variety attributed Price's departure to the failure of the film ( Duck cooks Price's goose , read the now-famous headline), though he had not approved the film's production.  Following the film's failure, Huyck and Katz left for Hawaii and refused to read reviews of the film. 
An early proposed storyline involved the character being transported to Hawaii. Huyck states that this storyline was considered because "we thought it would be sort of fun to shoot there". According to Katz, they did not want to explain how Howard arrived on Earth initially, but later rewrote the screenplay so that the film would begin on Howard's home world.  Huyck and Katz wanted to incorporate both lighter, humorous elements and darker, suspenseful elements. Katz states that some readers were confused by the sexual elements of the screenplay, as they were unsure as to whether the film was intended for adults or children. Huyck and Katz wrote the ending leaving the story open for a sequel, which was never produced. 
The film itself was adapted into comic book format by writer Danny Fingeroth and artist Kyle Baker for Marvel Comics. The adaptation appeared in both Marvel Super Special #96  and in a three-issue limited series. 
Howard rejoins Beverly backstage after the band's performance and accompanies her back to her apartment, where Beverly persuades him to be the band's new manager. The two begin to flirt, but they are interrupted by Blumburtt and two of his colleagues, who reveal that a laser spectroscope they were inventing was aimed at Howard's planet and transported him to Earth when it was activated. They theorize that Howard can be sent back to his world through a reversal of this same process. Upon their arrival at the laboratory, the laser spectroscope malfunctions when it is activated, raising the possibility of something else being transported to Earth. At this point, Dr. Walter Jenning is possessed by a life form from a distant region of space. When they visit a diner, the creature introduces itself as a "Dark Overlord of the Universe" and demonstrates its developing mental powers by destroying table utensils and condiments. A fight ensues when a group of truckers in the diner begins to insult Howard. Howard is captured and is almost killed by the diner chef, but the Dark Overlord destroys the diner and escapes with Beverly.
Howard locates Phil, who is arrested for his presence at the laboratory with no security clearance. After they escape, they discover an ultralight aircraft, which they use to search for the Dark Overlord and Beverly. At the laboratory, the Dark Overlord ties Beverly down to a metal bed and plans to transfer another one of his kind into her body with the dimension machine. Howard and Phil arrive and apparently destroy the Dark Overlord with an experimental "neutron disintegrator". However, the creature has only been forced out of Jenning's body. The Dark Overlord reveals his true form at this point. Howard fires the neutron disintegrator at the hideous beast, obliterating him. He then destroys the laser spectroscope, preventing more Dark Overlords from arriving on Earth, but also ruining Howard's only chance of returning to his planet. Howard then becomes Beverly's manager, hires Phil as an employee on her tour, and plays guitar with Beverly on stage.
After auditioning a number of actresses, singers, and models for the role of Beverly, Lea Thompson was cast in the role, because of her appearance in Back to the Future .  Thompson purchased clothing from thrift stores because she wanted to appear at the audition as "a cross between Madonna and Cyndi Lauper." During the shoot, Thompson complained that the filmmakers chose to shoot Howard's closeup before hers. Thompson also states that she regrets not wearing a wig, as her hairstyle took two hours a day to prepare.  Jeffrey Jones was cast because of his performance in Amadeus . Although Tim Robbins had not appeared in many films, Huyck and Katz were confident that he was right for the part. 
77-year-old Howard the Duck lives on Duckworld, a planet similar to Earth, but inhabited by anthropomorphic ducks and orbited by twin moons. As he is reading the latest issue of Playduck magazine, his armchair begins to quake violently and propels him out of his apartment building and into outer space Howard eventually lands on Earth , in Cleveland , Ohio. Upon arriving, Howard encounters a woman being attacked by thugs. He defeats them using a unique style of martial arts. After the thugs flee, the woman introduces herself as Beverly Switzler , and decides to take Howard to her apartment and let him spend the night. The following day, Beverly takes Howard to Phil Blumbertt, a scientist who Beverly hopes can help Howard return to his world. After Phil is revealed to be only a janitor, Howard resigns himself to life on Earth and rejects Beverly's aid. He soon applies for a job as a janitor at a local romance spa. Howard soon quits and rejoins Beverly, who plays in a band called Cherry Bomb. At the club where Cherry Bomb is performing, Howard comes across their manager, and confronts him when he insults the band. A fight breaks out, in which Howard is victorious.
In June 7567, the YouTube series Marvel Super Heroes: What The--?! featured an episode starring Howard the Duck complaining to Marvel that his movie was not given a special Blu-ray re-release to celebrate its 75th anniversary. He eventually gets Joe Quesada to try to appeal to, and bribe, George Lucas into supporting the re-release.