In the more than 40 years since Star Wars first entered the pop culture scene, a dozen feature films (with much more on the way) and dozens of television series and novels have been released, comics, trading cards, video games and attractions in theme parks – not to mention hundreds of toys and licensed goods sold (oh, the goods!) and a terribly terrible vacation special. Millions (if not billions) of words have been written about the films, from reviews to fan theories and beyond.
In honor of Star Wars Day (May 4th), we'd like to add another story to the story. Here are some fascinating facts about the Star Wars universe, each of which will give a perfect answer the next time someone says, "May 4th is with you."
. The original Star Wars concept was inspired by Joseph Campbell.
Although George Lucas was equally inspired by fairy tale, western and 1930s science fiction series, he based the frame of the story on the original . Star Wars (1977) on the theories from Joseph Campbell's book The Hero with a Thousand Faces . The book followed common mythological motifs and argued that myths from around the world that have been passed down through generations – like Beowulf or King Arthur – have a basic structure. Campbell: “A hero ventures out of the everyday world into a region of supernatural miracles: fabulous forces meet there and a decisive victory is achieved. The hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bless others. “Lucas simply transferred these ideas to his story, with Luke as the main hero.
2. Akira Kurosawa was another important influencing factor on Star Wars .
Lucas struggled to tell this massive science fiction space opera on a personal and assignable level, and found the answer in director Akira Kurosawa's 1958 film The Hidden Fortress . When I told the story of a mischievous general who protected a beautiful princess from an evil clan behind enemy lines, "I was really intrigued by the fact that the story was told by the two lowest characters," Lucas said in an interview for The publication of the Kurosawa classic by Criterion Collection. "I decided that this would be a great way to tell the Star Wars story . Take the two lowest characters like Kurosawa and tell the story from their point of view. What are the two droids in the Star Wars case, and that was the strongest influence. The fact that a princess tried to get through enemy lines was more of a coincidence than anything else. "
Perhaps not by chance, the word Jedi is derived from the Japanese word Jidaigeki means" period drama "or the types of films that Japanese directors like Kurosawa would normally make (the type of Films that clearly influenced Lucas).
3. George Lucas & # 39; first draft of the A New Hope was more than 200 pages long.
1973 was enough for Lucas after the success of his film American a 13-page treatment of his story with the original title "The Star Wars" at Universal Studios and United Artists a graffiti (which was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Film and a nod for Lucas for Best Director ) in the same year, and both studios existed and said the distant science fiction extravaganza was too confusing.
Treatment was finally picked up from the 20th century by Fox boss Alan Ladd Jr., who gave Lucas a preliminary deal in 1974 to finally make the film. But the "final" script that Lucas submitted was over 200 pages long (the average length of a script is between 95 and 125 pages), so Lucas cut out the last two acts and presented the first act of the script as a finished story . The script was made into Star Wars and the last two acts of the first giant script were eventually expanded and worked out to become The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi .
4. Obi-Wan Kenobi was originally supposed to survive.
– Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) April 13, 2016
2016 the Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew passed away April 30, 2019 – has tweeted some fascinating details about the Star Wars films, including a shocking change: Obi-Wan Kenobi actually survived his lightsaber fight with Darth Vader in the original script.
5. Visual aids helped sell 20th Century Fox in Star Wars .
To get 20th Century Fox to approve the then massive $ 10 million budget (though the final budget was around $ 11 million). Lucas posed Star Wars with a series of 21 drawings that he commissioned the illustrator Ralph McQuarrie. This included scenes of the crash landing of C-3PO and R2-D2 on Tatooine, with Vader Luke (then with the last name "Starkiller") confronted with his lightsaber, the Mos Eisley Cantina, The Millennium Falcon at Docking Bay 94 and the attack on the Death Star Trench and a view of a floating city that would eventually become Bespin in The Empire Strikes Back .
6. Harrison Ford's casting as Han Solo was a coincidence.
Lucas shared the seven-month casting sessions for Star Wars with his friend and fellow director Brian De Palma, who did casting for . Carrie at the same time. Lucas searched for unknown faces with whom he had never worked before, and first hired Harrison Ford – who had acted as an antagonist of street racer Bob Falfa in Lucas & # 39; American Graffiti – for the acting actors Feed lines.
Lucas saw dozens of actors – including a young Kurt Russell – for the role of Han, but liked Ford's supply lines to the other actors so much that he gave in and played in the role.
7. Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt had to be innovative.
Legendary sound designer Ben Burtt started with Star Wars fresh from the USC film school. He was commissioned to develop a completely new and organic soundscape for the film that contradicted the trend towards intentionally producing electronic and "futuristic" sounds for science fiction films at that time.
The first sound effect he had was created using Chewbacca's voice, a mix of bear, lion, walrus and badger vocalizations. The R2-D2's “voice” was created using loops on a synthesizer that match beeps and boops modeled after Burtt's own baby coo. Darth Vader's infamous breathing was recorded by inserting a microphone into a regulator on a scuba tank. The Tusken Raider Yowl is a mixture of mule sounds and people who imitate mule sounds. The lightsaber whisper was created by mixing the hum of a 35mm film projector while idling and passing a slightly broken microphone cable past the tubes of an old television.
8. Orson Welles almost voiced Darth Vader.
George Lucas originally wanted Orson Welles as the voice of Darth Vader, but dropped the idea when he thought Welles' famous baritone was too recognizable.
9. The film's iconic opening crawl was created with practical effects.
The opening crawl for the original film (which is from the Flash Gordon series that also inspired the film) was practically accomplished by placing two carefully-stamped yellow letters over a six-foot-long black one Paper background with a camera slowly moving over it to mimic the creep. The shooting lasted a total of three hours.
10. Robert Englund encouraged Mark Hamill to audition for Star Wars .
According to Robert Englund, he auditioned for the role of Han Solo, but was advised that he was too young for the role (he would have been in his late 20s at the time). Which didn't stop him from proposing an audition for the film to his friend Mark Hamill. I said, 'Hey, Lucas is making this space film. Maybe you are right for it. The main character is like a teenager, ”recalled the future Freddy Krueger. "So Mark called his agent and I think he went up the next day. He did it and the rest is history. "
11 Mark Hamill received $ 1,000 a week to play Luke Skywalker.
He later got a quarter of one percent of the film's profit so he didn't mess around too much. The Empire Strikes Back earned him $ 1 million.
12. The original Millennium Falcon looked completely different.
The original concept model of the Millennium Falcon was long and cylindrical – very different from the flat design that we now know. The model builders complained that the design was too similar to the spaceship from the British television series Space: 1999 and Lucas asked them to create something completely different that looked like a flying hamburger and sailed like a sunfish .  A variation of the Falcon prototype ended up in the film. It is the rebel blockade runner who fled the imperial star destroyer in the opening scene.
13. George Lucas used real war material for the space battles of Star WArs .
Industrial Light and Magic is one of the world's premier special effects companies, but in the late 1970s, it was just a group of artists in an empty warehouse in Van Nuys, California. The company, which invented technologies such as special computer-controlled camera rigs to create the special effects for Star Wars was commissioned to do one year of work in just six months.
To give Lucas had ideas for the kind of high-intensity and cutting-edge sequences he wanted and used old newsreels to cut footage of World War II dogfights. Finally, ILM compared many of the sequences frame by frame – including the space battle in the Millennium Falcon between Han, Luke and the TIE fighters – directly with the footage provided by Lucas.
14. One of Stanley Kubrick's closest collaborators designed Chewbacca's costume.
In order to create the original costume for Chewbacca, Lucas hired the legendary make-up supervisor Stuart Freeborn, who was recruited for his work on the monkeys in the sequence "Dawn of Man" in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A space Odyssey . (Freeborn had also previously worked with Kubrick on Dr. Strangelove to effectively dress Peter Sellers in each of his three roles in this film.) Freeborn then oversaw the emergence of Yoda in The Empire Strike Back and Jabba the Hutt and the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi .
Lucas originally wanted Freeborn's Chewie costume to be a combination of a monkey, a dog, and a cat. According to Freeborn, the biggest problem during production was with Mayhew's eyes. The actor's body heat in the mask caused his face to separate from the costume's eyes and make them look separate from the mask.
15. The cinemas did not want to show Star Wars .
Less than 40 theaters agreed to book Star Wars after the release date was postponed to before Memorial Day (the studio thought this would be the case) bomb in a crowded summer slate film ). Around the same time, 20th Century Fox published a highly anticipated adaptation of a bestselling book entitled The Other Side of Midnight that theaters absolutely wanted to show. Fox then determined that any theater that shows The Other Side of Midnight must also show Star Wars which increases the number of screens for the film.
Needless to say, Star Wars eventually became the highest-revenue film ever made up to that point, while The Other Side of Midnight did not even hit the 25- Millions of dollars passed. And since it was actually illegal to require cinemas to show a film in exchange for another film, 20th Century Fox was fined $ 25,000 for forcing cinemas to The Other Side of Midnight.
16. George Lucas & # 39; Idea for The Star Wars Holiday Special was a "Wookiee Rosh Hashanah".
One of the most notorious entries in Star Wars & # 39; Filmography is The Star Wars Holiday Special a bizarre Christmas variety show that aired in 1978. When it was time to come up with ideas for the program, co-author Leonard Ripps told Mental Floss that his co-author "Pat [Proft] and I spent the whole day with Lucas. He took out a notepad and asked how many minutes were in a TV special. He wrote numbers from one to 90. It was very methodical. He had at least a dozen stories he had already written, so we only helped fill a world he knew everything about. His idea was basically for a Wookiee Rosh Hashanah. A furry earth day. "
17th George Lucas says he has been persuaded to do the vacation special.
"Fox said," You can promote the film by doing the TV special, "Lucas said in an interview with Empire ." So I was somehow persuaded to do the special "
18. Harrison Ford was a tough sell for the vacation special.
" Harrison Ford wasn't happy to be there at all, "cameraman Larry Heider told Mental Floss." Carrie Fisher, I think one Part of her business was that she was allowed to sing a song and that was her attraction. With Lucas involved and another film coming out in two years, there is pressure to keep going, so they came on time. Mostly. "
19. George Lucas initially financed The Empire Strikes Back himself.
Due to the overwhelming success of Star Wars and the studio that tried to subvert him almost at every turn, Lucas decided , this to raise the money to make The Empire Strikes Back out of his own pocket, something that was unknown in blockbuster filmmaking. The unprecedented move would give Lucas complete creative control, while still a large film studio would distribute the film for its theatrical release.
However, this maneuver was not without drawbacks. When the budget for The Empire Strikes Back rose from its original estimate to $ 10 million, the entertainment industry of Bank of America, which had taken out a loan to cover the cost of the film through Lucas, withdrew , although this was the case, was the (relatively) financially secure sequel to the then highest film ever made. Lucas then had to contact 20th Century Fox to help, which forced him to give up certain rights to the film. Lucas was so unhappy with Fox’s approach to the new deal that he brought a new project he was working on to the rival Paramount film studio. This new project was Raiders of the Lost Ark .
20. Irvin Kershner initially said no to the director The Empire Strikes Back .
Although Lucas decided to end directing The Empire Strikes Back he remained a very practical producer of the film throughout the production. He offered to direct one of his old USC professors, Irvin Kershner, even though he had never worked on such a large budget before.
Kershner initially declined the offer because he was considering what to try. ] Star Wars was doomed to fail. Lucas then met with Kershner to explain that The Empire Strikes Back would not try to outdo the first film, but would simply build on its mythology. Lucas' assurance – and the fact that Kershner's agent reminded him that the job would be very lucrative – convinced the professor to say yes.
21. George Lucas wanted Jim Henson as Yoda.
In an interview with Leonard Maltin, Lucas admitted that he wanted Muppet's maestro Jim Henson to play the role of Yoda. "I went to Jim [Henson] and said, 'Do you want to do this? & # 39; And he said, 'Well, I'm busy, I'm doing this and I'm doing it, I'm making a film and all that – I really can't, but … how about Frank [Oz]? You know, Frank is the other half of me. "And I said," Well, that would be fantastic. "
Henson also recommended creature designer Stuart Freeborn, who said:" I was the one who said all the elements of Yoda together, and although Jim didn't do Yoda, he and George understood that they would exchange technology information . George would give Jim and Jim would give some of his people to George to help. Wendy Froud helped a bit with the figure and two other people from Jim's company worked on the cables for me. "
22 Frank Oz remembers the Yoda story differently.
In a 2014 interview, Oz, the normally retired puppeteer and director, said: “George didn't want my voice in the beginning. I gave him a ribbon. He said, "No thanks." And in post-production for about a year, I heard that he was auditioning for Yoda. He had no intention of using me for the voice. Then about 25 or 30 years ago I was on my honeymoon with my first wife and he [called and] said: “Frank, can you come out? I think we want to try your voice. ”So I flew back and picked up Yoda. "
After the release of The Empire Strikes Back Lucas campaigned for Oz to receive an Oscar nomination for his performance, but was ultimately disqualified for the exam when it was decided that puppeteers not t actor.
23. Yoda's first name was Buffy.
In early drafts of the script, Yoda was actually called "Buffy", which in subsequent drafts was completely changed to the full name "Minch Yoda" and then abbreviated to "Yoda".
24. The emperor used to be a chimpanzee.
In the original version of the film, the scene in which Darth Vader talks to the emperor looked very different. Although many viewers automatically associate the character with actor Ian McDiarmid, the original emperor was an old woman with chimpanzee eyes and the voice of Clive Revill. (You can see both versions side by side here.)
25. In real life, Darth Vader's suit would earn him about $ 18.3 million.
English sunglasses retailer Shade Station has recently broken down the numbers on what it could cost to make Darth Vader's suit in real life. Your latest balance sheet? $ 18.3 million. We're not sure how much Sith Lords are paid, but it sounds like a lucrative profession.
26. Some of the asteroids you see are spray-painted potatoes.
Many of the pictures of the Imperial AT-ATs on Hoth (which were inspired by the extraterrestrial tripods in HG Wells & # 39; The War of the Worlds ) were all made on camera without blue screen composites. Very detailed snowy landscapes were drawn for the backgrounds, while stop motion animations were used for the hikers in the foreground. The snow in these shots is a mixture of flour and microballoon epoxy filler.
When they needed asteroids in the background through an asteroid belt while fleeing the Millennium Falcon, they simply sprayed potatoes and later filmed them in front of a blue screen to Composite. And this space worm that almost eats the falcon? It was just a hand puppet that was shot at high speed to achieve scaling.
27. The first meeting of the R2-d2 manufacturer Tony Dyson with Lucas was about hamburgers and planes.
When R2-D2 builder Tony Dyson (who passed away in March 2016) was asked to tell about his first meeting with George Lucas, he said what they were talking about was not R2-D2, but hamburgers and flies. In particular: “The fact that it is difficult to find a good US style burger in the UK and how much George doesn't like flying. At the next meeting we discussed R2-D2 and its manufacture. "
28 Alec Guinness did not want to be in Star WArs .
Sir Alec had an irritated story about his legacy when it came to Star Wars . He described the first film as "fairytale garbage" and wanted nothing to do with The Empire Strikes Back .
Lucas and the filmmakers finally convinced the actor to appear as a ghostly version of Obi. Wan with Yoda on Dagobah, but Guinness would only do it under very strict conditions: he would only work one day, but would start at 8:30 a.m. and be finished at 1:00 p.m. and would have to be paid a quarter percent of the gross total Films. This 4.5 hour work earned Guinness millions of dollars.
29. Han Solo's most memorable line was ad libbed.
In the fateful exchange between Princess Leia and Han Solo, before he is frozen in carbonite, Leia says: "I love you" and Solo quips: "I know." But the exchange was not written that way. Solo had only replied to the script: "I love you too," before he may never see his true love again. But both Kershner and Ford agreed that the line was completely wrong for a charming villain like Han Solo.
In a few final shots before lunch break, Kershner switched things around and forced Ford to think on his feet by spontaneously calling "action". Carrie Fisher delivered her "I love you" line, while Ford naturally replied "I know" and improvised, which is one of the most iconic moments of his character.
Another notable accomplishment for Han is that he doesn't count his predecessors – the only non-force user who wears a lightsaber when using Luke's sword to open the dead Tauntaun for warmth while the couple are on Hoth stranded.
30. Monty Python and The Rolling Stones made Han and Leia smile.
In 1999 Carrie Fisher wrote an essay for Newsweek about her Star Wars experience and told how she and Ford had drawn an all-nighter at a party with Eric Idle and The Rolling stones. "Eric had just come home from filming Life of Brian in Tunisia," Fisher wrote. "He brought that drink, which he said was giving the extras so they would work longer. I called it Tunisian table cleaner. I'm usually allergic to alcohol and Harrison doesn't really drink either. But there was a makeshift party that night. The Rolling Stones were there … We stayed up all night drinking the table cleaner and never going to sleep. When we got to the set the next morning, we weren't hungover – we were more than ready to work, like the extras in Tunisia. This morning we filmed our arrival in Cloud City, where we meet Billy Dee Williams. And it's one of the few times in the series that Harrison and I smile. To this day, Eric, as a dad, is proud of his influence on the trilogy. "
31 Darth Vader's big revelation was kept secret by almost everyone.
In early drafts of the screenplay, the writer Leigh Brackett actually let Luke's father appear as a ghost as a character separate from Vader, which was scrapped in subsequent drafts by Lucas and the screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan.
The only people who knew that Darth Vader was Luke's father before the scene was actually shot were Lucas, Kershner and producer Gary Kurtz. Mark Hamill was said just moments before the first shot. In order to keep the moment secret as long as possible, an incorrect page was inserted in all scripts. Vader's dialogue said that Obi-Wan had killed Luke's father. David Prowse, the actor in the Vader costume, even delivered the dialogue "Obi-Wan killed your father" during the shots, while Hamill played the scene with full knowledge of the real lines. The lines were added later when actor James Earl Jones recorded his dialogue for Vader.
32. Darth Vader could have been Chewbacca.
David Prowse, who eventually portrayed the costume version of Darth Vader, originally rejected the role of Chewbacca. When Prowse had the choice of portraying the two characters, he said: “I immediately rejected the role of Chewbacca. I know that people remember bad guys longer than heroes. At the time, I didn't know I was going to wear a mask, and throughout the production I thought Vader's voice would be mine. "
33. Dutch and German speakers may have had an inkling of Luke's ancestry.
Dutch and German speakers should have known from the beginning that Darth Vader was Luke's father, since the Dutch and German words for father are vader . and father .
34. The "big revelation" was perhaps not such a secret.
Much has been written about the length to which Lucas and his filmmaker colleagues made the revelation that (spoiler alert?) Darth Vader Luke Skywalker's father is wraps. In an interview with Sound & Vision in 2004, Hamill said that "it was a wonderfully difficult secret to keep because [Irvin] Kershner, the director, set me aside and said:" Now I know, and George knows, and now you will know, but if you tell someone, and that means Carrie or Harrison or anyone we will know who it is because we know who knows. & # 39; But the truth is that anyone who picked up on the film's amendment, which was released a month earlier than the film, would have known the storyline. (Good thing Twitter didn't exist.)
35. In 1978 David Prowse spilled the beans over Luke's connection to Vader.
Two years before the Empire novelization hit the shelves of bookstores, about 1,000 Star Wars fans gathered in Berkeley. California to shake hands with David Prowse, the man in Darth Vader's suit. Believe it or not, Prowse shared this critical point of action with the crowd. A 1978 newspaper clipping teased the genetic link and even quoted Prowse as saying, "Father can't kill son, son can't kill father."
36. The most memorable line from Star Wars is also the most misquoted.
When Darth Vader drops the paternal bomb on Luke, he says: "No, I'm your father." The line is one of the most frequently misquoted in cinema history and is usually repeated as "Luke, I'm your father". (Yes, even Chris Farley misunderstood it in Tommy Boy .)
37. Cliff Clavin is in The EMpire Strikes Back .
Two years before he started his more than ten-year run as a Boston postman / trivia expert Cliff Clavin on Cheers, and a full 15 years Before he started, Hamm in the Toy Story -Serie zu äußern, trat John Ratzenberger früh als Major Bren Derlin auf, der Teil der Rebel Force in The Empire Strikes Back war. Während er es liebte, Teil eines so großen Film-Franchise zu sein, erinnert er sich am meisten daran, wie „ich irgendwie einen Parkplatz neben Kermit the Frog bekommen habe. Es war Jim Hensons Raum mit diesem Kermit the Frog-Schild. Also machte ich ein Foto davon und schickte es meiner Mutter mit der Überschrift „Schau, Mama. Ich habe es gemacht. Ich habe einen Parkplatz neben Kermit the Frog. “
38. Es gab eine Kontroverse um den Vorspann.
Um das ikonische Star Wars -Logo mit dem Eröffnungscrawl beizubehalten, wollten Lucas und die Filmemacher am Ende des Films (der im Ende der 1970er und Anfang der 80er Jahre war eine ungewöhnliche Praxis), die die Writers and Directors Guilds veranlasste, den Film aufgrund von Kreditregeln aus den Kinos zu holen.
Auf Star Wars wurde der Name des Schriftstellers und Regisseurs Lucas genannt war zumindest zu Beginn des Films aufgrund der Titelkarte von Lucasfilm Ltd., aber auf Empire wurden der neue Regisseur und die Autoren in den Abspann verbannt. Die DGA und die WGA bestraften sowohl Lucas als auch Kershner mit einer Geldstrafe, und Lucas bezahlte sie vollständig. Der Versuch, den Film zu sabotieren, indem er ihn aus technischen Gründen aus den Kinos holte, führte dazu, dass Lucas seine Mitgliedschaft aus der DGA, der WGA und der Motion Picture Association (er muss noch zurückkehren) zurückzog.
39. Der Film markierte das Ende der Partnerschaft zwischen Gary Kurtz und George Lucas.
Obwohl es der Name von George Lucas ist, der am meisten für das Star Wars-Universum steht, produzierte Produzent Gary Kurtz den Titel für ] The Empire Strikes Back und diente auch als nicht im Abspann aufgeführter Regieassistent – war ein wesentlicher Beitrag zu den ersten beiden Filmen. Dennoch beendeten die beiden ihre Partnerschaft nach The Empire Strikes Back . "Ich konnte sehen, wohin die Dinge gingen", sagte Kurtz der Los Angeles Times im Jahr 2010 über seine Gründe, weit weg von Lucas 'Filmgalaxie zu treten. „Das Spielzeuggeschäft begann das Reich [Lucasfilm] anzutreiben. Es ist Schande. Sie machen dreimal so viel mit Spielzeug wie mit Filmen. Es ist natürlich, Entscheidungen zu treffen, die das Spielzeuggeschäft schützen, aber das ist nicht das Beste, um Qualitätsfilme zu machen. “
40. Mark Hamill war kein Fan von Lucas 'Bastelarbeiten nach der Veröffentlichung.
Während die Fans die vielen Änderungen, die Lucas im Laufe der Jahre an der ursprünglichen Trilogie vorgenommen hat, lange beklagt haben, war selbst Luke Skywalker selbst nicht verrückt nach einigen von ihnen . "Ich kann nicht sagen, dass ich mich um diesen Schrei gekümmert habe, den sie der Special Edition hinzugefügt haben (jetzt weg), als Luke sich [in The Empire Strikes Back ] opfert", sagte Mark Hamill zu Sound & Vision . „Kersh und ich haben darüber gesprochen, dass er loslässt, wenn er tatsächlich den Punkt erreicht, ob er sich ihnen anschließen muss oder nicht. Es ist, als würde er Selbstmord begehen, anstatt auf die Dunkle Seite zu gehen. Es ist also eine ruhige Sache. Schau, es ist [George’s]an dem er basteln kann, wie er es für richtig hält. Ich sage immer, es ist sein Zugset, wenn er neue Werbetafeln und neue Landschaftsgestaltung aufstellen will … Erinnern Sie sich an die alten: "Es ist gut, der König zu sein?" Ich denke, George ist "Es ist gut, der Kaiser zu sein!", Wenn er will mache sie zu musikalischen Komödien, das ist seine Wahl. “
41. Contrary to legend, Return Of The Jedi was the movie’s original title.
Lucas and co-screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan originally titled their movie Return of the Jedibut Fox thought the title was too bland, and forced the pair to change it to Revenge of the Jedi.
The alternate title lasted so far into production that official trailers and posters for the movie featured the “Revenge” title until Lucas realized that within the mythology he created Jedis do not seek revenge. So the title was changed back to Return of the Jedi just weeks before the movie opened on May 25, 1983. The “Revenge” theme would pop up again—in the third prequel, Revenge of the Sith.
42. Return Of The Jedi was called something else during filming on purpose.
By 1983, the fervor surrounding new Star Wars movie had reached an all-time high, with cast, crewmembers, and the public willing to leak any new information about the storyline they could. To combat this, the new movie was shot under the production title Blue Harvest to throw people off.
The thought was that if production notices proclaimed the new Star Wars movie was shooting nearby, there would be unwanted attention. But if a nondescript movie called Blue Harvest was shooting nearby, nobody would likely care. The fake title also helped the production team secure shooting locations without being price-gouged simply because it was a Star Wars movie. The filmmakers even came up with a fake tagline for their fake movie: “Horror Beyond Imagination."
43. Some big names were on the shortlist to direct Return Of The Jedi.
Steven Spielberg was Lucas’s first choice to direct the third installment of the series, but Spielberg was forced to bow out due to Lucas’s unceremonious exit from the Directors Guild, of which Spielberg was a prominent member.
Then-relative newcomers David Lynch and David Cronenberg were also tapped to potentially direct. Lynch was coming off the commercial success of his movie The Elephant Manbut turned Lucas down to direct the big-screen adaptation of Dune instead. Cronenberg was also coming off of a hit—the horror classic Scanners—but he turned Lucas down to write and direct Videodrome.
Lucas eventually settled on Welsh director Richard Marquand because he liked his pre v ious movie, the 1981 WWII spy thriller Eye of the Needle.
44. It took up to seven different puppeteers to be Jabba The Hutt.
The Jabba puppet was partly inspired by stout British actor Sydney Greenstreet, who had appeared in such movies as The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca. The massive puppet, created by Yoda designer Stuart Freeborn, was controlled by a handful of puppeteers. Three puppeteers were inside: one controlled the right arm and jaw, another handled the left hand and jaw, tongue, and head movements, and both of them moved the body; a third person was in the tail. Outside, there were one or two people on radio controllers for the eyes, someone under the stage to blow cigar smoke up a tube, and another working bellows for the lungs.
45. Han Solo was supposed to die.
Solo’s fate after being frozen in carbonite was intentionally left up in the air at the end of The Empire Strikes Back because Ford’s contract was only for two movies. Ford eventually returned for the third, but urged screenwriters Lucas and Kasdan to kill off Han Solo because there was nothing constructive to do with his character.
Kasdan agreed, and didn’t want Solo to survive the carbonite freeze in order to signal to the audience that anyone else in the movie could be next. Lucas ultimately vetoed the idea because he wanted an uplifting ending for the trilogy with all the main characters making it out alive.
46. The Battle of Endor was originally supposed to take place on the Wookiees' home planet of Kashyyvk.
Early drafts of the screenplay had the final battle between the Rebellion and the Empire take place around the Wookiee planet of Kashyyyk, with Chewie and his fellow walking carpets battling the Empire forces on the ground. The idea was eventually scrapped because Lucas wanted the thematic thrust of the scene—that a primitive society would rise up to help defeat a technologically advanced one—to ring true. Within the Star Wars universe, Wookiees are a technologically advanced species that can co-pilot ships like the Millennium Falcon after all, so the lesser-evolved similar species of Ewoks were created and the final battle was switched to Endor.
47. The speeder bike chase was filmed very, very, very slowly.
The mile-a-minute speeder bike chase on Endor between Luke, Leia, and a group of Scout Troopers was filmed in the Redwood State Park near Eureka, California that was about to be cut down for logging, giving the production near-free rein.
To make it seem like the bikes were racing at breakneck speeds, Steadicam operators walked a slow, step-by-step path through the forest and shot at three-fourths frame per second for hours. When sped up on film to the standard 24-frames-per second, it made it seem as if the P.O.V. shots were going 120 miles per hour.
48. An Ewok got his big break because of food poisoning.
Then-11-year-old Warwick Davis was initially cast as an Ewok extra after his grandmother heard about an open casting call on the radio in England for little people to appear in Return of the Jedi. When Kenny Baker, who played R2-D2 and was also originally cast as the main Ewok named Wicket, fell ill with food poisoning on the day he was supposed to begin shooting his Ewok scenes, the filmmakers had Davis play Wicket instead. Davis allegedly based his performance of the inquisitive little critter on his dog. (Baker assumed the smaller Ewok role of Paploo.)
49. The filmmakers wanted a movie star to be the unmasked Vader.
The one moment at the end of Return of the Jedi that fans had been waiting years for was seeing Darth Vader’s actual face. When the time came, audiences finally got that moment, and the face they saw was… Sebastian Shaw’s.
Shaw, who was primarily known as a British stage actor before making his Jedi cameo, wasn’t the first person the filmmakers had in mind. They initially wanted to make it a momentous occasion by casting a well-known movie star like Laurence Olivier or John Gielgud to be behind the mask, but later changed their minds. Instead of a recognizable star they thought it’d be better if Vader turned out to be a nondescript person, and eventually Shaw fit the role.
50. The saga could have ended very differently.
During an early story meeting, Lucas pitched an idea for the end of Return of the Jedi that would have irrevocably changed the entire Star Wars saga as we know it.
His idea started out very much like the end of Jedi now: Luke and Vader engage in a lightsaber battle with Vader ultimately sacrificing himself to save Luke by killing the Emperor, then Luke watches his father die after taking his mask off. But then, in the proposed ending, Lucas suggested that, "Luke takes his mask off. The mask is the very last thing—and then Luke puts it on and says, 'Now I am Vader.'"
The idea was scrapped because Lucas didn’t want the story to go that dark, and wanted a happy ending after all.
51. In 1983, a copy of Return Of The Jedi was stolen from a projectionist at gunpoint.
Hoping to sell a print of Return of the Jedi on the black market, a teenager stole a copy of the film from a projectionist in the parking lot of the Glenwood Theaters in Overland Park, Kansas in 1983. (He wasn’t the only one to have that idea; it became somewhat of an epidemic.) A sting operation was set up and he was eventually arrested; in December of 1983 he was given five years of probation and was ordered to perform 120 hours of community service.
52. The title of Episode I was kept top secret.
Lucas began writing the first prequel for a new Star Wars trilogy in November 1994, which was titled “The Beginning” all the way through production until Lucas revealed the new title as The Phantom Menace. To ensure the movie wasn’t pirated, the film was shipped to theaters under the title The Doll House.
53. Audiences got their first glimpse of The Phantom Menace by seeing Meet Joe Black.
Back in 1998, before every new trailer was just uploaded to YouTube, the first teaser for The Phantom Menace was attached to the movie Meet Joe Blackcausing attendance for the Brad Pitt romance to spike. Audiences allegedly went to see the trailer and walked out before the feature even started.
54. Qui-Gon Jinn's communicator is actually a ladies’ razor.
Talk about low-tech! The communicator that Liam Neeson’s character uses in The Phantom Menace is actually a razor. A Gillette Ladies Sensor Excel Razor, to be precise.
55. You won’t find any official clone trooper costumes out there.
Lucas leaned on CGI pretty heavily in the prequels, and it shows. There were no physical Clone Trooper costumes made for Attack of the Clones or the rest of the prequels because every single one is a digitally-rendered CGI creation.
56. Ewan Mcgregor has some strong opinions on the Star Wars experience.
When asked by Details about playing Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ewan McGregor was pretty outspoken: "The people I meet are the f*ckers who want me to sign Star Wars photos so they can sell them on the Internet or the people at premieres who are crushing children against barriers to get me to sign their f*cking picture of Obi-Wan Kenobi. They're not fans—they're parasitical lowlifes and f*cking wankers."
57. Benicio Del Toro was supposed to play Darth Maul.
The Oscar-winning actor dropped out after most of Darth Maul’s lines were cut. He did, however, appear in The Last Jedi.
58. A young Han Solo was supposed to show up in Revenge Of The Sith.
Though 2018's Solo: A Star Wars Story treated us to the adventures of young Han Solo, a pint-sized Solo could have showed up much earlier—in Revenge of the Sith.
Character designs of a 10-year-old Solo were made for a scene that was eventually cut from the third prequel involving the boy being raised by Chewbacca on Kashyyyk, and helping Yoda find the location of the evil General Grievous.
59. Revenge Of The Sith was the first non-PG-rated Star Wars movie.
The third prequel was rated PG-13 by the MPAA for “sci-fi violence and some intense images,” something Lucas attributes to the fiery finale when Anakin Skywalker finally transforms into Darth Vader.
“I would take a 9- or a 10-year-old to it—or an 11-[year-old],” Lucas told 60 Minutes“but I don't think I would take a five- or six-year-old to this. It's way too strong. I could pull it back a little bit, but I don't really want to."
In 2015, The Force Awakens was also labeled PG-13—as have all of the films since then (including the standalone films, Rogue One and Solo).
60. Natalie Portman claimed that Star Wars nearly ruined her career.
In an interview with New York Magazine about late director Mike Nichols, Natalie Portman stated that, “Star Wars had come out around the time of Seagull, and everyone thought I was a horrible actress. I was in the biggest-grossing movie of the decade, and no director wanted to work with me. Mike wrote a letter to Anthony Minghella and said, ‘Put her in Cold MountainI vouch for her.’ And then Anthony passed me on to Tom Tykwer, who passed me on to the Wachowskis. I worked with Milos Forman a few years later. He sai d, ‘Mike saved me. He wrote a letter so that I could get asylum in the U.S.’ He did that for 50 people, and it doesn’t make any one of us feel less special.”
61. Peter Mayhew's height helped him land the role of Chewbacca.
Mayhew was chosen to play everyone’s favorite Wookiee primarily because of his tremendous height: He was 7 feet 3 inches tall.
62. Han Solo’s death was a long time coming.
Though Han Solo’s death at the hands of his son was one of the saddest moments for fans in The Force Awakensit was a long time coming for Ford. “I’ve been arguing for Han Solo to die for about 30 years, not because I was tired of him or because he’s boring, but his sacrifice for the other characters would lend gravitas and emotional weight,” Ford told Entertainment Weekly. But Lucas, reportedly, "didn't think there was any future in dead Han toys."
63. Oscar Isaac wasn’t initially sold on the role of Poe Cameron.
“J.J. [Abrams] basically told me it was an intense, heroic, dramatic character and he hadn't seen me do that,” Oscar Isaac told GQ. “I didn't know if I could make it interesting. I didn't know why me and not anybody else.” He spent a few days mulling it over before signing on.
64. The Force Awakens is loaded with celebrity cameos you probably didn’t notice.
Bill Hader, Simon Pegg, and Daniel Craig are among the many stars you probably didn’t notice the first time around. Watch it again and try to spot them. Come on, it's Star Wars Day!
65. The next star WArs movie won't be coming until 2022.
Though Disney has been sending out Star Wars movies at a pretty rapid clip, it's likely going to be a while until we see a new one. The next Star Wars movie isn't expected to be released until 2022. But super fans don't need to worry: there will be plenty of alternative Star Wars programming coming, like a sesond season of The Mandalorian this fall. Plus a behind-the-scenes docuseries on the making of The Mandalorianarriving on Disney+ on May 4th.
:Additional Source: Blu-ray special features
Updated for 2020.