Time to learn them Star Wars’ fans!
1. Steven Spielberg made a bet with George Lucas for a percentage of the Star Wars films, which has earned him millions of dollars since.
2. Harrison Ford was paid $10,000 for his performance in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.
3. Peter Cushing, who played Grand Moff Tarkin, found his costume boots so uncomfortable that he wore slippers during many of his scenes, and insisted his feet just never be in the shots.
4. Though equally inspired by fairy tales, westerns, and 1930s sci-fi serials, George Lucas based the framework of the story for the original Star Wars (1977) around the theories of Joseph Campbell’s book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
5. The actor who played Obi-Wan Kenobi, Alec Guiness, thought of the Star Wars films as “fairy-tale rubbish”.
6. Denis Lawson, who played Wedge Antilles, is Ewan McGregor’s uncle.
7. Luke Skywalker was originally going to be named Luke Starkiller, and retained the name up until the film begin shooting. Luckily, the name was never mentioned, so it was changed to Skywalker with little effort.
8. The sound of the TIE Fighter engines is actually the sound of an elephant call mixed with the sounds of a car driving on wet pavement.
9. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace was labelled as “The Doll House” when it shipped to theaters.
10. While shooting the scene in the trash compactor, Mark Hamill held his breath for so long that he burst a blood vessel in the side of his face. They had to adjust framing while shooting the rest of the scene to avoid showing the blemish.
11. No physical clone trooper outfits were actually produced for the films. Every clone trooper seen in the Star Wars films was created with CGI.
12. The starship that became the Blockade Runner seen at the beginning of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope was the original design for the Millennium Falcon.
13. In 1973, Lucas submitted a 13-page treatment of his story, originally titled “The Star Wars,” to Universal Studios and United Artists following the success of his movie American Graffiti (which was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture and a Best Director nod for Lucas) the same year. Both studios passed, saying the far-flung sci-fi extravaganza was too confusing.
14. The Jawa language is based on a sped-up version of the Zulu language.
16. Samuel L. Jackson claims that the words “bad motherfucker” were engraved on the lightsaber he used in the Star Wars films.
17. Luke’s lightsaber in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi was originally going to be blue to match the lightsaber he lost in the previous film, but George Lucas was worried that it would confuse audiences, and thought a green lightsaber would look better, so he made the change.
18. To get 20th Century Fox to approve the then-massive budget of almost $10 million (though the final budget eventually came in at around $11 million), Lucas pitched Star Wars with a series of 21 drawings he commissioned from illustrator Ralph McQuarrie. These included scenes of C-3PO and R2-D2 crash-landing on Tatooine, Vader confronting Luke (then with the surname of “Starkiller”) with his lightsaber, the Mos Eisley cantina, The Millennium Falcon in Docking Bay 94, the attack on the Death Star trench, and a view of a floating city that would eventually become Bespin in The Empire Strikes Back.
19. The language Greedo speaks is a South American language called Quechua.
20. At one point, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi was going to be called “Revenge of the Jedi” and there were actually trailers and posters produced with the original title.
21. While filming Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, the codename for the project was Blue Harvest, which was supposed to be a horror film with the tagline “horror beyond imagination.”
22. Many of the buildings constructed to be used in shots of Tatooine are still standing in Tunisia. In fact, some of them are still used by locals.
23. While filming lightsaber fight scenes, Ewan McGregor kept getting carried away and making the sounds of the weapon himself, which had to be removed in post-production.
24. The word “ewok” is never said out loud in the Star Wars movies.
25. Tupac Shakur auditioned for the role of Mace Windu.
26. The bounty hunter Bossk’s clothing is a recycled spacesuit from Doctor Who.
27. Mark Hamill was in a bad car accident before filming started on Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, causing severe facial trauma. The scene in which Luke Skywalker is mauled by a Wampa was added to account for the scarring on his face.
28. During the evacuation of Cloud City, you can see an extra running with what appears to be an ice cream maker. The extra has since been given an elaborate backstory, and the supposed ice cream maker is meant to be a database of contacts within the Rebellion.
29. Yoda was originally going to played by a monkey carrying a cane and wearing a mask.
30. Yoda’s species has never been named.
31. The cow-like creature seen grazing in the fields behind Anakin and Padmé in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones can be seen again as an asteroid later in the film.
32. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones was labelled as “Cue Ball” when it shipped to theaters.
33. The waterfalls cascading around the capital city of Naboo was actually salt.
34. George Lucas’ daughter Katie Lucas appears as a Twi’lek dancer in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. Her sister, Amanda Lucas, appears as a background extra. Their brother, Jett Lucas, appears as a young Padawan in the Jedi archives.
35. The in-universe name for the genre of music heard during the cantina scene is “jizz.”
36. There’s an island nation called Niue that accepts collectible Star Wars coins.
37. The phrase “I have a bad feeling about this” is said in every film.
38. Lucasfilm has someone on staff whose job is just to maintain Star Wars canon.
39. A disco version of the Star Wars theme became a No. 1 hit in 1977, and held the spot for two weeks.
40. Less than 40 theaters agreed to book showings of Star Wars after its release date was moved up to before Memorial Day (the studio thought it would bomb in a crowded summer movie slate). Around the same time, 20th Century Fox was going to release an eagerly anticipated adaptation of a bestselling book called The Other Side of Midnight, which theaters were eager to show. Fox then stipulated that any theater showing The Other Side of Midnight must also show Star Wars, which inflated the number of screens for the movie. Needless to say, Star Wars eventually became the highest-grossing movie ever made up to that time, while The Other Side of Midnight didn’t even break the $25 million mark. And as requiring movie theaters to show one movie in exchange for another movie was actually illegal, 20th Century Fox ended up being fined $25,000—for forcing theaters to show The Other Side of Midnight.
41. In early drafts of the screenplay Yoda was actually named “Buffy,” which was completely changed in subsequent drafts to the full name “Minch Yoda,” and then shortened to just Yoda.
42. Due to the overwhelming success of Star Wars, and the studio trying to undermine him at nearly every turn, Lucas decided to put up the money to make The Empire Strikes Back out of his own pocket, which was unheard of in blockbuster filmmaking. The unprecedented move would give Lucas complete creative control, while still having a major movie studio distribute the movie for its theatrical release.
43. Many of the shots of the Imperial AT-ATs on Hoth (which were inspired by the alien Tripods in H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds) were all done in-camera without bluescreen composites. Highly detailed snowy landscapes were drawn for the backgrounds, while stop-motion animation was used for the walkers in the foreground. The snow in these shots is a mixture of flour and micro-balloon epoxy filler.
44. According to the book The Making of Star Wars by J.W. Rinzler, George Lucas originally planned for Yoda to be played by an adorable monkey wearing a mask and carrying a cane.
45. In a story development session for Return of the Jedi, George Lucas toyed with the idea that after Luke removes dying Vader’s helmet, he puts it on, proclaims “Now I am Vader” and turns to the dark side.