On May 25, 1977, the world’s most successful film franchise was born. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (then just titled Star Wars) debuted in theatres, shattering box office records and likely establishing the blockbuster genre. George Lucas’ (and now Disney’s) galactic empire, has extended to include books, T.V. programs, computer games, slot games at an online casino, comics, action figures, LEGO, board games, and even a theme park, over 40 years later.
We wanted to pay homage to the classic films that have affected the lives of moviegoers and the industry as a whole. So, here are ten facts about the massive film franchise that you might not know.
During the Han Solo casting call, George Lucas was on the lookout for new faces he hadn’t worked with before, including a teenage Kurt Russell. He had initially brought in Harrison Ford to read lines to the auditioners. Still, he was so taken with Ford’s delivery that he offered him the position.
They made sure to add miniature versions of a Star Wars poster and a Playboy centerfold in the cockpit of the Rebel Blockade Runner as an inside joke among the modelers on the original movie. They’re difficult to see on film, but they exist.
When she was shooting scenes firing her shock blaster in The Last Jedi (2017), actress Laura Dern (Admiral Holdo) couldn’t help but say “pew pew.” You can see her mouth making the sound during the scene where she shoots at C’ai Threnalli if you look attentively. During the filming of the prequels, George Lucas had a similar problem with Ewan McGregor and the rest of the Jedi making compulsive buzzing sounds during a lightsaber fight.
Slipping into Scenes
When actor Peter Cushing tried on the leather boots of his Grand Moff Tarkin costume, he wasn’t impressed. Only after they were visible did the actor decide to wear them. In every other scene in the film, he wears a pair of plush carpet slippers hidden from view.
The Elephant Effect
The sound of a TIE Fighter engine was made by blending a recording of an elephant bellow and a car traveling over wet pavement, to create the sound effect. Doesn’t that make them sound a little less menacing now that you think about it?
Shooting at the Lucas Estate
R2-D2 navigating the underwater marsh near Yoda’s secret home is a fan favorite. Still, it wasn’t shot on a Hollywood sound stage. Instead, it was shot in George Lucas’ unfinished swimming pool, with the crew submerged or out of frame and Lucas himself filming the shots.
According to J.W. Rinzler’s book, The Making of Star Wars, George Lucas originally intended for Yoda to be played by a monkey. He’d hired a handler to bring in his Capuchin monkey, who was dressed as Yoda and wielded a cane. “The monkey is just going to pull off the mask over and over again,” it was later revealed. As a result, the character was swiftly transformed into a puppet, with Frank Oz providing the voice.
The Secret of all Secrets
Darth Vader’s fatherhood was kept a secret from practically everyone. The working script had Vader reveal that Obi-Wan killed Anakin Skywalker. George Lucas announced the true twist to Mark Hamill just seconds before filming his response. Still, the rest of the cast didn’t find out until they watched the movie in theatres.
Special effects weren’t nearly as easy to achieve in the 1970s as they are now. As a result, Lucas drew on real-world inspiration to create these hyper-realistic space fights. First, Lucas stitched together archival newsreels of WWII dogfights to inspire his effects team to portray the high-intensity of space battles. The group finally employed frame-by-frame layering in X-wings, TIE fighters, and even the Millennium Falcon.
Yoda was nearly Noda
It’s hard to imagine, but Yoda’s reappearance and death were not in the original Return of the Jedi script. The segments were only inserted because a child psychologist advised George Lucas that unless he showed someone confirming Darth Vader was Luke’s father, children would conclude he was lying, leaving the story unsolved.
These are a few of our favorite obscure Star Wars facts, but what are yours? Star Wars is a film franchise that is in a class by itself. May 4 Be With You is a joyful holiday dedicated to it. Some individuals prefer to watch Star Wars films in chronological sequence. In contrast, others prefer to see them in order of release. But it doesn’t matter as long as you’re watching them. Perhaps next time you watch the latest installment or an older edition, you can look out and try to discover some more Star Wars secrets.