Star Wars is by far the most cherished and examined movie franchise in the world. There are very few kept secrets, everyone seems to know everything about these films. So join us as we countdown a collection of 20 facts about the original Star Wars trilogy that will blow your mind.
20. Yoda has a first name: George Lucas did indeed create Yoda with a first name in an early version of the script. His original name was Minch Yoda but was shortened to just Yoda in the final version of the film.
19. The Empire Strikes Back was initially funded by George Lucas himself: With the studio undermining him at almost every turn and with the overwhelming success of Star Wars, George Lucas took the risk of funding The Empire Strikes Back. While this gave him full control over the movie, it came with major drawbacks when the budget increased by more than $10 million.
18. George Lucas resigned from Director’s Guild over film credit: The iconic yellow text opening sequence of the Star Wars films cost George Lucas a hefty fine and forced him to resign from the Director’s Guild because they wanted him to use conventional opening credits.
17. Han Solo almost died at the end of Return of the Jedi: In an early reveal of the story outline of the Return of the Jedi, Gary Kurtz hinted that the Rebel forces would be left in tatters while Han Solo would die. But that changed upon realization that killing off main characters would hurt the franchise hence an ending with a big Ewok party.
16. Title changes: The original title of Episode VI: Return of the Jedi was Blue Harvest and it served to prevent fans of the film from getting on-set. The title was later used on Family Guy. In the Blu-ray commentary on Episode II: Attack of the Clones it was revealed that early versions of the script had the mock title of: Jar Jar’s Big Adventure.
15. Yoda’s species still remains a mystery: To date, no film of the Star Wars franchise has named or hinted at Yoda’s species.
14. Hoth is in Norway: The hot sandy setting of Tatooine is juxtaposed nicely in The Empire Strikes Back with the ice planet of Hoth. This wintery planet was brought to life on location in Hardangerjokelen glacier near Finse, Norway.
13. Alec Guinness wanted nothing to do with Star Wars: Following the release of the first movie, Alec Guinness had negative comments about the film describing it as ‘fairy tale rubbish.’ The filmmakers eventually managed to convince him to appear in the following films as a ghostly version of Obi-Wan. He accepted under the condition that he would work from 8.30am-1pm for one day and he would be paid a percentage of the movie’s total gross income. To date the late Alec Guinness has earned £56million from the Star Wars franchise.
12. Yoda was almost played by a monkey: In his book The Making of Star Wars, J.W. Rinzler reveals that George Lucas considered using a monkey carrying a cane, dressed in a mask for the role of Yoda.
11. Darth Vader is banned from all Star Wars conventions: The actor who portrayed Darth Vader in form, David Prowse, is banned from all Star Wars events because the creator of the franchise, George Lucas, finds him annoying.
10. Most of the cast were unaware of Vader’s secret: Very few people knew that Darth Vader was indeed Luke Skywalker’s father during the filming of the first movie. For that famous scene, James Earl Jones recorded “I killed your father” and understandably, most of the cast thought that was the big surprise. What surprised everyone was the phrase “I am your father” which was filmed in secret.
9. David Lynch passed on directing Return of the Jedi: When asked to direct Return of the Jedi by George Lucas, the acclaimed film director decided to pass after an over the top lunch filled with bizarre sci-fi creatures turned him off the idea.
8. Did you know? The iconic sound of a Tie Fighter is an elephant call mixed with a car driving on wet pavement.
7. The battle of Endor was originally meant to take place on the planet of Kashyyyk: This changed because George Lucas wanted the thematic thrust of the scene to ring true – get it? Endor. The end. Oh Lucas, you’re so clever.
6. Many theaters hesitated to show the movie: After moving the release date of A New Hope before Memorial Day, many theaters didn’t want to show it since The Other Side of Midnight was being released around the same time. Fox however imposed a notice stating that any theater showing The Other Side of Midnight had to show Star Wars.
5. Orson Welles was almost cast as Darth Vader: He was dropped when George Lucas realized that Orson Welles’ baritone voice may be too recognizable by viewers.
4. Did you know? ‘I have a bad feeling about this’ is uttered in all six Star Wars films.
3. Ewok was never uttered in the original trilogy: While Ewok is a species recognized in both the closing credits and scripts, it was never uttered by a single character in the original trilogy.
2. Return of the Jedi was almost given a different ending: George Lucas thought about Luke turning to the dark side after removing dying Vader’s helmet and proclaiming; “Now I am Vader!” Of course, things turned out differently.
1. Did you know? The bounty hunter Bossk’s outfit was originally used as a spacesuit on the set of Doctor Who.
So there you go, a whole countdown dedicated to facts about the original Star Wars trilogy. What do you think, did this top 20 list miss anything? Are there other amazing facts about Star Wars that you’re dying to tell us? If so let us know on Twitter and Facebook.