I am an avowed, proud Star Wars geek. Yes, I was one of those who stood in line on opening night, gasped in shock at “I am your father!”, and was blindsided by the Luke and Leia sibling reveal. I have read most of the fan fiction novels, and while I didn’t love the newer Star Wars movies, I didn’t hate them either. I also confess to being super duper stoked that the awesome JJ Abrams has taken on the remakes. I’ll be standing in line when it is released, I am sure.
In light of my passion, I thought a fun post on Star Wars trivia was in order. Enjoy! And may the force be with you… always…
Trivia from the original Star Wars: A New Hope ~~
George Lucas has acknowledged taking inspiration from Frank Herbert’s Dune novel. C-3PO mentions the spice mines of Kessel; spice mining was a central theme in Dune. Many other key elements of Dune show up in Star Wars as well; sandworms, desert planet with dew collectors, and Sandcrawlers.
In concept artist Ralph McQuarrie’s original concept art, everyone in the Star Wars universe carried lightsabers, even Stormtroopers and Han Solo. It was only later that George Lucas reserved the weapon for the Jedi.
Luke’s line “I can’t see a thing in this helmet” was not scripted. Mark Hamill said this to Harrison Ford when he thought the cameras had stopped rolling. But, the filmmakers decided to leave the line in.
The scene in which Luke and Leia swing across a shaft in the Death Star was filmed in one take. The stunt itself was performed by Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher.
When Star Wars was first written, the studio thought that it would be so unpopular that it was planned to be cut up into 20 minute shows and shown on Saturday mornings as a children’s program.
On its initial release, the film was booked in just 37 theaters. It ended up breaking 36 house records.
When George Lucas was mixing the American Graffiti soundtrack, he numbered the reels of film starting with an R and numbered the dialog starting with a D. Sound designer Walter Murch asked George for Reel 2, Dialog 2 by saying “R2D2”. George liked the way that sounded so much he integrated that into Star Wars.
C3PO was named after a post office which is located at reference C3 on a map of Lucas’ hometown.
George Lucas originally planned the character of Han Solo to be a huge green-skinned monster with no nose and gills. Nick Nolte was considered for the role of Han Solo. Harrison Ford wasn’t an original candidate to play Han Solo. He was originally brought in simply to feed lines to the other auditioners. After watching Ford, George Lucas realized he was the perfect Han.
“Vader” is Dutch for “father.”
Denis Lawson, who plays Wedge Antilles, is the uncle of Ewan McGregor, who plays Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequels.
James Earl Jones’ name did not originally appear in the ending credits. At the time of the film’s release, Jones felt he hadn’t done enough for the film to deserve a credit. His name was added for the film’s re-release.
All the dialogue when Han is on the console talking to some of the commanders was all ad libbed. Harrison Ford deliberately didn’t learn the lines, so that it would sound more spontaneous.
Billy Dee Williams, who later played Lando Calrissian in “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” auditioned for the role of Han Solo.
The name of the planet Tatooine came from the town of Tataouine in Tunisia where the movie was filmed.
During the trash compactor scene, Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) held his breath so long that he broke a blood vessel in his face. That’s why many of the shots show only one side of his face.
While filming the desert scenes, Anthony Daniels’ C-3PO costume kept falling apart, especially the legs. In many of the close-ups, Daniels was in costume only from the waist up. Notice as Luke and Obi-Wan pick up the damaged droid following the Sand people attack – the film cuts to the next scene with an upward vertical wipe, to avoid having to show his legs.
Luke Skywalker’s name was originally going to be Dirk Starkiller.
According to the documentary “Empire of Dreams,” as well as interviews on the “Revenge of the Sith” DVD, George Lucas originally wrote the “Star Wars” trilogy as one long serial titled The Tragedy of Darth Vader, which ran about 200 pages. He then broke it into three separate stories, and focused solely on the first part, which became “Star Wars.”
To create the sound of Darth Vader’s breathing, Ben Burtt placed a small microphone in the mouthpiece of a scuba regulator, and then recorded the sound made by his breathing through the regulator.
During Han Solo’s conversation with Greedo, the last thing Greedo says before Han shoots him is “Yokuuskaa.” This is a tribute to Mark Hamil having graduated from Yokosuka High School, located on Yokosuka U.S. Navy Base, Yokosuka, Japan.
Darth Vader appears for a mere 12 minutes in the entire first film.
Twentieth Century Fox let Lucas keep the rights to all toy merchandise as they thought the film would flop. The profits from that deal enabled him to set up Lucasfilm.
The interrogation droid has a protruding metal object at the top that resembles salad tongs. These are Simpson forceps, which have been used for centuries to deliver babies. Certainly a torture device if the expectant mother has no anesthesia.
When Han and Luke dressed as Imperial stormtroopers take Chewbacca to the Detention Security Area in the Death Star, Chewbacca roars at a skittish mouse droid and frightens it. This scene was improvised on the set and not scripted.
Before James Earl Jones, George Lucas wanted actor Orson Welles to do the voice of Darth Vader. However, Lucas decided against it, believing that Welles’ voice was “too recognizable.”
Alec Guinness was the first actor to be paid a percentage of the films takings and toy merchandise as he thought the film would flop. The other actors were paid a wage until the second film, then they opted for the same as Guinness.
The wide-angle shots of the rebel base before the final battle and before the award ceremony at the end of the film show buildings rising out of a jungle. These are shots of the ancient Mayan city of Tikal, now part of the Tikal National Park located in Guatemala.
George Lucas was so sure the film would flop, he didn’t attend the premiere and instead took a vacation with Steven Spielberg, where they conceived Raiders of the Lost Ark.