Ben Kenobi was originally going to survive
In an early draft of A New Hope, Ben Kenobi survived his tense dual with Darth Vader. It’s hard to imagine what the future of the franchise would’ve looked like with Kenobi’s continual presence. Would Luke have still gone to Dagobah? Would balance have returned to the Force sooner? We’ll never know.
George Lucas didn’t have it all planned out
While the Star Wars franchise has spanned generations, the creator didn’t have it all mapped out from the very beginning. Lucas thought that the first movie would flop, having few thoughts for future movies. This lack of foresight led to continuity errors being littered throughout the series, with Leia kissing Luke being the most notable example.
This Stormtrooper hits his head
When a group of Stormtroopers walk into the control room in A New Hope, one soldier bangs his head on the doorway. The error went unnoticed by the filmmakers, remaining in the theatrical cut of the film. Now, the gag remains as one of the most iconic pieces of movie trivia of all time.
Potatoes were used to make asteroids
The set designers of Star Wars used many inventive methods to portray an out-of-this-world, galactic visual. When the Millennium Falcon zooms through an asteroid field in Empire Strikes Back, many of the asteroids were actually spray-painted potatoes. Suddenly, Leia’s fears of the space rocks seem somewhat unfounded.
Solo’s iconic line was adlibbed
Harrison Ford was notorious for improvising his lines in Star Wars, wishing to convey a more natural manner of speech. If it wasn’t for Ford, one of the most famous lines would never have existed. When Leia confesses her love to the pilot, Ford was supposed to reply “I love you, too”. Instead, we got the famous response of: “I know.”
Vader’s identity was a closely guarded secret
Only a handful of people knew Vader’s true identity, with most of the cast and crew being kept in the dark until the big reveal. Even Dave Prowse, the actor who played Darth Vader, was fed fake lines, which were later dubbed over with the shocking reveal.
George Lucas’s ex-wife had a big part to play
While George Lucas may have directed Star Wars, his wife gave the franchise heart. Marcia Lucas made major changes to the film, suggesting ideas such as Kenobi dying at the hands of Vader, Leia’s good luck kiss, and editing the iconic Death Star trench scene to amp up the tension. Marcia even won an Academy Award for her editing efforts.
The cast thought the movie would flop
Despite Star Wars becoming one of the highest-grossing franchises of all time, many of the cast thought that the movie would be a box office bomb. Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness, and Kenny Baker all thought the movie was too strange to be a hit, comparing it to cheesy B movies. Thankfully, they were proved wrong, with the first installment cashing in $775.8 million.
Solo was supposed to die at the end of Jedi
The original plan for The Return of the Jedi was for Han Solo to die, bravely sacrificing himself to protect Luke and Leia. Harrison Ford was on board, willing his character to be killed off due to his dislike of the role. Ford got his wish in The Force Awakens, finally putting his character to rest once and for all.
They used practical effects that stand up today
A long time ago, in a production studio far, far away, a team of effects artists created some of the best visuals that still hold up in the modern era. From using mirrors on cars to give the illusion of floating spaceships to utilizing sheets of paper to create the iconic opening crawl, the use of practical effects remains impressive decades on.
The most memorable line is misquoted
If you thought that Darth Vader said “Luke, I am your father”, you wouldn’t be the only one. In a strange turn of events that borders on Mandela-effect territory, the actual line is “No, I am your father.” Why this line is always misquoted will forever remain a mystery.
Lucas planned the prequels
When Star Wars became a global success, George Lucas got to work mapping out the entire tale. He’d planned to tell the story of Anakin Skywalker’s descent into darkness as far back as 1977, penning key details that made it to the big screen over two decades later.
Ewoks were never meant to exist
Return of the Jedi was originally going to feature an epic battle of Stormtroopers versus Wookies. Due to budget restrictions, the Wookies were cut down to size, birthing the creation of the Ewoks. It always did seem a bit strange that a group of overgrown Care Bears were able to take down the Empire…
Darth Maul’s piercing was an oversight
The only reason Darth Maul dons his ear piercing is because actor Ray Park forgot to remove it while getting in his prosthetics. Lucas and co overlooked the detail, leading to the iconic jewelry making it to the big screen. Fans theorized for years as to the piercing’s meaning, wondering if it was somewhat symbolic of the Sith. In reality, it was mere human error.
Liam Neeson cost production a hefty sum
Standing at a whopping six foot four, Liam Neeson’s height caused quite the issue on set. The crew failed to factor in Neeson’s gigantic frame, causing many of the sets – particularly the doorways – to be extended or rebuilt entirely, costing production an extra $150,000.
Disney ignored Lucas’s help on the sequel trilogy
When Lucas sold Star Wars to Disney, he’d penned three script treatments, offering them to the production company. Strangely, Disney discarded the scripts entirely, choosing to create their own trilogy from scratch. Whether it was a good decision or not is still debated amongst Star Wars fans.
The origin of the TIE fighter noise may surprise you
The screeching of the TIE fighter is almost as iconic as the Death Star itself, instantly recognized by Star Wars fans around the world. Sound engineers used inventive methods to create the memorable whir, using a blend of an elephant’s trumpet and cars driving through puddles.
Lightsabers were meant to be heavy
Forget the flourishing acts of the prequels and sequels, the iconic plasma weapon was meant to represent medieval great swords. Lucas insisted that the actors wielded the weapons as if they were weighty, influencing many saber duels. Rewatching the original trilogy, you can see the distinct difference in lightsaber lore.
A monkey, Yoda almost was
The green Jedi is an iconic part of Star Wars, but Lucas originally had different plans for the Jedi master. At one point, Yoda was going to be played by a real-life monkey, complete with a cane and a mask. These plans were scrapped when the filmmaker realized how difficult the animals are to work with, creating the puppet we all know and love today.
Daisy Ridley thought she’d be fired
Shooting the sequels to an iconic, decades-spanning tale is an anxiety-inducing feat, with lead actress Daisy Ridley even fearing she’d be fired. On the first day of shooting, director J.J. Abrams told Ridley that her performance was “wooden”, leading to the actress fearing for her job. Thankfully, Ridley changed her approach, continuing to play Rey in future installments.
The word “Ewok” is never spoken in the film
Despite being a popular species in the franchise, the official name of the furry creatures was never spoken in the Return of the Jedi. They showed up as Ewoks in the credits, as well as in the scripts, but were never named on-screen, meaning that Luke and co likely had no idea as to the strange creatures’ origins.
“I have a bad feeling about this” is in every movie
The phrase was first uttered by Luke Skywalker in A New Hope, and has since appeared in every subsequent movie. The Last Jedi is the only movie to exclude the running gag, though director Rian Johnson confirmed that robot BB-8 beeps it in the film’s opening sequence.
C-3PO began and ended the series
Before the sequel trilogy came along, C-3P0 bookended the Star Wars series. The droid appears in the opening sequence for A New Hope, and in the final scene in Revenge of the Sith. Although the sequels tampered with this, C-3PO’s last line in The Rise of Skywalker mirrors his first words in A New Hope, with the droid asking: “did you hear that?”
Samuel L. Jackson’s purple lightsaber was his choice
Before Samuel L. Jackson came along, lightsabers typically came in blue, red, or green. When the actor asked George Lucas if he could wield a purple weapon, the director obliged – but only after seeing the fanfare a potential purple plasma had caused amongst online fans.
The sequels were almost very, very different
George Lucas set out to make nine Star Wars movies, with his scripts for episodes seven, eight, and nine looking very different from what we got from Disney. Originally, the director planned on setting the sequels in a micro biotic world, exploring the power of midi-chlorians.
Alec Guinness hated Star Wars
Despite making literal millions of dollars from the movies, Alec Guinness despised Star Wars with a fiery passion. Describing the films as mere “fairytale rubbish”, Guinness thought the dialogue he had to utter was subpar, stating that he “shrivels inside” whenever the movies were mentioned in his presence.
Chewie’s voice comes from lots of different animals
Creating Chewbecca’s dulcet tones was no easy feat. Star Wars sound engineer Ben Burtt recorded noises from walruses, camels, lions, bears, rabbits, badgers, and tigers to create Chewie’s iconic vocals. Each recording was mixed at varying ratios in order to produce a more nuanced performance for the Wookie.
Qui-Gon’s communicator was a woman’s razor
The comlink Qui-Gon Jinn frequently uses in The Phantom Menace is actually a Gilette women’s razor. Speaking into a woman’s beauty product couldn’t have been the easiest task for the actor, but Liam Neeson handled it like a pro, becoming one of Star Wars’ most memorable characters.
NSYNC were almost in Attack of the Clones
Boybands and Star Wars seem like an unfathomable fever dream, but the combo came dangerously close to becoming a reality. The band shot two scenes for the Battle of Geonosis, donning Padawan robes as they fought alongside Obi-Wan. Thankfully, the scenes were cut from the movie, never seeing the light of day.
Many scenes were hand painted
Before CGI took the world by storm, set makers had to use a clever blend of matte paintings and models to bring the world of Star Wars to life. Over 70 paintings were used in The Empire Strikes Back alone, creating Star Wars’ iconic atmosphere.
Luke Skywalker was originally very different
In the early drafts of Star Wars, Luke was an entirely different character. One draft saw him as a girl, another saw him as a dwarf. Even his name went through numerous changes, with his original surname being Starkiller. Lucas later changed the name to Skywalker to avoid any violent connotations.
Ewan McGregor kept making lightsaber noises on set
Although the swooshing of the lightsaber was added in post-production, Ewan McGregor kept making sounds that mimicked the weapon while on set. Years later, McGregor continued to use his imaginative imitation while starring in the Disney+ TV show Obi-Wan Kenobi. It seems old habits truly do die hard.
Luke almost joined the Dark Side
In an alternate timeline, Luke became the leader of the Empire, with the entire Universe bowing at his feet. George Lucas toyed with a dark ending for the franchise, tempted by the subversive conclusion. In the end, Lucas opted for a classic happy ending of good beating evil, aware that the movies were enjoyed by children all around the world.
Jabba the Hutt was one expensive puppet
Creating Jabba the Hutt was an expensive task. In fact, the puppet cost a whopping half a million bucks and three months of labor to bring into creation. To put that into context, the entire budget for A New Hope was $4 million. Jabba required three puppeteers to operate, making it one of the largest puppets ever used in a motion picture.
Who shot first?
It may be hard to hear, but Han did, in fact, shoot first. In the original release of A New Hope, Han is the only one to shoot, depicting Greedo as an innocent bystander. Lucas edited the scene in future releases to show them both firing at the same time, hoping to portray Han as less bloodthirsty. Unfortunately for Lucas, the internet never forgets.
Smelly garbage was used in the compactor scene
Real trash was used during the iconic compactor scene, much to the disgust of the actors. Mark Hamill reportedly burst a blood vessel during the take, but, despite popular belief, it wasn’t due to the smell. Hamill purposely gave himself a strangulated, red look for the scene, causing the injury.
Jedi was almost a recognized religion
Jediism, the worship of the mythology of Star Wars, was almost an actual religion. Despite it not getting the all-clear from the Charity Commission, 177,000 UK residents declared themselves as being a Jedi in the 2011 census, believing in an all-encompassing energy that powers the Universe. The Force is certainly strong with some.
R2-D2 almost spoke English
An early R2-D2 concept saw the droid becoming fully sentient, speaking in full, articulate sentences. Thankfully, George Lucas realized that having R2 speak in a series of incoherent whistles would create a better dynamic with C-3PO, creating the iconic duo that we know today. Can you a imagine a world without Artoo’s iconic beeps and boops?
The working title was very different
“Two tickets for Adventures of the Starkiller as taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars, please!” That’s the phrase you’d have had to utter if Lucas stuck with his original title, penned in 1975 – just two years before A New Hope premiered. Thankfully, Lucas saw the light, switching to a simple title of Star Wars.
Vader’s chest piece has a hidden message
Aside from being one of the most iconic costumes of all time, Lord Vader’s outfit features a small little Easter egg. Unusual words are etched onto his chest piece, written in Ancient Hebrew. The text translates to “His deeds will not be forgiven, until he merits”, foreshadowing his eventual redemption.