A New Hope, beloved series, Carrie Fisher, franchise, George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Return of the Jedi, science fiction fantasy, space opera, Star Wars, ten things you may not know, The Empire Strikes Back
Whether you’re an “Original Trilogy” purist, a Lucas fan boy, or just a casual viewer; there is no denying that the brand “Star Wars” was/is a major tour-de-force of American media/marketing. Everyone knows of George Lucas’ epic “space-opera” as his sci-fi, Flash Gordon inspired fantasy films involving bizarre aliens, galactic battles, courageous monk-knights, a metalloid super villain, bounty-hunters, rogues, planet-sized battle stations, laser-swords, heroic quests, “Star Destroyers,” princesses, mobbed-up space slugs, and never-ending battles between good and evil forces are among the highest grossing films world-wide. As such, they’ve inspired countless spin-offs (from novels to video games) and parodies. The films have left a long-standing legacy in American pop culture. So in their honor I’ve composed a list of ten behind-the-scenes information about the Star Wars brand/universe that may not be known to most. All information is credited to Wookipedia (please visit), Wikipedia, and IMDB.
::TEN THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT THE STAR WARS FRANCHISE::
1) Star Wars: A New Hope was believed by many (including Lucas) that it would fail when released. As such, no sequels were planned during its production and release, therefore it was simply called Star Wars. “Episode IV” was added as a reflection of the Flash Gordon serials. Later, Lucas would add “A New Hope” to give it distinction within the franchise.
2) Carrie Fisher originally auditioned for the title role of “Carrie White,” while Sissy Spacek auditioned for the role of “Princess Leia.” At one point Melanie Griffith was offered the role. Dianne West, P.J. Soles, Kathleen Turner, Glenn Close, Geena Davis, Linda Blair, and Farrah Fawcett were also among the many that auditioned for the part.
3) In The Empire Strikes Back, if one looks closely during the famous asteroid chase scene, they will notice that one “asteroid” is a shoe, and another is a potato.
4) The studio had such little faith in the success of the first Star Wars film that they allowed Lucas to waive the usual directors fee in return for over 40% of the merchandising rights – which would lead to Lucas have a great deal of control upon further films and media – allowing him to build his vast and impressive empire.
5) Both Alec Guinness (“Obi-Wan Kenobi”) and Harrison Ford (“Han Solo”) had severe misgivings about the Star Wars films. Alec has been interviewed on many occasions stating he thought that the dialogue of his character was so cringe worthy that he wished the quick death of his character so as to save himself from being more involved with the film. Harrison had similar problems with the script and allegedly found many of the characters (particularly the Ewoks) silly, causing him some mild discomfort on set.
6) Warwick Davis’ character “Wicket,” the famous Ewok that would have his own separate series of films, was meant to have a very minimal role in the film. Another Ewok character named “Paploo” was meant to find Leia and have a larger role in Return. The actor playing “Paploo” however suffered from food poisoning before filming. In addition, Lucas was so impressed by young Warwick’s ability to move so easily in his costume and his mimeing capabilities that he gave his character the pivitol role. Warwick was only 14 at the time. “Wicket’s” full name was in fact named after Warwick (“Wicket W. Warwick”)
7) Robert Englund, most famous for playing slasher villain “Freddy Kruger,” was at one point considered for the role of “Han Solo.” Also considered: Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Nick Nolte, Christopher Walken, and John Travolta were among others considered as well.
8) The Star Wars Holiday Special is such a source of embarrassment to George Lucas that he supposedly try to buy up all master copies of it to prevent future distribution. Many bootlegged copies however can be found even today.
9) Celebrated actors Christopher Lee (“Count Dooku”) and Peter Cushing (“Grand Moff Tarkin”) both played powerful villains in the Star Wars franchise, their connection made more interesting by their roles in Hammer Horror films, most notably acting opposite each other in 1958’s Dracula.
10) Steven Spielberg, David Lynch and David Cronenburg were among those originally asked to direct Return of the Jedi.