A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there were six films that are beloved by generations, the Star Wars franchise. J.J. Abrams, the man behind the television show Lost and the rebooted Star Trek movies, is at the helm of the upcoming Star Wars film, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. As the producer, director, and writer, Abrams has a lot riding on the movie that fans have been waiting what seems like a lifetime for.
It’s been ten years since the last installment of the famous film saga, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, but fans haven’t necessarily been happy with the way the movies have turned out since the original trilogy. The three newer movies have been somewhat of a disappointment, which makes the anticipation for the newest film that much more stressful and exciting.
Fans are patiently awaiting a Star Wars movie that holds up to the originals, and with Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford back in action there are high hopes that it will be a hit. We’re going to have to wait until December 2015 to find out, but for now here are 10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Star Wars.
10. Harrison Ford Was A Carpenter
The character of Han Solo was based on George Lucas’ friend Francis Ford Coppola, who directed the classic film The Godfather, so there was a lot riding on the part. Harrison Ford was never supposed to be Han Solo, he was just helping George Lucas out by reading the lines with other actors in screen tests. He was actually a full-time carpenter at the time. Lucas realized that Ford was meant to be Han Solo and offered him the job. Ford only made $10,000 for the first film, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, but it was the start of his illustrious career.
9. A Monkey Was Going To Play Yoda
George Lucas’s original idea for the Star Wars character we all know and love was originally a monkey, wearing a mask and carrying a cane. The idea seems ridiculous now, who would have been able to take a monkey seriously? Luckily a crewmember spoke up about the bad idea, and Lucas enlisted the help of Jim Henson, the man behind The Muppets, to help create Yoda’s look. His features are based on the wisest man of all, Albert Einstein. Frank Oz, who also does the voice of the Muppet Miss Piggy, voices Yoda. Also, if you look closely, Yoda has a different number of toes in each film.
8. Tupac Shakur Auditioned For Star Wars
It’s hard to believe, but Tupac Shakur wanted to be a Jedi. He auditioned for the well-known character Master Mace Windu in 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, but the role went to Samuel L. Jackson. Shakur apparently told an engineer at Death Row Records; “Old man, keep your fingers crossed. I’ve got three movies coming up. One of them, I’ve got to read for George Lucas.” Even if he got the part, Tupac probably wouldn’t have been in the movie. Shakur was killed before filming began. Another musical act to be affiliated with the franchise, *NSYNC, actually made a cameo appearance in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, but it was cut before being released.
7. “I Have A Bad Feeling About This”
Variations of the phrase “I have a bad feeling about this” is said at least once in every Star Wars movie, ever since it was said twice in the first film. It’s even mentioned in the Star Wars video games. There’s no reasoning behind it being said so often, it’s just a wink at audiences who are aware of the inside joke. Lucas even wrote the phrase into the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull script. Audiences will not be happy if no one utters the words “I have a bad feeling about this” in Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
6. George Lucas Hates Darth Vader
The bad guy never wins. David Prowse, the man who donned the Darth Vader suit in the first three films, is banned from any and every Star Wars event. Why? Because George Lucas finds him annoying. Prowse never got the hint, and always wondered why he bothered Lucas so much. He has said, “After enquiring, the only thing I have been told is that I have ‘burnt too many bridges between Lucas Films and myself,’ no other reason given.” Prowse wasn’t even asked to reprise the role in the prequels. Looks like the most evil guy in the galaxy has yet another enemy to worry about.
5. They Rebuilt The Star Wars Set For Liam Neeson
Of course the most badass man in Hollywood would have to have the Star Wars set rebuilt for him because he’s too tall. It apparently cost the film $150,000 to reconstruct the set in order to fit Liam Neeson’s frame. Neeson played Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi’s mentor, in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and his death was one of the most heartbreaking things to happen in all six films. Neeson has stated that he would love to reprise the role again, “I don’t know how he would return, unless you went back in time or he becomes a hologram or something. He’s a Jedi, anything could happen. It’s Star Wars world!”
4. Ewan McGregor Felt Like A Kid Again
Ewan McGregor use to claim that he would only do indie and low-budget films, until he was asked to play Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. He stated, “I know what I said, but hey! This is Star Wars!” During filming his fight scenes, he couldn’t help but imitate the lightsaber sounds, even though George Lucas kept telling him that the sounds would be added in later. The special effects crew had to edit out McGregor’s makeshift lightsaber noises. He admits his dorky side came out during filming the scenes, “I kept getting carried away.” Hayden Christensen, who played the young Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker, was also guilty of making lightsaber noises during his scenes.
3. Star Wars Was The Start Of Some Big Careers
Not only did the Star Wars movies launch actors into the huge careers they have now, it is also to thank for some of the greatest movies of all time. David Fincher, the director of Fight Club, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and Gone Girl, among many others, got his first job on the film set of Star Wars as an assistant camera operator. James Cameron, the mastermind behind The Terminator, Aliens, Titanic, and Avatar (to name a few), went into filmmaking because of Star Wars. He has said, “My reaction to it was not, ‘Oh, wow, that’s cool. I want to see more’. It was, ‘Oh wow, I better get off my butt because somebody is doing this stuff, you know, and they’re beating me to it.” Thank you, Star Wars.
2. George Lucas Never Had To Look Too Far For Inspiration
George Lucas may be considered one of the most brilliant minds in the history of film, but even someone as talented as Lucas can run out of ideas. Fortunately, some pretty simple things have propelled some of his best concepts and designs. The millennium falcon was inspired by Lucas’s lunch one day; Han Solo’s spaceship was made into the shape of a hamburger with an olive on the side. As for the lovable character Chewbacca? He’s based on George Lucas’s dog, Indiana. The dog is also the inspiration for the name of Indiana Jones in Lucas’s other famous film saga.
1. Blue Harvest
In order to keep the Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi movie a secret, the fake title they had on set was Blue Harvest, so that snoopy fans and scoop-searching journalists just thought is was a low-budget horror movie. Especially considering the tagline was “Horror Beyond Imagination.” George Lucas and the gang actually considered taking a five-day break from filming the third installment of Star Wars to produce a horror film, but they knew the joke movie would just cost them money in the long run. Television show Family Guy utilized the title Blue Harvest when they did their very own Star Wars spoof.