Star Wars is widely accepted as the greatest science-fiction franchise of all time. The first film, Star Wars (later renamed to Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope) was released in 1977 and, in spite of everyone expecting it to fail, was an instant success, pulling in over $775 million at the box office. Due to the success of the film, the title was changed as sequels and expansions were planned. George Lucas had created a galaxy like no other, and moviegoers wanted more of it.
Over the years, Star Wars has pulled in an unprecedented amount of money for a film franchise. The two latest films, Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens and Star Wars: Rogue One, pulled over a combined $3 billion at the box office. Even the movies considered the worst of the franchise (Episodes 1-3) still made George Lucas a very wealthy man. But despite George Lucas’s success, there are a number of stories from over the years that he’s tried to suppress. To start, did you know George Lucas told Carrie Fisher to not wear anything under her slave Leia outfit because, according to him, there’s no underwear in space? Creepy.
From a drug-addicted leading lady, secret affairs, backstabbing an ex-wife, and a long-forgotten holiday special, here are 15 Secrets The Cast Of Star Wars Tried To Hide.
15. Harrison Ford Was Cast As Han Solo By Chance
For aspiring actors, Harrison Ford’s career is the perfect Cinderella story. Originally a failed actor, Ford became a self-taught carpenter to provide for his wife and children. Eventually, Ford landed a gig on George Lucas’s film American Graffiti (1973). Soon after, Lucas hired Ford to prepare actors auditioning for major roles in the upcoming Star Wars film. Ford himself wasn’t auditioning; he was just told to read lines and act alongside other actors who were auditioning for the roles in the film.
Through what appears to be fate (or maybe just dumb luck), Ford was asked to read the part of Han Solo during several auditions. It didn’t happen immediately, but over time, Lucas was won over by Ford’s reading of Han Solo and eventually cast him in the role that would change his life. Though he earned a measly $10,000 for the first Star Wars film, he was paid around $34 million for his role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
14. Alec Guinness Hated Star Wars From The Beginning
Sir Alec Guinness was the only leading actor in Star Wars to have an established acting career. His career was illustrious, and the argument could’ve been made that Sir Alec Guinness was one of the best actors during that time period. He often took serious roles, which is why it was so surprising that he took the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope. After being begged by George Lucas to sign onto the film, Guinness only agreed after the studio doubled his salary, offered him 2.25% of the gross royalties paid to the director (which was one-fifth of the box-office money) and told him that he would never need to publicly promote Star Wars. The first time Guinness told his friends about Star Wars, he said that it was “fairytale rubbish” but signed onto the project with hopes of having a huge financial payoff. He got it — and Lucas got an actor that would pull people to see Star Wars.
After seeing the film, Alec Guinness’s opinion of Star Wars changed, and he appreciated the world that George Lucas had built. Nonetheless, there’s a story of Guinness telling a young fan who had seen Star Wars over 100 times that he would give him an autograph if the boy promised to never watch Star Wars again.
13. Ewan McGregor Kept Making Lightsaber Sounds While Fighting
Star Wars has more action figures, toys, and collectibles than any other movie franchise. Almost all kids were given at least a piece of Star Wars merchandise at some point in their lives. And, if they weren’t, they were jealous of the kids that seemed to have it all. I always wanted to have a Star Wars lightsaber toy but was never given it by my parents. I’m not exactly surprised — it’s a loud toy, and I probably would’ve smacked someone upside the head. I was given a foam sword instead of a lightsaber, which wasn’t the same because my foam sword didn’t make the iconic lightsaber noise. So, like any kid, I just made the noise with my mouth. And I wasn’t the only one to do that.
In an interview, Ewan McGregor revealed that while filming the fight sequences in the Star Wars prequels, George Lucas had to repeatedly ask him to stop making lightsaber noises with his mouth. Lucas kept reminding him that the sound would be added in post-production, but McGregor said that he just kept getting carried away.
12. The Imperial Officers Wore Slippers
Much like fellow Star Wars actors Christopher Lee and Alec Guinness, Peter Cushing was also an actor with a respectable career before appearing in Star Wars. Appearing only in Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope, Cushing plays Grand Moff Tarkin, one of the franchise’s most memorable villains. Like the other cast members who portrayed Galactic Imperial officers, Cushing had to wear an uncomfortable outfit which included ill-fitting riding boots. The boots were so uncomfortable for Cushing that Lucas allowed him to wear slippers while filming. Next time you watch the original Star Wars, you’ll notice that Grand Moff Tarkin is only visible from the knee up for this very reason!
In contrast to Alec Guinness, Peter Cushing loved working on the Star Wars films and was disappointed when he was unable to appear in the sequels. A young Grand Moff Tarkin appears in Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge Of The Sith and a CGI version of Cushing appeared in Star Wars: Rogue One. Though Cushing’s estate was involved in the recreation, many people felt that there was something ethically wrong with inserting a CGI version of a dead guy into a movie.
11. Leia’s Problem
Today, Carrie Fisher’s drug abuse is well known and may have contributed to her death in 2016. Like many movie stars in the ’80s, Fisher wanted to get high on whatever she could find. Due to her seemingly overnight rise to fame because of Star Wars, Fisher had the money to pay for whatever drug she wanted. While filming Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, her drug of choice was cocaine — not because she liked it or anything, but it was readily available for movie stars during the 1980s. She was also hanging out with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, whom she appeared in Blues Brothers with. The film had so many drug lovers on set that, according to Dan Aykroyd, it had a cocaine budget.
With it being the ’80s, actors and actresses doing drugs on movie sets weren’t unheard of. However, it didn’t take long before people on set started to realize that Fisher was doing more drugs than anyone else. In her novel Wishful Drinking, Fisher revealed that she had snorted a lot of cocaine while filming the scenes on Hoth for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Fisher began doing so much cocaine that her friend John Belushi (who later died of a drug overdose) told her that she had a problem. Several cast and crew members turned a blind eye to Fisher’s drug problems, however.
10. Fisher & Ford’s Affair
For years, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford both denied that there was any romance between them off-screen. But in her latest tell-all book, The Princess Diarist, Fisher finally admitted that she had had a three-month secret romance with Ford after filming Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope. The romance was hidden from everyone, including Mark Hamill, and was almost discovered when the co-star popped into Ford’s apartment unannounced. Hamill found Ford and Fisher having breakfast at around 11 o’clock in the morning. Ford made a joke, saying that he and Fisher were engaged.
During the affair, Ford was a 33-year-old father of two and was married to his college sweetheart. Carrie Fisher, on the other hand, was a 19-year-old girl who felt that she wasn’t good enough to be with Ford. The first hookup happened after Fisher was ‘wine-sodden’ after a party and Ford offered to drive her home. She woke up the next morning in his bed. Fisher described the affair as a ‘three-month one-night stand.’
Fisher says that she denied the claim for so many years because she wasn’t actually sure if it had happened. Reflecting on that time in her life, Fisher said she had smoked so much pot that she had had to read through old journals and diaries to trigger memories from back then.
9. The Secret Woman Who Made Star Wars
While George Lucas is often given credit for the success of Star Wars, the reason the original film was so successful was due to the cast and crew. Yes, most of the ideas were Lucas’s, but most of Lucas’s involvement in the franchise is seen as weak. Even while working on the original Star Wars film, Lucas had a secret weapon. Without it, Star Wars probably would’ve sucked.
Her name is Marcia Lucas, and she was married to George Lucas for about 15 years. During the 1970s, Marcia Lucas was one of the best editors in Hollywood. She worked with Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver and later won an Academy Award for Editing because of her work on Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope. According to numerous sources, Marcia Lucas is the person who could talk sense into George Lucas during the production of Star Wars. In fact, she came up with numerous iconic moments in Star Wars — including the kiss for luck between Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, the trench run, and even Obi Wan’s death — that her husband had never thought of.
After the couple divorced, George Lucas’s film quality declined, as noted by many fans and even Mark Hamill. Many biographers agree that Marcia Lucas has essentially been removed from Star Wars history because of her divorce from George and her subsequent retirement from the industry so that she could raise her adopted daughter, Amanda.
8. Star Wars: The Force Awakens Spent More On Marketing Than On Production
On November 28, 2014, the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was revealed. Fans of the original franchise were ecstatic as the footage appeared to bring Star Wars back to the glory of the original trilogy. As the first Star Wars film that George Lucas had no involvement in, fans were excited to see what J.J. Abrams was going to do with the most popular franchise of all time. Since the film pulled in over $2 billion at the box office, we can all agree that J.J. did a damn fine job with The Force Awakens.
As you’re already aware, Star Wars is the most popular franchise of all time. It’s the original science fiction movie that appealed to almost everyone (except Alec Guinness). The original Star Wars trilogy was critically acclaimed and had an unparalleled cult following, which is why it’s so surprising how much money was spent to market Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Though the film was made on a production budget of $200 million, an additional $250 million was used for marketing. The studio could’ve spent $0, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens still would’ve become one of the highest-grossing films of all time.
7. Mark Hamill Thought Star Wars Was A Parody When He First Read It
When Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope was made, the special effects were like nothing anyone had ever seen before. Though we might look back at those practical effects and laugh at their cheesiness, filmmakers didn’t have the perk of just throwing their ideas into a computer and filming all of their ideas in front of a green screen. George Lucas had to get creative when making Star Wars, and the effects carried the film through an otherwise mediocre plot. I mean, seriously, Episode IV is really just “cops and robbers” in space. George Lucas isn’t known for his scriptwriting abilities — he’s known for his worldbuilding and special effects.
When Mark Hamill first read the script for Star Wars, he thought that it might’ve been a parody of the science-fiction genre. At the time, there were a number of attempts to tear apart the science-fiction genre on screen, as well as countless science-fiction movies that were straight-up awful. Did anyone ever see Buck Rogers in the 25th Century?
6. The Star Wars Holiday Special
If it wasn’t for the power of the internet, everyone would’ve forgotten all about the Star Wars Holiday Special after it first aired in 1978. This poorly received TV special had almost nothing to do with George Lucas’s film Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope, but it starred the original actors of the film. Lucas, who has cashed in on Star Wars in almost every way he can, said that the TV special was terrible and wishes that he could destroy every copy of it. Harrison Ford was made to sit through a scene while appearing on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and Carrie Fisher said that she likes to put it on at the end of parties to get people to leave.
In the age of the internet, the special has become somewhat of a cult classic, with many Star Wars fans enjoying how ludicrous the entire thing is. It was the first film-length story after the original Star Wars was released in theaters.
According to reports, the special’s plot was decided upon by George Lucas who refused to budge on the story. The story focuses on a family of Wookiees and their celebration of Life Day. George Lucas denies any involvement in the special and, to this day, is a moment in Star Wars history that fans pretend didn’t happen. That said, you can watch the entire special on YouTube.
5. The Merchandising Rights
After the success of American Graffiti, Hollywood was eager to see what film George Lucas was going to work on next. When it was announced that he wanted to make a sci-fi western called Star Wars, everyone thought that he had brain damage. Nearly everyone thought science fiction was a joke because of their cheesy special effects and the fact that nearly every sci-fi movie was a box-office flop. Fox, who agreed to let Lucas make Star Wars, made a deal with Lucas that made him a billionaire. The deal let Lucas keep the licensing and merchandising rights for Star Wars for himself, and he, in turn, would pass up on $500,000 in directing fees. Fox thought they were striking a great deal because they (as well as everyone else) thought that Star Wars would fail.
A year after A New Hope was released, 40 million Star Wars figures were sold for more than $100 million. For years, George Lucas built a fortune selling Star Wars merchandise. In 2011, despite the fact that no new Star Wars movies were released, the toys sold for more than $3 billion. The following year, Disney bought Lucasfilm, the George Lucas production studio, for $4.05 billion.
4. No Clone Armor Was Produced For The Prequels
While the original Star Wars trilogy was praised for its use of practical effects, fans were disappointed by the overwhelming amount of CGI used in the prequels. While the original trilogy had some of the best costume design found in any movie at the time, George Lucas (who had complete creative control of the Star Wars prequels) opted to use CGI to create the Clone armor. This was in direct contrast to the Stormtroopers armor in the original trilogy, which was physically created and worn by the actors.
George Lucas originally decided to have the Clone army appear as CGI so that he could increase the scale of the battles that they were fighting in. Unfortunately, it didn’t really pay off because fans just thought that the Clones looked ‘off.’ A similar thing happened when Peter Jackson decided to animate the orc characters in The Hobbit trilogy, as opposed to having actors wear makeup, like in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
3. Chewbacca’s Life Was In Danger While Filming
By looking at Chewbacca and other Wookiees, you’ll come to the conclusion that the character looks an awful lot like Bigfoot. I mean, come on. He’s a large, hairy figure from a wooded planet who could easily have been mistaken for Bigfoot if he was wandering the woods alone. George Lucas felt the same way, which is why when the actor, Peter Mayhew, was in his Chewbacca costume, he wasn’t allowed to wander around while filming Return of the Jedi.
Additionally, while filming in the Pacific Northwest, Mayhew had to be followed by crew members in brightly colored vests so that he wouldn’t be shot by hunters looking for Bigfoot. For years, this was believed to be nothing more than an urban legend until the 7’3 Mayhew appeared on Reddit to confirm the legitimacy of the rumor. Can you imagine putting “Chewbacca protection” on your resume?
2. Kid Anakin Hates Being Associated With Star Wars
Before appearing in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the new cast members were warned by the Star Wars veterans that fans of the franchise were incredibly invasive. Carrie Fisher went as far as to warn Daisy Ridley that her character would become the center of a number of sexual fantasies for Star Wars fans. Hardcore fans are seriously obsessed. Though the new cast realizes that, not every Star Wars actor was warned about what would happen to them when they appeared in the franchise.
Jake Lloyd played the child version of Anakin Skywalker, and it completely ruined his life. After starring in Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace, Lloyd was the victim of intense bullying from his classmates all while freaking out about having to do up to 60 interviews in a day. Angry at the franchise, Lloyd destroyed all of the Star Wars merchandise he was given for acting in the films. He promptly retired from acting but still made appearances at comic book festivals and sci-fi conventions where he hesitantly talked to fans.
In 2015, Jake Lloyd had somewhat of a breakdown after being arrested for reckless driving, driving without a license, and resisting arrest. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia while in jail and was relocated to a psychiatric facility.
1. The Problem With Star Wars Has Always Been George Lucas
When ranking the Star Wars films from best to worst, everyone’s lists look a little different. Some feel that Attack of the Clones is by far the worst Star Wars movie because of all the needless teen romance that happens in the movie, whereas others argue that The Phantom Menace is by far the worst Star Wars movie. Naturally, everyone has different opinions, but almost everyone agrees that The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie.
When thinking about why The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie, there are a few reasons that come to mind. To start, the movie introduced Yoda, a character that everyone loves and can instantly recognize. There’s a memorable battle on Hoth, Luke loses his hand, Han Solo gets frozen, and Darth Vader is revealed to be Luke Skywalker’s father! But, most importantly, George Lucas didn’t write, produce, or direct, The Empire Strikes Back. It seems that every Star Wars movie George Lucas worked on (with the exception of A New Hope) is considered to be a terrible part of the series. Hell, that’s why the prequels were so terrible!
In Lucas’s defense, he’s claimed that fans of Star Wars need to realize that the films are meant to be for kids and young teenagers, not for grown men who want to pretend that Jar Jar Binks is a Sith Lord. Yes, that’s an actual fan theory to try and explain why George Lucas created such a useless character. There are a number of things (mostly everything to do with the prequels) that Lucas created in the Star Wars universe that are considered garbage. This includes the introduction of midi-chlorians, microscopic organisms that live inside of everything and are responsible for the Force. For a guy who made the greatest science-fiction franchise of all time, George Lucas sure has a ton of terrible ideas.
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