Everyone knows about the story from “a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.” Even a person who hasn’t seen the movies could recognise some of the characters and scenes from pop culture. But here are some things even hard-core fans might not know:
1: When George Lucas went about creating the visuals for the magnificent space battles, he didn’t exactly have a lot of contemporary examples to draw from. So he ended up giving Industrial Light and Magic, the special effects company that has now grown to be a giant of the industry, a set of old newsreels depicting footage of World War II dogfights, some of which were eventually used to create many of the spectacular Tie fighter scenes in the movie.
2: The first Star Wars movie was made on a pretty low budget. This meant that when the time came for Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher to do the scene where Luke and Leia swing across a chasm, the studio couldn’t afford stunt doubles. So the actors were forced to do the scene themselves.
3: Fans couldn’t possibly imagine any actor other than Harrison Ford in the iconic role of the smuggler-turned-rebel Han Solo. But during the actual casting for the role, Ford was actually called on to feed lines to the actors doing the actual audition and one of them was actually a young Kurt Russell. Just how different the series might have ended up being if Han Solo was played by Russell is something for the fans to wonder.
4: Even people who haven’t seen the movies have heard of Luke Skywalker’s desert home world of Tatooine. But not too many people know that the planet was actually named for Tataouine, a city in southern Tunisia. The beautiful city with its below-ground dwellings is a filmmaker’s paradise and apparently made quite an effect on Lucas.
5: Tataouine isn’t the only thing in Tunisia with a connection to Star Wars. The outside of the Mos Eisley Cantina was actually shot in the country. Though once a tourist hotspot, the Cantina sets are now largely just a pile of abandoned structures in the sand.
6: George Lucas loved his dog who in turn loved riding up front with Lucas whenever he drove his car. This dog went on to inspire the character of Chewbacca and gave his name to the title character of Lucas’ other hit series, Indiana Jones.
7: The lightsabers from the series have become quite a pop culture icon. But the iconic humming sound of an active lightsaber was discovered almost by accident. Sound designer Ben Burtt created a hum of idling interlock motors from old movie projectors mixed with the interference caused by a television set on a shield less microphone.
9: The reveal that Darth Vader was Luke’s lost father may have come as a surprise to American audiences but their German counterparts may have had an edge. “Vater” is a German word for “Father” and the word “Darth” was picked simply because it sounded like the word “Dark” which means that “Darth Vader” translates to “Dark Father”.