In honor of 30 years of Star Wars, we thought we’d bring you some interesting tidbits about the movies that may stump even the most hardcore fans. We scoured not only the Internet but old magazine articles and interviews, some in different languages, just to find the most obscure trivia about this beloved “space opera.” So.. did you know…?
1. We all know “A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” But did you know that the original draft by George Lucas read: “A long, long time ago, in the not-too-distant future…” Luckily, someone pointed out to George that this made no sense.
2. The Sith were originally called The Damned, but a British band with the same name debuted in February 1977, forcing Lucas to dub over the word with “Sith” in post-production. To this day, Lucas hates all punk rock.
3. Before the role of Princess Leia was offered to Carrie Fischer, Jane Fonda, Meryl Streep and (in what would’ve been a daring move for its time) Diana Ross were all strongly considered.
4. I say daring because Billy Dee Williams was the first African-American in a science fiction film!
5. The part of Han Solo was originally offered to a young Jeff Goldblum, who turned it down to co-star in Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall.” Unfortunately, Goldblum’s on-screen time was all but cut out of the final edit, and all that’s left is a one-line cameo (“I forgot my mantra!”). (As an aside, Goldblum got the last laugh as Annie Hall beat Star Wars for an Oscar.)
6. Only George Lucas knew about the iconic line “Luke. I am your father!” During filming, the actors had a different script, and the line that was read was “Luke. You are your own father!” That really confused and outraged the actors and film crew, and Lucas had to concoct a lengthy lie about a time-travel based Return of the Jedi.
7. Filming on The Empire Strikes Back had to halt for two weeks due to a wind-surfing competition in Australia that became an annual tradition of sorts for Lucas, and of which he refused to miss.
8. R2D2 was originally to be played by a dwarf, but after three dwarves overheated in the costume during rehearsals (one fatally), they agreed to cast a midget. As you might know, the main difference between dwarves and midgets is that midgets are more heat resistant.
9. Although Star Wars and Empire were big hits, the studio refused to greenlight Return of the Jedi until Lucas drew out a detailed merchandising plan and promised more toy-friendly characters than Empire. (Hence, Ewoks.)
10. One of the failed movie-merchandise tie-ins for Empire was the creepy (and frankly, disgusting) chocolate bar Carbonite Crunch.
11. Before being rewritten as comic relief, Jar Jar Binks was a duplicitous mercenary who ultimately betrays Qui-Gon Jinn.
12. In an unintentional coincidence, the actor who played Wedge is Tommy Biggs, and the actor who played Biggs is Jonathan Wedgeman.
13. The character of Yoda, and his manner of speaking, was based on the Dalai Lama.
14. Mark Hamill’s middle name is Meriweather.
15. During the filming of Episode I, Jake Lloyd, who played young Anakin, became addicted to cough syrup.
16. If you listen closely during the Mos Eisley shoot-out (just before the Falcon takes off), there is a brief musical cue from 70s arcade phenomenon Pac-Man.
17. According to popular rumor, one of the asteroids in Empire is a potato. That’s wrong. It’s a beet that was painted brown.
18. The original Jabba the Hutt sequence from Episode IV (which was re-added to the Special Edition with a CGI Jabba) was originally to feature a different version of Jabba: a large, grey intergalactic gangster with a giant cigar, four arms, and a whip for each hand. The scene was cut because the studio questioned the idea of a character smoking so much in a children’s film.
19. This is not a fact but a substantiated rumor: Boba Fett will be getting his own television series, which takes place after the events of Return of the Jedi.
20. Contrary to popular belief, the shot that ends A New Hope is not an allusion to Triumph of the Will, but in fact a very clever spoof of an obscure early 60s episode of Sugarfoot.