Star Wars Facts: 21 Things You Didn’t Know
Each year on 4th May, fans from all around the globe get together to celebrate all things Star Wars, with the renowned greeting "May the fourth be with you". But did you know the expression was first used in 1978 amongst US fans as a 4th July pun? And the first time it was actually used on 4th May was the following year, when a London newspaper used the phrase to congratulate British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on her taking office that day.
Many years later, the remark and the date were officially cemented into the widely-celebrated Star Wars Day. And only three weeks after this year's celebration we have another special occasion to hold our lightsabers high - 25th May marks the 40th anniversary of the saga's first installment A New Hope. With a universe as big as this one, even now 40 years on there are still new Star Wars facts waiting to be discovered! As our own homage to the world of Jedi, droids and lightsabers, here are 21 things you might not know about the Star Wars movies...
1. The word “Ewok” is never actually spoken out loud in the films
We all know what to call the furry creatures of Endor, and most people would probably assume we heard the word from our favourite protocol droid C-3PO. Turns out it's another piece of popular culture that we've been remembering incorrectly. However, the word does appear in the final credits of Return of the Jedi.
2. Tupac could have been Mace Windu
Yes, you read that right. Tupac Shakur reportedly told Rick Clifford, former chief engineer at Death Row Records, that he was to read for George Lucas and they wanted him to be a Jedi. But the part was ultimately given to Samuel L. Jackson, and filming for The Phantom Menace began less than a year after Tupac’s untimely death. In another universe, Mace Windu could have been very different indeed.
3. NSYNC had a cameo in Attack of the Clones
The popular boy band were invited to briefly appear as Jedi in Episode II, for the single reason of appeasing George Lucas' daughters. But alas, they never made it to the big screen as the scene was cut from the final version. Maybe they'll reappear in another 'George Lucas Director's Cut'...
4. Jar Jar Binks is responsible for the destruction of the Jedi
There's a whole list of reasons as to why he's the most disliked character in the Star Wars universe. But there’s one that’s forgotten by many - the fact that he directly handed Palpatine the means to execute Order 66. Jar Jar Binks gave a passionate speech to the Galactic Senate and persuaded them to vote in favour of giving the Chancellor emergency powers. That gave Palpatine the power to overthrow the Senate and almost wipe out every living Jedi with one move. Great work Jar Jar.
5. E.T. is in Star Wars
OK, so not the original E.T. exactly. But his alien species are present within Star Wars. The Asogians were represented in the Galactic senate, and their first appearance can be seen in The Phantom Menace.
6. The line "I have a bad feeling about this" is in every movie
The line has become a beloved running gag to all. It does vary slightly each time, but the sentiment is always the same. The expression was first uttered by Luke Skywalker in A New Hope, and most recently by K-2SO in Rogue One. Han Solo was the most sensitive to potential impending doom, as he said it more times than anybody else.
7. The colours of lightsabers had a meaning
In earlier times of the Jedi, different colours were used to distinguish between ranks. Lightsabers made with blue or green crystals indicated whether a Jedi was a Guardian or a Consular. The more exotic colours were made with crystals that were very hard to come by, and were often passed down through generations. In later years, this distinction fell out of practice with the Jedi.
8. The Empire Strikes Back features the most stop-motion animation
Stop-motion animation is certainly a long and gruelling process, with a whole day’s work usually amounting to just five seconds of film. The original Star Wars trilogy featured a lot of stop-motion, but none quite as much as Episode V, most likely because of those intricate scenes with the AT-ATs in the Battle of Hoth. The hard work paid off though, with the special effects still standing up to movies today.
9. It took three hours to film the first opening crawl
One of the most recognisable movie introductions in history would take no time at all to mock up with today's technology. But back in 1977, when making A New Hope, the effect was created by using two foot wide yellow letters over a six-foot black paper background. A camera was then used to make a slow sweeping pass overhead, and the result gave us the crawl we've come to expect in all the movies.
10. "I am your father" was kept a secret, even from the cast...
One of the biggest cinematic reveals of all time was kept a very closely-guarded secret during filming. The infamous “I am your father” line was penned in the script as “Obi-Wan killed your father”. Both cast and crew believed this to be the real line, except for Mark Hammill, who was told literally moments before shooting the scene about the truth of Luke’s heritage.
11. The entire storyline is narrated from R2-D2’s perspective
In his book ‘How Star Wars Conquered the Universe’, Chris Taylor recounts a conversation between George Lucas and animation director Rob Coleman, explaining that: “The entire story of Star Wars is actually being recounted to the keeper of the Journal of the Whills—remember that?—a hundred years after the events of Return of the Jedi by none other than R2-D2.” This has sparked some interesting side theories, but fans are unlikely to let Lucas off the hook for all his decisions…