It’s probably the most popular and beloved movie franchise of all time… so we had to go to a galaxy far away to find some Star Wars facts we’re pretty sure you haven’t heard before. And after all, October is Star Wars Reads Month.
- Before he realized that a combination of animatronics, puppetry, and the voice of Frank Oz would work best to bring Yoda, the tiny green Jedi, to life, Star Wars creator George Lucas initially planned to cast a trained monkey wearing a mask in the role. (And Lucas wanted to name the character “Buffy.”)
- George Lucas’s original ending for Return of the Jedi was pretty shocking: As Darth Vader lays dying, Luke Skywalker was to remove his famous helmet, put it on, and declare himself the new Darth Vader, thus turning to “the Dark Side.”
- How does Chewbacca sound like, well, Chewbacca? Sound engineers combined the sounds of bears, walruses, badgers, and lions to get the growl just right.
- Those furry little Ewok warriors that figure large in Return of the Jedi? Nobody ever actually calls them “Ewoks” in the movie. Their name is only known because that’s how they’re identified in the credits.
- The latter-day Star Wars films are loaded with cameos from well-known individuals — Simon Pegg, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and even George Lucas voice briefly seen alien creatures. Others are harder to spot. Daniel Craig (cinema’s James Bond) and Tom Hardy (Bane from The Dark Knight Rises) appear as masked and costumed stormtroopers, for example.
- Ewan McGregor initially had to film multiple takes for his fight scenes for the turn-of-the-millennium Star Wars prequels. The reason: He kept making classic Star Wars sound effect noises whenever he swung his lightsaber around — director George Lucas reminded him that those would be added during the editing process.
- Despite playing (spoiler alert) father and daughter in the original, classic Star Wars trilogy in the ‘70s and ‘80s, James Earl Jones and Carrie Fisher didn’t meet in person until 2014. Jones voiced Darth Vader and thus wasn’t much around on set when Fisher was shooting her Princess Leia scenes. They finally met when they both made cameos on an episode of The Big Bang Theory.