December 23, 2023 | Miles Brucker

Far Out Facts About The Original Star Wars Trilogy


Star Wars changed pop culture forever when it premiered in 1977. The original trilogy of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi created iconic stories and characters who have stood the test of time. Let's dive back into these old favorites.


1. Heavily Censored

R2-D2 spoke standard English in early drafts of the script, and used a lot of foul language in the process. All of his English lines were cut in the end, but C3PO’s shocked reactions stayed the same.

star wars

2. A Vote of No Confidence

George Lucas was certain that the first film would flop, so he went on vacation to Hawaii with Steven Spielberg instead of attending the premiere. During the trip, they came up with the idea for Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Carrie Fisher factsFlickr, Tom Simpson

3. Tripping up

Jeremy Bulloch, who played Boba Fett, was rehearsing the carbonite freezing scene when he accidentally stepped on Vader’s cape, and both of them toppled to the ground. As Bullock said, “Two bad guys falling over? We can’t have that. I didn’t want to look an idiot. I don’t mind about Darth Vader".

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Lucasfilm

4. Blind

Bulloch could not see in Boba Fett’s mask, which he described as “sunglasses covering the whole of your face". It made it difficult to walk and stop in the right place, so he had to remember how many steps to take to stop in front of Darth Vader and deliver his lines.

Original Star Wars Trilogy FactsFlickr,Sam Howzit

5. Combat Slippers

Grand Moff Tarkin’s boots were too small and uncomfortable for Peter Cushing, so he only wore them in shots where Tarkin’s shoes could be seen. During the rest of the scenes, he was wearing fuzzy slippers. Just picture that next time you host a re-watch!

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars (1977), Lucasfilm

6. Use the Force

Scenes where Luke Skywalker is retrieving his lightsaber with the Force were filmed by having Mark Hamill throw the lightsaber and then running the shot in reverse.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars (1977), Lucasfilm

7. Do it Again, You Must

Hamill had to hit his head in Yoda’s hut in The Empire Strikes Back 16 times before the director was happy with it.

Quiz: Star WarsGetty Images

8. Realistic Hypothermia

When filming The Empire Strikes Back in Norway, an intense snowstorm hit the hotel the cast and crew were staying in. Director Irvin Kershner thought it would be the perfect chance to film Luke wandering into the snow from the Wampa cave. He sent Hamill out into the snowstorm while he and the production crew filmed, nice and cozy, from inside the hotel.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Lucasfilm

9. A Strong Female Lead… Almost

As Lucas was working on an early draft of Star Wars, he tried to fix multiple problems with it, including a lack of female characters. For a short time, Lucas rewrote Luke as an 18-year-old girl, but this was changed back after a few months.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars (1977), Lucasfilm

10. A Darker Ending

Lucas’ original script for Return of the Jedi ended with Luke assuming Darth Vader’s position on the dark side and Han Solo dying in the raid on the new De*th Star.

Lucas said of the original ending, "Luke takes his [Vader's] mask off. The mask is the very last thing—and then Luke puts it on and says, 'Now I am Vader.'"

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983), Lucasfilm

11. A Very Short Trilogy

Lucas’ first screenplay for Star Wars was almost twice the length of an average screenplay, leading studios to pass on the overly complicated story. Lucas decided to cut the final two acts and turn those acts into The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983), Lucasfilm

12. The Accidental Perfect Casting

Lucas brought in Harrison Ford, who had worked in American Graffiti, only to feed lines to other actors during the auditions. Lucas saw many actors for the part of Han Solo, but ended up liking Ford’s delivery feeding Han’s lines to other actors, and cast him in the role.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies FactsGetty Images

13. Vader’s Voice

Lucas wanted Orson Welles to voice Darth Vader at first, but thought his voice would be too recognizable. When James Earl Jones was finally cast for the first movie, he completed all of his lines in two and a half hours and was paid $7,500 for his work.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsFlickr, U.S. Embassy London

14. Box Office Bargain

The studio was certain Star Wars would flop in a summer release, so they moved the premiere to before Memorial Day. Even then, fewer than 40 theaters agreed to show it. As it happened, Fox was also releasing a film adaption of a bestselling book, The Other Side of Midnight, at the same time, and they stipulated that any theater wanting to show that film had to agree to show Star Wars. As Star Wars became a hit, however, Fox then did the opposite, forcing theaters to show The Other Side of Midnight if they waned to show Star Wars. (This practice was actually unlawful, and Fox was fined for it.)

Original Star Wars Trilogy FactsThe Other Side of Midnight (1977), Twentieth Century Fox

15. A Formal Introduction

Yoda’s original name was Buffy. In later drafts, it was changed to Yoda, but he had the full name Minch Yoda. Eventually, it was shortened to just Yoda.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Lucasfilm

16. Very Profitable Rubbish

Sir Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi) dismissed the first Star Wars film as “fairy-tale rubbish,” and he did not want to return for the sequels. The filmmakers eventually persuaded him to appear again as Obi-Wan’s ghost, but only if his strict demands were met. Guinness would return only if it took a single day of filming that started at 8:30am and ended by 1pm, and he would receive 1/4 of 1% of the movie’s gross in return. The deal for his half day of work made him millions of dollars.

Obi-Wan Kenobi factsWikipedia

17. Improvised Romance

When Princess Leia told Han Solo “I love you,” the script had him respond “I love you, too". Harrison Ford and Kershner agreed the line was wrong for the character. In the last few takes, Kershner spontaneously called “action,” forcing Ford to improvise at a moment’s notice. When Carrie Fisher said “I love you,” he naturally responded “I know".

Madame Tussauds Berlin Presents New Star Wars Wax FiguresGetty Images

18. More Female Characters… Almost

The screenplay originally included female fighter pilots, but they were removed in the final cut of the movie.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983), Lucasfilm

19. The Tibetan Ewoks

Sound designer Ben Burtt was inspired by a documentary on the Tibetan, Nepali, and Kalmyk languages, and decided to use these languages as inspiration for the Ewoks’ speech.

In other instances, Lando Calrissian’s pilot speaks a Tanzanian dialect called Haya, and the Jawas spoke an altered version of the Zulu language. Greedo speaks the South American indigenous language Quechua.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983), Lucasfilm

20. Han the Green-Skinned Monster

Han Solo was not originally the roguish smuggler fans love. Lucas’ early script had him as a minor character who was an undercover operative with green skin and gills. Lucas explained, “[Han Solo] did start out as a monster or a strange alien character, but I finally settled on him being human so that there'd be more relationship between [Luke, Leia, and Han]. That's where Chewbacca came in as the kind of alien sidekick".

Han Solo factsStar Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Lucasfilm

21. Based on a True Story

When Hamill was injured in a car crash in 1977 and needed facial reconstruction, Lucas planned to include a scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Luke’s face is damaged to work with any effects of Hamill’s injury. They filmed a scene where Luke’s face is being treated by a droid, but it was cut from the final movie.

Original Star Wars Trilogy FactsWikipedia

22. An Arduous Journey

Early script concepts had a much more difficult journey for Luke to become a Jedi. There would have been a crystal hidden in Luke’s lightsaber with coordinates to Yoda’s planet. Luke would also have been unable to use the Force to stop an ice monster attack on Hoth, humiliating him and leading Han to tell him, “You’re not a Jedi Knight, and you never will be".

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Lucasfilm

23. Monkey Business

Before deciding on Frank Oz’s puppetry to portray Yoda, the filmmakers considered having Yoda played by a child, a small person, or a monkey wearing a mask.

Yoda FactsFlickr,wuestenigel

24. The Best-Kept Secret in the Galaxy

The reveal that Darth Vader is Luke’s father was a closely guarded secret on the set of The Empire Strikes Back. Only Lucas, the director, the producer, and Hamill knew about the reveal, and Hamill was told only moments before being hurt. For everyone else, a false page was inserted where Vader said, “Obi-Wan end your father,” and David Prowse (the man in the Vader suit) was working with that script. The real line was added later when James Earl Jones recorded Vader’s lines.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Lucasfilm

25. A Complicated Character

It took up to seven puppeteers to control Jabba the Hutt, including three puppeteers inside Jabba controlling his movements, one or two people radio-controlling his eyes, and two more creating smoke and operating bellows for the lungs.

Star Wars Characters factsStar Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), Lucasfilm

26. “Endor” by Toto

The final victory song of the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi was composed by Joseph Williams, lead singer of the band Toto, famous for the song “Africa". He is also composer John Williams’ son.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsWikimedia Commons

27. Getting Their Act Together

Ford says that he and Hamill would usually not commit to the work and fool around the set of A New Hope–unless Alec Guinness was there. When Guinness was on set, they behaved professionally.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars (1977), Lucasfilm

28.  Easiest Audition Ever

Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca, was cast in his role 10 seconds after meeting Lucas. Mayhew was 7’2”, and he was cast as soon as he stood up.

Special Effects factsWikipedia

29. The Garbage Will Do

The Millennium Falcon was created from junk car and airplane parts taken from dumping grounds and similar sources.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars (1977), Lucasfilm

30. Too Likeable

Carrie Fisher got along so well with Peter Cushing that she found it difficult to act like Leia hated Grand Moff Tarkin.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars (1977), Lucasfilm

31. Not Fully Operational

In Return of the Jedi, the Emperor’s chair was supposed to be mechanized to rotate, but it never worked properly. Instead, Ian McDiarmid, who played the Emperor, had to move the chair himself by shuffling his feet. A piece of tape on the floor told him where to stop shuffling so it would not be visible on screen.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983), Lucasfilm

32. Dishonorable End

Lucas had no idea how popular Boba Fett would be. He later said that if he had known, he would have given the character a more memorable end. He even considered adding a scene where Boba Fett escapes the Sarlacc pit for a DVD release, but decided against it.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), Lucasfilm

33. The Most Vicious of All Animals

The sounds of the Rancor in the Jabba’s palace were made by a growling dachshund.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), Lucasfilm

34. Starkiller Luke

When filming began on Star Wars, Luke’s name was Luke Starkiller. Lucas had second thoughts about the name, and changed it. As a homage, J.J. Abrams used the name for the First Order’s Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015), Lucasfilm

35. Left to the Experts

The Echo Base Army in the Battle of Hoth were played by Norwegian mountain rescue skiers.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Lucasfilm

36. The Off-Screen Muppet Cameo

Hamill had difficulties filming the scenes on Dagobah with Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. To help him get through it, Frank Oz brought in Miss Piggy, who he also voiced, to cheer him up.

Original Star Wars Trilogy FactsFlickr,Jeff Christiansen

37. That’s No Asteroid

In the original asteroid field scene, one of the asteroids is actually a shoe, and another is a potato. It was rumored that Lucas made the special effects crew redo the scene over and over again, and one of the crew got annoyed and threw in their shoe.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Lucasfilm

38. Totally Safe. Probably.

While attempting to leave Dagobah, Luke pulls a snake out of his ship. Kershner told Hamill the snake was harmless. The snake bit Hamill in one of the takes.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Lucasfilm

39. A Dramatic Entrance

There was a real blizzard at the location when the Hoth scenes were being filmed. The train routes were closed, and Ford could not get to the filming location by the normal means. He finally arrived at the location on a snow plow. 

Star Wars FactsGetty Images

40. It’s a Backstory!

Admiral Ackbar has a backstory: he used to be Grand Moff Tarkin’s slave and personal pilot.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), Lucasfilm

41. Return of the Gone Jedi

An early version of the script had Obi-Wan returning from the "other" side in Return of the Jedi rather than just appearing in ghost form.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), Lucasfilm

42. Not the Imperial March, but…

The Jedi theme music plays once over a shot of Darth Vader: when he throws the Emperor down the shaft of the Dea*h Star, signaling his turn away from the dark side.

Darth Vader FactsStar Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back(1980), Lucasfilm Ltd.

43. The Second Best-Kept Secret in the Galaxy

Vader’s unmasking scene in Return of the Jedi was kept so secret that Vader’s actor for the unmasking, Sebastian Shaw, had no idea what he was doing when he showed up on set. His old friend Ian McDiarmid saw him on set (while McDiarmid was playing the Emperor) and asked Shaw what he was doing there. Shaw replied, "I don't know. They haven't told me anything about it except that it has something to do with science fiction".

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), Lucasfilm

44. No, That’s Not True, That’s Impossible!

James Earl Jones, who voiced the line, thought Darth Vader was lying about being Luke’s father.

Original Star Wars Trilogy FactsWikimedia Commons

45. A Long Carbonite Sleep

Ford did not want to play Han Solo anymore after The Empire Strikes Back, and wanted the character to be ended off. Lucas decided to freeze him in carbonite so he could be revived if Ford agreed to do the next movie.

Han Solo factsStar Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Lucasfilm

46. Return of Lando?

In Return of the Jedi, the filmmakers distributed fake scripts to cast members they considered likely to leak details to the press. Some of these fake details did leak, including the fake plot point that Lando Calrissian was "the last hope" for the Jedi, as mentioned by Yoda and Obi-Wan in The Empire Strikes Back.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Lucasfilm

47. International Incident

While filming scenes from A New Hope in Tunisia near the Libyan border, a battle nearly broke out when the Libyan government threatened army action after they noticed a large army vehicle near their territory. Thankfully, that vehicle turned out to be the Jawan sandcrawler, and the Tunisian government just had Lucas move it further from the border and crisis was averted.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars (1977), Lucasfilm

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9


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