As “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” continues to blast its way at the box-office worldwide (worldwide gross, as of this writing, is now at $1.12B, according to Box Office Mojo) , here are ten little-known facts about one of the most successful movie franchises ever made:
- Four persons portrayed the antagonist Darth Vader.
Star Wars fans know that the voice of Darth Vader is legendary actor James Earl Jones, but three other men portrayed Luke Skywalker’s father. The on-screen body is 6’5″ bodybuilder David Prowse; his double when doing the action scenes is Bob Anderson, a professional fencer. In “The Return of the Jedi”, when Darth Vader removes his helmet, the actor is Sebastian Shaw.
- Star Wars: A New Beginning should have been shot in the Philippines
Producer Gary Kurtz went to the Philippines to find a location for Tatooine, Luke Skywalker’s home. Tatooine was initially meant to be a jungle, but the thought that George Lucas had to stay in the jungle for months made him feel itchy, so they changed it into a desert.
- The Ewoks occassionally spoke Tagalog.
Many lines spoken by the Ewoks were in Tagalog. In one scene shown on YouTube, one Ewok mentioned the word “Maganda”, although they mainly spoke a language loosely inspired from a language spoken by Buddhist tribes in Southern Russia.
- Lucas didn’t want Harrison Ford as Han Solo at first.
Ever imagine if Sylvester Stallone, Al Pacino or even Kurt Russell portrayed Han Solo? Well, Harrison Ford had to beat out these actors (and some others), and more than that, he still had to contend with George Lucas himself. Lucas didn’t like Ford to portray as Han, because he didn’t want actors who previously appeared in his earlier films like American Graffiti. However, after several auditions, Ford\ eventually got the part, because he could play funny and serious when the situation calls for it.
- The actors who played R2-D2 and C-3PO detested each other.
On-screen, they look like friends who would argue on trivial issues, but in reality, they resented each other. Kenneth Baker, who played the sometimes feisty R2-D2, didn’t like Anthony Daniels, who played C-3PO because he claimed that he was rude. Daniels, in turn, thought that Baker was just a good luck charm for the movie.
- The “I am your father” line was kept secret even from the actors.
In the second installment of the Star Wars saga, “The Empire Strikes Back”, it was revealed that Darth Vader was actually Luke Skywalker’s father, and was probably the most surprising twist in the movie, mainly because when they were shooting the film, it wasn’t even mentioned, it was just secretly dubbed during post-production. When they were filming, what Darth Vader actually said was “Obi-Wan killed your father.” But Mark Hamill’s reaction was real because he just learned the actual line just moments before filming the scene, and he was warned not to tell anyone. He kept the secret until the film was released.
- The space dogfight scenes in Star Wars films were copied from WWII footage.
The editors painstakingly spent hundreds of hours watching World War II war movies and footage as guides in making the fight scenes, and with special effects, made the dogfight scenes between Rebel Alliance’s X-Wing and the Imperial TIE Fighters breathtaking.
- Lucas was a visionary and became rich because of it.
Lucas had disagreements with arrogant Hollywood executives, and because of this, he decided to form his own company, Lucasfilm. When he started directing Star Wars, executives of 20th Century Fox were afraid that he might ask for a $1 million salary, so he made a deal that he will only be paid a little more than $100,000 and in return, will have exclusive rights to Star Wars merchandise. Merchandise movie tie-ins were virtually unheard of at that time. Not only that, he had executive control to direct any sequels. These were the reasons why he became very wealthy, not the movies themselves.
- A close friend of Lucas made $40 million by not being even apart of Star Wars.
During a break in the shooting of Star Wars, Lucas decided to visit his a friend, who was directing another science-fiction film. When he saw the film, he was so sure that he would film would earn less so he made a deal with his pal – each would give 2.5 percent of the film to the other. His friend took the offer and made $40 million (adjusted for inflation) when Star Wars grossed over $775 million while his friend’s film earned only $304 million. The name of the movie and his friend? Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Steven Spielberg.
- C3-PO’s eyes were made of real gold.
When shooting was done in the desert, the actor inside the robot C3-PO almost fainted from dehydration, and because the robot was made of plastic and rubber parts, were in danger of melting. However, the eyes were made of gold, to prevent corrosion.