20 Star Wars facts you might now know

Have just finished reading How Star Wars conquered the Universe by Chris Taylor. A very well researched book on not just the films, but the cultural phenomenon. He has interviewed scores of peole involved and got holds of all the various drafts and amended scripts.

Picked up a lot of facts and trivia I didn’t know, so figured the day before Episode VII is a good time to share some of them. 20 facts you may now know:

  1. Lucas saw as how a small bunch of primitive rebels defeated a huge empire.  It was loosely based on the Vietnam War with the US Government being the Empire, the Emperor being Richard Nixon and the Ewoks representing the Viet Cong!
  2. The original title for the first movie was “The Adventures of Luke Starkiller”
  3. Lucas was over budget for the movie so destroyed Alderaan to save the expense of filming what was to be several scenes on it
  4. Engineers once calculated that it would take 833,315 years for Earth to construct the Death Star and cost $852 quadrillion or $852,000 trillions.
  5. When Mad Magazine did a parody called The Empire Strikes Out, Lucasfilm wrote to then threatening a lawsuit. Mad Magazine responded by sending them a copy of the personal letter they’d received from George Lucas telling them how great the parody was.
  6. In original scripts C3PO was meant to die in Episode IV and Lando in Episode VI. They were changed to Obi-Wan and Yoda.
  7. Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher had an affair during the filming of Episode IV. It started when he surprised her by hiding naked in his closet with just a bow tie on.
  8. Economists have calculated that if you paid people minimum wage to mop the floors of the Death Star, it would cost $732 billion
  9. Fox Studios thought Star Wars would tank as it had only $1.5 million of advance bookings and it opened in just 43 theatres
  10. So many people just stayed in theatres to watch Star Wars multiple times (without paying), that this led to theatres now checking and clearing the audience between screenings of films today
  11. Fox stock went from $13 to $23 a share within one month of Star Wars opening
  12. The reasons Luke Skywalker looked so stunned to learn Darth Vader was his father was he got told just two minutes before the scene was shot. And the actor who played Darth Vader (not James Earl Jones who was the voice) only found out when he watched the film!
  13. The reason Had Sole got frozen in carbonite at the end of Episode V is because he had not signed up for Episode VI. If they couldn’t get an agreement he would have stayed frozen!
  14. The entirety of Boba Fett”s dialogue in Episode V and VI can fit into a single tweet
  15. After Mark Hamill learnt Leia was his sister (and before that Darth Vader his father) he joked that they should have Boba Fett remove Fett’s helmet and Luke discovers Boba Fett is his mother 🙂
  16. Lucas named the Trade Federation leaders Nute Gunray and Lott Dod after Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.
  17. The original script for the prequels sounded much better than the final scripts – Qui Gon is a minor figure so the focus is on Obi-Wan for Episode I.  Jar Jar speaks normally and is very wise, and the plot is about how Amidala’s race is prejudiced against his but she overcomes this prejudice. Also originally in Episode III Amidala was meant to found the Rebel Alliance, instead of dying.
  18. One fan queued up for six weeks for the first screening of Episode I.  His reaction upon seeing it was “Shit. Fucking. Sandwich”
  19. In the original script for Episode III Palpatine tells Anakin that he created him through the force, and that makes him effectively his father. That would have meant the Emperor was Luke’s grandfather!
  20. Han shot first!

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