To mark Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you!) I have assembled some of my favourite Star Wars facts for your delectation.
1. Carrie Fisher had to stand on a box when filming with Harrison Ford
Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia, measured only 5″1 (155 cm) whereas Harrison Ford who played Hans Solo was a foot higher at 6″1 at 1.85 m. When they appeared in scenes together, Fisher had to stand on a wooden box so that they could be in the same shot.
2. Yoda was originally going to be played by a monkey carrying a cane and wearing a mask
A monkey was nearly cast to play the legendary Jedi Master; Yoda. George Lucas was not convinced that the animatronics and puppetry would be realistic and wanted to use a monkey wearing a mask and holding a cane instead. The problem was that the monkey kept pulling off his mask and waving it around, so in the end (thank God) they went with the puppet.
3. The phrase “I have a bad feeling about this” is in every single Star Wars film.
First appearing in Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope the famous line became a sort of running joke and is uttered by different characters in each of the subsequent films. The only film where the line is not heard in English is in the latest film; Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi where it is spoken by BB-8 in the opening battle sequence:
4. The word ‘ewok’ is never said out loud in a Star Wars movie.
These cute little hunter gatherers first appear in Star Wars Episode VI – Return of the Jedi where they live on the forest moon of Endor. Not many people realise that no-one ever says the word ‘Ewoks’ in any of the Star Wars films. The name only appeared in the script directions, the books, the movie’s credits, and other spin-offs such as the 1985 television film Ewoks: The Battle for Endor.
The Ewoks are named after the Miwok, a Native American tribe, indigenous to the Redwood forest in which the Endor scenes were filmed.
5. Luke Skywalker could have been a woman
When drafting A New Hope, George Lucas considered replacing the main character, Luke Skywalker (or Luke Starkiller as he was originally going to be called), with a young princess. In the end he decided to have both characters feature in the film and the young princess became Princess Leia.
6. Al Pacino auditioned for the part of Hans Solo
Al Pacino recently revealed that he was offered the role of Hans Solo, but he turned it down, saying that he found it too confusing. After his stunning performance in Godfather at that time he was being offered hundreds of roles in major productions.
“I remember not understanding (the script) when I read it. I was in The Godfather. They didn’t care if I was right or wrong for the role, if I could act or not act.”Al Pacino, MTV Toronto Film Festival
Christopher Walken, Burt Reynolds, Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone (who walked away saying the space suit made him look stupid) all auditioned for the part of Hans Solo. But in the end George Lucas chose the little-known Harrison Ford.
Harrison Ford was working as a carpenter when he was employed to read lines for the auditioning process of the first Star Wars film. George Lucas was impressed by his sardonic delivery and saw a good chemistry between Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, so in the end he dropped the A-listers and decided to cast Ford for the part of Hans Solo.
Robert Englund, who played Freddy Kruger in Nightmare on Elm Street, also auditioned for the part of Hans Solo, but was considered too old.
7. You thought you knew all the Star Wars characters? What about Ice-cream maker man?
Star Wars fans have invented a whole back story about a man running with what looks like an ice-cream maker in Star Wars Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.
Willrow Hood, as he has been named, was one of the many residents of Cloud City who was seen rushing along a corridor holding the mysterious machine. He now has his own Star Wars fandom page and has has inspired a cult following. Star Wars fans speculate what he was carrying and why. Apparently the machine was not an ice-cream maker but a camtono, used for storing valuables. Willrow Hood was rushing to destroy some top-secret information before the Galactic Empire could get its hands on it.