A Long Time Ago
Ok, forty-four years isn’t THAT long in the grand scheme of things, but looking back at how far entertainment has come in that time, from movies, TV, video games and more it becomes harder and harder to remember the last time something truly groundbreaking or cutting edge came out. On May 25th, 1977, something truly groundbreaking that changed the game forever did come out, and that was of course, Star Wars.
In a time where Sci-Fi was not considered a viable property for any studio, one man was willing to do whatever it took to get his space fantasy story of high adventure onto the big screen. Little did anyone know that this adventure would go on to be the biggest franchise in cinema history and pave the way for many more great stories across a wide range of media.
As we celebrate the anniversary of a galaxy far far away, the bearded folk at TBG have delved deep into the Jedi archives to pull out ten fun facts about Star Wars: A New Hope that you may not know. So before you make the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs, pour yourself a glass of blue milk because this is where the fun begins.
10 – An Elaborate Title
Before the movie became a franchise it was originally released as just Star Wars, it was not until the sequels took shape and the movie later became known as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. But believe it or not, the original title was slightly more over the top with George Lucas intending his Magnum Opus to be called, Adventures of the Starkiller as Taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars. For those who may not know, Luke’s original surname was to be Starkiller until Lucas decided it sounded too villainous and changed it to the now iconic, Skywalker.
9 – Lady Luke
Hollywood may have forgotten all the strong women that have appeared in movies over the years as they struggle to create natural heroines for the modern-day. However, before the dark times of political agenda, George Lucas wrote a version of the script with Luke’s character actually being portrayed as female after realising his original draft was lacking in the lady department. This concept was in motion for some time until the character of Princess Leia was created which ultimately lead to the idea that Luke and Leia are twins. For our money, Carrie Fisher more than holds her own on-screen and delivers a great performance alongside Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford.
8 – Accidents Happen
Very few movie props are as iconic as the Lightsaber, an elegant weapon for a more civilised age. In the hands of a Star Wars fan, anything from an old broom handle to an empty wrapping paper tube can become a lightsaber, complete with mouth made sound effects that resemble a race car and a dry fart. However, the iconic hum of the lightsaber heard in the movies was discovered completely by accident. Sound designer Ben Burtt walked past a television with a microphone that emitted a loud buzzing hum which he liked so much that he recorded and experimented with until he found that infamous sound we all know and love.
7 – The Master of Merchandise
The Star Wars franchise is well known for its strong merchandise line, we dare say that no franchise before or since has dominated toy stores and collectors shelves more. But of course, merchandise sales are never a sure thing, even more so back in 1977 with an unknown property. But big George made a shrewd financial move when he opted to accept a lower salary in exchange for the merchandise and sequel rights for the series, this clearly paid off as in the first two years, Star Wars toys and merch grossed over one hundred million dollars!
6 – No Wasted Motion
We all know that Darth Vader is the most iconic movie villain of all time and dominates the screen at every opportunity but he is not the only force to be reckoned with in Star Wars. Legendary actor Peter Cushing was hired to play the sinister Wilhuff Tarkin and delivered an icy cold performance which he filmed in just five days. That’s right, Van Helsing himself spent just five days on set and despite a relatively small role he commanded a handsome two thousand dollars a day salary, which nowadays would equate to roughly fifteen thousand a day, nice work if you can get it. He was also rumoured to have worn slippers for most of his scenes as the imperial boots hurt his feet!
5 – Not the Movie you’re Looking For?
Everyone remembers the day when we all felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. We feared something terrible had happened and as it turns out, on October 30th 2002, Disney bought Star Wars for a whopping Four Billion Dollars! But back in the seventies, they had a bad feeling about this, as Disney were among several studios to turn down producing Star Wars as it was deemed to be, among other things, non-profitable. Other studios to say no include United Artists and Universal.
4 – A Search for a Princess
It is hard to imagine anyone but Carrie Fisher playing the now-iconic role as Princess Leia Organa, but Fisher had to fight off a long list of potential princesses before she could don the cinnamon swirl hairdo and captivate audiences around the world. Among the contenders were Kim Basinger, Meryl Streep, Karen Allen, Gina Davis, Jodie Foster, Margo Kidder and Sigourney Weaver. A great list of actresses we’re sure you’ll agree but Lucas made the right call, Carrie Fisher will always be our Princess.
3 – Never Tell Me the Odds
Similar to Princess Leia, it is near impossible to imagine anyone other than Ford portraying everybody’s favourite smuggler, Han Solo. As hard as it is to imagine, Lucas didn’t even want Ford to audition for the part, instead, actors that were lined up for consideration included Sylvester Stallone, Al Pacino, Bill Murray, Nick Nolte, Steve Martin, James Caan, Christopher Walken and Kurt Russel. A legend was born after Ford, who was working as a carpenter at the time, was brought on set to help other actors run their lines, Lucas saw that he was perfect for the part and the rest is history.
2 – The Fastest Hunk of Food in the Galaxy
Everything about the Star Wars galaxy is unique and memorable, but it’s not just the colourful cast of characters and creatures that bring this world to life, it’s also the vehicles. From Star Destroyers to X-Wings the ships of Star Wars are all fondly remembered and none more so than Han Solo’s beloved hunk of junk, The Millennium Falcon. Believe it or not, the unique design for the Falcon came after much deliberation from Lucas and was eventually inspired by a hamburger he was eating at the time! There are also rumours that the cockpit was inspired by an olive that was on the side of his plate. Who eats a hamburger with an olive?
1 – One Ticket, One Movie
Star Wars changed the game for movies and cinema in many ways but one way you may not realise is that it is the reason we now have to buy one ticket per movie and leave the cinema once a movie ends. In the olden days, cinema-goers were able to purchase one admission ticket and stay in the theatre to enjoy several movies if they wished. However, once Star Wars came on the scene and made $1.5 Million in its first weekend, cinema owners realised they could capitalise on this by changing tickets to allow only one movie viewing per purchase. Star Wars eventually went on to gross over $461 Million.
So there it is, ten facts to keep you entertained. We hope you have enjoyed reading and just remember, if you turn on the TV and see nothing but a wretched hive of scum and villainy, don’t give into hate, let the force flow through you and watch Star Wars instead!