25 Things You Didn’t Know About The Star Wars Universe
Star Wars is one of the biggest movie franchises on the planet. Back in 1977, George Lucas brought us Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope and cinema history was changed forever!
So whether you’re a fan of the original trilogy featuring Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo, or you prefer the more recent movies directed by J.J. Abrams, there’s something for everyone in this article featuring 25 fascinating facts about the Star Wars universe.
Trust us, this list is so jam-packed full of trivia that you definitely won’t be able to read it in less than 12 par secs. So grab your blaster and a glass of blue milk and let’s go…
25. George Lucas didn’t let Carrie Fisher wear a bra during filming
Like most female actresses out there, Carrie Fisher assumed that she’d be wearing her bra underneath her costume.
But George Lucas clearly had other ideas! The director forbade Fisher from wearing her brassiere under Princess Leia’s iconic white dress because he said that ‘there was no underwear in space’. Good one George…
Instead Fisher was forced to tape her breasts down underneath her costume to cover them up. Ouch. Top marks to Lucas for his imaginative reason as to why Fisher was banned from wearing underwear during filming.
This ‘no underwear’ rule got slightly awkward during one scene in Return of the Jedi. When Leia gets wounded on Endor, Harrison Ford aka Han Solo reaches to comfort her…only to accidentally grab her breast in the process! Oops..
Fisher probably didn’t mind too much seeing as though the actors were having an affair throughout the entirety of filming for the original Star Wars trilogy. One thing the actress did mind though was that infamous golden bikini (probably another great idea by George Lucas!).
Fisher admitted that when she saw the sketches for the slave bikini it “frightened her into exercise” and that she tried to get “25 yards of fabric” added to the costume!
Perhaps unsurprisingly, producers opted for the skimpier version instead…
24. Yoda was almost played by a real life monkey
Yoda is one of the most popular and iconic characters in the Star Wars universe.
There’s nobody quite like the strange little green creature with pointy ears who just so happens to be a legendary Jedi master. In fact, for a long time George Lucas was scratching his head about how they were ever going to portray Yoda on screen.
In the end, Yoda became a pint-size puppet operated by Frank Oz, a good friend of Jim Henson (who was too busy filming The Great Muppet Caper to take on the role himself).
Lucas was so impressed with Oz that he spent thousands of dollars of his own money trying to campaign for Oz to get an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Sadly it didn’t work, much to the relief of Oz himself who wasn’t bothered in the slightest.
23. A New Hope is the reason why you have to leave the cinema after the movie has ended
Back in the day, most cinemas had a policy where you could buy a theatre ticket and stay for as long as you like.
Essentially this meant that many filmgoers would often end up watching a couple of films in a row if they had a spare afternoon. However, this all changed with the massive commercial success of Star Wars.
A New Hope earned $1.5 million in its first weekend during a limited release, and eventually grossed over $461 million. This success didn’t go unnoticed by industry insiders…
Cinemas quickly decided to profit from the Star Wars phenomenon by getting rid of tickets which allowed people to stay on and watch the pop culture phenomenon for free.
So that’s why you now have to leave the cinema once the end credits have begun to roll (unless you’re waiting for a Marvel post credits scene of course).
Lucas changed film history in more ways than one.
22. “I have a bad feeling about this” quickly became a running gag
Remember when Luke is in the Millennium Falcon and he utters this famous line?
Well people loved it so much that the phrase quickly became a running gag throughout the entirety of the Star Wars universe.
The famous line is now such an iconic part of the franchise that at least one character has said “I have a bad feeling about this” or “I have a very bad feeling about this” in every single Star Wars movie!
Our personal favourite is Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Phantom Menace (we don’t know why):
One internet user has also kindly put together screenshots depicting every single time a character has uttered these words, with Luke, Han Solo, Leia, Obi-Wan, Anakin and K-2SO all getting in on the action:
21. Anthony Daniels once had a panic attack in the C-3PO suit which you can actually see in the final cut of Return of the Jedi
Anthony Daniels has played the iconic role of C-3PO since the very first Star Wars film.
But he’s not always had a fun time of things inside that claustrophobic golden droid costume. In fact, he once had a full on panic attack inside the outfit which unfortunately made its way into the final cut of one of the movies!
Remember in Return of the Jedi when Salacious Crumb (the weird little rat thing that sits next to Jabba) begins to chew off C-3PO’s eye?
Well inside the costume, Daniels was starting to have a panic attack and couldn’t get out his lines. Apparently he kept repeating “Get me up, get me up” over and over again, and his lines had to be dubbed over in post-production.
According to rumours from the set, Daniels might have more in common with his droid counterpart than he knows. The actor is known for being extremely standoffish and rude to people on set, and never bothered to socialise with any of his Star Wars colleagues.
Ironically, Kenny Baker (who plays R2-D2) once had this to say on his frequent co-star: “I thought it was just me he didn’t get on with but recently I’ve found out he doesn’t get on with anyone. He’s been such an awkward person over the years.” Ouch!
20. Return of the Jedi nearly had a very sinister ending indeed
We all remember the epic moment when we finally see the human underneath Darth Vader’s mask.
In Return of the Jedi, Luke sees his father as he truly is for the very first time. And although we can all agree that Anakin looks a tad pale after being under that mask for all those years, the reunion between the two characters is extremely emotional.
However, Lucas once had a very different idea about the direction of the franchise and once planned an extremely dramatic scene involving the removal of Vader’s mask.
Instead of an emotional bond between father and son, Lucas played with the idea of having Luke remove the helmet before putting it on himself and proclaiming “Now I am Vader”. Woah!
This would have seen Luke return to the dark side and left fans wondering what on earth was going to happen in the franchise in the future.
Fortunately he changed his mind and instead we have the classic reveal moment without Luke trying on his dad’s hat for size.
19. The Empire Strikes Back cast used to party with the Pythons in between filming
It turns out that Mark Hamill, Han Solo and Carrie Fisher really liked to party!
Fisher once revealed that during Empire Strikes Back, the cast were shooting some scenes in London when they decided to pay a visit to Eric Idle’s house. The Pythons were filming Life of Brian at the time and Idle decided to have a little get together.
The Star Wars trio ended up drinking with the Pythons and The Rolling Stones all night and into the early hours (we wish we could have been a fly on the wall!).
Apparently the British comedians were serving a potent liquor they had made up which was nicknamed “Tunisian Table Cleaner”. All of the crew started downing the stuff and had plenty of fun at Idle’s house.
We hope the Star Wars actors had some paracetemol on hand because they were due to film scenes the very next morning. The scenes in question turned out to be Han and Leia’s arrival at Cloud City, where they meet Lando Calrissian.
Fisher explained that she and Ford look so happy in those scenes because they had just been up all night having a great time with the Stones and the Pythons. Idle later said he was very pleased to have had a small hand in how the final cut of the movie turned out!
18. ‘N Sync very nearly had a cameo in Attack of the Clones
This would have been the most bizarre crossover in film history…
…even more bizarre than the time Ed Sheeran popped up in Game of Thrones (shudder). Apparently George Lucas’ daughter was a massive fan of ‘N Sync and pleaded with her dad to get the band a cameo in one of his movies.
Daniel Craig played one of the stormtroopers who arrests Rey in The Force Awakens, and Simon Pegg pops up in the same movie as Unkar Plutt.
But did you know that actor and comedian Bill Hader actually helped to provide the sounds for BB-8?!
17. E.T. was actually in The Phantom Menace
Speaking of cameos, even the most die hard Star Wars fans might have missed this one…
Did you know that E.T. the Extra Terrestrial actually pops up in Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace? Lucas decided to include the alien friend in the movie very briefly:
This inclusion officially bridges the gap between the Lucas and Spielberg universes. It might have something to do with the fact that the two legendary directors are extremely close friends…
The pair have a famous friendship which all started back when they were filming A New Hope and Jaws at the same time. Little did they know how big those two movies were going to become!
16. The actor who portrays Darth Vader is banned from all official Star Wars events
It’s fair to say that George Lucas has a bit of a prickly personality.
In fact, David Prowse – the 6 ft. 6 actor who portrayed Darth Vader – is officially banned from attending any and all official Star Wars conventions due to the fact that Lucas finds him ‘annoying’!
However, apparently the beef all started way back in the 70s, when Prowse reportedly gave away the massive Star Wars secret that Luke was actually Darth Vader’s son. Luckily, in a world before social media, the claim only made it to a couple of newspaper columns before the remark was completely ignored.
However, rumour has it that Lucas was never able to get over Prowse’s behaviour. It also appears that to safeguard further secrets, Prowse was given a fake script by producers…which he then spilled to the British media.
Although Prowse’s name is never officially confirmed, Richard Marquand revealed that there was “one particular actor who gave an interview to the English press about the movie’s plot which extremely upset us.” Yikes!
15. George Lucas was not the most communicative director in the world
It’s fair to say that George Lucas has quite an interesting directing style.
Apparently many of the cast members of Star Wars felt that Lucas was distinctively uncommunicative and found his commands hard to get used to.
This is because he only veered between two specific pieces of advice, telling his actors to either be “faster” or “more intense”.
In fact, Lucas once lost his voice during filming after an illness, and his production team simply handed him a board which said “faster” on one side and “more intense” on the other!
It seems as though this unique directing style didn’t offend the actors in question too much though – especially considering how much money they earned from the franchise!
Lucas can often be seen on the red carpet with his lead actors to this day.
14. Special effects teams came up with some very inventive noises to create Chewbacca’s voice
Chewbacca’s distinctive cry is probably one of the most recognisable sounds in film history.
So how exactly did special effects manage to achieve it? Apparently they mixed up the sounds of several different animals dying! Chewie’s cry of anguish is a mix of bears, walruses, lions and badgers all about to meet their maker. Aww!
That’s not the only bizarre sound effect to be featured in the Star Wars universe. Apparently the sound of the TIE fighter engine is actually an elephant noise.
The team working on the TIE fighters combined an elephant’s bellow with the sound of a car driving on a wet pavement.
But what about the lightsaber, the most iconic weapon in the Star Wars universe? Apparently its distinctive sound comes from the hum of an old television.
The effects team combined the sound of a picture tube and the buzz of a film projector’s motor.
13. Liam Neeson cost The Phantom Menace $150,000 in production costs…because he was too tall!
Liam Neeson played the much-loved character of Qui-Gon Jinn.
And even though he was only in the first prequel movie, Neeson had a major effect on the franchise…in more ways than one! Neeson accidentally ended up costing production over $150,000 in unforeseen costs…thanks to his tall stature.
Set designers on The Phantom Menace created sets that were as tall as the actors involved. However, they didn’t realise that Northern Irish actor Liam Neeson is actually 6′ 4″.
This meant that they were forced to rebuild all of the door frames that Qui-Gon Jinn uses in the movie, which ended up costing Lucasfilm $150,000 dollars. Oops! That’s not the only Neeson fact from The Phantom Menace either…
Remember when Qui-Gon is recording on his personal communicator about the state of Anakin’s midi-chlorians? That little gadget he’s holding is actually a cast of a Gillette Ladies Razor!
Smooth work by the props department there. They should have been in charge of the doors.
12. One country in the world actually accepts Star Wars coins as real money
Star Wars has one of the biggest merchandise collections in the world.
One of its prized bits of merch include a set of special Star Wars coins, which are updated with every new film that hits cinema screens. Bizarrely, an island in the South Pacific actually accepts these coins as legal tender!
In 2011, the tiny Polynesian island of Niue – which is located 1,500 miles off the coast of New Zealand – announced that it would be accepting Star Wars coins in exchange for food, clothes and any other purchases.
The New Zealand Mint even released a statement about the commemorative merchandise: “The coins are legal tender, however they are more suited as a collectors piece as the value of the metal content is higher than the face value.
“We expect these coins to be popular with both coin collectors and Star Wars fans, who will certainly be ‘wowed’ by them. We are absolutely delighted to be involved with such an amazing franchise.
“Don’t deny the Force within you. Make sure you secure all of these out of this world coins.” Next time you’re in Niue you could always use some Star Wars merchandise to get you out of a tight spot!
11. George Lucas left the Directors Guild before he had even started work on A New Hope
Lucas never compromised on his vision with the original Star Wars trilogy.
And back in the 70s, Lucas (pictured below minus his recognisable beard) left the Directors Guild of America after a dispute over the opening credits that were going to be used in A New Hope.
The Guild quickly got wind that Lucas was planning on releasing A New Hope with his inventive new scrolling credits – and they really weren’t happy about it.
Lucas refused to change the iconic yellow writing to a more traditional format and was fined by the Directors Guild as a result.
Lucas paid the fine – and then resigned from the organisation, rather than being forced to change his iconic opening credits.
We think he made the right choice!
10. The iconic opening credits were created in an extremely bizarre way
Speaking of those credits – have you ever wondered how they were first made?!
Lucasfilm is responsible for plenty of innovation in the effects department, but they were forced to use a physical crawl to shoot the opening credits of A New Hope.
The text that floats up the screen was actually created using giant cut-out yellow letters that were crawled against a black background. No, we’re not joking…
One Star Wars insider revealed that the text was filmed practically “by carefully placing 2-foot-wide die cut yellow letters over a 6-foot-long black paper background with a camera making a slow pass over them to mimic the crawl.”
It’s strange to think that this effect can now be achieved with the click of a button! Unfortunately, it took Lucas and his crew hours to get right.
We’ll never look at those credits from A New Hope in the same way again!
9. Mark Hamill was supposed to have significantly more screen time in The Force Awakens
Fans came out of the cinema a little bit perplexed after the end of The Force Awakens.
Mark Hamill was slated to return for the project in the role of Luke Skywalker, but despite being one of the most recognisable faces in the Star Wars universe, the director gave Hamill the absolute minimum of screentime. How did this happen?!
Michael Arndt tried to insert Skywalker into the film at much earlier points during filming, and the original screenplay featured the Jedi knight in a much more prominent storyline.
However, Arndt noticed that every time Luke appeared on screen, the action would effectively stop and all of the attention basically went to Skywalker. All of the new characters he was trying to introduce were sidelined in favour of the old protagonist.
Unfortunately, Mark Hamill had lost 50 lbs for the role and returned to the franchise under the impression that he would be getting a sizeable part in The Force Awakens.
It was only when Hamill turned up to the table read that he discovered J.J. Abrams had cut down his part to – well – an epic seconds-long reveal.
8. Benicio del Toro nearly appeared in The Phantom Menace first
To many people, Benicio Del Toro was a bit of a random inclusion in the cast.
However you feel about The Last Jedi and Del Toro’s casting though, you might be interested to learn that the actor was supposed to feature in the Star Wars universe a lot earlier than 2017.
Way back in the late 90s, Del Toro actually signed up to play the role of Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace. However, he left the production after Darth Maul’s character was sidelined from the main story.
Instead Maul was played by Scottish martial arts expert Ray Park…
We think it all worked out in the end! After all, we can’t imagine anyone else being able to wield that double lightsaber in quite the same way!
7. It was J.J. Abrams who was responsible for essentially ‘remaking’ Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope
The Force Awakens generally received a lot of praise from fans and critics alike.
But this might be to do with the fact that the movie is a lot like the original classic A New Hope. And apparently J.J. Abrams is the prime reason as to why the film turned out this way.
The Force Awakens features the same desert home planets and lush forests with secret bases that fans were already familiar with. This wasn’t the vision that original director Michael Arndt had intended though.
Ardnt had come up with a number of intriguing storylines for Rey, including her finding wreckage of Death Star II under the sea, while other potential ideas saw characters racing to uncover Darth Vader’s dead body.
When Abrams came in, he scrapped much of Arndt’s original story and instead turned the film into a New Hope throwback that fans of all generations would enjoy.
Of course, plenty of people criticised this method for being too ‘safe’ but you can’t please everyone…
6. Riz Ahmed sent casting directors 500 takes of one scene
Riz Ahmed is one of the stars of Rogue One.
British actor Ahmed played Bodhi Rook, the defector and ex-cargo pilot who attempts to steal the Death Star plans with his fellow band of rebels. Ahmed already had plenty of notable film roles under his belt by the time casting for Rogue One came around.
However, after realising that he was on the radar of Star Wars executives, Ahmed went to extreme lengths to ensure that he won the part of Bodhi.
Specifically, Ahmed’s audition for Rogue One involved sending casting directors a whopping 500(!) takes of one single scene, just so that he got it absolutely right.
Talk about dedication! The actor said that he spoke to a casting director on the phone who then asked him to put something on tape.
Ahmed really went above and beyond to win that part – and it clearly paid off.
5. Rogue One‘s stormtrooper outfits came a long way from the original costumes in A New Hope
The stormtroopers have some of the most iconic outfits in the Star Wars universe.
And in The Force Awakens they went from being dead-eyed, faceless drones to real human beings underneath all of that white plastic.
However, the stormtroopers in Rogue One got a real upgrade compared to their predecessors in A New Hope.
In the original 1977 movie, the stormtroopers wore stickers on their outfits for details, rather than elaborately hand-crafted helmets with proper ventilation etc.
However, by the time Rogue One rolled around, the stormtroopers were gifted costumes with all of the breathing apparatus etc. built into their helmets and armour.
Not a sticker in sight!
4. Mark Hamill burst a blood vessel during filming
Mark Hamill found out just how dangerous filming can be during the scene when Luke, Leia, Han Solo and Chewie are stuck in the trash compactor.
During this scene, Skywalker is dragged under the water by a terrifying monster, which actually required Hamill to hold his breath underwater.
Unfortunately, Hamill held his breath for so long during one take that he burst a blood vessel in his face. Ouch!
This also meant that the next few shots taken afterwards all try and hide the left hand side of Luke’s face. And that’s not the only crazy fact from the infamous trash compactor scene…
Apparently all of the garbage you see in the movie was 100% real, which made the set absolutely stink. Fisher, Ford and Hamill struggled to film the scene because the stench was so bad.
No wonder Hamill held his breath for too long!
3. The dice that Luke gives Leia in The Last Jedi have a special meaning behind them
Remember those golden dice that Luke gives to Leia in The Last Jedi?
They have a very special significance that only die hard Star Wars fans will have noticed. The dice are actually a clever nod to our dear, departed Han Solo – they’re a memento from the Millennium Falcon cockpit.
You can see the dice hanging up in the cockpit when Chewie, Han, Luke and Obi-Wan are travelling in the Falcon (circled in red in the picture below).
The Last Jedi also features another emotional tribute to the charismatic smuggler.
After fighting Kylo Ren, Luke Skywalker does his best Han impersonation by stating “See you around, kid”.
Only Harrison Ford can pull off that line!
2. Daisy Ridley was originally the only new female cast member to appear in The Force Awakens
Daisy Ridley received universal praise for her performance as Rey.
Rey was a strong female protagonist with heart and character who helped to continue the Star Wars tradition of inspiring women in leading roles. However, when the cast list was first announced, some people were in uproar about the fact that Rey was the only new female cast member added to the line up.
Luckily by the time the movie hit cinema screens, Ridley was surrounded by a host of other female characters including Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma and Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata.
Christie’s inclusion in the cast led to Phasma’s role being padded out significantly before filming began.
Phasma’s striking chrome-plated stormtrooper armour is also a favourite amongst fans. In fact, this design was originally supposed to be Kylo Ren’s costume.
Kathleen Kennedy saw a conceptual sketch of the armour and decided that it was too good to throw away, giving the armour to Phasma instead.
1. The last scene of the original trilogy was filmed on George Lucas’ ranch
The last scene of Return of the Jedi is favourite amongst fans of Star Wars.
We get to see Luke, Leia and Han celebrating the success of the rebel alliance on the planet of Endor, surrounded by plenty of partying ewoks.
But there’s also a moment when we see Luke lighting his father’s funeral pyre and staring wistfully at the flames.
It turns out that this scene was filmed on Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch in California. The Ranch is where Lucas used to work on his films and has understandably proved to be a popular attraction for Star Wars fans.
Did you know all of these facts about the Star Wars universe? Let us know in the comments section!