‘Star Wars’: Behind the scenes
It’s been decades since the fantasy sci-fi film ‘Star Wars’ first hit the big screen, and we still can’t get enough. Since it is one of the biggest franchises of all time, it’s launched some pretty iconic characters that we hold near and dear to our hearts many years later.
Whether you’re a superfan or a new viewer, there’s still a lot you don’t know about the “galaxy far, far away,” so we’ve gathered some memorable behind-the-scenes facts about the ‘Star Wars’ saga.
Harrison Ford hated all of Han Solo’s lines
While making Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, the cast felt frustrated that the filmmaker was more passionate about the special effects and action shots rather than developing their characters. Harrison Ford was especially disappointed with his beloved character’s hasty verbiage.
He screamed on set, “You can type this s*** but you can’t say it!” Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, noted that, “He’d written things in the margins, saying the same thing basically, but his way.” After seeing the movie, Ford had a change of heart, saying, “I told George: ‘You can’t say that stuff. You can only type it.’ But I was wrong. It worked.”
The man who wore the Darth Vader costume is banned From ‘Star Wars’ events
Although the booming voice behind the famous villain is James Earl Jones, it was British actor David Prowse that brought the character to life in the costume. Unfortunately, David Prowse would eventually be banned from any future Star Wars events because he couldn’t keep his mouth shut.
During a convention in 1978, Prowse told fans that in the sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, Luke would learn that his archenemy was also his dad, saying, “Father can’t kill son, son can’t kill father. So they live again to star in Star Wars IV.” George Lucas never found out how he discovered this factoid, seeing as he had gone to extra lengths to keep it hidden.
Prowse and Lucas had a falling out, and he is currently banned from all Star Wars events.
‘The Phantom Menace’ ruined Jake Lloyd’s life
Jake Lloyd is the actor who played the young Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace. Casting for the role of the boy who would become Darth Vader was critical to the prequels. He admitted that the film led to bullying in school, saying that it was a “living hell.”
He said there was also a lot of online hate directed at his performance in the film, saying, “When you have something like that, there’s a lot of expectations for it to meet the standards of the public and I don’t think George did that.”
He decided to give up acting, wound up in prison, and was promptly moved to a psychiatric hospital after a family member revealed that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Terence Stamp hated working with George Lucas
Terence Stamp, who played Supreme Chancellor Valorum, had a hard time working with George Lucas on Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. During an interview with Empire, Stamp admitted that, “We didn’t get on at all. I didn’t rate him that much as a director, really. I didn’t feel he was a director of actors; he was more interested in stuff and effects. He didn’t interest me, and I wouldn’t think I interested him.”
He also admitted that he took the role because he wanted to work with Natalie Portman. He said, “On the day I’m supposed to do my scene with her, for which I’d traveled halfway around the world, I said, ‘Where’s Natalie?’ And George says, ‘That’s Natalie,’ and points to a bit of paper on the wall. It was just boring.”
Carrie Fisher struggled on set
Carrie Fisher would often partake in her deadly vices during filming. She would party in the house she was renting from Eric Idle at the time into the early mornings. One night, while Idle was on the property, he invited The Rolling Stones over, and Fisher invited Ford.
The two actors ended up drinking and partying with the band until the wee hours of the night. Fisher said of the next day, “We weren’t hungover. We were still in our cups. And if you watch the movie, you can see that: Harrison and I are smiling as we arrived in Cloud City. Doesn’t that sound like a euphemism?”
Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill had a short fling
Romance found its way onto the set with a number of on- and off-screen flings. You probably recall the iconic, yet slightly cringeworthy kiss between siblings Leia and Luke in The Empire Strikes Back, but it turns out the two actors shared a few kisses in real life too.
Mark Hamill admitted to The Guardian that, “Carrie and I were attracted to one another, but I knew from the previous jobs that it would have been a bad idea (to get involved with a co-star). But Carrie and I found pretexts.”
He spilled that while they were drunk, they ended up locking lips and “making out like teenagers.” Their small fling fizzled out as the pair couldn’t stop giggling whenever they were around each other.
Hayden Christensen felt like his fame was handed to him
Even though many fans claim that the Anakin Skywalker’s character was “whiny and selfish,” they still applaud Christensen for doing a noteworthy job acting the part. Which is probably why many people are confused as to why Christensen didn’t continue to pursue acting.
Christensen decided to live a quiet life on a farm, telling the Los Angeles Times, “I guess I felt like I had this great thing in ‘Star Wars’ that provided all these opportunities and gave me a career, but it all kind of felt a little too handed to me. I didn’t want to go through life feeling like I was just riding a wave.”
George Lucas’ wife had a lot of say in the movie, but she was never given credit
Yes, we may credit George Lucas with bringing the vision to life, but in The Secret History of Star Wars by Michael Kaminski, it says that a great deal of the film’s iconic scenes happened thanks to Lucas’ wife, film editor Marcia Lucas.
In 1977, she received an Academy Award for Film Editing for her work on Star Wars, but it is still George Lucas who has received wide acclaim. Mark Hamill has even admitted, “You can see a huge difference in the films that he does now and the films that he did when he was married.” Many say this is why the prequels are of a different caliber than the other films.
George Lucas gave Carrie Fisher a hard time about her undergarments
One of the more famous feuds on set was the one between George Lucas and Carrie Fisher’s undergarments (or, we guess, lack of them). While Fisher was wearing Leia’s famous white costume, she was forbidden from wearing anything underneath. Lucas deferred to “scientific accuracy” as his reasoning, but Fisher was skeptical.
Various accounts have admitted that Lucas told Fisher she wasn’t allowed to wear undergarments underneath her dress since they didn’t exist in space. Fisher told Syfy, “He explained that in space you get weightless, and so your flesh expands. What? But your bra doesn’t, so you get strangled by your bra. That’s why I couldn’t wear a bra in the first Star Wars.”
Alec Guinness regretted playing Obi-Wan Kenobi
Alec Guinness, who was a classically trained actor before partaking in Star Wars, only did the film for the paycheck, as he didn’t think it would become the big franchise it is today. Much to his disappointment, he was associated with the role for the rest of his career.
He wrote in his autobiography, A Positively Final Appearance, “Twenty years ago, when the film was first shown, it had a freshness, also a sense of moral good and fun. But it has led to a worldwide taste for a fantasy world of secondhand, childish banalities.” Guinness also apparently begged for George Lucas to kill off his character at some point because he couldn’t stand it.
Mark Hamill’s face was severely injured in an accident
Postproduction for the cast and George Lucas during Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope was incredibly stressful. It didn’t help that Mark Hamill was in an automobile accident, which severely injured his face. His nose and left cheekbone were fractured, and this prevented him from participating in reshoots.
This is likely why Hamill’s face looks different in The Empire Strikes Back. The Telegraph reported that he wound up having surgery to reconstruct the damage. Doctors used cartilage from his ear to help rebuild his nose. The scar that appears on Luke’s face after being attacked by a wampa in The Empire Strikes Back “was only partially artificial.”
Richard Marquand admitted that George Lucas made his job difficult
George Lucas was hoping that David Lynch or David Cronenberg would direct the third Star Wars film, Return of the Jedi, but the job eventually went to Richard Marquand. Although it hasn’t been confirmed, reports claim that Lucas made Marquand’s time on set very difficult.
Lucas was concerned with Marquand’s inexperience with special effects, and so he would often take control of every shot and do what he wanted with the raw footage in postproduction. This is perhaps why many fans believe that George Lucas directed the film, but he didn’t. In fact, after reading about Marquand’s struggle with Lucas on the film, many people didn’t understand why Lucas didn’t just direct the movie himself.
Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher had an affair during filming
Carrie Fisher confirmed in her 2016 memoir, The Princess Diarist, that the pair had a three-month affair while filming. It was quite controversial seeing as Ford was 14 years older than Fisher, and that he was married with two children. Fisher has admitted that the feelings were very one-sided.
The Guardian reported, “I don’t think, until now, he knew the intensity of my feelings.” Eventually, they split up after the movie was finished filming. She continued, “We stayed together for the remainder of the film. It was never going to be more than that. I didn’t think it was going to be even that.”
Harrison Ford begged to be killed off in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’
Harrison Ford suggested to George Lucas that they kill off his character in The Empire Strikes Back to give the film an emotional edge.
George Lucas rebutted: “I said, ‘Harrison, I can’t kill you. I need you at the end of the next movie. There’s this love thing going on. But I’ll do the next best thing.’”
According to Lucas, the “next best thing” was, “I’ll put you in a slab of concrete and ship you off to Mars.”
Perhaps it is a good thing that Lucas did that, seeing as Ford appeared alongside other original Star Wars cast members such as Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill in Star Wars: Episode VII.
Harrison Ford tried to get a puppeteer fired
During the moment when the puppets catch Han Solo kissing Princess Leia, all the costumed characters and puppeteers are supposed to chant, “We saw you kissing!” Although the moment was meant to be light, Harrison had an issue with it.
Tim Rose, a puppeteer, told Jamie Stangroom that, “Harrison went over to the director and said ‘Are these puppet characters going to laugh over my line? Because I don’t want to have to come back and do ADR (Automated Dialog Replacement).’”
Tim then made a joke, saying, “Eh, this Harrison guy … is he gonna talk over our laugh? ’Cause it’s really putting me off.” Harrison stormed off the set and said he wouldn’t return until the puppeteer was fired. (He wasn’t.)
The actors who played C-3P0 and R2-D2 had a long-simmering feud
The actors behind these two famous droids have had a dispute that has taken place for decades. Kenny Baker, who played R2-D2, slandered Anthony Daniels for being “the rudest man alive” and said that he referred to him as a “little man” (Baker was 3 foot 8 inches tall). Turns out this wasn’t the kind of cheery partnership fans had come to know from their beloved droid duo.
Baker told Metro in 2009, “He really degraded me and made me feel small — for want of a better expression. He’s rude to everyone though, including the fans.” On-screen, their bickering relationship might have been endearing, but in real life, it was very much the opposite. Oftentimes, they wouldn’t even attend interviews and publicity events in fear of seeing each other.
George Lucas’ obsession with the franchise led to his divorce
As mentioned before, it was George Lucas’ wife, Marcia Lucas, who deserved a lot of credit for the Star Wars films. Her advice regarding certain scenes was crucial and played a vital role in big scenes such as the Death Star trench battle scene.
She told Lucas that, “If the audience doesn’t cheer when Han Solo comes in at the last second in the Millennium Falcon to help Luke when he’s being chased by Darth Vader, the picture doesn’t work.”
Unfortunately, Lucas’ obsession with the films took a toll on his marriage, and Marcia filed for divorce in 1983. Mark Hamill later admitted that she was “the heart and warmth of the films.”
Harrison Ford tried to destroy the Millennium Falcon during a fit of anger
It was revealed by Mark Hamill that there was an instance where Harrison Ford became so frustrated on set that he grabbed a handsaw with the intent of destroying the Millennium Falcon set piece. He revealed to Empire, “You heard about Harrison taking a saw to The Millennium Falcon because he got so mad?”
He continued, “People were coming up to me going, ‘You gotta stop Harrison, he’s sawing up the Falcon.’ It was made of wood and he just took a saw to it. I love Harrison. I got to stop him because I can make him laugh when he gets really, really mad.”
The Princess Leia bikini garnered a lot of controversy
Leia’s most memorable feature was indeed her double buns, but she is also famous for the gold bikini she dons while under the imprisonment of Jabba the Hutt. Carrie Fisher has admitted that she despised wearing the costume. For many avid Star Wars audience members, this is perhaps the favorite (mostly the male audiences).
The Telegraph reported that when Lucas showed her early sketches of the barely-there bikini, she felt as though he was trying to “frighten me into exercise,” and she emphasized that it worked for all the wrong reasons. The Daily Beast reported that at the time, Fisher suffered from “serious body dysmorphia issues.”
Richard Marquand often verbally bullied Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher admitted to The Daily Beast that Return of the Jedi director Richard Marquand would often bully her verbally on set. She said, “I hated him. He fell all over Harrison, but he would yell at me constantly. He yelled at me one day, and I burst into tears, and it felt great because it f***ed up the makeup.”
She continued, “I thought ‘Oh I f***ed up your shot? Now you see who really f***ed up.’ It took an hour for them to do my makeup again.”
The Daily Beast commented, “Fisher is, simply put, a boss.” Frankly, we’d have to agree. This is likely why she has remained an icon for decades.
George Lucas wanted a more famous actor to play Han Solo
When George Lucas was searching for someone to play Han Solo, he was hoping for A-listers such as Al Pacino, Sylvester Stallone, Christopher Walken, or even Bill Murray. When Harrison Ford was cast as the Corellian space smuggler, he wasn’t a well-known actor, but he had acted in Lucas’ previous film, American Graffiti.
He was assisting Lucas with auditioning other actors by reading lines, without any expectation that he would be cast in the film. Lucas began considering Ford for the role after realizing his readings were better than the actors who were auditioning. Lucas eventually decided to go with Ford, and the two went on to make film history.
‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ was rejected by almost every studio
The film, formerly referred to as The Star Was, was initially rejected by United Artists in 1973. Universal, the studio who released Lucas’ previous film American Graffiti, rejected Star Wars, calling it “strange.” They wanted Lucas to make something more serious.
Disney also rejected it, which is ironic, seeing as they acquired Lucasfilm in 2012. Although 20th Century Fox eventually agreed to produce the film, they didn’t expect it to do well. This was because sci-fi films weren’t popular during the ’70s, and big fantasy films were basically nonexistent. We’re pretty sure that some of these studios are kicking themselves now.
George Lucas made sure the holiday special never saw the light of day
Some of you may have thought that The Star Wars Holiday Special was just part of the Mandela Effect, but it does actually exist. The reason you believe it didn’t exist is because George Lucas made sure it would never see the light again.
In other words, if you were to go looking for the film, then you would have to acquire it by illegal means. The film has been deemed unwatchable, with long monologues in Wookie language without any subtitles, and an animated segment. There are odd cameos made by Jefferson Starship and Bea Arthur, and appearances by some of the original cast: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford.
George Lucas left the Directors Guild because of the opening credits
The famous Star Wars text crawls at the opening credits have become iconic over the years, but they were quite problematic at first. The credits actually went against the rules of the Directors Guild of America. George Lucas was fined $500,000 for The Empire Strikes Back, even though director Irvin Kershner was okay with it.
In response, Lucas quit the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild to help him avoid the fine, even though it would likely spell disaster for The Phantom Menace. Lucas approached Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, and Ron Howard to direct the movie, but they weren’t allowed to take part in the film since they were DGA members.
Darth Vader being Luke’s father was a last-minute reveal to Mark Hamill
The big plot twist in The Empire Strikes Back has been referenced in pop culture for years, and has become one of the most iconic scenes in the entire saga. Mark Hamill only found out about this twist right before he filmed the scene. He was only informed about the plot twist for one reason.
It was so Hamill could be given his line in response to the traumatizing news. David Prowse and the rest of the cast and crew had no idea, as Prowse’s line was originally, “Obi-Wan killed your father,” but they later dubbed the “I am your father” line over the original during postproduction.
George Lucas didn’t enjoy ‘The Force Awakens’
Although fans were divided on Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, it still received high praise from critics. George Lucas, on the other hand, wasn’t impressed. During a 2015 interview with Charlie Rose, he said, “They decided they were going to do their own thing.”
He continued, “They weren’t that keen to have me involved anyway … and I don’t have the control to do that anymore … so I said, ‘Okay, I will go my way, and I’ll let them go their way.’”
Lucas also complained that, “They wanted to do a retro movie. I don’t like that. Every movie I work very hard to make them completely different, with different planets, with different spaceships, make it new.”
There has been a clash between filmmakers and producers for years
Look, the franchise is over 40 years old, so there’s bound to be some tension between different producers and directors. Over the years, we’ve seen multiple filmmakers fired from Star Wars projects. Josh Trank was fired from an untitled Star Wars spinoff, and Phil Lord and Chris Miller were let go from Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Colin Trevorrow was also given the boot from Star Wars: Episode IX. Although Rogue One director, Gareth Edwards, wasn’t fired, the film needed substantial reshoots from screenwriter Tony Gilroy. Fans were finally relieved to see Ron Howard and J.J. Abrams take over the productions of Solo and Episode IX.
Samuel L. Jackson also didn’t like ‘The Force Awakens’
Like George Lucas, Samuel L. Jackson had some comments on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. When asked about his thoughts on the new chapter, Jackson was honorable in his response, but also said, “I think the kids need to go to lightsaber fight school, but … that’s just me thinking out. They got time to get better.”
The lightsaber fights have been a topic of interest among fans. They believe that George Lucas’ lightsaber battles were more refined and technical in comparison to the new films. Of course, Jackson also admitted that if Disney wanted him to reprise his character, “I’m that guy. All they got to do is call.”
Mark Hamill hated Luke’s portrayal in ‘The Last Jedi’
When Hamill returned to the role of Luke Skywalker in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, Hamill didn’t exactly agree with the direction the film took his character, and he felt as though he was swindled by the directors.
He said, “ … they killed me off. I thought: oh okay, you should push my death off to the last one. That’s what I was hoping when I came back: no cameos and a run-of-the-trilogy contract. Did I get any of those things? Because as far as I’m concerned, the end of VII is really the beginning of VIII. I got one movie! They totally hornswoggled (tricked) me.”
Quentin Tarantino claimed that ‘The Force Awakens’ sabotaged ‘The Hateful Eight’
Quentin Tarantino wasn’t too big a fan of The Force Awakens either, although it didn’t have to do with the content in the film. Tarantino thought the film was to blame for the low profits of his film The Hateful Eight; both films were distributed in 2015. Since Tarantino’s movie was shot on 70 mm film, only a handful of theaters were able to screen it, which ended up hurting the film.
During an interview with Howard Stern, he said the theater owners were told, “If you honor your deal with The Hateful Eight, we will not allow you to have Star Wars, the biggest movie in the world.” These claims have not been confirmed.