You might think you know everything there is to know about Star Wars, but much to learn you still have. We’ve gathered some fascinating and surprising behind-the-scenes facts from interviews, featurettes, magazine articles, and even some tweets, for a list that proves there’s always something new to discover about the galaxy we love.
Last year, you were but the learner. When you gather your friends to watch your favorite Star Wars films as you celebrate May the 4th this year, impress them by sharing some of the facts from the list below to prove that you are the master.
Liam Neeson’s (Qui-Gon Jinn) wig went missing during an overnight thunderstorm while the crew was on location in Tunisia. The same severe storm also wrecked many of the podracers built for the film, much to the crew’s dismay.
When the visual effects team mapped out the Geonosis droid factory, one area was labeled “Padmé Chompers.” You can see it in animated action in Attack of the Clones: Geonosis Overview.
When you see the Jedi swooping through the stars in Revenge of the Sith, their feet are actually sticking out of the front window. To get the best angles of the amazing atmospheric battle in Episode III, Anakin and Obi-Wan had to dangle their legs outside of the cockpit to keep their knees out of the shot.
StarWars.com may have played a small part in Mace Windu’s lightsaber becoming the purple color Samuel L. Jackson wanted. After asking George Lucas if a purple lightsaber was possible, Jackson was delighted to be presented with an image of Mace with the purple blade—as a test. “But somehow or other,” said Jackson in an interview, “even though he had done it as an experiment, it was already on the website. And, you know, he let me keep it.”
The Star Wars holiday special was the direct inspiration for the appearance of Kashyyyk in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. This according to Ryan Church, Concept Design Supervisor. Like the original trilogy, the look of Chewbacca’s home in the special was designed by concept artist Ralph McQuarrie.
At Star Wars Celebration 2017, George Lucas confirmed that Chewbacca was inspired by his dog. “The stories are all true. I had a large dog named Indiana,” he said. “A malamute, an Alaskan malamute, and he would ride around in the car in the front seat. Not driving. I loved that image.”
Wedge Antilles is Obi-Wan Kenobi’s uncle. Sort of. One of Ewan McGregor’s (Obi-Wan Kenobi) earliest memories in a movie theater is his whole family seeing A New Hope together to cheer on his uncle, Denis Lawson (Wedge Antilles).
Artoo’s journey upward into the sandcrawler in A New Hope was accomplished by an old moviemaking trick, not new visual effects. “The sensitive little droid shot down the tube and past the lens, landing on some thoughtfully placed padding – out of camera range,” wrote Anthony Daniels (C-3PO). “Later they would reverse the film.”
Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) spent some time inside a dewback in Mos Eisley. “When I climbed inside the dewback outside the cantina in Tunisia,” he tweeted, “there was a crowbar to lift its head. [It] was covered in newspaper papier-machê, including a review of a David Bowie concert in Paris, which I read by flashlight. Odd, but true.”
Han Solo’s Hoth parka is actually brown, not blue, revealed Laela French in Discoveries From Inside: Costumes Revealed. The lighting in the Echo Base and Hoth scenes may be the reason so many fans recall the color as blue.
Yoda was almost portrayed by a monkey. “We thought, ‘Maybe if we trained a monkey, put him in an outfit, and then animated the lips,'” recalled director Irvin Kershner in an interview.
Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) fell asleep on the set of Return of the Jedi, and awoke to overhear a huge Star Wars secret he wasn’t supposed to know. After a quick nap behind a tree, Daniels woke up just in time to hear Leia reveal her true relationship with Luke. “When I saw the finished movie, only I knew I was behind the tree,” wrote Daniels in Star Wars Insider #30. “Lucky I hadn’t been snoring. Perhaps I should have been a spy.”
Some of those Ewoks versus stormtroopers in Return of the Jedi were actually British dock workers, salespeople, and typists versus California lumberjacks. According to Classic Creatures – The Making of The Return of The Jedi, extras for the famous battle were recruited from all walks of life.
Nien Nunb made the leap from puppet to real person, and was even played by the same actor. Mike Quinn was the puppeteer for Nien in Return of the Jedi, and donned an animatronic mask and flight suit for The Force Awakens.
Chewbacca’s fur in The Force Awakens is actually yak belly fur. The Crafting Creatures featurette revealed this secret. The yak belly fur is attached to a knitted wool suit, the same as it was in A New Hope.
Crait is a planet made from paper. After testing a number of different materials to make the explosive surface of Crait look just right in The Last Jedi, the effects team finally found the winning mixture of shredded paper dyed red.
Porgs started as “puffin people.” Skellig Michael, the shooting location for Ahch-To, is overrun with puffins. Director Rian Johnson decided to make them a part of The Last Jedi rather than try to remove them from any scenes, and thus the porgs were born, said Jake Lunt Davies in a StarWars.com interview.
Laura Dern (Admiral Holdo) couldn’t resist making “pew pew” sounds. Sometimes, you can see her mouth moving to make the accompanying sound effect when firing her blaster in The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson said in the director’s commentary.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Riz Ahmed (Bodhi Rook) spammed director Gareth Edwards with different auditions for Bodhi—even though he already had the part. “I didn’t stop there,” laughed Ahmed in a behind-the-scenes interview. “I just kept recording more takes and emailing him.”
Diego Luna (Cassian Andor) really, really, really wants to touch Jabba the Hutt. In multiple interviews, Luna has discussed his obsession with finding out what that texture feels like. (We just hope there are cameras there if the moment finally arrives.)
Kelly Knox is a freelance writer. She shares her love of Star Wars and all things geeky with her daughter by creating kid-friendly DIY projects. Before becoming a freelance writer, Kelly worked as the community manager for the MMORPG Star Wars Galaxies.