Star Wars: 30 incredible facts about the movie phenomenon

To celebrate Star Wars: The Last Jedi - check out these incredible facts about the galaxy far, far away

Star Wars celebrated its 40th anniversary this year - a significant landmark for fans of the pop culture phenomenon, which remains the biggest and most popular film franchise of all time.

The birthday celebrations, the sad death of Carrie Fisher and the excitment about the upcoming Last Jedi movie, mean that 2017 is the most significant year for Star Wars in a long while.

To celebrate the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, all the Star Wars movies are available at discounted prices from December 11th to 17th in the BT TV Store.

We've also pulled together 30 mind-blowing facts that you probably never knew about the biggest films in the galaxy…

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1. In George Lucas’s original scripts – which were titled The Star Wars – the hero was named Annikin Starkiller and Han Solo was a six-foot lizard.

2. It’s impossible to imagine anyone other than Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill as Han, Leia and Luke now – but the list of people who auditioned for Lucas is like a Who’s Who of Hollywood legends. Kurt Russell, Nick Nolte, Sylvester Stallone, Christopher Walken, Jodie Foster, Glenn Close and Anjelica Huston were all linked to the movie at some point.

3. The famous buzz of the lightsaber was created by Ben Burtt and was made using the hum of film projector motors and television static.

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4. The anticipation for the first trailer of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace in 1998 was so incredible that fans actually paid to watch it on the big screen when it premiered at the start of Pixar’s A Bug’s Life and the film Meet Joe Black. Many of the fans were so satisfied that they actually walked out of screenings before the main films started.

5. Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader has been played by six different actors on the big screen. Can you name them all? (The answers are: Jake Lloyd, Hayden Christensen, David Prowse, stuntman Bob Anderson, the voice of James Earl Jones and Sebastian Shaw.)

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6. Actors who are rumoured to have auditioned for the role of Annakin in the prequels include Leonardo DiCaprio, Paul Walker, Colin Hanks, Ryan Phillippe and Jonathan Brandis.

7. The word Ewok is never mentioned in Return of the Jedi.

8. Benicio Del Toro was originally cast as Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace but dropped out of the role because of the lack of lines. He was replaced as the scary-looking Sith by Ray Park.

9. The working title for Return of the Jedi was Blue Harvest.

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10. The SFX crew who worked on The Empire Strikes Back have made numerous claims about the film’s famous asteroid sequence - including that some of the asteroids you see on screen are actually a shoe and a potato.

11. Yoda was designed to look like Albert Einstein.

12. The line “I have a bad feeling about this” has been spoken in every Star Wars movie so far.

13. The communicator used by Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace is actually a Sensor Excel razor for women, with some decoration on it.

14. George Lucas originally wanted Orson Welles to voice Darth Vader, but eventually decided that his voice was too recognisable.

15. The famous crawl at the beginning of every movie was inspired by the Flash Gordon serials. It was originally filmed using a slow pass of a camera over the top of 2ft-wide, die cut letters over a long black paper background. It took three hours to shoot in the first movies.

16. George Lucas has claimed that the Millennium Falcon design was inspired by a hamburger with an olive on the side.

17. Yoda’s original name in the first drafts was Buffy. His name was then changed to Minch Yoda and eventually shortened to just Yoda.

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18. Alec Guinness wasn’t such a huge fan of the movies, branding the first film “fairy tale rubbish”. He would later go on to demand a percentage of the movie’s takings to appear in The Empire Strikes Back – apparently managing to earn himself millions of dollars for just a couple of hours’ work.

19. When Leia tells Han Solo, “I love you”, he was originally supposed to declare his love back. However, Harrison Ford didn’t think it was right for the character and ad-libbed the classic line “I know”.

20. Early drafts of the movie had Luke’s father appear as a ghost and a separate character from Vader.

21. Secrecy around the big Vader/Luke reveal was so tight that actor David Prowse actually delivered the line “Obi-Wan killed your father”. It was only changed when James Earl Jones did the voiceover.

22. Warwick Davis got his big break as Ewok Wicket after R2-D2 actor Kenny Baker, who originally cast in the role, fell ill with food poisoning on the day of shooting. Baker went on to play the Ewok Paploo, who steals an Imperial speeder bike, instead.

23. One original idea for the end of Return of the Jedi involved Luke discovering the truth about Vader, killing him and then taking the famous helmet for himself and declaring “Now I am Vader”. (We think they made the better decision with the final version.)

24. To stop The Phantom Menace being pirated, it was shipped under the title The Doll House.

25. Harrison Ford was only paid $10,000 to appear in the first movie.

26. Speaking of sci-fi crossovers: ET’s race of aliens also exists in the Star Wars universe. They pop up in a scene in the Galactic Senate.

27. Return of the Jedi was briefly called Revenge of the Jedi and there were actually posters and trailers made featuring that title. It was only changed back to ‘Return’ at the last minute, when Lucas decided that Jedis shouldn’t seek revenge.

28. Rapper Tupac Shakur auditioned for the role of Mace Windu, which was eventually played by Samuel L Jackson.

29. Ewan McGregor got so excited while filming his lightsaber scenes that he made the buzzing noises of the weapon as he acted. Post-production had to edit out the sound in the final cut.

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30. “Luke, I am your father” is one of the most misquoted film lines of all time. Darth Vader doesn’t actually say those words. What he does say is: “No, I am your father”.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Bonus Edition) and the first six Star Wars movies are available to buy and own in HD from £7.99 in the BT TV Store now.

The Star Wars Sale ends on December 17th.

To buy one of the films, press the BT Player button on your remote, scroll across to the Film and browse now. Alternatively, press the blue button to search for the film set you want.

Photo Credit: TM & © 2017 LucasFilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Used under authorization.

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