The influence of Steven Spielberg on Star Wars

Jan 21, 2019
spielberg and lucas on a film set

The influence of Steven Spielberg on George Lucas and Star Wars

Steven Spielberg is arguably one of the most popular and talented filmmakers there is.

They invented the word blockbuster because of his film Jaws.

Literally, people queued up around the block to see the 1975 movie! To see a shark eat a man. Or three.

Spielberg went on to create wonderful films including science fiction gold such as E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, A.I., and Minority Report. Not too forget his other works such as the Oscar winning Shindler's List, Saving Private Ryan or this author's favourite Spielberg movie, Empire of the Sun.

So why are we talking about Steven Spielberg on a Star Wars fan site? What's the connection to George Lucas? What influence has he had?

There's many connections (other than a great friendship) - four of them are some films that all feature a certain whip wearing character called Indiana Jones.

You see, Spielberg directed those movies but they were largely George Lucas productions - he wrote and produced them to satisfy his desire to capture the magic of the films that had inspired him as a child.

Spielberg once said "With Star Wars, George put the butter back into the popcorn.” which is possibly the greatest compliment one director can give another.

So the connection between Spielberg and Lucas is very real and very close. They've made movies together so surely they must have had the odd chat with each other about the movies they've made?

Of course they have and this has lead to Spielberg have some influence over the direction in which George Lucas took the Star Wars films - after all, if one of your greatest friends is a fan of your work and ideas and is actually one of the world's greatest directors in his own right, you'd totally take some of his suggestions and ideas on board!

So let's look at some of the actual influences that Steven Spielberg has had on the Star Wars universe.

A New Hope, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and a certain bet

Let's start with an indirect one. After making THX1138 and the acclaimed American Graffiti, Lucas had made a name for himself in Hollywood and was working on the production of Star Wars.

At a similar time, Spielberg was producing what became Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

George was a bit nervous about how Star Wars was going to turn out and during a set visit to Spielberg's film expressed such concerns. Steven promptly backed his friend so much so he suggested they swap royalty points on each other's films by way of a bet that each other's film would do better.

Fearing a flop with his own movie, Lucas agreed. 

While Encounters did pretty well at the box office, Spielberg actually cleaned up on Star Wars and it's now the stuff of legend that he actually has made over 46 million dollars to date from Star Wars and he didn't even have to lift a finger to do it! Has an easier 46 million bucks ever been made from a set visit by a friend.

Da na. Da na. Da na!

Let's go back to Jaws, the first film we mentioned. Other than the shark, Bruce was his name, eating Captain Quint, one of the most famous parts of that movie was the music. The classic two note motif was the work of a composer called John Williams.

It was Spielberg that suggested and introduced Williams to Lucas to score the music of Stars Wars. Given Williams' subsequent score has become one of the most famous, if not the most famous movies scores of all time, Spielberg's influence on Star Wars was massive enough for this alone!

It's armor. On a woman. It doesn't have to look femine.

Jan 20, 2019
This is still brilliant!

Remember the crap people were throwing JJ Abram's direction when so few women were supposedly cast in The Force Awakens?

The people who run the Star Wars Facebook page clearly know a thing or two about handling sexism issues in this new Star Wars / social media era.

Check out this response to a fanboy / troll comment about Captain Phasma's armor (which was originally an early concept for Kylo Ren)

Simply Brilliant.

Is Mace Windu actually stronger than Yoda?

Jan 19, 2019
yoda and mace windu

How powerful was Mace Windu? Was he stronger than Yoda?

Not many people have realised that Mace Windu was a more powerful Jedi that Yoda.

How so?

This can't be true. Yoda was a bad ass - we saw him take on Count Dooku and the Emperor!

And that is true, Yoda fought Dooku in Attack of the Clones and fought an epic saber duel against Palpatine himself.

But Yoda did not beat Palpatine.

Who did beat the Palpatine?

Mace Windu did. He beat him fair and square. It was only the naive intervention of Anakin Skywalker that allowed the Emperor a literal window of opportunity to send Mace out the window to his presumed death.

I'd thus contend that by virtue of Yoda being unable to defeat the Sith Lord and that Mace managed to defeat him, Mace Windu was a more powerful Jedi than Yoda.

It's arguable of course, there are many other attributes of being a Jedi that can be defined as powerful - however, if you want to boil it down, Jedi are knights and how are knights ultimately judged?

By their swordsmanship.

Which raises an interesting point. In the novelisation of Revenge of the Sith, Windu suggests to Kenobi that Kenobi is the better swordsman, thus making him the most powerful Jedi!

↠ How long are the Star Wars movies if you add them all up?

how many minutes is star wars run time

Here's a list of the running times of the Star Wars films. 

The timings are in minutes.

  • The Phantom Menace – 133 minutes
  • Attack of the Clones – 142 minutes
  • Revenge of the Sith – 140 minutes
  • A New Hope – 121 minutes
  • The Empire Strikes Back – 124 minutes
  • Return of the Jedi – 131 minutes
  • The Force Awakens – 138 minutes
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - 133 minutes
  • The Last Jedi - 152 minutes
  • Han 'Solo' Prequel - 135 minutes

Extra for Experts:

So based on the above, The Last Jedi is the longest running Star Wars movie and A New Hope is the shortest (excluding the Ewok movies and the Holiday Special).

If you counted all the Star Wars movies released so far (excluding the kids films and Special), their total running time is 1349 minutes with an average of 134.9 minutes.

If you add in the Ewok spin off movies and the infamous Holiday Special you get a combined running time of 1637 minutes with an average film running time of 126 minutes.

That's a lot of Star Wars to watch!

I debated about adding The Clone Wars movie to these numbers but decided against it as I just suck at maths.

Why 'John Carter' of Mars is the original Star Wars film

Jan 3, 2019
a princess of mars original cover

'John Carter' of Mars is the original Star Wars film

While Star Wars was really inspired by George Lucas’s love of the Flash Gordon serial, the real inspiration comes from science fiction author Edgar Rice Burroughs.

His nearly 100-year-old stories about a human that travels to Mars and falls in love with a beautiful princess are often argued as being responsible for the whole ‘green men from Mars’ thing and Star Wars...

It is irrelevant that the recent 'based on the books' movie called John Carter flopped big time at the box office ( I enjoyed it!).

Of the film itself, Forrest Gump director Robert Zemeckis apparently turned down the chance to direct, quipping "George already pillaged all of that" with the "Star Wars" films.

In other words, most of the best elements of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars fantasies had already been "borrowed" for George Lucas' space saga, and just because the film was dismissed by many people, the source material cannot be so easily rejected.

Lucas made no bones about how he was inspired by Rice's work and said in 1977 “Originally, I wanted to make a Flash Gordon movie, with all the trimmings, but I couldn’t obtain all the rights.

So I began researching and found where (Flash Gordon creator) Alex Raymond got his idea: The works of Edgar Rice, especially his John Carter series of books."

Indeed, the first draft of the Star Wars follow up, The Empire Strikes Back was written by science fiction author Leigh Bracket.

She was quoted as saying:

 “I was introduced to Edgar Rice Burroughs at a very young age . . . That changed the course of my life . . . My fascination for Mars came from the fascination for his Mars.”

It's hard then not to see how her influence also shaped Star Wars by way of Burroughs. 

Some of the influences are plot based.

Some are style.

Check out this comparison:

leia and dejah gold bikini inspiration
Dejah versus Leia
Dejah Thoris, the Princess Of Mars herself, was commonly described and depicted as wearing golden bikinis and showing a lot of skin.

Is it a surprise then that ANOTHER princess wore a golden bikini in Return of the Jedi?

Probably not, so Good one George.

George also took a bit of 'naming' help from Burroughs.

Ever wonder where the word Jedi came from?

While it may have an Asian language link, the monarchs found on the planet of Mars are a titled Jed (king), Jeddak (emperor) and Jeddara (empress) respectively.

So one can assume Jedi may have come from Edgar Rice. On Barsoom a 'padwar' is a low-ranking officer.

This is not too far a stretch from 'padawan', an apprentice Jedi, is it not?

Did you ever see Attack of the Clones? 

Carter vs Clones
At the end, it featured a pretty epic Colosseum battle where Yoda swooped in with his merry band of Clone Troopers so save the luckless Jedi from certain defeat. 

Did you notice that the John Carter had a similar scene where the hero had to battle chained alien beasts?

If you thought John Carter was ripping off Star Wars, think again, Burroughs wrote this scene over 100 years ago!

So, if we accept these elements found in Star Wars are indeed nicked from the stories that Burroughs set on Mars, then it would seem only fair to Disney's John Carter of Mars that it should be recognized as the original Star Wars movie.

Or not...

If you want an expert's take, read this. Or you could read an essay on how I watched 6 movies that George said influenced him when making Star Wars.

Everything you need to know about Darth Vader

Dec 30, 2018
Tis but a scratch!

Here's some facts and trivia bout Darth Vader

Here’s everything* you need to know about Darth Vader.

  • Who is he? Darth Vader was Anakin Skywalker before he became a Sith Lord known as Darth Vader. A fallen Jedi Knight, Vader became the 'evil henchman' of Sheev Palpatine who rose to rule over the galaxy. In reality, the six Star Wars films are about the rise and fall of Vader’s character.
  • The Darth Vader mask that appeared in Revenge of the Sith was fashioned using a digital design to computer-lathe the base master, from which molds were made to cast the on-screen costume masks. This meant Vader’s mask was exactly symmetrical.
  • While Qui-Gon Jin theorized that Anakin’s virgin birth was the will of the Force, Palpatine implied in Revenge of the Sith that Darth Plagueis caused the birth using the Force - earlier drafts of the ROTS script suggested this was indeed the case. It’s non-canon however, so it’s only a theory.
  • Vader's look was inspired by Nazi uniforms.
  • In the Alan Dean Foster novel, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, Luke and Vader have a duel and Luke chops off Vader’s arm. When Lucas decided that the novel would not form the basis of the second film the book was made redundant however Lucas keep the idea of the arm severing and reversed who did what. Which was again reversed in Jedi…
  • Seven people have contributed to the character performance of Darth Vader in the movies. If we go in chronological order - Jake Lloyd played Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace, Hayden Christian played Anni and Darth in the other two prequels, David Prowse was the suit in all three original trilogy films while James Earl Jones did the voice over 4 times (inc Revenge of the Sith). Bob Anderson chipped in with some stunt work in Jedi and Sebastian Shaw famously played the unmasked Vader in Jedi as well. Finally, when The Empire Strikes Back was redone for re release in 1994-95, C. Andrew Nelson was used for a few fill in bits and bobs ( See his drop by notes in the comments!).
  • Occasionally people think it was Vader’s son Luke Skywalker who brought balance to the Force. While Luke’s efforts helped with it, the actual of balancing the Force came when Vader chose to throw the Emperor down the well (as the Emperor was in the middle of killing Luke with Force lightning). Vader found the compassion or love for his son was greater than what ever loyalty he had to the Emperor and the Dark Side of the Force. Vader truly was the chosen one.
  • Vader was a defeated man. The main way he fell to the Dark Side was by way of trying to find a means to prevent his wife’s death. When he actually caused Padme's death what did he have to live for? Nothing. He was simply trapped as the heavy breathing vessel of Palpatine. He did eventually become obsessed with finding this son so they together could overthrow Palatine.
  • In A New Hope, the character has only 8 minutes of screen time. It was all that was needed to propel Vader to becoming one of the most popular bad guys in the history of bad guys in movies.
  • Vader’s theme song is known as the Imperial March and is often used to signify the arrival of a bad person by smart alecs who hum the tune as they enter a room.
  • James Earl Jones did the voice of Vader.
  • Vader’s confession to Luke that he was his father in The Empire Strikes Back is considered by many movie fans to be the best plot twist in a movie. This concept was not originally thought of by Lucas for the first film which clearly intended that Vader and Anakin were different people -please recall Obi Wan’s expository scene with Luke. The line said during the filming of the scene was “Obi Wan killed your father” – a clever ruse to throw people off the real twist (which apparently only the Lucas, Kasdan, Kershner and Hamill actually knew the truth of).
Not satisfied with this?

Here's some more facts and myths about Darth Vader! And some more Star Wars facts and easter eggs.

11 crazy stories, facts and myths about Darth Vader

Darth Vader doing the Force choke

Darth Vader

We only needed to write those two words and you know exactly to whom's face they belong to.

The fallen Jedi and one of the great Sith Lords, Darth Vader is one of the most famous movie villains of all time.

His imposing presence, magical powers which include the infamous ability to force choke a man just by thinking about and ultimately tragic personal story have inspired all kinds of acclaim and a place in most Star Wars fans hearts.

But enough of this chit chat, here’s 11 crazy stories, facts & myths about Darth Vader that any Star Wars fan would be keen to know!

1. While Lucas had said post-release of A New Hope that he had 9 Star Wars movies all mapped out, he didn't really.

It was only on when developing the second draft of Empire Strikes Back with Leigh Bracket that Darth Vader became Luke's father. Indeed, in original drafts of A New Hope, Vader and Anakin Skywalker were different characters.

Some blind fans continue to argue this is not the case, but they are just blind to the facts.

2. The famous reveal of the father and son relationship between Vader and Luke is often misquoted as "Luke, I am your father".

The line is actually "No, I am your father".

It's kind of like how Star Trek's Captain Kirk never actually said: "Beam me up, Scotty".

Sebastian Shaw as Darrth Vader in Return of the Jedi
Sebastian Shaw as Vader in Jedi
3. The character of Vader has been played by several actors. In the original trilogy, David Prowse is famous for wearing the suit and Sebastian Shaw as the 'face' of Vader in  Return of the Jedi. 

The prequels saw an idealistic Jake Lloyd tackle Anakin in The Phantom Menace and Hayden Christensen covered the next two movies as well.

Bob Anderson also stepped in for sword fighting scenes and C. Andre Nelson helped out a bit with the redux versions of the original trilogy.

In Rogue One, two actors had a turn in the Nazi inspired dark suit, Spencer Wilding and Daniel Naprous.

4. Hayden also appeared as the costumed Vader in Revenge of the Sith. He apparently begged Lucas to let him play him. The suit had to be designed to accommodate his smaller stature than Prowse's.

5. While Return of the Jedi saw Luke return the favour to Vader and cut his arm off, the idea for it actually came from the expanded universe novel, ‘Splinter of the Mind's Eye’.

This book was intended to be turned into a sequel to Star Wars but when that movie became so popular, the idea was abandoned.

6. Vader was actually the only Star Wars film character to lose an arm three times! And both his legs as well. Obi Wan Kenobi got 3 of his limbs in Revenge of the Sith! (he had the higher ground...).

7. Darth Vader was referenced in the film Back to the Future by Marty McFly as being from the planet Vulcan. No one was sure who was more upset - Star Wars fans or Trekkies!

8. Vader has his own theme song written by John Williams. Known as the Imperial March it was introduced in the Empire Strikes Back movie and used in Jedi and in the prequels to show when Anakin was turning to the dark side of the Force.

Darth Vader concept art by Ralph McQuarrie

9. James Earl Jones is famed for providing the voice for Vader however he didn't do the famous breathing sound effect.

This was done by the now famous Ben Burt placing a microphone inside the mouthpiece of a breathing apparatus and recording it being used. Burt has since become world-renowned for his sound recording skills and I believe he has worked on every Star Wars movie to date.

10. George Lucas at one stage considered using the great Orsen Welles as the voice actor for Vader. Welles eventually voiced the planet destroyer Unicron in the animated Transformers movie.

11. Anakin Skywalker really is the ‘Chosen one’. While Yoda and Obi-Wan may have thought a mistake had been made in the reading of the prophecy, Anakin was the one who actually killed Sith Lord Palpatine by throwing him down the Death Star’s reactor shaft in Jedi and thus restored balance to the Force.

Bonus fact - Darth Vader only appeared on screen in A New Hope for a total of 12 minutes. It's amazing that for such a short amount of screen time that his character becomes one of the most loved bad guys in movie making history!

Bonus Fact Two - Vader's costume was somewhat inspired by the Nazi Regime's look.

We think these were some pretty cool bits of trivia about the Dark Lord.

Do you have any others to share? Leave them in the comments!

↠ Why does Luke Skywalker wear black in Return of the Jedi?

Luke Skywalker wears black clothes ROTJ

Did you ever notice in the last half of Return of the Jedi that Luke Skywalker is fully dressed in black clothing?

Why does he dress so costumed?

Black is a colour of mystery and mortality.

It's a lot of black like a certain Sith Lord who has turned to the Dark Side....

Yes, Luke is dressed in black in Jedi to deliberately show the watcher how close he is to letting his fear and hate overwhelm him.

He is surrounded by the dark side and he is basically on a razor's edge and could turn to the dark side of the Force with the slightest provocation.

And that of course was Emperor Palpatine's plan, to make him face Vader and try to turn him by forcing him to tap into his dark side to beat his father.

Luke suffers.

He suffers hate, for his father who cut his arm off

He suffers angst for Obi Wan who lied to him about his true heritage.

He suffers the fear that his sister Leia will be Palpatine's next target.

He is angry. You saw him Force choke two of Jabba's Guards right? Angry.

And most of all, he fears that all will be lost.

But all turns out well after Vader throws the Emperor down the shaft that's an inexplicable safety hazard in his throne room!

So if Luke wins his fight against Vader and then turns his back on the Emperor's offer to join him, how do we really know that Luke is not joining the dark side?

Take a look at his black tunic costume.

Look at the fold that is now unbuttoned post fight sequence, what is that colour?

It's white.

It's the yang to black's yin.

Underneath all Luke's stresses, he was always the good guy.

Always the boy who never got to Tosche Station to get his power converters.

He'd become a Jedi, like his Father was before him.

Nice symbolism George Lucas and director Richard Marquand.

This flap of white was a very subtle point and perhaps lost on many a viewer on first watching of the film.

This was indeed a subtle moment to demonstrate that on the inside, Luke was always the good guy.

In the long run it was not lost on many Star Wars fans, so when George Lucas got around to writing Revenge of the Sith with Johnathan Hales, he made an even better reference to light and dark:

light and dark star wars sith
Literal foreshadowing in Sith
Recall the scene where General Obi Wan Kenobi is about to go hunt down that dastardly Grievous General robot chap. Obi Wan and Anakin are making fond farewells and Obi says "Goodbye Old Friend".

It's the last time the two Jedi will indeed talk to each other as friends.

Look carefully at the lighting, Obi Wan is in the light and Anakin in the dark.

Yin and Yang. Good guys and Bad Guys. Jedi and Sith.

While everyone piles on the hate, Star Wars purists should remember how good Lucas really is. Sometimes it's not just about story, it's about great film making.

111 awesome facts about Star Wars that any fan will love

Dec 28, 2018
darth vader story board star wars

111 awesome Star Wars facts and trivia and other gems

There's been nine Star Wars movies over 40 years and there's been a lot of ideas, stories, characters and actors that have been thrown into the mix.

And that's not counting The Last Jedi!

This has meant there's plenty of facts about the Star Wars movies, both in terms of what can be found in them and the things that happened while they were in production.

And they are awesome.

You could even use this list as the basis for a pub quiz if you wanted - you just need to rephrase them as questions and answers.

Here's 111 of the best facts about Star Wars that we could find.

  1. Princess Leia never actually gets to 'meet' General Obi-Wan Kenobi. She sees him from afar when she's escaping the Death Star as Obi-Wan is about to let Darth Vader kill him but that's it. Unless you count Obi-Wan being present for her birth in Revenge of the Sith...then she never met him.
  2. Anthony Daniels, who voiced C3P0 and climbed into the tin suit, is the only actor to appear in all 8 Star Wars films - you have to count The Clone Wars animated film of course! Kenny Baker did not actually film anything for Revenge of the Sith, his parts were a mix of CGI and footage recycled from Attack of the Clones. In The Force Awakens, Artoo was a mix of manual robot and CGI as Baker was too aged to perform. RIP Kenny.
  3. Empire was the first movie to have a number by its title in the opening credits being 'V'. The original Star War was not called A New Hope or Episode 4, this came later. 
  4. As General Kenobi is about to leave to hunt down General Grievous, he shares a nice moment with Anakin which finishes with a very loving, 'Goodbye old friend' from Kenobi. This is the last time in the movie the two Jedi converse as friends. A key thing is the lighting - Anakin in the dark and Obi Wan in the light - it is a literal case of foreshadowing what was to come between them.
  5. Bail Organa and Yoda step into the hallway of Organa's ship and have a nice conversation about being rebels or something in Sith. It's the actual ship that Darth Vader boards to capture Princess Leia Organa in the start of A New Hope.
  6. Darth Vader has his own theme song written by John Williams. Known as the Imperial March it was introduced in the Empire movie and used in Jedi and in the prequels to show when Anakin was turning to the dark side of the Force.
  7. In a New Hope, Leia was kept as Tarkin's prisoner on the Death Star in cell number 2187. This was a deliberate choice as 2187 is the year that the Lucas directed film THX 1138, was set. 
  8. The furry Ewoks were a late addition to the Star Wars mythology in Jedi. Their part in the story was to originally be played by Wookiees, but by the time Lucas and his production partners sat down to write Return of The Jedi, they realized that, because Chewbacca could fly the Millennium Falcon, repair the ship and operate pretty much any weapon or machine in the known universe, they'd made the Wookies too technologically advanced for the plot. 
  9. Wedge Antilles really is Obi-Wan Kenobi's Uncle! And he made a cameo appearance in Rogue One.
  10. In Jedi, listen very carefully as Darth Vader picks up the Emperor and throws him down the Death Star shaft. This is the only time the Jedi theme music plays over a shot of Vader, reflecting his return to the light side of the Force. tie fighter story board star wars
  11. It's a myth the Wampa was created to allow for Luke's rearranged face after a car accident. Mark Hamill was injured prior to the filming of The Empire Strikes Back. This is fact though. The myth is that due to his face being rearranged, Lucas had to re-write the Hoth events to include the Wampa attacking Luke to account for his injury. The truth is that no accommodations were made for Hamill’s face. The myth is probably stoked by this moment from Empire that was unused.
  12. After appearing in Jedi, Wedge Antilles becomes the only X-wing pilot character (apart from Luke) who survives all three major battles in the films. Luke of course only two part in two of those battles as a pilot.
  13. On the Hoth planet Rebel base - recall that dude to which Han Solo retorts, "Then I'll see you in Hell!" just before he heads out to find a certain missing Jedi? That's Cliff Clavin from Cheers AKA John Ratzenberger. These days he does voice acting in most Pixar movies.
  14. Anakin Skywalker really is the ‘Chosen one’. While Yoda and Mace Windu may have thought a mistake had been made in the reading of the prophecy, Anakin was the one who actually killed Sith Lord Palpatine by throwing him down the Death Star’s reactor shaft in Jedi and thus restored balance to the Force.
  15. Due to a heat wave in England when filming the Rebel pilot attacks on the Death Star, it was so hot the actors wore shorts and not their Rebel uniform pants.
  16. Harrison Ford famously was never intended to be Han Solo, he was just hanging around after American Graffitti and was helping other actors read their lines as Lucas was in the casting process. Eventually, Lucas wised up and realised Harrison already had the part down cold. That's the stuff of moviemaking legend.
  17. After Padme dies, she is returned to he home planet of Naboo for burial - her body has been altered to make it appear like she was still pregnant - this is all part of the ruse to keep the existence of Leia and Luke a secret. 
  18. The famous reveal of the father and son relationship between Vader and Luke in The Empire Strikes Back is often misquoted as "Luke, I am your father". The line is actually "No, I am your father"
  19. "It's a trap," which is arguably the most famous line in the ROTJ, was, incredibly, not in the screenplay. The line was scripted as "It's a trick!" and was later changed post-filming after a test screening because let's face it, "it's a trick" just doesn't have the same ring to it. Anyway, Princess Leia said it first in The Empire Strikes Back.
  20. While Return of the Jedi saw Luke return the favour to Vader and cut his arm off, the idea for it actually came from the expanded universe novel, ‘Splinter of the Mind's Eye’. This book was intended to be turned into a sequel to Star Wars but when that movie became so popular, the idea was abandoned. Vader was actually the only Star Wars film character to lose an arm three times! And both his legs as well. Obi-Wan Kenobi got 3 of his limbs in Revenge of the Sith!
  21. James Earl Jones is famed for providing the voice for Vader however he didn't do the famous breathing effect. This was done by Ben Burt placing a microphone inside the mouth piece of a breathing apparatus and recording it being used.
  22. Mr Diehard, Alan Rickman auditioned for the role of Moff Jerjerrod.falcon concept design
  23. George Lucas at one stage considered using the great actor and director Orson Welles as the voice actor for Darth Vader.
  24. It's a myth that George Lucas had 12 films all mapped out before the first Star Wars was released. That’s the legend but the mythology of it has grown over the years. The nutshell is that Lucas wrote a great deal of material when he was developing his little sci-fi adventure. Based around a so-called “Journal of Whills”, Lucas script eventually was cut up and Star Wars as we know it was filmed. It was not until Empire Strikes Back came out that the term Episode 5 was mentioned officially. Lucas’s grand vision was actually pieced together over several years in very broad strokes. The 12 or 9 films as most people know of were never fully scripted but were largely imaginings of Lucas that were eventually firmly realized well after 1977
  25. The script for A New Hope was heavily influenced by Frank Herbert's Dune novel - several concepts were taken from it. 
  26. In ROTS, a quick character cameo occurs when Vader and the Emperor are standing on the bridge of a Star Destroyer, overlooking the initial construction stage of the Death Star. In a blink and you'll miss it moment, a young Moff Tarkin quietly sidles up to the Sith Lords. Moff Tarkin features heavily in A New Hope, it is he who orders the destruction of the planet Alderaan.
  27. During the opera scene of ROTS, Palpatine tells Anakin about how Darth Plagueis was so powerful he could create life. While it's never made explicit, the film could have been suggesting that Darth Plagueis caused the 'immaculate conception' of Anakin Skywalker. The Expanded Universe novels show that Plagueis certainly was capable of such an amazing act...
  28. Jedi was originally going to be called Revenge of the Jedi until Lucas decided that Jedi do not seek revenge. This was quite late in the production so there was a lot of promotional gear with the title already printed on it. 
  29. Mark Hamill received a black eye when filming the famous 'Dianoga' attack in the Trash Compactor scene from A New Hope which meant he was filmed from one side only for the rest shooting that scene.
  30. Princess Leia was subject to one of the most famous ad libs in cinema history - that being Han Solo's response to her declaration of love - "I know". Harrison Ford apparently made it up at Irvine Kershner's suggestion. Leia got to return the line in Jedi during the Battle of Endor. 
  31. E.T. made a cameo appearance in The Phantom Menace
  32. If you asked the average Star Wars fan what was Leia’s home world, they would be correct in answering the planet Alderraan and they could go to the head of the class. If you asked the most hard core fan, they might also quickly add that Leia and Luke were actually born at a medical facility on Polissa Massa – if you’ve seen Revenge of the Sith you might recall that is where Obi-Wan Kenobi took the injured Padme for medical assistance.
  33. ANH famously featured the milk at the Lar's family breakfast scene.
  34. Rogue One features the same blue milk in Saw's cavern. 
  35. Darth Vader has only 12 minutes of screen time in A New Hope!facts and trivia about The Empire Strikes Back
  36. Hayden Christensen appeared as the costumed Vader in Revenge of the Sith. He apparently begged Lucas to let him play him.
  37. While Return of the Jedi saw Luke return the favour to Vader and cut his arm off, the idea for it actually came from the expanded universe novel, ‘Splinter of the Mind's Eye’. This book was intended to be turned into a sequel to Star Wars but when that movie became so popular, the idea was abandoned.
  38. Vader was actually the only Star Wars film character to lose an arm three times! And both his legs as well. Obi-Wan Kenobi got 3 of his limbs in Revenge of the Sith! (he had the higher ground...).
  39. Han Solo grabs Princess Leia’s breasts in the middle of the Battle of Endor. He was perhaps checking she was still wearing this
  40. When Jango Fett gets into his ship after his fight with Obi-Wan in Attack of the Clones, he bangs his head on the open door. This was intentional and is a reference to a famous goof from the original movie where a cloned storm trooper accidentally bangs his head on a door (the clone being the descendant of Jango Fett and having inherited this character trait). luke darth duel story board star wars
  41. Carrie Fisher has spoken many times of her struggles with bipolar disorder. You wouldn't wish this on any anybody. 
  42. Harrison Ford and Fisher had an affair during the film of A New Hope. Ford was married at the time. 
  43. Leia's character has her own musical theme titled "Princess Leia's Theme". It is represented by the musical leitmotif method which is famously used across the films. The piece was composed by John Williams and was used several times. It first appeared in A New Hope, heard when Princess Leia is captured by the evil Sith Lord, Darth Vader. Later, it surfaces as R2-D2 plays her holographic message to Obi-Wan Kenobi. The also theme plays when Kenobi is killed by Vader and it makes an appearance in the credits of the movie. It also is used in the two follow up movies and the Revenge of the Sith prequel when her adoptive father Bail Organa introduces her to her adoptive mother. 
  44. In the original drafts of Star Wars, Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker were definitely different people - it wasn’t until the development of script for The Empire Strikes Back that the two were combined as one character. This means Darth Vader does not mean Dark Father and the name was not a hint as to Luke's parentage.
  45. Lord Vader’s famous leitmotif theme music is known as The Imperial March and was not introduced until Empire Strikes Back.
  46. It's a myth that Splinter of the Mind's Eye was the scripted sequel to A New Hope. The truth is the book ‘Splinter of the Mind’s Eye’ was commissioned by Lucas as a potential sequel to Star Wars. The myth is that the novel was written based off a script written by George Lucas. There was no written script at all - Alan Dean Foster was writing the novelisation of Star Wars and also a second book. He was as simply instructed by Lucas to write the book based off some ideas and film treatments that George threw at him. Lucas could then turn it into a film script down the line, if he so chose. The reality is that when Star Wars 'went global' Lucas changed gears and the sequel script was first drafted by Leigh Bracket, which after her death from cancer, Lucas refined further with help from Lawrence Kasdan.
  47. Boba Fett was first seen in The Empire Strikes Back right? Nope, technically his first appearance was in an animated segment of The Star Wars Holiday Special. It is the only good part of that movie
  48. Boba also actually made his first public appearance in a Star Wars street parade before either movie!
  49. Frank Oz who is the voice for the most famous little green guy in cinema history, Yoda was also the voice of the Muppet’s Miss Piggy. It was because of his talents that he developed with Jim Henson that saw him get the call up. He also did the puppetry. 
  50. A very early draft of the Emire saw Han Solo going in search of his Father-In-Law, Ovan Marekal, who has political ties with Lord Vader.
  51. In Revenge of the Sith Darth Vader's head was symmetrical for the first time in a Star Wars film. It was developed using precise machinery - the original was hand sculpted and was mildly aspherical!
  52. The classic "The first transport is away!" line from Empire Strikes Back was delivered by Mark Hamill. 
  53. George Lucas took a lot of his inspiration from a film called The Hidden Fortress. It featured a pair of bickering sidekicks who served as comic relief and crucially managed to help keep the plot ticking along. Lucas adopted this concept and applied it to the robots.
  54. C3PO's most famous quote is perhaps "I suggest a new strategy, Artoo: let the Wookie win." which pretty much speaks for itself!
  55. The original drafts for Star Wars show that the Skywalker family was actually called Starkiller. Indeed the drafts featured a General Starkiller and didn’t focus on the young moisture farmer from Tatooine. His son was called Deak. He eventually became Luke.
  56. In ESB's original script treatment, Luke Skywalker flies to the 'Bog' Planet where he meets a frog-like Jedi named 'Minch', who teaches him the ways of the force. That's right, Yoda was frog-like and was going to be called Minch. Can you image it, "But Master Minch, you cannot die!" 
  57. A lot of people miss it, thinking the C3PO is totally golden but his right leg is silver from beneath the knee joint. In The Force Awakens he had a red arm for a time but at the end of the movie has gone back to what we presume was the original gold. As for that red arm...
  58. R2D2 stands at a height of 96cm.
  59. George Lucas made his first Star Wars cameo in Revenge of the Sith. He dressed as a Pantoran senator, Baron Papanoida. You might not have recognised him as he all dressed up in blue body paint! His daughter also cameoed with him at the same time. His son Jedi appears as a padwan Jedi that is killed by the Stormtroopers as he attempts to make contact with Bail Organa. trivia about Qui Gon Jinn
  60. Coincidentally or not, the filming code name for Return of the Jedi was Blue Harvest.
  61. Ralph McQuarrie designed C3PO by taking liberty with the Maschinenmensch design from the film Metropolis. Robby the Robot also was an inspiration for the protocol droid aspect.
  62. When Anakin is slaughtering the Tusken Raider in Attack of the Clones, Qui-Gon's voice can be heard in the background. This is no accident as Qui-Gon Jinn's Force-Ghost was trying to stop Anakin's rage, but clearly failed.
  63. The characters of R2 and C3PO were so popular they had their own animated television series for a short time and once appeared in episodes of The Muppets and Sesame Street where R2 oddly appeared to fall in love with a fire hydrant!
  64. The planet name of 'Coruscant' was created by Star Wars author Timothy Zahn for his book Heir to The Empire. George Lucas liked the name and included shots of Coruscant, the Imperial Capital at the end of the Return of the Jedi movie. It then featured in the prequels. The main character Thrawn from those books eventually featured in the third season of Star Wars: Rebels.
  65. R2D2 served several masters - starting with Padme, Anakin, Bail Organa, Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker and for a time, Jabba the Hutt... In the expanded universe R2 accompanies the descendants of Skywalker on many adventures.
  66. The two robots are the subject of Obi Wan's most famous quote, "These aren't the droids you're looking for". This line has became a common phrase used to indicate that the issue or matter being discussed is not relevant, often said with a knowing wave of the hand...
  67. Rogue One is the first big screen Star Wars movie that John Williams has not recorded the score for. Michael Giacchino composed the music for Rogue One.
  68. C3P0 has appeared in every Star Wars movie including Rogue One, TFA and the Clone Wars but not Solo.
  69. It was Donnie Yen's idea for his Rogue One character Chirrut Imwe to be blind. Director Gareth Edwards thought it was cool and ran with it. Yen initially turned down the role when it was first offered to him however when he told his kids about the chance, they were so excited, he changed his mind.
  70. Han Solo’s space ship the Millennium Falcon has a cameo appearance in Revenge of the Sith. It is seen landing on Coruscant.luke emperor force lightning story board star wars
  71. It was Return of the Jedi’s director Richard Marquand who came up with the idea of having Leia turn up to Jabba’s Palace as a disguised bounty hunter. He also suggested that Leia should strangle Jabba the Hutt. 
  72. When Luke claims Chewbacca is a prisoner transfer from cell block. 1138, this is a direct reference to George Lucas’s first film, THX 1138. That film was about a dystopian future where a authoritarian regime was in control – a not to dissimilar state of affairs in Star Wars.
  73. Han Solo’s “I know” line in response to Leia’s declaration of love as adlibbed by Harrison Ford. It’s become an iconic Star Wars quote and is arguably just as popular as Ackbar's "it's a trap".
  74. "I've got a bad feeling about this" or a variation of it is spoken in every movie.
  75. R2D2 is taller than the Ewok 'Wicket' from ROTJ.
  76. Mace Windu is the only Jedi in any film to wield a purple colored lightsaber. Here's some of his quotes from the prequels.
  77. None of the Star Wars films have credits at the beginning of them. This actually became a really big deal and meant Lucas quit various film institutions such as the Director's Guild and Stars Wars films were considered independent movies.
  78. R2D2 and C3PO were snuck into a scene in Indianna Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark as well as JJ Abrams' two Star Trek films.
  79. The Phantom Menace's production sets were built only as high as the tops of the actors' heads and computer graphics filled in the rest. But it was realised that Liam Neeson was so tall that they needed to build things taller and this cost the production another $150,000 in construction costs.
  80. That particular Jedi stands at a tall height of 1.93 meters.emperor story board star wars
  81. Quote said to Jar Jar: "The ability to speak does not make you intelligent. Now get out of here." Many Star Wars fans wish he paid attention. 
  82. Phantom Menace is the only film in the series in which the top-credited actor plays a non-recurring character, and in which the top-credited character dies.
  83. What's in a name? The name "Qui Gon" derives from an ancient Chinese system of alternative medicine called "Qigong". The word "Jinn" refers to the "Djinn" or the so called genies of Arabian myth.
  84. Qui-Gon was actually a padawan of Count Dooku.
  85. E.T. creatures made a cameo appearance in The Phantom Menace
  86. Darth Maul has ten horns on his red head
  87. While Ray Park is famous as playing the Sith Lord, Peter Serafinowicz actually voiced the character. Benicio Del Toro was originally cast to play Darth Maul but he abandoned the role after George Lucas decided to trim Darth Maul's screen time in the film. Benicio del Toro was originally cast but dropped out. He has a part in Star Wars The Last Jedi as DJ, a slicer of dubious renown. 
  88. Actor Hayden Christiansen played Darth Vader in Revenge of the Sith as opposed to David Prowse who previously did the role. Hayden apparently begged Lucas to let him play him. The suit had to be designed to accommodate his smaller stature than Prowse's. Not that Lucas would have cast Prowse as he appears to have something against him and he was banned from making any appearances at official Star Wars promotional events such as conventions. 
  89. The sound of the hovering battle tanks used by the battle droids in The Phantom Menace was created by running an electric razor around a metal salad bowl and then digitally lowering the pitch.
  90. In Attack of the Clones, Jar Jar Binks stands in for Senator Amidala and puts forth the motion that gives Palpatine supreme powers. This means that Jar Jar, one of the most universally hated characters in the Star Wars films is unwittingly responsible for the fall of the Old Republic and the downfall of the Jedi.
  91. Revenge of the Sith featured 4 hands being cut off in the film. Anakin loses one to Obi Wan, Mace Windu loses one to Anakin and Obi-Wan cuts two of General Grievous' hands off.
  92. The sound effect when Obi-Wan Kenobi's lightsaber is kicked down the reactor shaft in the climactic battle with Darth Maul, is the same sound effect heard when Luke Skywalker throws his lightsaber away in Return of the Jedi when he tells the Emperor that he is a Jedi, like his father before him!
  93. In Solo, there was originally a fourth member of Beckett's team called Korso but the character was cut in the editing room. You can actually see a few shots of him in the Mimban sequences. Korso was to be killed early on so that Becket would see value in replacing him with Chewbacca.
  94. In Rogue One the planet Jedha features a place known as the 'Temple of the Whills'. This is a great reference to some obscure Star Wars trivia - The Journal of the Whills was a formal record of history, maintained by a beings known as The Whills. During the original Star Wars writing period, George Lucas had the idea that R2D2 relayed the stories he knew to the Whills so that the Skywalker saga could be recorded for all time.
  95. R2D2 was infamously given the ability to fly in the prequel films which bugged many fans (despite the fun he had on screen). This was rather roughly explained in other fiction that after the Clone Wars the company responsible for the development of his boosters went out of business. When his rocket boosters were damaged they were unable to be repaired.
  96. Every clone trooper in Revenge of the Sith is a creation of CGI. No clone costumes or helmets were manufactured for filming. It's like the anti-Lord of the Rings mentality...
  97. The shipping title of Phantom Menace was "The Doll House", Clones was "Cue Ball" and Sith, "The Bridge".
  98. The Phantom Menace was the first Star Wars film to be released on DVD.
  99. When Jango Fett gets into his ship after his fight with Obi-Wan in Attack of the Clones, he bangs his head on the open door. This was intentional and is a reference to a famous goof from the original movie where a cloned Stormtrooper accidentally bangs his head on a door (the clone being the descendant of Jango Fett and having inherited this character trait of clumsiness).
  100. "Phantom Menace" was the name of a villain in the "Flash Gordon" comics. Which shouldn't surprise too many people as George Lucas has often cited Flash Gordon as one of his inspirations for making the original Star Wars. In the film of Flash Gordon, Max von Sydow played the villain, Ming the Merciless. Sydow, of course, had a turn as The Force Awakens as Lor San Tekka.clone trooper story board star wars
  101. Revenge of the Sith is the only film in the main saga storyline thus far that does not feature R2D2 in the final shot. You could argue the same for The Force Awakens too, however, he's at least on the island...
  102. Ewoks were a late addition to the Star Wars mythology. Their part in the story was to be played by the Wookiees, but by the time Lucas and his production partners sat down to write Return of The Jedi, they realized that, because Chewbacca could fly the Millennium Falcon, repair the ship and operate pretty much any weapon or machine in the known universe, they'd made the Wookiees too technologically advanced for the plot.
  103. Admiral Ackbar's backstory is that he was once the slave of Grand Moff Tarkin, as well as his personal pilot.
  104. In Solo, Dryden Vos has a set of Mandalorian Battle Armor in his collection on his yacht. This is the same style of armour made famous by bounty hunter Boba Fett.
  105. In the DVD 2004 release of Jedi, Sebastian Shaw (older Anakin Skywalker) is replaced in the celebration scene by Hayden Christensen. A lot of fans were not happy about this.
  106. Darth Vader's funeral pyre scene on Endor was added at the very last moment, long after principle photography and pick-ups had wrapped. The scene was thrown together and shot near the hills of Skywalker Ranch.
  107. It took six people to work the full-sized animatronic of Jabba the Hutt. The frogs he ate were not real.
  108. Jedi was the first Star Wars film to show a light saber combat something other than another light saber. On Jabba's Sail Barge, Luke fights the guards  bearing staffs and blasters. This perhaps a call back to the original movie where Luke wears a blaster helmet and tries to anticipate blast shots from the Remote on the Millennium Falcon. This shows the progress Luke has made as a Jedi Knight.
  109. Speaking of that Remote, it makes a return in The Force Awakens. Finn finds it when he is looking for first aid to help Chewbacca.
  110. A venerable if maverick Jedi Master, Qui-Gon Jinn was a student of the living Force. Unlike other Jedi Masters, who often lose themselves in the meditation of the unifying Force, Qui-Gon Jinn lived for the moment, espousing a philosophy of "feel, don't think -- use your instincts."
  111. Jedi was originally going to be called Revenge of the Jedi until Lucas decided that Jedi do not seek revenge. This was quite late in the production so there was a lot of promotional gear with the title already printed on it.
  112. Craig Daniel, better known as James Bond 007 was the Stormtrooper that freed Rey in The Force Awakens.
Wow, you made it this far! The Force is strong with you.

What was Return of the Jedi originally going to be called?

Dec 27, 2018
Revenge of the Jedi movie poster

What was Return of the Jedi originally going to be called? 

When George Lucas was making his third Star Wars feature film, he wasn't making Return of the Jedi.

He was making a film called Revenge of the Jedi.

It was revenge in the sense that Luke was going to win the battle against the Evil Empire, taking his revenge for all the wrongs done to himself and his family.

Things got so far into production that promotional posters of the film with the name Revenge of the Jedi were produced and sent out into the wild.

But then George had an idea.

A great idea which changed the whole tone of the movie.

He named it Return of the Jedi to signal what the movie was really about. That being the return of Anakin Skywalker from the dark side of the Force and his rightful place as a Jedi. It also is a reference to how Luke becomes a Jedi ("So be it, Jedi" declares the Emperor) and when that happens, the Jedi in the plural sense have returned.

Lucas also thought that true Jedi would not actually seek revenge.

Which would have made this alternate Jedi ending a bit more interesting....
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