Is it true that Dustin Hoffman appeared in Star Wars: A New Hope?

May 22, 2022

If you believe Elaine from Seinfeld, yes. 

Or maybe not.

In the show about nothing, Elaine raises with Jerry that Dustin Hoffman was in Star Wars. 

This follows an incident where the premise is a man named Todd Gack tricks women into going on dates with him by making 'bad' bets and offering dinner if he should lose. He is able to trick Elaine into having dinner with him by betting her that famed actor Dustin Hoffman was in Star Wars.

That's from the 7th season Seinfeld episode called “The Calzone”.  

And that may have let things percolate about the rumour that Hoffman appeared in Star Wars.

However more recently, a video doing the rounds on Tik Tok shows in the interrogation scene on the Death Star where Vader brings in that floating torture unit, Dustin Hoffman can clearly be seen as an extra.

So case settled, Hoffman was in Star Wars!


Dustin Hoffman cameo in Star Wars

The video is simply a very good fake. Hoffman's face has been added over the original actor's. 

IF that's not enough for you, Star Wars Wars was largely filmed in 1976 in London, England. A place which Hoffman never was at that time?

Seinfeld actually did a lot of references to movies, some of the Godfather ones are quite good and where Wayne Knight appeared in some big films, the riffing of the scenes he was in such as Basic Instinct are excellent.

15 facts about the making of the Return of the Jedi

May 12, 2022

Interest facts about the making of the Return of the Jedi

For this writer, Jedi was the first Star Wars movie I ever saw on the silver screen.

I must have been 6?

It was awesome.

I was given a book of the movie where you played a cassette along at the same time and I duly memorised it.

I also recall borrowing the novelisation (with pictures) a million times from the school library.

And now, too many years later here I am blathering about facts and trivia about the making of the movie...

leia kissing a guard
Don't ask about what's happening here.

Here are 13 awesome bits of trivia and facts about the effort that when into the making of Return of the Jedi:

  1. 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 the Return of The Jedi script, 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.
  2. Yoda was to sit this one out, but he was added after consultation with child psychologists helped George Lucas decide he needed an independent character to confirm Darth Vader's claim that he is Luke Skywalker's father. Now you know why Yoda doesn't do much for the rest of the movie. That and the fact he died of old age.
  3. "It's a trap," which is arguably the most famous line in the movie, 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. Recall though that Leia calls out the line to Luke on Cloud City in Empire!
  4. Admiral Ackbar's backstory was that he was once the slave of Grand Moff Tarkin, as well as his personal pilot. This is no longer canon. 
  5. Ben Kingsley, who played the title role in the 1982 movie Gandhi, read for the role of Emperor Palpatine and “was considered ‘very English.’ That said, Palpatine was eventually played by Englishman Ian McDiarmid... there's a reason why so many English actors are in Star Wars.
  6. David Lynch was originally offered the chance to direct this episode of the series. He turned it down because he believed it was "Lucas' thing." He went on to direct the Dune movie instead. It's actually really interesting how much Frank Herbert's book influence the original Star Wars script development.
  7. In the DVD 2004 release, Sebastian Shaw (older Anakin Skywalker) is replaced in the celebration scene by Hayden Christensen. Many fans did not understand, nor appreciate this.
  8. Darth Vader's funeral pyre scene where Luke stands over his father was added at the very last minute, long after principle photography and pick-ups had wrapped. The scene was thrown together and shot near the hills of Skywalker Ranch.
  9. It took six people to operate the full-sized animatronic of Jabba the Hutt. 
  10. Legend has it that Jabba was inspired by the Emperor of the Dune novels.
  11. This is the first Star Wars film to show a light saber used in combat against something other than another light saber. Luke on the Sail Barge fights guards with staffs and blasters. This perhaps a call back to the original movie where Luke wears a blaster helmet and tries to anticipate shots from the Remote on the Millennium Falcon. This shows the progress Luke has made as a Jedi Knight.
  12. 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.
  13. After appearing in this film, Wedge becomes the only X-wing pilot character (apart from Luke) who survives all three major battles in the original films. Wedge also later appeared in the Rise of Skywalker battle over Exogol.
  14. The film 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.
  15. There's a really cool connection to the classic sci-fi film, The Day the Earth Stood Still. That film's alien character was called Klaatu. In Jedi, the mechanic on Jabba's sail barge is named the same as a tribute to the film.
This was just a taste of the vast amount of ROTJ trivia out there - if want more try this book, The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi by J. W. Rinzler.

Bonus fact - Alan Rickman auctioned for the role of Jer Jerrod

Bonus picture of the Death Star II being built:

building the death star

Do you want more Star Wars trivia? Check out these 101 intriguing facts about Star Wars

The most famous Han Solo quotes from Star Wars

The very best Han Solo quotes from the Star Wars movies

Han Solo was literally one of the coolest characters in the Star Wars universe as he was the one who was frozen in a large block of carbonite in The Empire Strikes.

He's the smuggler that dumped Jabba the Hutt's cargo at the first sign of Imperial trouble and is known for making 'special modifications' himself!

Most of all, he's in it for the money.

He also had a pretty cool attitude which meant he was able to shoot Greedo first and let fly (boy!) with some classic one-liner quotes.

Here are a select few of Harrison Ford’s best and most famous quotes from the five Star War movies he was in:

The very best Han Solo quotes from the Star Wars movies

  • “Great, kid. Don't get cocky”  - Luke and the gang have just escaped the Death Star following the death of Obi-Wan Kenobi when Vader sends a squadron of Tie Fighters after them. Luke manages to shoot one down and is pretty happy about it when Solo chirps back with this line. Han’s no fool, he’s been around much longer and knows that what they’re going through is life and death….
  • "I still get a funny feeling about that old man and the kid. I'm not sure what it is about them, but they're trouble” - How right was Han when he cast this aside to his furry Wookie buddy?
  • "Look, I ain't in this for your revolution, and I'm not in it for you, princess. I expect to be well paid. I'm in it for the money” - Han had a bounty on his head when he said this to Leia. Still, he managed to overlook this long enough to fly in and save the day later on.
  • "I know." - This next one from Empire Strikes Back is possibly one of the greatest ad-libbed lines in the history of movie making. Han is about to be encased in carbonite and be sent to Jabba the Hutt. Leia finally able to vocalise her love for the smuggler and says the classic line.
  • "Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid." - But that's so uncivilized...
  • "Laugh it up, fuzzball!" - Did Chewie say something funny?
  • "Never tell me the odds!"  - When flying through an asteroid field whilst evading the Empire C3PO questioned the merit of Han flying in the field to wit he replied:
  • “Punch it!”  - A quote that has been adopted by many fans for whenever they need to start something such as their car.
  • “You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon? … It’s the ship that made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.” Possibly Han's most famous line. Why is this infamous? A Parsec is a measurement of distance not time – so Han was simply making an idle boast to impress Obi-Wan and young Luke about the speed of the Millennium Falcon. Or was he? Tie-in books have explained that Han meant he cut down the distance commonly traveled on the Kessel run by flying close to Black Holes that no one else had dared to. But the new canon rules have made this explanation defunct. If you look closely at Chewbacca in this scene, he does seem a bit sceptical about Han's claim, however! In The Force Awakens Han corrects Rey's description of this run by shouting "12 parsecs" back at her.
  • "Boring conversation anyway. Luke, we're gonna have company!"

There are plenty of Boba Fett fans out there and many of them were disappointed when the character found himself knocked into the Sarlac pit by a blinded Han Solo. Still, it was kind of funny when I was a kid...

The Force Awakens quotes by Han Solo

Here are Han Solo's best quotes and lines of dialogue from Star Wars - The Force Awakens.

"Chewie, we're home."

Rey: "You're Han Solo?"

Solo "I Used To Be."

When asked by Rey about the stories that happened, Han replies, "It's true. All of it. The dark side. The Jedi. They're real".

To Finn "Women Always Figure Out The Truth. Always."

Han Solo: "Are you sure you're up for this?"

Finn "hell no!"

Han Solo as he offers Rey his pistol "You might need this"

Rey: "I can handle myself:

Han Solo: "That's why I'm giving it to you!"

As Solo mans the pilot seat of the Falcon in a tight spot "Come on baby, don't let me down"'

To Finn who has just advised Han he doesn't have a plan and thinks the Force can just be used to save Rey:  "that's not how the Force works!"

Han Solo as he walks up to Kylo on the bridge and yells "BEN!" and in doing so reveals Kylo's real name and that he was presumably named after Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Rise of Skywalker Han Solo scene with Kylo Ren

In Rise of Skywalker, Han appears in a vision to Kylo Ren on the Death Star, Ben cries 'dad!' to which Han loving replies "I know", a great call back to Han's most famous line.

Boring conversation anyway. Luke, we're gonna have company!

Harrison Ford on the Hoth set of Star Wars

The Han "Solo" Movie quotes in which Han is played by Alden Ehrenreich

alden enheinrich as solo

  • "I'm gonna be a pilot. The best in the galaxy."
  • "I thought we were in trouble there for just a second but it's fine, we're fine."
  • "Oh, what would you know?"
  • "You're 180 years old? You look great!"

Bonus link: Han 'Solo' movie Easter Eggs, the plot hole / plot questions, and the callbacks

The best Darth Vader quotes from Star Wars

Apr 30, 2022

Darth Vader quotes that show he was the worst Sith Lord ever (but possibly the greatest Jedi!)

If you had to think of the most loved, most famous movie villain in all of movie history, you would be hard-pressed to go past Star War's Darth Vader.

A New Hope introduced him as the meanest, most badass and mysterious bad guy ever.

His place in movie history was assured when he became one half of a conversation that was to be one of the biggest plot twists in movie history with the reveal of him being Luke's father and by the time Return of the Jedi rolled around he proved to actually be the Chosen One.

There's basically him and Ernst Stavro Blofeld from James Bond and maybe The Terminator. But even then the T-800 turned to the light...

Did you ever think Lord Vader was supposed to be Darth Sidious' apprentice and they were to rule the world together? Betraying your Sith Lord Master must be the ultimate betrayal right? (It's almost expected by the Sith).

Well Vader already betrayed the Jedi when he took part in Order 66 so what’s one more betrayal? Just add it to the list right?

Or maybe not...

Palpatine intimates to Anakin during Revenge of the Sith that Darth Sidious killed his master while he slept so maybe that’s what the Sith do to each other.

After all, Palpatine also set up Count Dooku as an apprentice only to deliberately set him up so that Anakin Skywalker could behead the poor chap – this was so as to give Anakin a chance to dip his toes into the murky depths of the dark side…..

Sure, the prequels introduced Anakin as a screechy, whinnying idealistic young boy that hates sand but let's put that aside for now - here are the best Darth Vader quotes.

Given he wasn't really one for long inspirational speeches, he sure had a way with words that made him very quotable.

the force is strong with this one
The Force is strong with this one!

The original Star Wars (A New Hope)

  • “I find your lack of faith disturbing” - says the Dark Lord after appearing to be openly mocked by Officers on board the Death Star. Vader challenges one of them to a force choke competition, naturally he went first... it's arguably one of Vader's most famous quotes.
  • "When I left you I was but the learner. Now I am the master." - Vader taunts Obi Wan, his Jedi teacher and former friend just before he kills him in the slowest sword fighter ever.
  • "The Force is strong with this one." Vader is commenting on the skills of an X-Wing pilot that is trying to blow up the Death Star, not realising he's trying to kill his own son.

Hardly a Sith Lord at the peak of his powers?

Surely he could have tapped into the Force on that one?

We jest.

The Empire Strikes Back quotes by Vader

  • "We would be honored if you would join us" - Vader mocks Han, Leia and Chewie when the trap on Cloud City is revealed. It's perhaps the only joke Vader makes in the saga other than the one he does as he chokes out Director Krennic in Rogue One
  • “I am altering the deal, pray I do not alter it any further…” - Vader tells Lando Calrissian how it is from beneath his black helmet. Han is going with Boba Fett and everyone else is Vader's.
  • "Impressive. Most impressive. Obi-Wan has taught you well. You have controlled your fear. Now, release your anger. Only your hatred can destroy me." - Vader praises Luke after he manages to escape Vader's trap with an acrobatic flip.
  • "No, I am your father!" -  And so revealed was one of cinema's greatest plot twists that Vader was actually Luke's old man.
Here's the video:

Here's the full conversation which happened just after the father cut off the son's hand:

Darth Vader: There is no escape. Don't make me destroy you. Luke, you do not yet realize your importance. You have only begun to discover your power. Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy.
Luke Skywalker: I'll never join you!
Vader: If you only knew the power of the Dark Side. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
Luke: He told me enough! He told me you killed him!
Vader: No. I am your father.
Luke: That's not true. That's impossible!
Vader: Search your feelings, you know it to be true!
Luke: Noooo! Nooooo!

Return of the Jedi

Concept art of Luke and Vader duelling

Return of the Jedi was full of quotes from Vader:

  • “I hope so for your sake, the Emperor is not as forgiving as I am” - This was the end of Vader's pep talk with the Jerjerrod who has in command of the second Death Star. Was it a slight joke by Vader to encourage the completion of the battle station or merely a statement of fact?
  • "Give yourself to the Dark Side. It is the only way you can save your friends. Yes, your thoughts betray you. Your feelings for them are strong. Especially for... sister. So, you have a twin sister. 
  • "Your feelings have now betrayed her, too. Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me. Now his failure is complete. If you will not turn to the Dark Side... then perhaps she will..." This taunt from the Sith Lord was perhaps not the finest thing he could have done. While he was trying to enrage Luke enough to open the door to the Dark Side for him he miscalculated and Luke finally bested him.
  • In reply to Luke's "I'll not leave you here. I've got to save you." Anakin says "You already have, Luke." 

Having proven that he was indeed the Chosen One by killing Emperor Palpatine and restoring balance to the Force, Vader perhaps single-handedly* became the worst Sith and greatest Jedi at the same time. 

His conversation with Luke is perhaps the most emotional moment of all the Star Wars films, given the weight behind it. 

Revenge of the Sith

And then we come to Revenge of the Sith where Anakin Skywalker succumbs to the Dark Side and becomes Lord Darth Vader. 

When he awakes from his reconstruction after losing his duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi his first thought is for his love, for whom he apparently thought he was making his most recent 'life choices' for:

"Where is Padme? Is she safe? Is she all right?"

Palpatine's answer doesn't impress him much!


Rogue One quotes

Vader was brought back for the Rogue One prequel movie - even though he had minimal screen time, his cameo was awesome!
  • "Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director."

This was a simple, yet brilliant line in the film. 

Director Orsen Krennic was a vainglorious man, who had stopped at nothing to achieve his goal of building the Death Star and thus currying favour with Emperor Palpatine. He had killed the wife of his best friend (Galen) to do so. He was hell-bent on rising the ranks further in the Empire.

And then he ran into Darth Vader and in him found a wall of man/machine that hindered his own Imperial March. 

Vader then literally chokes him as he says the line, we get the wonderful interplay of the classic Darth Vader Force choking a member of his own team which is obviously crushing the advance of Krennic. 

This makes Krennic even more desperate at the end of the film...

* You saw what we did there right?

Darth Vader quote from The Rise of Skywalker

The Emperor is a cruel master and we learned during this film that he had been manipulating Ben Solo since day one. Snoke was a puppet clone that he had used to influence Ben and when Darth Vader spoke to him through the mask, it was Palpatine all along.

Here's the line in TROS where he revealed this knowledge to Kylo Ren:

"At last, my boy. I have been every voice, you’ve ever heard, inside your head."

This was superbly delivered in the film  - the line begins with Palpatine and then turns into a mix of Darth Vader and Snoke's voices. 

What a mind trick to have played on the last Skywalker!

Best quotes Darth Vader said to Luke Skywalker

Nothing like an awkward father-son dynamic on which to base one of the greatest film trilogies of all time...

  • "No, I am your father!"
  • "Impressive, most impressive"
  • "That name no longer has any meaning for me
  •  It is... too late for me, son. The Emperor will show you the true nature of the Force. He is your master now"
  • "You cannot hide forever, Luke"
  • "Sister. So, you have a twin sister"
  • "Tell your sister you were right" (as Anakin Skywalker)
  • "You already have, Luke"

palpatine and darth vader

Best quotes Emperor Palpatine said to Vader

Vader often used a good chat with his apprentice to outline his plots for the audience...
  • "We have a new enemy: the young rebel who destroyed the Death Star. I have no doubt this boy is the offspring of Anakin Skywalker.”
  • "The Force is strong with him. The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi.”
  • “If he could be turned, he would become a powerful ally.”
  • "It seems, in your anger, you killed her."

Extra for experts, trivia and facts about Vader's character and inspiration for it!

The opening crawl text of every Star Wars film

Apr 28, 2022

The opening introduction crawl words of every Star Wars movie...

that has one...

The Star Wars intro text 'opening crawl' is one of the first truly great things about Star Wars films. The yellow text has become an iconic font, copied by many others since the first release.

It's become an iconic part of the Star Wars lore.

While not an original movie making concept (Flash Gordon has that claim, we believe) it made the idea very popular and is these days is expected as part of the opening of every Star Wars film. This should be of no surprise to anyone who knows how many ideas George Lucas 'borrowed' from films and media. 

Many other works have sort to emulate or parody the concept of the opening words scroll, looking at you Spaceballs.

Each crawl's prologue gives a quick explanation of the most immediate events leading up to the start of the film.

While the text is crawling up the screen, John Williams' famous Star Wars theme is blasting its familiar notes, creating an attention-grabbing start to the film.

The font of the crawl is called News Gothic has also become quite iconic and adopted by many designers.

Here's the opening text for each film. Note the animated Clone Wars movie directed by Dave Filoni did not have a intro word crawl, nor did Rogue One or the Solo prequel film (though it did have explanatory text).

star wars crawl text

Episode IV: A New Hope from 1977 - the one where we learn a blaster at your side is no match for a hokey religion…

"It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armoured space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet. 

Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy…."

Trivia: Film director Brian De Palma convinced George Lucas to shorten the original text he had drafted.

Trivia 2: When Star Wars was first released in 1977 the crawl did not feature the text "A New Hope" that came later after the film was a success.

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back – the one where things get icy between all parties involved.

"It is a dark time for the Rebellion. Although the Death Star has been destroyed, Imperial troops have driven the Rebel forces from their hidden base and pursued them across the galaxy.

Evading the dreaded Imperial Starfleet, a group of freedom fighters led by Luke Skywalker has established a new secret base on the remote ice world of Hoth.

The evil lord Darth Vader, obsessed with finding young Skywalker, has dispatched thousands of remote probes into the far reaches of space…."

Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi – the one in which the evil empire is taken down a peg or two.

"Luke Skywalker has returned to his home planet of Tatooine in an attempt to rescue his friend Han Solo from the clutches of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt.

Little does Luke know that the GALACTIC EMPIRE has secretly begun construction on a new armored space station even more powerful than the first dreaded Death Star.

When completed, this ultimate weapon will spell certain doom for the small band of rebels struggling to restore freedom to the galaxy..."

The Prequels

The Prequel Trilogy also featured the Star Wars crawl and introduced many fans to the concept of there being tax in space...

Episode 1: The Phantom Menace – the one in which Star Wars becomes a lesson in trade disputes and economic sanctions. 

"Turmoil has engulfed the Galactic Republic. The taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems is in dispute.

Hoping to resolve the matter with a blockade of deadly battleships, the greedy Trade Federation has stopped all shipping to the small planet of Naboo.

While the congress of the Republic endlessly debates this alarming chain of events, the Supreme Chancellor has secretly dispatched two Jedi Knights, the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, to settle the conflict...."

There's always a bigger fish..

Episode II: Attack of the Clones: – the one in which Yoda turns out to be a bad ass. 

Here's the scroll:

"There is unrest in the Galactic Senate. Several thousand solar systems have declared their intentions to leave the Republic. This separatist movement, under the leadership of the mysterious Count Dooku, has made it difficult for the limited number of Jedi Knights to maintain peace and order in the galaxy. Senator Amidala, the former Queen of Naboo, is returning to the Galactic Senate to vote on the critical issue of creating an ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC to assist the overwhelmed Jedi...."

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith – the one in which everyone dies, one way or another. 

War! The Republic is crumbling under attacks by the ruthless Sith Lord, Count Dooku. There are heroes on both sides. Evil is everywhere. In a stunning move, the fiendish droid leader, General Grievous, has swept into the Republic capital and kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine, leader of the Galactic Senate. As the Separatist Droid Army attempts to flee the besieged capital with their valuable hostage, two Jedi Knights lead a desperate mission to rescue the captive Chancellor...

The Force Awakens Crawl

This crawl was notable for revealing the title of the next sequel, The Last Jedi. Of course, no one knew this was the title at the time but director Rian Johnson sure did!

Luke Skywalker has vanished.
In his absence, the sinister
FIRST ORDER has risen
from the ashes of the Empire
and will not rest until Skywalker, the last Jedi,
has been destroyed.

With the support of the REPUBLIC,
General Leia Organa leads a brave RESISTANCE.
She is desperate to find her
brother Luke and gain his
help in restoring peace and
justice to the galaxy.

Leia has sent her most daring
pilot on a secret mission
to Jakku, where an old ally
has discovered a clue to
Luke’s whereabouts . . . .

This crawl is notable as it contains the title for The Last Jedi!


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

The prequel film Rogue One does not actually feature a crawl at all and it's the first live action Star Wars movie to not have the text (not counting the Ewok movies, Caravan of Courage or Battle for Endor or The Clone Wars).

It does, however, show the traditional 'a long time ago, in a far away galaxy' line following the introduction to the Erso family.

the last jedi poster

The Last Jedi intro text (scene)

"Episode VIII


"The FIRST ORDER reigns. Having decimated the peaceful Republic, Supreme Leader Snoke now deploys his merciless legions to seize military control of the galaxy.

Only General Leia Organa’s band of RESISTANCE fighters stand against the rising tyranny, certain that Jedi Master Luke Skywalker will return and restore a spark of hope to the fight.

"But the Resistance has been exposed. As the First Order speeds toward the rebel base, the brave heroes mount a desperate escape...."

So there you have all 7 Star Wars crawls. Which one do you think best reflects the movie in which it features?

Han Solo movie opening text

Solo did not have am intro crawl but it did have this text displayed on screen.

"Opening Scroll: It is a lawless time. Crime Syndicates compete for resources - food, medicine, and hyperfuel. On the shipbuilding planet of Corellia, the foul Lady Proxima forces runaways into a life of crime in exchange for shelter and protection. On these mean streets, a young man fights for survival, but yearns to fly among the stars..."

It may be worth noting that the title of The Last Jedi was mentioned in The Force Awaken's crawl.

Here's the opening lines of all the movies.

The Rise of Skywalker Opening Crawl

The dead speak! The galaxy has heard a mysterious broadcast, a threat of REVENGE in the sinister voice of the late EMPEROR PALPATINE.

GENERAL LEIA ORGANA dispatches secret agents to gather intelligence, while REY, the last hope of the Jedi, trains for battle against the diabolical FIRST ORDER.

Meanwhile, Supreme Leader KYLO REN rages in search of the phantom Emperor, determined to destroy any threat to his power....

Extra for Experts: Here's 501 facts about the Star Wars movies. Number 333 will blow your mind!

A brief design history of Darth Vader, Nazi inspiration and all

Apr 25, 2022
starkiller fights vader artwork
Early concept of a young Starkiller dueling Vader

A brief history of the design of Darth Vader

Kylo Ren may be obsessed with Darth Vader but the rest of the world got there well before him.

It was in 1977 to be exact when Vader stepped into the Tantive IV and threw a few Rebels about.

As he did so, he stepped into movie infamy as one of the greatest villains ever.

We have a theory that one of the key reasons why that happened was the look of Vader.

He was like a caped black knight, spewing evil from that robotic face. Not to mention that terse, measured breathing that was utterly terrifying.

It was just sinister. Vader was a big deal, even before the most infamous reveal of his fathering Luke Skywalker.

Indeed Pierre Christin, a noted comic creator who had some influence over Star Wars, had this to say on why we love Vader:

“A villain like Darth Vader is simply a cinematic flash of genius, destined to be a great film icon forever. The reason we fear him so much is because he partly reflects ourselves.”

So we love Vader because we fear him.

Got it, thanks French dude.

So what were the elements that went into the design of Darth Vader?

Who came up with him and his look?

And the meaning of his name?

Read on, Star Wars fan, read on.

How did the concept of Vader develop?

George Lucas is the father of Darth Vader.

When Lucas was throwing around ideas for his ‘Journal of the Whills’ concept he wrote down the name of ‘General Vader’ who he noted was an Imperial Commander.

The character was described as a “tall, grim looking general”. Lucas also wrote down ideas for 'Knights of the Sith', a character called 'Kane Starkiller' who was a cyborg.

Eventually, Lucas fashioned the character as a 'Black Knight of the Sith' who served the 'Master of Sith'.

Initially, Vader did not have his famous helmet. Lucas had suggested his face be obscured by a black silk scarf.

This was during 1975 at which time Lucas asked Ralph McQuarrie to turn this concept into a drawn character.

When McQuarrie learned that Vader (as it was then in the script) was to cross through the cold vacuum of space to enter Leia’s spaceship, he added the mask.

Obviously, the reasons for Vader needing the mask were made more interesting later on.

McQuarrie delivered duly delivered some concept art:

Early Darth Vader concept designs
Early Darth Vader concept designs
A costume designer by the name of John Mollo was given these sketches and told to get to work. He was inspired by samurai influences (which would have pleased Lucas given his penchant for Akira Kurosawa movies) and Nazi uniform and armor that was used in the trench battles of World War I.

In keeping with this minor Nazi influence, Stormtroopers were named after specialist German soldiers from the same era. Counterpoint: Vader was not German for Dark Father.

Brian Muir made the actual helmet and mask, fashioning early sculptures out of clay. He did his sculpting over a plaster head of David Prowse.

Here’s a great interview with Muir explaining the process.

Fun fact: Vader’s armour was given the serial number E-3778Q-1M.

That voice

During filming, David Prowse did the actions and also voiced the character believing he would be doing the final recordings as well.

Lucas had other ideas and tried to hire the great filmmaker Orson Welles (speaking or Welles, check out our Theory About Director Krennic's name) with no success.

This was just as well for James Earl Jones got the gig and Vader’s final ingredient was found. Jones recorded his lines in 2 and a half hours and received a small cheque for his time.

Jones also chose to not receive an on-screen credit as he thought his role was too small.

This was eventually rectified when Star Wars become a global smash again with Empire Strikes Back.

That breathing

Ben Burtt invented the sound by recording him using a scuba breathing apparatus.

The microphone was placed in the regulator.

To get the sound just right, these recordings were played in empty rooms and re-recorded to get that ‘from the helmet’ sounding effect.

Who was that guy that played Vader in Jedi?

During ANH and TESB, David Prowse did the bodywork for the character. Bob Anderson did the heavy lifting. Come time for the finale of Jedi, there was a need to show Vader’s face.

It was the big reveal moment, father and son eyeballing each other for the first, and last time in their lives.

Veteran English actor Sebastian Shaw was hired. His scene was filmed in secret so as to hold off on the ‘surprise’ as long as possible.

It is Shaw who stands as a Force ghost with Yoda and Obi-Wan in the original form, replaced by Hayden Christiansen in the Special Edition.

Coming back to Kylo Ren for a moment – When Luke Skywalker ceremonially cremated his father's armour on the moon of Endor in Jedi, Vader’s helmet featured on the pyre.

In the real world, the specific prop was an old promotional mask that was used from the promotional touring that took place after the premiere of A New Hope.

In the movie realm, the mask and helmet that Kylo Ren is holding when he talks to his grandfather Vader in The Force Awakens appears to have been retrieved from the pyre.

Dune's influence on Star Wars

Apr 4, 2022

How 'Dune' influenced George Lucas' first Star Wars film script

We have covered many times that George Lucas soaked up a thousand different inspirations from books and films that he wove into the grand tapestry and saga of Star Wars.

We've looked at war films, country and westerns,  Akira Kurosawa and even the novels of Edgar Rice Burrows.

We have however always shied away somewhat from Frank Herbert's Dune.

Let's fix that.

Forget that Dune was made into a movie in 1984 by David Lynch, it's the novel that had the influence on Lucas and his development of the original Star Wars script or "Journal of the Whills" as it was once titled.

While there should be no doubt about the influence that it had on Lucas, we cannot find a single article or quote by the man wherein he refers to Dune. But make no mistake, the comparison of some of the ideas in both movies are unmistakable...

Indeed Herbert himself has been said to have jokingly formed the "We’re Too Big to Sue George Lucas Society" when he recognized elements from his own works and many other writers in the film.

And let's be clear, Star Wars does not have the same story as Dune. It took elements and themes and paralleled them but not the direct plot. Dune itself took inspiration from The Sabre of Paradise.

If you wanted to be fairly uncharitable you could argue that A New Hope is basically Akiro Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress set on Dune.

the effect Dune on A New Hope

Spice Up Your Life

In the first draft of Star Wars, the drug ‘spice’ was very much a central theme of script.

Lucas's first version of Princess Leia was not fleeing from the Empire with the stolen plans for the Death Star but rather, holding a cargo of the drug 'melange' spice...the later script noted Han Solo smuggled of spice...

And let's not forget that young Luke Skywalker once had the belief that his "father didn’t fight in the Clone Wars, he was a navigator on a spice freighter.”

Here's a comparison of some direct lifts and inspirations

princess irulan dune madsen

Dune's influence on A New Hope

  • Princess Leia’s name is arguably inspired by the Princess Alia.
  • Star Wars features a dry desert planet called Tatooine. Remind me what kind of planet Arrakis was in Dune? "I don't like sand"...
  • The Jawa Sandcrawler was was possibly inspired by the mining vehicles Arakin’s used. We're iffy on this connection.
  • The Skywalker family were moisture farmers in a similar vein as the 'dew collectors’.
  • The 'Jedi Mind Trick' is very similar to how the sisterhood of the Bene Gesserit can use The Voice to influence the actions of others.
  • In ANH, Luke Skywalker practices his lightsaber training against an automated training remote. This seems a direct lift from the part where Princess Alia works on her sword skills against an automated training dummy.
  • Spice mining... Luke's father was a 'was a navigator on a spice freighter.'

space slug empire dune

The Empire Strikes Back was influenced by Frank Herbert

  • In Empire Strikes Back, the Millennium Falcon just manages to escape from the jaws of giant, space slug that was living in a space asteroid. In Dune, there are giant sandworms a giant one of which causes a bit of similar havoc when one attacks the Duke's vessel. 
  • In ESB, the villain turns out to be hero's father. In Dune, the villain out to be hero's grandfather
  • Alia can connect her mind to her brother Paul Atredies physically. Kinda like what happens when Luke calls out to Leia after he's fought Darth Vader.

jabba inspired by dune emperor

How Return of the Jedi was inspired by Dune

  • Return of the Jedi’s Jabba the Hutt looks like a giant slug with a fat face and arms. This character may have been inspired by The God Emperor of Dune, Leto Atreides the Second who funnily enough was a 15-foot long slug. That novel was published in 1981, two years before the release of ROTJ. We do appreciate that Jabba was originally conceived in ANH as a human.
  • Indeed, a lot of the whole Jabba The Hutt Palace scenes appear to have been inspired by the Children of Dune sequel.
  • The sand desert where the Sarlaac Pit resides is called the Dune Sea
Mortal Engines author Philip Reeve shared his views on Dune influencing Star Wars when he was discussing the definition of 'space opera':

"Star Wars was, of course, a love-letter to the genre, full of motifs which come straight out of pulp fiction and the rockets hips’n’ray guns serials of 1930s cinema.

It also borrows heavily from Frank Herbert’s novel Dune, which I read when I was about twelve, mad about Star Wars and looking for something similar.

I was far too young to get Herbert’s mix of Orientalist fantasy, desert ecology and flaky 1960s mysticism but, as with Star Wars, that combination of swords and starships appealed to me. "

Let's not forget Lawrence of Arabia having an influence on Star Wars

Both Dune and George Lucas were inspired by the story of Lawrence of Arabia which was a spiritual journey of sorts that took place in a desert. Lucas was most definitely inspired by the David Lean movie and use shots from it for both the original and prequels films.

We say this to show that though the book came before the film, they both share common inspirations. Indeed, 19 other movies went into the creation of Star Wars.

Speaking of the Great Bard...

We should acknowledge that a lot of Shakespeare's plays influenced Frank Herbert as he developed Dune - so while many of the family dynamics in Dune and the 'saga' of it all, can be compared and contrasted with Star Wars, one could perhaps argue the driving force of Shakespeare ripples underneath the surface quite strongly in Star Wars regardless of Dune's influence.

Indeed, to dismiss Shakespeare's work as an influence on George Lucas would be a mistake. Though Lucas may not have been directly taking paragraphs out of Shakespeare (unlike which he did for Tolkien!) his admiration of The Forbidden Plant exposed him to what was basically The Tempest set in space. Given Lucas's love of films by Akiro Kurosawa, he most likely saw 'Ran', which was a remake of King Lear!

Shakespeare actually has a lot to answer for - it was his line from Othello that inspired the name of the Mortal Engines novel!

The Mandalorian Chapter: The Jedi may have also a wee Dune nod:

“Calodan” may be a reference to Caladan, which as you probably know as the planet that serves as the ancestral home of House Atreides.

“Corvus” could also perhaps be a nod to Alpha Corvus, another planet mentioned in the later Dune work by Herbert's son. We suspect this is a bit of a stretch, however.

Extra for Experts: 

One: We mentioned above that David Lynch directed the movie version of Dune.

We think it's a pretty good science fiction movie, though a patient watch is needed. You know how things come full circle?

George Lucas actually met with Lynch to discuss the possibility of Lynch taking the director's chair for Return of the Jedi! Lynch turned him down which led to Richard Marquand having a crack.

Two: There's a large feeling out there that Lucas was perhaps inspired by the film script of a Dune film that never got made by director Alejandro Jodorowsky. That this version of Dune got so close to being made is the stuff of legend and can be seen in the documentary called 'Jodorowsky's Dune'.

Four: In The Battle for Endor, the Nightsister known as 'Charal' was played by Sian Phillips. She played the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam in the 1984 film version of Dune.
Five: Sicario director Denis Villeneuve wrote, directed the remake of Dune. He was well placed to do so following the success of his Blade Runner sequel and the fantastic Arrival.
Here's the first image from the Dune remake, a picture of Timothee Chalamet who is playing Prince Paul Atreides. Looks a lot like the Star Wars sequels eh?
Timothee Chalamet dune remake as Paul Atreides

What are the key film influences on Star Wars?

Apr 3, 2022

The Key Influences of films on George Lucas' Star Wars 

If you think George Lucas simply sat down at his desk with a pencil and a yellow legal pad and wrote down the script for Star Wars, you’ll believe they’ve recently added an extra letter to the word gullible in the dictionary.

No, George was inspired by many things as he went about making his film. From Gandalf to Japanese cinema, he cribbed and borrowed ideas from everywhere.

Here are some of the key influences that went into the original Star Wars film and the ones that followed. 

Please note, this is not an exhaustive investigation just a summary of the more obvious things that Lucas has discussed in the past or are so obvious, that they should be mentioned!

Let’s get the movies done first and the big one that everyone talks about first:

hidden fortress poster
Japanese film The Hidden Fortress was released in 1958 and became popular in the United States with the ‘film crowd’.

The movie features the plot of a general and a princess, fighting their way home through enemy lines in feudal Japan with the help of a pair of bumbling peasants.  

Does that sound similar? 

What if you replaced the pair of peasants with R2D2 and C3PO? 

Yep, Lucas took the two bickering peasants and swapped them out for what became one of the most famous cinematic pairings in history.


George Lucas relates:

 “I remember the one thing that really struck me about The Hidden Fortress,” he said, “the one thing I was really intrigued by, was the fact that the story was told from the two lowest characters. I decided that would be a nice way to tell the Star Wars story.

Take the two lowliest characters, as Kurosawa did, and tell the story from their point of view. Which, in the Star Wars case is the two droids, and that was the strongest influence."

Keen-eyed fans may notice the way the film 'swipes' from one shot to another. 

This was an idea that Lucas borrowed directly from the film.

Several other movies are said to have served as inspiration for Lucas as well. We’ll touch on these very lightly.

The Searchers

Recall the scene in which Luke approaches the burned-out farm and finds Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen left murdered and burning by the Storm Troopers.

This scene is shot in such a way that it echoes a similar scene in The Searchers, in which the young hero (not the Wayne character) also returns to his family’s farm to find the buildings burned and his own aunt and uncle murdered. 

The lift is direct and obvious.

The Searchers also features a young man drawn into a relationship with a relentless father figure, who seems made of evil as he hates the Comanche (but he's really just after revenge for they murdered his mother)...

Does this sound familiar to Luke and Darth’s travails? 

Ben Hur

That pod race in The Phantom Menace?

It was bigger than Ben Hur but Ben inspired it.

The fateful moment when Sebulba's own pod racer connects with young Anakin's pod is nearly a shot for shot remake of Ben Hurs’ climactic moment when Messala accidentally locks wheels with the Ben Hur character.

The Dambusters

The short version is that this movie’s famous attack on the dam is the last twenty minutes of A New Hope

The torpedoes needing to hit the exact spot on the Death Star is taken directly from the need for the Dambusters to bounce the bomb to the exact part of the Dam.  

That said, the famous trench run on the Death Star was actually a lift from 633 Squadron and the timing of the Death Star's positioning to attack the Rebel base was a point taken from the Gregory Peck vessel, The Guns of Navarone

Lawrence of Arabia

If you’ve seen this film, you’ll remember it features a lot of sand. 

As does a planet called Tatooine. 

As does an angry young man called Anakin.

Stars Wars blog notes:

“Many moves from David Lean’s epic were cribbed for sequences on Tatooine. The shot of Mos Eisley from the distance as Luke and Obi-Wan look from on high reminds one instantly of shots looking down at Damascus.

Shots of Tusken snipers looking down at speeders moving below echo the same sorts of shots in Lawrence of Arabia”.

Sir Alec Guinness also has a role in that film too…..

Attack of the Clones makes a very deliberate nod to Arabia in Attack of the Clones. 

Remember this scene to the right where Padme and Anakin have a chat about politics? 

Its shot in the exact same location and mimic a conversation the characters Dryden, Brighton and Allenby have in Spain Square:

Dryden, Brighton and Allenby

Flash Gordon

Legend has it that George Lucas sought to make a film version of Flash Gordon following American Graffiti. 

He had no way of getting the rights to do so and ultimately set upon writing his own film, Star Wars.

Flash Gordon was full of sci-fi adventures where the hero travelled to space with a laser holstered to his side on a mission to rescue a princess from a very very bad man. 

And Star Wars has plenty of that indeed but what Star Wars really borrows from is the concept of a fairy tale in which futuristic technology stands in for the traditional role of magic (think Merlin’s role in many stories). 

Which, in a sense, maybe true but what about the Force?

Lucas enjoyed Flash Gordon so much that it was inevitable that elements of it crept into the movie. 

While the ‘swipe’ scene transitions were stolen from The Hidden Fortress, that famous Star Wars title amble marching up the screen in yellow was taken directly from the Flash Gordon serials. Lucas also borrowed the concept of a Cloud City

Edgar Rice Burroughs and his 'Princess of Mars' novels

John Carter of Mars book cover
Mr Carter
Burrough’s series of novels about Princess Dejah from Mars and a soldier from Earth called John Carter were written over one hundred years ago. 

 But resonated so long and strongly with their influence on other writers that Lucas eventually found out about them when he learned they were the inspiration for Flash Gordon. 

Lucas lifted all kinds of elements from Burrough’s works.

Ralph McQuarrie

Ralph is the man that turned Lucas’s ideas and conceptions into the pictures that would serve as the basis for the production design and look of the original Star War trilogy. 

If Lucas said, I have an idea that there will be two robots it was McQuarrie who gave them their look

Without McQuarrie someone else’s drawings and design would have made Star Wars a completely different movie – so much to say without McQuarrie, there would not have been the Star Wars we all know and love. 

Spock from Star Trek

Spock million voices

You know when Alderaan gets smashed to a million tiny pieces by the Death Star and Obi-Wan Kenobi gets some really tough ‘feels’ and says "I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced." 

Yeah, Spock from Star Trek did that first.

Gandalf from Lord of the Rings

JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings has influenced just about a million book writers and even Led Zeppelin so why not George Lucas? 

At one point the third draft of Stars Wars featured Obi-Wan Kenobi paraphrasing direct passages from Tolkien’s writings.

While that was cut from the film, it served to show that Lucas had been thinking about the White Wizard so it can be argued that there is a bit of Gandalf in the foundations of the character of Ben Kenobi.

Fan boys and fan girls and mum and dads with fat wallets

There is no doubt fans influenced the series. 

Some are obvious, some not so. 

Let’s start with Boba Fett. He had very minor parts in Empire and Jedi but he built up a massive fan base. 

So much so that Jeremy Bulloch (and co) is a 'cult' star of the Star Wars universe.

This love for Boba meant that Lucas put the character into Attack of the Clones. This gave an origin for Fett. 

Some loved it, some hated it.

Either way, it was pretty cool to see Mace Windu cut off Jango’s head with his saber.

And then we got the Mandalorian

Jar Jar Binks.

By and large, most ‘adults’ hate Jar Jar. Kids love him, but that’s not the point. Fan venom feedback meant Jar Jar’s role was significantly reduced in Attack of the Clones and he barely made an appearance in Revenge of the Sith, uttering only a single line.

Fans also spend money. And there was a lot of money to be made from Star War merchandise. 

So much so that by the time Return of the Jedi rolled around, it was said to be funded by sales of merchandise from Empire. 

The cynics have suggested that to make even more money, the intended presence of Wookie was changed to the Ewoks so toys and the like would be more marketable to children.

And let's not get started on the Porgs in The Last Jedi...

Timothy Zahn’s Coruscant

In the last 20 years, there has been a massive written word extension of the Star Wars universe. Lots of stories about new and classic characters have been lapped up by the fans. 

Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Throne novels created the world of Coruscant – you may know this planet as it’s where a huge amount of the action in the prequel trilogies occur.

Zahn’s novels are credited with making Star Wars popular again in the early 1990s and may have had an influence on George Lucas’s decision to make the prequel movies.

A key takeaway from Zahn's work is the creation of the character Grand Admiral Thrawn - he now has entered the new Star Wars canon by virtue of having a key role in season three of Star Wars Rebels. 

Thrawn was mentioned in Canon by Ashoka Tano in Episode 5 of Season 2 of The Mandalorian - we expect to see more of Thrawn in the Ashoka Series - expecting Thrawn to make his live-action debut.


These were just some of the more major influences on the Star Wars films. There are probably a hundred other things that inspired Lucas as the 6 films were made. 

Certainly, we haven’t yet mentioned Frank Capra and Yoda’s death in Jedi!

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