“Why, you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder!”
Happy May the 4th, space geeks! It’s that time of year again where we all come together to celebrate the legacy of Star Wars, easily one of the most beloved franchises ever created. May the 4th was first used back in 1979 in a newspaper congratulating newly appointed Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Since then, it has morphed into a cultural phenomenon of celebration for all the beings of a galaxy far, far away.
While I’m no die hard fan and I wouldn’t be much help during a Star Wars trivia night, I certainly do have an affection for the franchise. And I do love me some behind-the-scenes secrets and Easter Eggs. There are quite a few fascinating facts throughout the Star Wars universe. So, I just boiled it down to four fun facts I found particularly interesting.
Yoda Was Almost Played by a Monkey
Yoda. You know him. You love him. But what if I told you the original concept for the small, powerful green humanoid alien we all know and love was totally different? In the heavily detailed 2010 novel by J.W. Rinzler, The Making Of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, it was detailed that Yoda was almost played by an adorable monkey donning a cane and a mask. But the monkey was uncooperative. And, frankly, it looked terrifying. Luckily for all of us master puppeteer Jim Henson was called in to do his magic!
In early drafts of the screenplay, Yoda was originally called Buffy, then given the full name Minch Yoda. At some point it was cut short to just Yoda.
Boba Fett’s First Appearance
From the first moment Boba Fett, most feared bounty hunter in the galaxy, appeared in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 he made quite the impression. Silent with a plethora of deadly weapons and super cool, custom armor, Boba Fett was almost immediately a fan favorite. Although some might forget that Boba Fett was technically introduced on screen in a 1978 cartoon, The Star Wars Holiday Special. But even that wasn’t his first appearance!
In September of 1978, in the small city of San Anselmo, twenty miles north of San Francisco, Boba Fett marched alongside Darth Vader in the annual San Anselmo Country Fair parade. Why? In this impressive article/interview on Star Wars.com, it was because, “…San Anselmo was home to the famous house at 52 Park Way, which was the galactic core of Lucasfilm at the time. So once the annual fall parade came around, it seemed to make perfect sense. Why not?”
Stanley Kubrick Delayed The Empire Strikes Back
Stanley Kubrick is notorious in the film making industry. In fact, he is often cited as one of the most influential. And it just so happens that during the time The Empire Strikes Back was filming at Elstree Studios, Kubrick was also using Elstree to film The Shining. But when a massive fire broke out in February 1979 – resulting in the studio’s entire sound stage to burn down – Kubrick, the notorious perfectionist, was not pleased. He somehow managed to invade some of The Empire’s studio space, which caused numerous delays in The Empire’s shooting schedule.
Peter Cushing Wore Slippers While Filming
In Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope, Peter Cushing played the menacing Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, the Commander of the Death Star. That fiendish rapscallion who blew up the planet of Alderaan! At some point prior to filming his scenes, someone in the costume department reportedly gave him shoes that were far too small for his size 12 feet. Thus, George Lucas decided to film most of Cushing’s role from the waist up and allowed the actor to wear carpet slippers on set.
What did you think of our list? What was your favorite fun fact? Was there one you wish we included? Let us know!
Happy May the 4th, everyone! May the Force Be With You. Always.
Originally published May 4, 2020.
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