ByJohn Spartan Nguyen, writer at
John "Spartan" Nguyen is the editor-in-chief of
John Spartan Nguyen

1) Before Star Wars there was Flash Gordon

Back in the 1970’s, a young filmmaker named George Lucas initially wanted to create a film based on the 1930’s serials Flash Gordon. He asked Italian film producer Dino De Laurentiis for the rights to make a film based on Flash Gordon. Instead, De Laurentiis denied Lucas’ request and from there he began to create his own space epic — a project that would eventually become Star Wars.

After the success of Star Wars, De Laurentiis knew it was time to create a Flash Gordon film (primarily so he can coattail off the success of Star Wars).

Fun fact: Max Von Sydow who played Emperor Ming (see above) in De Laurentiis’ Flash Gordon has been cast in Star Wars: Episode VII.

2) Star Wars is heavily influenced by legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa

Along with Flash Gordon, George Lucas was highly influenced by Akira Kurosawa’s samurai films. Most notable of these films is The Hidden Fortress, which tells the story of a general and a princess fighting their way home through enemy lines with the help of a pair of bumbling peasants. Anyone who has watched The Hidden Fortress will recognize the similarities between the two bumbling peasants and our favorite droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO.

When talking about The Hidden Fortress, Lucas said, “I remember the one thing that really struck me about The Hidden Fortress, 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.” He continues, “The fact that there was a princess trying to get through enemy lines was more of a coincidence than anything else. In my film, the princess is more of a stand-and-fight kind of princess. In the beginning, in one of the first drafts, I did have a little bit more of her and a Jedi, an older Jedi, trying to escape, but then it evolved into the story of Luke.”

In addition, many of the filmmaking techniques from Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai are found in the Star Wars films as well. Seven Samurai makes heavy use of the transitional wipes that have long been associated with every scene change in the Star Wars saga.

3) Darth Vader, in some form or another, has been played by six different actors

Believe it or not, it’s true! Throughout all six Star Wars films, six different actors have portrayed the Sith Lord in one way or another. In the prequels, Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen played Anakin in his younger years. In the original trilogy, David Prowse and stuntman Bob Anderson donned the Darth Vader suit, James Earl Jones provided his booming voice, and lastly Sebastian Shaw was the unmasked Vader in Return of the Jedi.

4) Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Kenny Baker (R2-D2) never really liked each other

Despite being the only two actors to appear in all six Star Wars films and having an unbreakable friendship, it has been well-documented that both Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker never really got along. In a 2009 interview, Baker said that he originally thought it was just him that Daniels didn’t like but instead “he doesn’t get along with anyone.” Also, at one point Baker said he once approached Daniels about touring as their characters to make money, but Daniels responded by saying “I don’t do many of these conventions—go away little man.” Baker said, “He really degraded me and made me feel small.”

5) Captain America: The First Avenger and The Rocketeer director Joe Johnston created Boba Fett

Before putting Steve Rogers and the Rocketeer on the big screen, director Joe Johnston was a visual effects art director for Lucasfilm. He has worked on the original trilogy and Raiders of the Lost Ark, but the one creation that he most known for is the bounty hunter, Boba Fett.

Sure, legendary artist Ralph McQuarrie had some input into the designs of the Mandalorian bounty hunter, but it was Johnston who was responsible for the look of Fett’s armor. You can take a look at some of Johnston’s concept designs here.

Via Nerd Reactor


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