Decades ago, in a galaxy far, far away, an 'awakening' was emerging in Hollywood that would kick-start an intergalactic franchise like no other. Indeed, when the first Star Wars movie came out in 1977, it catapulted its actors to fame of stratospheric heights and became one of the most successful sci-fi series of all time.
In honor of Star Wars Day on May 4, join franchise newcomer Daisy Ridley in celebrating the Force by casting an eye back to the beginnings of it all. Here are some of the most outrageous behind-the-scenes facts from the original movies to keep that nostalgia burning bright:
1. George Lucas left the Directors Guild because of A New Hope
Opting for a less-traditional opening sequence for the first movie did not go down well with the Directors Guild. However, rather than obey orthodox cinematic practices, Lucas paid a fine and resigned altogether.
Just imagine how the franchise's openings would have appeared without that iconic introduction!
2. R2-D2 and C-3PO don't get along all too well
Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker may have been robot pals in the movies, but in fact, the two actors haven't got along since the very beginning of Star Wars. In fact, R2-D2 Baker once called Daniels the "rudest man I've ever met."
As to why exactly, it remains unclear.
3. Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher once rocked up to film The Empire Strikes Back drunk
Recently, Carrie Fisher recalled some of the wild antics she used to get up to behind the scenes. One example being that time that she got horrendously drunk with Harrison Ford at a party with The Rolling Stones, before bounding back onto the set to film the Cloud City arrival scene. In her actual words, this is exactly what happened:
"We had a really early call the following morning, but you have to measure the fun — Rolling Stones, or early call? Rolling Stones, or early call? And we decided on both. And they’re a partying bunch of guys, and though I didn’t drink at the time, to be kind of amenable, or whatever, I drank. I used to say I’m allergic to drinking, and this would have been a demonstration of that. And we stayed up pretty late and got to the set about two hours later. And we weren’t hung over, we were still in our cups. And if you watch the movie you can see that: Harrison and I are smiling as we arrived in Cloud City. Doesn’t that sound like a euphemism?”
4. 'The Class of 2001'
George Lucas was a huge fan of Stanley Kubrick's iconic 2001: A Space Odyssey. So much so in fact, that in order to make Episode IV, the director hired most of the production crew that worked on it to achieve similar futuristic and minimalist aesthetics.
Subsequently, the Star Wars crew was dubbed 'The Class of 2001.'
5. The troubling truth behind Chewbacca's voice
Designer Ben Burtt worked very hard on perfecting Chewbacca's voice, as well as a variety of other alien life forms in the Star Wars universe. Unsurprisingly, the process wasn't as easy as it would seem.
In fact, for Chewie's anguished howls and roars, Burtt admitted to utilizing bear vocalizations, as well as sounds omitted from walruses, badgers, and sadly, sick animals.
6. The trash in the New Hope trash compactor was real
Apparently, the smell was so grotesque that Mark Hamill actually burst a blood vessel in his face because he was trying to hold his breath as much as possible. Here's the foul-smelling scene:
7. Billy Dee Williams talked dirty to Carrie Fisher in-between takes
Carrie recently revealed the she had a whale of a time when she appeared with actor Billy Dee Williams (who played Lando Calrissian) in front of the camera. She said:
"Billy Dee Williams was funny. Right before he was going to kiss my hand, he’d say something incredibly filthy, and I would laugh. Something about the Force and it being with me…He was a lot of fun to work with.”
8. The man behind The Muppets provided the puppetry for Yoda
Jim Henson famously worked on Miss Piggy and Fozzie, as well as Bert and the Cookie Monster in Sesame Street, and was brought in to oversee the creation of the legendary Master Jedi knight. His version appears in Episodes I and IV–VI.
9. The Death Star leap was achieved without stunt doubles
Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher performed that iconic swing across the mechanical abyss of the Death Star without any help from professional stunt doubles. And she was absolutely terrified of heights!
10. Grand Moff Tarkin was probably an angry man for more than once reason
Indeed, poor Peter Cushing had to wear boots that were a size too small for him in his role of cruel Grand Moff Tarkin. Because of this, he only wore them in shots where his legs were visible; the rest of the time, he wore his bedroom slippers! He was a pretty okay guy in real life, promise.
11. And finally — Warwick Davis was once the coolest kid in the galaxy
Yup, right before he made his name in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and as the talented Charms Professor Flitwick in Harry Potter, 12-year-old Warwick was a tiny Ewok hangin' out with Carrie Fisher and the rest of the gang (while wearing some pretty funky shades, it would appear!)