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30 Amazing "Star Wars" Facts Even Fans Don't Know

These trivia tidbits from a galaxy far, far away will surprise even diehards.

The Star Wars movies just might be the most analyzed, documented, and discussed science-fiction franchise ever created. And yet, there's still so much about the movies that even diehard fans don't know. Below, we've listed 30 Star Wars facts that may surprise you—no matter how many hundreds of times you've watched the series.

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30 Fascinating Facts About Star Wars

Even if you consider yourself a Jedi master of Star Wars movie trivia—a certified historian of all things Skywalker and Solo—there are likely a few jaw-dropping tidbits that will still be news to you.

1. R2-D2 once spoke English and was kind of a jerk.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The R2-D2 we all know and love speaks only in beeps and whistles, a robot language that most of his friends can understand. But in the original draft of Star Wars, written in 1974, R2-D2 spoke in complete sentences.

Even more alarming, he was not the lovable goof he would later become. He was actually kind of a bully, berating his pal C-3PO with insults like "You're a mindless, useless philosopher," and "You're nothing more than a dim-witted, emotion-brained intellectual. Why you were created is beyond my logic systems."

Sheesh, take the hostility down a notch, will ya?

2. The original Return of the Jedi ending saw Luke Skywalker turn evil.

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The original trilogy ends on a happy note. The Dark Side is defeated and all of our favorite characters survive. But, according to J.W. Rinzler's behind-the-scenes tell-all The Making of Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi, the seminal tome about how Episode VI was made, that wasn't the original idea.

In early Star Wars story meetings, George Lucas considered an ending for Return of the Jedi that was much, much darker. As he pitched it to co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, "Luke takes his mask off. The mask is the very last thing—and then Luke puts it on and says, 'Now I am Vader.' Surprise! The ultimate twist. 'Now I will go and kill the [Rebel] fleet and I will rule the universe.'"

Kasdan loved the idea, telling his boss, "That's what I think should happen." But Lucas ultimately decided to go a different way, feeling like Luke going evil was a bit too dark since the Star Wars franchise "is for kids."

3. Yoda was almost a monkey.

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, with Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Long before Yoda was created with animatronics and puppetry by master Muppeteer Frank Oz, the plan was to hire an actual actor… a simian actor, that is. According to The Making of Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back, they planned to dress up a real monkey in a Yoda costume and mask. There are even photos of the monkey in training and the weirdly hideous Yoda mask prototype out in the world.

Luckily, a crew member who'd previously worked on 2001: A Space Odyssey pointed out that the apes used in that movie's opening were a huge headache, which was enough to convince Empire's filmmakers to fire their Yoda monkey.

4. Carrie Fisher slapped Oscar Isaac more than 40 times… on the first day of shooting.

Carrie Fisher as General Leia and Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) goes against General Leia Organa's (Carrie Fisher) orders in The Last Jedi, but not without consequence. Isaac revealed in an interview with Stephen Colbert that the scene in which Leia demotes Poe was a difficult one to get right, leading to the late actor slapping her younger co-star more than 40 times. What an honor.

5. Boba Fett first appeared in a country fair parade.

Boba Fett
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Most people believe that legendary bounty hunter Boba Fett first appeared in 1980 with The Empire Strikes Back. Hardcore fans may be confident it happened a little earlier, in the much-maligned Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978—but they'd be wrong, too. His history goes back even further.

The first time anyone set eyes on Boba Fett was on Sept. 24, 1978, during the San Anselmo Country Fair parade in California. The townspeople were lucky enough to get an advance look at what would become one of the most loved baddies in the entire Star Wars universe, and all because they shared a zip code with 52 Park Way, the original headquarters of Lucasfilm.

Duwayne Dunham, an assistant film editor for Lucas who wore the suit, said in an interview that he and a guy dressed as Darth Vader "were at the front end of the parade."

"We were leading the whole thing. We just walked side by side down the street," Dunham recalled. "It was a little funny." There weren't that many people at the parade, he recalled before adding, "I don't think any press outside of the San Anselmo newspaper covered it in any way."

6. Samuel L. Jackson had his lightsaber engraved with a bad word.

Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu, with his purple lightsaber
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

While doing an interview on BBC's The Graham Norton Show, Samuel L. Jackson insisted that he still owns the purple lightsaber that his character, Mace Windu, used in some pretty epic battles in the Star Wars prequels. But the most shocking revelation? What Jackson claimed was engraved on his lightsaber, a phrase not suitable for children.

Any longtime follower of Jackson's career could probably guess it, though. As you may recall, back in 1994, Jackson appeared in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, in which he played an enlightened hitman named Jules Winnfield, whose wallet is embroidered with the same words.

RELATED: What Lightsaber Colors Really Mean for the Jedis Who Wield Them.

7. The original Darth Vader is banned from all Star Wars events.

Darth Vader
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

When most people think of Darth Vader, the first name that comes to mind is James Earl Jones, the voice behind the series' most infamous villain. But the man in the costume was somebody entirely different—a British bodybuilder named David Prowse. And Prowse apparently isn't among Lucas' favorite people.

As Prowse revealed on his website (which has since been taken down), he has been banned from all "Lucasfilm-associated events," which includes conventions and other Star Wars celebrations. When he reached out for an explanation, Prowse said he was told "that I have 'burnt too many bridges between Lucasfilm and myself'—no other reason given."

Lucas declined to elaborate, but rumors abound about the rift, with many believing that Prowse was a bit too vocal about his displeasure in learning that another actor, Sebastian Shaw, would be used for the Vader un-masking scene.

8. Adam Driver recorded his last lines as Kylo Ren in his own closet.

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

According to Matthew Wood, sound editor on The Rise of Skywalker, changes to the script came in so late that he had to travel to the home of Adam Driver, who played villain Kylo Ren in the most recent trilogy, to record him delivering a few new and necessary lines in a rather low-tech place.

"I ended up opening up one of his closets where he had all of his suits, and I just pushed the suits out of the way and said, 'hang your head in here,'" Wood said on the SoundWorks Collection podcast, per The Week.

9. The first Star Wars almost caused an actual war.

Tatooine landscape in A New Hope
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

To create the barren desert planet of Tatooine, Lucas found the perfect setting in Tunisia. What he didn't account for was how even a little movie production could lead to socio-political tensions.

Tunisia shares a border with Libya, which, at the time, was ruled by dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Reportedly, the Tunisian government received threats from Gaddafi, warning that a conflict was inevitable if they didn't remove a military vehicle from the Libyan border.

The "military vehicle" in question was actually a Jawa Sandcrawler. Lucas agreed to move the prop because, well, inciting an international incident wouldn't have been a great way to publicize his movie.

10. Chewbacca had to be protected from bear hunters.

Harrison Ford as Han Solo and Chewbacca
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Compared to the snowy tundras and barren deserts the Star Wars cast and crew had to endure, filming in the Redwood forests of Northern California, to create the forest moon of Endor for Return of the Jedi, must have been a cakewalk. But that was not the case for actor Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca.

During the several-month shoot, he had to be constantly chaperoned by bodyguards in bright vests, to protect him from hunters. That's because, in costume, Mayhew could've easily been mistaken for a bear.

More hilariously, the bodyguards had to protect the actor from people searching the forest for Bigfoot—yes, that Bigfoot, the mythical, ape-like creature that's rumored to be hiding somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. We might be inclined to believe this was just another tall tale, but Mayhew himself actually confirmed the story on Reddit.

11. Sir Alec Guinness, who played Obi-Wan, hated Star Wars.

Alec Guinness as Obi Wan Kenobi
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The great actor Sir Alec Guinness was accustomed to performing Shakespeare before he signed on to play Obi-Wan Kenobi. And, according to many accounts, he hated it. In a letter to friends, as obtained by Mashable, Guinness complained that "new rubbish dialogue reaches me every other day on wages of pink paper—and none of it makes my character clear or even bearable."

What's more, in an anecdote shared in his autobiography, A Positively Final Appearance, Guinness recalled meeting a young fan who asked for an autograph and claimed he'd seen Star Wars a hundred times. He agreed to give the child an autograph, but only if he never watched the movie again.

"He bursted into tears," Guinness wrote. "I just hope the lad, now in his thirties, is not living in a fantasy world of secondhand, childish banalities."

12. There are several direct references to The Godfather throughout the franchise.

Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

George Lucas is good friends with Francis Ford Coppola and worked on The Godfather. You can see the influence of that film in a few different aspects of Star Wars, starting with Han and Jabba's working relationship, which has an organized crime flavor.

But maybe the most evocative visual reference to the mob movie classic is in Return of the Jedi when Leia strangles Jabba with her chain. This mirrors the death of Luca Brasi (Lenny Montana)—a very deliberate allusion, according to Digital Spy.

RELATED: 35 Disney Facts That Will Give You a Childlike Sense of Wonder.

13. NSYNC was originally in Attack of the Clones.

Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock

At the request of Lucas' daughter, he invited members of the boy band NSYNC to make a brief cameo in Episode II – Attack of the Clones while on a break from their 2001 PopOdyssey tour.

Lance Bass and Justin Timberlake opted to pass on the opportunity, but the rest of the band agreed to be suited up as Jedi Knights. They even took part in an actual battle, fighting droids in the climactic Geonosis battle. Joey Fatone remembered that the only direction they were given was, "Pretend like you're fighting droids."

Sadly, we'll never know if they were convincing as Jedi—their scenes were cut from the final edit.

14. Nobody says the word "Ewok" at any point in Return of the Jedi.

Ewok in Return of the Jedi
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Go rewatch the movie if you don't believe us! Not once in the entirety of Return of the Jedi does anybody say "Ewok." The name is used in the script: A stage direction reads, "A strange little furry face with huge black eyes comes slowly into view. The creature is an EWOK, by the name of WICKET"—but that's it!

So, how did we all walk out of theaters knowing that those creatures were called Ewoks? The toys of the era confirmed the name, but it sure did seem like everybody was talking about Ewoks long before we were buying the toys. (Somebody solve this mystery before we lose our minds!)

15. The Porgs only exist to cover up scene-stealing puffins.

Chewbacca and a Porg
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

All of those adorable Porgs that annoy poor Chewbacca in The Last Jedi weren't originally part of the script. They were a last-minute addition by director Rian Johnson when he learned that their shooting location, the Irish island of Skellig Michael, is filled with hundreds of very friendly (and not at all camera-shy) puffins.

As creature concept designer Jake Lunt Davies explained in an interview, they decided to find a positive solution for what could've been a costly problem.

"You can't remove them," Davies said of the puffins. "You physically can't get rid of them. And digitally removing them is an issue and a lot of work, so let's just roll with it, play with it. And so I think he thought, 'Well, that's great, let's have our own indigenous species.'"

16. Darth Maul barely blinks in The Phantom Menace.

Ray Park as Darth Maul
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

While the number of blinks varies depending on who you ask, Darth Maul's creepy, villainous stare is a hallmark of his character. Reportedly, the red contact lenses worn by actor Ray Park made it difficult and painful to blink, but it was also decided that it was a useful character detail.

One instance Star Wars fans do agree on is that Darth Maul briefly shuts his eyes right after he's chopped in half by Obi-Wan.

17. Chewbacca's voice is a mixture of badger, lion, seal, and walrus.

Chewbacca in Return of the Jedi
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

When a Wookiee growls, it sounds like something both familiar and utterly unique. That's the feat of sound designer Ben Burtt, who had to come up with a voice for Chewbacca that wasn't just a recording of an angry bear.

"[Chewbacca] didn't have articulated lips," Burtt once recalled. "He could basically open and close his mouth. So you also needed to create a sound which would be believable coming from a mouth that was operated like his."

Burtt ended up mixing the howls and roars of a couple of different creatures, including badgers, lions, seals, and even a walrus from Long Beach, California. That unique bellow has become so iconic that there are even YouTube tutorials, which have attracted millions of views, where you can get a step-by-step guide on how to talk like Chewie.

18. Princess Leia was almost played by a sitcom star.

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in A New Hope
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Among the many actors who auditioned to play Princess Leia in A New Hope was Laverne & Shirley star Cindy Williams. Footage of her audition survived and has made it onto YouTube. Williams, who had previously worked with George Lucas on American Graffiti, read an early version of a scene between Han and Leia regarding the information R2 is carrying and the reward that's due.

Decades later, in an interview with the Television Academy, Williams recalled the dialogue as being "impossible to say" and praised Fisher as the only choice for the rebel princess.

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19. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan's communicator is actually a lady's razor.

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Some of the most futuristic props in the Star Wars movies were created with some very unusual materials. Like Luke Skywalker's lightsaber, which was really just the handle of a vintage camera flash, or the medical droid's mouthpiece in Empire Strikes Back, which was just an old-school microphone.

But our favorite bit of prop trickery is in The Phantom Menace. You may not have looked twice at the communicators used by Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). But if you did, you might have noticed that they're shaped exactly like a Gillette razor. That's because they are! Not literally, of course, but they were created from the resin cast of a Gillette Ladies Sensor Excel Razor.

20. Darth Vader was almost a very famous actor.

Darth Vader and two stormtroopers
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Nobody's real face has been shrouded in as much mystery and anticipation as that of Darth Vader. For seven years, the entire universe wondered, "What does he look like? Just how gruesome is he?" Lucas knew that, when the mask finally came off in Return of the Jedi, it had to pack a wallop. So he briefly considered finding somebody famous, perhaps a legendary British stage actor like Laurence Olivier or John Gielgud (with a little makeup, of course) to stand in for Vader.

But according to The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Lucas quickly nixed that idea, worrying that it would distract people from the story and they "wouldn't take it seriously." We can still imagine the dramatic emoting that Olivier would have delivered as a dying Darth Vader, though. How could that not be Oscar-worthy?

21. Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford partied with Monty Python and the Rolling Stones while filming The Empire Strikes Back.

Harrison Ford as Han Solo and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in The Empire Strikes Back
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

In 1979, Fisher rented a London townhouse from Monty Python member Eric Idle, where she stayed while filming The Empire Strikes Back, she wrote in an essay for Newsweek in 1999.

One night, Idle visited after returning from Tunisia, where he and the other Python members had filmed Life of Brian. "He brought this drink that he said they gave the extras so they'd work longer," Fisher wrote. "I called it Tunisian Table Cleaner."

Harrison Ford stopped by, as did the Rolling Stones, who were recording down the block. "We had a really early call the following morning, but you have to measure the fun," Fisher explained. "Rolling Stones, or early call? And we decided on both."

After partying all night with the Stones, Ford and Fisher arrived for the morning shoot without any sleep. The first scene of the day? The Cloud City meeting with Lando. It was their first encounter with Billy Dee Williams, and, as you'll notice in the film, both Han and Leia are all smiles. Well, who wouldn't be after an all-nighter with the Stones?

22. A 10-year-old Han Solo was almost in Revenge of the Sith.

Harrison Ford as Han Solo in The Force Awakens
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Fans almost got to find out whether Han Solo was as effortlessly cool as a kid in a Revenge of the Sith scene. As concept artist Iain McCaig explained in the Revenge of the Sith art-of book, a young Solo, being raised by Chewbacca, was briefly considered and even sketched out in illustrations.

According to McCaig, little Han was "an absolute slob." And he had a line in the original script: "I found part of a transmitter droid near the east bay. I think it's still sending and receiving signals."

Not too earth-shattering, granted, but still kind of amazing because that line would have been uttered to Yoda, which would mark the first and only exchange between the two Star Wars characters. Later, the prequel Star Wars film, Solo, would fill in some of young adult Han's backstory.

23. Boba Fett's face was revealed in Empire Strikes Back.

Boba Fett
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Pretty much every kid who saw Empire in the theaters had the same thought: "I wonder what Boba Fett looks like under that mask." Well, not to blow your minds, but his real mug is in the movie! He was right there in clear sight, sans the mask, and nobody realized it!

You can be forgiven for not noticing, as you would've needed inside knowledge of the production to know what you were seeing. As Jeremy Bulloch, who played Boba Fett, explained in a 2000 interview, "One day I was sitting around in the Boba Fett outfit, and I was asked if I would mind playing this Imperial officer because there was nobody to play the part."

The role in question was Lieutenant Sheckil, a character that didn't even have a name yet. His scene, Bulloch said, was "in Cloud City where Princess Leia says, 'Luke, it's a trap'! I drag her away. Moments earlier, you see me as Boba Fett shooting at Mark Hamill."

One scene, and we got a glimpse of both Boba with the mask and without it.

24. Yoda's original name was Buffy.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Most Star Wars fanatics already know that Yoda's full name, at least in the original script, was "Minch Yoda," before being shortened to something that rolls off the tongue a little easier.

But here's a fun fact that might surprise you: In the very, very early writing stages of The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda's original name was—brace yourself—Buffy. Yes, Buffy, a name we usually associate with awesome vampire slayers. The world would have been a very different place if Yoda had somehow been given this very un-Yoda-like name.

RELATED: 7 Classic Movie Mistakes That No One Noticed

25. There's a small South Pacific island that accepts Star Wars collectible coins as legal tender.

Niue Island
Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock

The small Polynesian island of Niue, 1,500 miles off the coast of New Zealand, might not be a galaxy far, far away, but, according to the Los Angeles Times, it's the only place on this planet where you can pay for goods and services using collectible coins featuring Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, and other Star Wars characters.

The coins they accept, however, are not just any old Star Wars coinage. They have to come from the New Zealand Mint, specifically.

26. The original opening crawl was created manually.

star wars original opening crawl
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

One staple of the Star Wars movies is the opening sequence: A black background, yellow letterings, and a sentence that starts with, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…"

While these graphics have undergone major updates over the years, the opening crawl for the first film was created without any visual effects. Instead, the team pieced it together using black paper, "about two feet wide and six feet long," with yellow letters printed on top. It may sound a bit archaic, but it's not bad maneuvering for 1977, when computer-generated effects were not yet an option.

27. Another actor almost nabbed the part of Han.

Harrison Ford as Han Solo
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

It's hard to imagine Star Wars without Harrison Ford involved, but Lucas originally wanted Kurt Russell for the role of Han. However, Ford was invited to set because he had done some carpentry work for Lucas in the past and was asked to help run lines with actors auditioning for the film. When Lucas overheard Ford delivering the dialogue, he decided to cast him as the smuggler.

28. Revenge of the Sith was the first Star Wars film rated PG-13.

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The MPAA rated the third prequel film PG-13 for reasons related to "sci-fi violence and some intense images" which Lucas attributes to Anakin Skywalker finally transforming into Darth Vader.

"I would take a nine- or a 10-year-old to it—or an 11-[year-old]," he told 60 Minutes, "but I don't think I would take a five- or six-year-old to this. It's way too strong. I could pull it back a little bit, but I don't really want to."

In 2015, The Force Awakens was rated PG-13—and all the Star Wars films released since then, including standalones Rogue One and Solo, have been as well.

29. Daniel Craig made a cameo in The Force Awakens.

Daniel Craig at the German premiere of "Skyfall" in 2012
Piotr Zajac/Shutterstock

Though he denied it in an interview, Daniel Craig did in fact show up as a stormtrooper in The Force Awakens. Viewers may recall one of the film's funnier moments when Rey attempts to use the Force on him and initially fails. Eventually she succeeds, convincing Craig's stormtrooper to remove her restraints and drop his weapon.

30. The big twist ending of Empire was kept a secret on set.

darth vader in the empire strikes back
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The twist at the end of the middle original trilogy movie, The Empire Strikes Back, came as a shock to audiences around the world—and it may have even come as a shock to some of the cast and crew when the movie was released in theaters. Lucas kept it a secret by writing a different line into the script. Instead of saying "I am your father" to Luke, it was written that Vader would say "Obi-Wan killed your father." That was also the dialogue that Prowse delivered on set when the scene was shot. (He would say Vader's lines during filming, with his voice later replaced by that of Jones.) Hamill, on the other hand, was told just before filming the pivotal moment what the reveal really was, so that he could exhibit the proper reaction. In post-production, Lucas replaced the red herring with Vader's actual infamous line.

Wrapping Up

That's it for our list of Star Wars facts. Be sure to check back with us soon for more awesome trivia!

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