'Star Wars'! 40 Surprising Facts from a Galaxy Far, Far Away



The success of the first "Star Wars" film took many people by surprise — especially the toy company Kenner, which knew it wouldn't be able to produce enough "Star Wars" toys in time for Christmas. The company ended up selling an "Early Bird Certificate Package": an empty box with a mail-in certificate that could be redeemed for figurines of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, R2-D2 and Chewbacca several months later.

Late Additions


The original film debuted in theaters in 1977 with the title "Star Wars." The subtitles "Episode IV" and "A New Hope" appeared in the opening crawl only in releases after 1981 following the second film, "Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back." Several theories exist about why Lucas numbered the first two movies as he did, but the true reason remains a mystery. "Episode I — The Phantom Menace" came out nearly 20 years later in 1999 and, like the rest of the prequels that followed, bears little resemblance to anything George Lucas had written in his 12-part "Space Opera" in the early '70s.

Creating Demand

Everett Collection

Theaters weren't exactly eager to screen "Star Wars" back in 1977. To guarantee showings, 20th Century Fox insisted that if theaters wanted a print of "The Other Side of Midnight," a film expected to be the hit of the summer, they had to book "Star Wars" as well.

Paying Honor


The opening crawl was an homage to the "Flash Gordon" serials of the 1930s and 1940s, one of the primary influences on the "Star Wars" movies.

Technical Specifics


Also known as the roll-up, the crawl was filmed by moving the camera longitudinally along a physical model about 2 feet (0.6 meters) wide and 6 feet (1.8 meters) long.



Lucas told Fisher that she couldn't wear a bra under her costume because "there's no underwear in space." To preserve her modesty, she was given gaffer's tape, instead.



"Star Wars" was the highest-grossing movie of all time until "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" clinched the title in 1983.



Your memory may tell you otherwise, but the "The Imperial March" that accompanies Darth Vader's appearance isn't heard until "The Empire Strikes Back," which came out in 1980.



To convincingly wield her blaster, Fisher took gun lessons from the "same guys who taught Robert De Niro for 'Taxi Driver,'" she told Interview Magazine.



Utini! The Jawa language is based on Zulu (a South African language) and sped up in postproduction.

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Jasmin Malik Chua
Contributing Writer

Jasmin Malik Chua is a fashion journalist whose work has been published in the New York Times, Vox, Nylon, The Daily Beast, The Business of Fashion, Vogue Business and Refinary29, among others. She has a bachelor's degree in animal biology from the National University of Singapore and a master of science in biomedical journalism from New York University.