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

Concept Art


According to some of Ralph McQuarrie's concept art, an early version of Luke Skywalker's character was a 16-year-old girl.


Everett Collection

Lucas originally hired Ford, whom he worked with in the 1973 film "American Graffiti," to play off actors auditioning for roles. His line readings were so convincing, Lucas decided to cast him as Han Solo.

Script Changes


Before he was a roguish Corellian pirate, Han Solo was written as a green-skinned monster with gills.



An earlier draft of the screenplay for "Star Wars" referred to the Jedi as "Dai Nogas."



Lucas has cited the work of acclaimed Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa — particularly the 1958 adventure film "The Hidden Fortress" — as a defining influence. The Jedi likely owe their name to jidaigeki, the period-drama genre to which "The Hidden Fortress" belongs.



The voice of Garindan (aka Long Snoot and the "greatest spy in Mos Eisley spaceport") is that of John Wayne, distorted in postproduction.


Everett Collection

For the character of Han Solo, Lucas channeled the personality of fellow director Francis Ford Coppola, who impressed Lucas with his smooth-talking charm.

Reaching New Audiences


In 2013, "Star Wars: A New Hope" became the first picture to be dubbed in a Native American language — Navajo.

Breaking Barriers


"Star Wars: A New Hope" became the first sci-fi movie to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1978. (The winner was Woody Allen's "Annie Hall.")

Costume Malfunctions


The Darth Vader mask was too big for David Prowse's face, so the costume department padded it with foam and stuck Velcro at its base. Prowse claimed that it still wobbled, however, when the wind machines were at full blast.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

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.