Nine Things You May Not Have Known About Star Wars



1. TIE fighter sounds are actually the combination of an elephant bellow and a car driving on wet pavement.

Created by sound designer, Ben Burtt, the TIE fighters’ distinctive sound is nowhere close to that of an actual flying machine. Burtt has been involved in a plethora of other movies, but is best known for his pioneering work in science-fiction and fantasy films. In the Star Wars movies, Burtt is also responsible for the lightsaber hum (projector idling and feedback from a broken television set), R2D2’s beeps and whistles (his own vocalizations), Chewbacca’s voice (a blend of various roaring animals), and Vader’s heavy breathing (his breathing through an old Dacor Scuba regulator).

However, like so many other sound designers, Burtt used the pre-recorded “Wilhelm Scream” (now appearing in more than 225 movies) because I guess there’s no fighting tradition.


2. Liam Neeson cost production $150,000…because he was too tall.

In the filming of The Phantom Menace, the sets were all made to accommodate normal actor heights, since such a large amount of the background was going to be modeled on the computer. This didn’t seem like such an oversight until they realized that Neeson could barely play his part, having to stoop so low in his scenes. Therefore, the money was put in and the sets were all re-created to accommodate the exceptionally tall actor.


3. Harrison Ford almost didn’t play Han Solo

The man who add-libbed one of my favorite lines in Episode V (“I know”) almost didn’t play the snarky pirate with a heart of gold. Lucas, who had already used Ford in American Graffiti, thought at first that he wanted a different look for Solo. The potentials on Lucas’s list included Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Jack Nicholson, Kurt Russel, Chevy Chase, and even Bill Murray. Luckily, when Ford was brought in to run lines with the other actors, Lucas saw that he had the perfect match for the film all along.


4.  The E.T. aliens make a Cameo in The Phantom Menace.

In an effort to connect the universes of Spielberg and Lucas, a small group of 3 alien creatures strongly resembling E.T. make an appearance in the Senate when Amidala calls for a vote of no confidence. The creatures are officially named Grebleips, which just happens to be Spielberg spelled backwards. Their home world is called Brodo Asogi, and they speak Galactic Basic Standard.

They were included in the film because after Spielberg included a Yoda cameo in E.T., Lucas had promised to include an E.T. cameo in Star Wars.


5. The word Ewok is never actually used in the movies.

We all remember the affection we felt for the native, teddy-bear creatures that helped defeat the Empire, but these adorable critters were never named in the movies. The name Ewok is used in the credits, script, and Star Wars canon, but nowhere in the films are they given the honor of a name.

However, they are lucky they made it into the films at all. Apparently, Lucas originally intended for the scenes to be set on the Wookie home planet, but ended up deciding that he wanted a race of creatures even less technologically skilled than the Wookies.


6. Yoda is never given a species…. although he bears relation to a famous genius.

Yoda’s species to this day remains unknown. The Jedi master and source of wisdom for most of the series is known to have an incredible connection with the force and a lengthy lifespan, but the history, name, and origin of Yoda’s species is kept strictly under wraps by Lucas. Even Yoda’s biology is confusing, as the number of his toes changes per movie. In The Phantom Menace, Yoda is pictured to have three toes, while in most of the other movies he has four.

However, if it’s any comfort, Yoda was modeled after famed genius Albert Einstein. Even the wrinkles on Yoda’s upper lip were supposed to imitate Einstein’s moustache.


7. The Jawa Sandcrawler used in A New Hope almost started a war.

While filming the Tatooine scenes in the very first Star Wars movie, the Jawa vehicle was left near the border of Lybia. The Lybian government, fearing this “massive military vehicle,” began to threaten Tunesia with retaliation. Tunesia politely asked Lucas to move the Sandcrawler further away from the border in question and there were no more problems.


8. Lucas withheld the most iconic plot twist… from the actors.

In an incredible effort to avoid spoilers, George Lucas wrote an entirely fake script, where the line “I am your father” was replaced by “Obi-Wan killed your father”. Because two separate actors played the voice of Darth Vader and the body of Darth Vader, it was easy to film the scene with the wrong line and put the correct one in later. In fact, Lucas only told Mark Hamill the true nature of the scene moments before filming his reaction, informing him that if there were any leaks Lucas would know it was his fault.


9. Star Wars has a catch phrase.

The line “I have a bad feeling about this” is spoken in every single Star Wars movie to date. It is first uttered by Luke Skywalker in A New Hope and is actually said again in that very same movie by Han Solo. In the subsequent movies, it is said by Princess Leia, C-3PO, Han Solo (again), Obi-Wan, and Anakin Skywalker. The line has become such a cliché of the series that it is included in every book, game, comic, and TV show associated with the franchise. It is also used as a joking reference to Star Wars in popular shows such as Fringe, Criminal Minds, Castle, and Phineas and Ferb.


Hope you enjoyed this bit of knowledge for May the 4th.  Hold on to it, because more should be coming in the upcoming Episode VII, due to release on December 18th, 2015. Get excited!



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Audrey is a writer and Browncoat living in Boston. Her one true love is fiction, and she is currently finishing up the first book in a science fiction YA trilogy. In her free time, she likes to blog/tweet about writing, editing, Firefly, Calvin and Hobbes, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and whatever new story she's entrenched in. To follow her journey or learn more about her, check out her website at, or follow her on twitter at aawoodswrites.