People are getting excited about the new Star Wars movie that’s due to come out next year, and rightfully so. Even with the missteps that were the prequels, it remains one of the great modern American stories of all-time. Sure, it was highly derivative and didn’t always feature the best writing in the world, but as far as good versus evil goes, when it comes to the world of film it just doesn’t get much better. So with the cast of the new Star Wars having recently been announced and filming about to begin, what better time to go back and look at some of the coolest facts about the Star Wars universe?
20Wedge Antilles and Obi-Wan Are Related
Okay, so X-Wing pilot Wedge Antilles isn’t related to Obi-Wan in the movies, but Denis Lawson, the actor who played Wedge, is the uncle of Ewan McGregor, who played Obi-Wan in the prequels.
19Chewbacca is Based on George Lucas’s Dog
In the Star Wars universe, man’s best friend is Chewbacca, and that makes sense considering the character was inspired by George Lucas’s dog – which, by the way, was named Indiana, so yes, that dog-inspired another famous Lucas character as well.
18The Dark Side Almost Won in Return of the Jedi
Believe it or not, at one point George Lucas toyed with the idea of Luke Skywalker giving in and becoming the new Vader at the end of Return of the Jedi, throwing out the concept of Luke placing the helmet on his own head and turning to evil.
17The Original Star Wars Prompted Lucas to Leave the DGA
Because the unusual opening credit sequence was not approved by the Director’s Guild of America, George Lucas actually quit that group in order to keep the opening scrawl as the lead in to the film.
16Christopher Walken was Almost Han Solo
Look, we love Christopher Walken as much as everyone else, but can you imagine how insane the character would have ended up had Walken gotten the role rather than Harrison Ford?
15Han Solo was Frozen in Carbonite in Case Ford Didn’t Return
It’s not much of a secret that Harrison Ford has never been a huge fan of his Han Solo character, and in fact for a while it wasn’t clear whether he’d appear in Return of the Jedi – so Lucas decided to have the character captured and frozen, and if Ford had left the franchise, he’d have simply stayed that way.
14Yoda Actually Has a First Name
Be honest, you always just assumed Yoda was like Cher or Madonna, a one-named diva who didn’t need a second name, but the fact is Yoda’s first name, never revealed in the movies, is Minch.
13Obi-Wan Hated Star Wars
Despite becoming by far his most famous role – and he’s had some great ones – Sir Alec Guinness, Obi-Wan Kenobi himself, asked to be killed off because he hated the dialogue so much that he simply couldn’t stomach uttering them any longer.
12Wookiees Were Created for An Earlier Movie
Well, Wookiees never actually appeared in any earlier films, but George Lucas came up with the idea of the animal for his film THX 1138 and apparently liked the sound of the word “Wookiee” so much he decided to make one into a central character in Star Wars.
11Stormtroopers are All Left Handed
Left-handed people are often thought of as being pure evil, kind of like redheads, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that all of the Stormtroopers in the Star Wars universe are lefties (especially since they’re all clones, too).
10“Ewok” is Never Uttered in Return of The Jedi
Not once, in the entire running time of Return of the Jedi, is the word “Ewok” uttered, so the name of the species and the specific name of the main Ewok – played by a very young Warwick Davis – Wicket, are only known thanks to merchandise.
9The Number 1138 is Everywhere
We already told you that Lucas made a small film called THX 1138, and he was obsessed with that name forever after, working it into pretty much every scene he could in Star Wars, and he even worked it into another film of his, American Graffiti (it was the license plate number of John Milner’s Deuce Coupe).
8Star Wars Made Steven Spielberg Very Rich
Steven Spielberg had nothing to do with Star Wars, other than being good friends with the film’s creator and offering tips and advice now and then, but it’s made him a very rich man thanks to a wager he and Lucas made, where Spielberg said if the movie was a hit Lucas had to give him 2.5% of the profits, and we all know how much cash Star Wars has raked in over the years.
7Benicio Del Toro Nearly Played Darth Maul
Even haters of the prequels all agree that Darth Maul was insanely cool, thanks largely to the physical performance of Ray Park – which makes it that much weirder than the role was originally supposed to go to Benicio Del Toro, who bowed out when many of the character’s lines were cut.
6Peter Serafinowicz Voiced Darth Maul
Of course what a lot of people may not realize is that the few lines that Darth Maul did get were never said by Ray Park, but instead voiced by British comedian Peter Serafinowicz – better known as Shaun’s roommate Pete in Shaun of the Dead.
5The Working Title For Episode II Was Jar Jar’s Big Adventure
While Darth Maul is the best part of the prequels, there’s no disputing Jar Jar Binks is the worst, and perhaps knowing how much people hated the character, George Lucas decided to give the second prequel the most horrifying working title in history.
4Lando Was Almost Han Solo
In one of the earliest incarnations of the script for Star Wars, Han Solo was going to be a black man, and among the actors who auditioned was Billy Dee Williams – who would obviously go on to play the iconic role of Lando Calrissian.
3Empire Strikes Back Has The Lowest Body Count
It’s kind of amazing that the film that’s considered to be the most grim in the entire franchise, Empire Strikes Back, actually features the fewest deaths in the entire series with only 30 on-screen deaths.
2Yoda Was Based in Albert Einstein
Maybe not in terms of the way he spoke, of course, but George Lucas decided that he wanted to model the character of Yoda on Albert Einstein, so if you’ve ever noticed any resemblance between the two, now you know it was completely intentional.
1QUO-GON Jinn’s Communicator is a Women’s Razor
Hey, when you’re spending all of your millions and millions of dollars on ludicrous CGI creations like Jar Jar Binks, you have to save where you can, and that’s why Qui-Gon’s communications device was literally just a Gillette Sensor Excel razor made up to look all science-y.