25 Mind-Blowing Behind-the-Scenes Star Wars Facts
Which Star Wars character was gender-swapped, which was almost a monkey, and how George Lucas made the most expensive bet of his life.
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In a galaxy far, far away
As Star Wars’ Skywalker saga drew to a close with 2019’s aptly titled Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, it makes for the perfect time for the franchise’s stars to reflect on and share some of the best behind-the-scenes tidbits. Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker to you and me), even took to social media to offer up some seriously fun set secrets. Want to know more? Check out these surprising Star Wars facts. Even the biggest fan is likely to find something here they didn’t know.
For its time, Star Wars: A New Hope was an impressive feat of special effects. Apparently this didn’t apply towards the cast’s wardrobe. “The pants I wore in the first film were just Levi blue jeans bleachedout, with the back pockets removed,” Hamill tweeted. “George (Lucas) called Star Wars the most expensive low-budget movie ever made and every penny spent had to show up on the screen. I think they started with my costume.” This revelation kind of makes us wonder why we haven’t been DIYing Skywalker Halloween costumes with bleached jeans all along for a more authentic “Luke look.”
Yes, there is an actual human being walking around in that metallic C-3PO droid costume. It’s actor Anthony Daniels. As you can probably imagine, it wasn’t the most comfortable of togs to wear on set; in fact, Daniels couldn’t sit down while wearing the contraption. During the filming of Empire Strikes Back, if C-3PO had to sit down in a scene, Daniels would have to first be seated without the costume and production would have to build it up around him. This is why you never see C-3PO below the waist whenever he is seated. These Star Wars quotes are pearls of movie history every fan should know.
If you’ve ever watched a Star Wars film and been taken aback by how loud the background noise is, consider how overwhelming it was for the actors filming these scenes. For example, in Empire Strikes Back when Luke and Darth Vader appear in a pivotal scene, the wind machines being used for effect were so loud, Hamill himself couldn’t hear a word Darth Vader was saying. Trying acting against that! On Twitter, the actor reveals how he worked through the issue. “I used visual cues to know when to respond,” he tweets. “It was like acting in a silent movie, except LOUD.”
Another interesting Empire Strikes Back secret: There was an issue with a prop head made of Hamill that was used in a scene in which Luke sees his own face in Darth Vader’s helmet. When a fan asked about this particular scene, the actor obliged with an answer on Twitter. “Dissatisfied with the prop head of me they had made, we re-shot it with my real head pushed through an opening below the set,” he explained. “The hardest part was keeping my eyes open and not blinking as they wafted smoke in for atmosphere.” He added that the upside to using the not-so-great prop head was that you could “waft fire ants in for atmosphere and the eyes would stay open and NEVER BLINK!” You won’t believe how much money people have paid for the most expensive movie props ever.
That Blue Milk so popular at the Cantina on screen in Star Wars wasn’t exactly the cocktail of choice for the cast. According to Hamill, blue milk was actually “long life” milk which is often used by campers because it doesn’t require refrigeration. Blue food coloring was added to make it that sensational color. As for the taste? “Oily, warm, and slightly sweet, it literally made me gag, but I was determined to drink it on-camera,” tweeted Hamill. “It was an acting challenge to appear as though I enjoyed it.” Fun fact: You can drink “blue milk” at Disney World or Disneyland’s new Galaxy’s Edge attraction, but it’s a fruity smoothie-slushie that delicious.
Although The Phantom Menace, which hit theaters in 1999, was largely panned by both film critics and fans, there are still some little behind-the-scenes fun facts that might surprise followers of the space opera saga. After all, the entire franchise has produced some pretty fierce vehicles for the characters to use. In this film, Anakin Skywalker drives a Podracer, which was actually constructed from the shell of a Maserati Birdcage. This was a racing car first introduced in the 1960s, making its design a bit of a vintage ride as young Skywalker raced across Tatooine. Find out how much these iconic movie cars cost in real life.
Remember that tidbit about the not-so-appetizing Blue Milk? Well, apparently the cast and crew learned a thing or two as production on the initial three films continued because the characters’ beverage of choice greatly improved by the time The Last Jedi rolled around. In that film, the actors can be seen sipping Green Milk, a major step up from the blue stuff, according to Hamill. “The green milk was just regular coconut water dyed green in post-production,” he writes in a tweet. Hydrating and tastier? Sounds like a win-win for any actor who had to drink up.
C-3PO and R2-D2 may have been best buddies on-screen, but off-camera the actors who played the droids allegedly despised one another. According to Hollywood.com, Kenny Baker, the actor who portrayed R2-D2, referred to Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) as rude. “Anthony doesn’t mix at all—he keeps himself to himself,” Baker told the website. “He never wants to have a drink with any of us. Once when I said hello to him he just turned his back on me and said, ‘Can’t you see I’m having a conversation?’ I was blazing with rage. It was the rudest thing anyone had ever done to me. I was furious. It was unbelievable.”
Millennium Falcon’s peril
Harrison Ford’s Han Solo may have been the pilot of the Millennium Falcon, but on set Ford got so angry with the way production was going he actually took a saw to the beloved ship. “You heard about Harrison taking a saw to the Millennium Falcon because he got so mad?” Hamill mentioned in an interview with Empire. “People were coming up to me going, ‘You gotta stop Harrison, he’s sawing up the Falcon.’ It was made of wood and he just took a saw to it. I love Harrison. I got to stop him because I can make him laugh when he gets really, really mad.”