25 Things You Didn't Know About The Original 'Star Wars' Trilogy

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In 1977, few people realized that Star Wars would become one of the most successful film franchises in history. Since the first movie hit theaters, that's precisely what Star Wars has become, with nearly a dozen feature films, numerous animated series, hundreds of comic books, and tie-in novels.

Fans have pored over every detail of the series' production, and little has escaped their attention. Still, even the most ardent fans don't know everything, including facts about the first three films: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.

This list highlights some of the most interesting things you probably didn't know about the original Star Wars trilogy. 

Photo: Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope / 20th Century Fox

  • 1
    813 VOTES

    The Sandcrawler Was Investigated By The Libyan Government

    The Sandcrawler for A New Hope was large, built to the size seen in the film: two stories high and 90 feet in length when assembled. Because of the time and effort required to put the Sandcrawler together, its construction piqued the interest of the Libyan government.

    Inspectors from across the border were sent to determine whether a new type of military vehicle was under construction. But the inspectors realized they were looking at a movie set, so they left Lucas and his crew alone.

    813 votes
  • 2
    730 VOTES

    Han Solo's Freezing In Carbonite Was Partly Due To Harrison Ford's Contract

    The Empire Strikes Back has one of the bleakest endings of any movie. Han Solo is frozen in carbonite, and Luke loses his hand and finds out Vader was his father. Han might not have been frozen in the first place if Harrison Ford had signed on to return in the sequel. That's at least a part of the reason that he was put on ice, because Ford was the only one of the principal actors who refused to sign a three-picture deal from the beginning.

    Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill had done that when they joined the cast of A New Hope, but Ford wasn't as committed as they were. Had he not returned, Han's absence could be explained, and the third film would have carried on without him.

    730 votes
  • 3
    771 VOTES

    The Rebel Troops On Hoth Were Members Of The Norwegian Red Cross

    During The Empire Strikes Back, in the scenes set on icy Hoth, filmed in Finse, Norway, Rebel soldiers move into the trenches to defend the base so transports can escape. The actors playing these soldiers were all Norwegian mountain-rescue skiers. In appreciation for their work, production company Lucasfilm made a donation to the Norwegian Red Cross.

    None of the skiers spoke English, so giving them directions was somewhat challenging; second unit director Peter MacDonald had to act out what he wanted them to do.

    771 votes
  • 4
    694 VOTES

    George Lucas's Insistence On Vader's TIE Spiral Made A Sequel Possible

    At the end of A New Hope, Darth Vader's TIE fighter is hit and spirals away. This ends up saving his life when the Death Star blows up, but the scene almost played out differently.

    George Lucas insisted on adding the scene late in the film's production, solely to make room for a sequel. At the time, sequels were regarded as largely inferior cash-in movies, so other members of the crew lobbied for the TIE's destruction.

    In the end, Lucas called the shots, and made sure the scene stayed. Had Vader not survived in the first movie, anything that followed could have looked vastly different.

    694 votes
  • 5
    760 VOTES

    Money Was Tight On 'A New Hope'

    The first Star Wars movie went over budget. When it came time to sign a contract with James Earl Jones to fill in the voice of Darth Vader, George Lucas offered him a choice: He could take a salary of $7,000 for his work, or points off the back end of ticket sales. Back then, $7,000 was a fair amount of money (about $30,000 in 2020), so Jones took the cash without much hesitation, which turned out to be a big financial mistake.

    Had he taken the points, he would have earned far more on the back end. Years later, Jones admitted that the decision cost him "tens of millions of dollars."

    In comparison, Sir Alec Guinness took the points - and his heirs have earned an estimated $95 million for his work in the first Star Wars film.

    760 votes
  • 6
    783 VOTES

    Nien Numb Spoke Kikuyu, And Kenyan People Loved It

    Nien Numb served as Lando Calrissian's co-pilot during the siege of the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi. He's an alien who spoke in a dialect most people probably wrote off as something made up for the film.

    But everything Nien Numb said in the movie was from a real language. He was speaking Kikuyu, the dialect of Kenya's majority tribe.

    So when he said, "Atirizi inyui mwi hau inyouthe ukai haha," audiences throughout Kenya laughed at what loosely translated into, "What are you doing over there? All of you please come here."

    783 votes