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Facts 1 to 6
Presenting our 12 Star Wars facts. With the new sequels to the original masterpiece about to be released, we have decided to bring a list of 12 of the best original Star Wars facts that you may not yet know. While there’s no guarantee yet that the new franchise will be anywhere near as good as the original, this list will hopefully rekindle your love with just how amazing it really was.
1 The Same Person Does The Voices Of Yoda And Miss Piggy
For the first of our Star Wars facts is the odd sounding alien Jedi master, Yoda. This might surprise many people. The voice of Yoda, the Jedi master from Star Wars and Miss Piggy from The Muppets are actually performed by the same person, Frank Oz. He has also done the voices of many other Muppet characters including Bert, Fozzie Bear, Grover, and Cookie Monster to name just a few.
Although this really shouldn’t surprise many people. It’s very common for voice artists to use their talents in many different ways, and over different platforms. The man that voices Winnie the Pooh also provides the voice for Tigger and Optimus Prime from the Transformers.
2 How R2D2 Got It’s Name
Do you know the origin of the name R2D2 from Star Wars? It would seem, at first glance, to be a true sci-fi name. Surely a lot of thought went into developing one of the main characters of the film. Not exactly.
When it comes to fantasy and sci-fi films, plenty of the names of the characters are, well, quite simply fantastic. They appear to be so wonderfully created to us mere mortals that we often think that it took some amazing mind to think them up. Either an amazing mind, or a tortured soul. Plus, surely the great minds that develop these names from seemingly nothing have at least some form of whimsical inspiration. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. Poor R2D2’s name had no such inspiration in his origin. In fact, it is about as boring and mundane a way to pick a name that you will find. So how did it come about?
Before Star Wars was ever filmed George Lucas was involved in another hugely successful film, American Graffiti, which he directed. When George Lucas was working on mixing the American Graffiti soundtrack, he numbered the reels of film starting with an R and numbered the dialog starting with a D. R being reel, and D being dialogue. Sound designer Walter Murch asked George for Reel 2, Dialog 2 by saying “R2D2″, which was pretty catchy. George liked the way that sounded (who can blame him) so much he integrated that into another project he was working on…Star Wars.
In reality we can’t blame the method if the method works, which it certainly did with Star Wars. R2D2 and his name, original or not, has a certain ring to it that many of us still remember far more easily than others in the films.
3 Star Wars Sound Effects Were Low Tech
I must admit that I’m really rather surprised by this fact. Star Wars sound effects were low tech. Like really low tech. In fact, if you wanted to you could achieve the same quality for your own project using everyday products.
When it comes to making a fantastic block buster movie the directors need to ensure quality in every aspect. It’s a little like making a delicious meal. Sure, throwing a few different ingredients together will make a meal, but using the best ingredients will produce something superb. This is what a great movie requires. A mix of good acting, good directing, good story (goes without saying), good visual effects and convincing sound effects.
Today we have become accustomed with mind blowing visual special effects. You can tell when a movie went half assed at special effects. It just looks crappy. But convincing sound plays an important part in a movie. Could you imagine a gun sounding like a drum being beaten? It would sound wrong to our ears and potentially ruin our theater experience. But sometimes the real thing isn’t achievable or practical, and improvisation is needed. This is what George Lucas and his crew did with the Star Wars sound effects.
One great example of Star Wars sound effects that were low tech was the sound of the blasters cocking. The sound effect was actually the sound of a parking meter handle being turned. How clever was that? Who on Earth would hear such a sound and think, “hmm, I can use that in a sci-fi film.”
But do you want to know something amazing? You can make these sounds, from lasers to cocking sounds yourself. Watch the cool video above for a very easy and low tech laser blasting effect simulation. I’ll admit it. I tried it myself and it worked better than I thought it would.
4 Luke Skywalker’s Original Name Was Starkiller
The original name of Luke Skywalker was Luke Starkiller. But why the change and when was it changed? This is afterall a dramatically different name than the one that we all grew to know, so what on Earth was George Lucas thinking?
There’s very little doubt that Star Wars, the original movie and its subsequent sequels, was one of the best and most successful sci-fi movie franchises of all time. Indeed, not only was it a hugely successful sci-fi franchise, but ti’s probably one of the best films of all time. It was so immensely popular that it literally coined the term “block buster.” But although it eventually became a hit of monumental proportions, the road to success was a difficult one.
When Lucas decided to make his space odyssey he managed to strike a two movie deal with Universal Studios. The other movie that he managed to secure alongside Star Wars was American Graffiti, which was also a critically acclaimed movie. But the task of getting Star Wars off the ground was far more cumbersome than American Graffiti. The studio demanded several rewrites, and in one of them the main character name transformed.
This is something that very few people knew at the time. In the original script, Lucas created a protagonist by the name of Annikin Starkiller. It was in the second draft that he introduced Luke, as the son of the protagonist, Annikin. In the third draft Annikin was removed and Ben Kenobi was introduced, but Luke retained his Starkiller surname. And we were nearly stuck with this name too.
Lucas had already begun filming when he decided to change the name to Skywalker. Fortunately it didn’t affect filming as Luke’s last name hadn’t been mentioned yet. Even more surprisingly, Apart from Luke Skywalker’s original name being Starkiller, the movie was originally titled, The Adventures of Luke Starkiller. Thank goodness George Lucas decided for an alternative.
5 Han Solo Was Nearly Played By Perry King
Perry King was nearly Han Solo In Star Wars. Yeah, that’s right. The iconic role played by, and I must say owned by Harrison Ford, was nearly played by a completely different person. Not a big time movie star, but a star of the small screen.
It’s hard to imagine today a different person personifying the role of Han Solo. Ford did a masterful job in his portrayal. Even today, nearly 40 years after the initial release of the hit movie, just about everyone knows that it was one of the roles that really set him apart as an actor. In fact, one can fairly confidently say that as an actor, his was the only career that the movie didn’t destroy. But it could have all been so very different.
The role of Han Solo was nearly played by Perry King. At the time King was a somewhat popular television talent. But Lucas was intent on snaring the job for Ford, with whom had worked with previously on another smash hit, American Graffiti. As fate would have it, Ford ended up performing a defining role.
Without being able to say for certain how Perry King would have gone as Han Solo in Star Wars, I personally don’t think it would have quite turned out how it did. After all, the role is owned almost exclusively by Harrison Ford, almost.
But the opportunity wasn’t over for King at all. He still did the part of Han Solo in NPR’s radio version of the trilogy.
6 There Was Never A Plan For More Than One Star Wars Movie
This is an example of what can happen when something becomes very successful. As we know,m when a movie becomes a box office success, regardless of the reviews, it’s often the case that a sequel or prequel will be made. Sometimes the production company behind the movies can get a little greedy and just keep making movies, often up to a point where it becomes a joke. The other problem with sequels is that it’s very rare for the second or subsequent part to be as good as the first. But it can happen. A debatable argument is Terminator I and II, where many people will argue that the second installment was better than the first, which itself was a fantastic film. Star Wars can also lay claim to a similar outcome. But it may never have been.
The first Star Wars movie was probably one of the best, if not the best sci-fi movie that has ever been released. It practically coined the term “block buster.” But as good as it was, the sequel was perhaps even better, and had people talking like never before. But there was never a plan to make it, even though it was arguably a better film.
When Star Wars was made George Lucas had little faith in his film. it wasn’t the kind of genre that usually had much success. In fact, he only ever planned to make one Star Wars film. That’s why the original release of the movie was simply called “Star Wars,” and nothing else. It wasn’t until the original was greeted with critical acclaim and massive box office takings that he was moved to expand on the original story. It was only after the second movie was released that he renamed the first to :Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.”
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