Today is Intergalactic Star Wars Day. Fans of Star Wars around the world are celebrating the films, books and culture of George Lucas’s creation. His films made famous the saying, “May the Force be with you.” So Star Wars fans have chosen May the fourth for their global party.
Here are some trivia to enliven your festivities.
Luke Skywalker was originally named Luke Starkiller. At one point, Lucas planned for the character to be a dwarf. James Earl Jones and David Prowse, who played the voice and body of Darth Vader, have never met. Peter Mayhew, the actor who played Chewbacca, won his role ten seconds after meeting Lucas for the first time—all the 7’2″ Mayhew had to do was stand up. His character was modeled after Lucas’s dog, Indiana.
Kurt Russell, Nick Nolte, Christopher Walken, Al Pacino, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, and Bill Murray were considered for the part of Han Solo made famous by Harrison Ford. James Caan, Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro and Burt Reynolds all turned down the role.
The design of the Millennium Falcon, Harrison Ford’s spaceship, was based on a hamburger with an olive attached to the side with a toothpick. It was then created out of junk parts from cars and airplanes.
The movie’s script evolved into a 200-page screenplay, necessitating the two additional films. However, at the time sequels were seen as inferior knock-offs. Lucas decided to make the next two only after the first was so successful.
When Lucas showed an early cut of the first Star Wars film to fellow directors, most thought it would fail. Brian De Palma called it the “worst movie ever.” When 20th Century Fox attempted to distribute the film in the U.S., fewer than 40 theaters agreed to show it. Lucas was so certain it would flop that he skipped the premiere. He went on vacation to Hawaii with his friend Steven Spielberg instead—there they came up with the idea for Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Unlike Lucas, Spielberg predicted Star Wars would make millions of dollars. He was right—it was the first film to make more than $300 million. Adjusting for inflation, it would be the second highest-grossing movie of all time. It became the first science fiction film to be nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award. Within three weeks of its release, 20th Century Fox’s stock price doubled and reached a record high.
The predicted failure of one of history’s most successful film franchises is also a parable. (Tweet this) Name a biblical character whose story turned out the way their culture would have expected. Moses was a fugitive felon; David was a shepherd boy who became a murdering adulterer; Peter denied Jesus, while most of the other apostles abandoned him; Paul persecuted Christians with zeal. Yet God knew what the world did not, and used them for purposes they could not have imagined.
Your past is no predictor of your future. (Tweet this) “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!” (Ephesians 3:20-21).
The true Force will be with you, forever.