‘Star Wars’ Turns 40, But Did You know….
The force has been with us for 40 years now.
“Star Wars” was released in theaters May 25, 1977 and it set off out of this world fandom and one of Hollywood’s most beloved, and successful, franchises ever.
In honor of the anniversary, the folks at IMDB.com put together a bit of trivia you may or may not have known about the film.
George Lucas wasn’t hopeful
The director was so sure the film would flop that instead of attending the premiere, he went on vacation to Hawaii with his good friend Steven Spielberg. That trip proved to be fruitful, as they came up with the idea for “Raiders of the Lost Ark” during the trip.
Carrie Fisher had to put her mother in check
The film’s initial budget was so limited that Lucas, the cast and crew all agreed to fly coach to England during pre-production.
When Debbie Reynolds got wind of it, she gave Lucas an earful about her daughter, Carrie Fisher, having to fly on the cheap.
Fisher, who would find massive fame as Princess Leia, was in the room when Reynolds called Lucas to berate him.
“Mother, I want to fly coach, will you f**k off?!,” Fisher reportedly said to Reynolds before hanging up the phone on her mother.
The always outspoken Fisher died of complications from a heart attack at the age of 60 on December 27. Reynolds, 84, died following a stroke the next day.
No bra for Fisher
The actress’s breasts were taped down with gaffer’s tape, as her Princess Leia costume did not permit any lingerie to be worn underneath. She later joked, “As we all know, there is no underwear in space.”
Oh no on Ford as Solo
Harrison Ford almost missed out on playing Princess Leia’s love interest, Han Solo.
Due to his having starred in another Lucas film, “American Graffiti,” Ford was not allowed to audition.
Lucas wanted all fresh faces for this film and Ford wasn’t one of them.
But after getting Ford to read lines with other actors who were auditioning for parts, Lucas realized he had his Han Solo.
All together now
There is only one scene in the original “Star Wars” trilogy where all eight of the main characters come together.
During the escape from the Death Star, Darth Vader and Obi-Wan are dueling as Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia, C-3PO, and R2-D2 make their getaway into the Millennium Falcon.
While the ensemble don’t appear in the same shot, it’s the only time they are all within sight of each other.
40 years of changing lives
We asked fans to tell us about the first time they saw a “Star Wars” film and how it influenced their lives.
Many described being transfixed from the opening moments as they read the famous intro line, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…,” heard John Williams’ rousing score and saw Darth Vader’s Imperial Star Destroyer fill the screen.
Here are a few of their stories:
Episode I: The Princess and the Scoundrel
Liza Rios-Proprofsky loved Princess Leia from the moment she saw “Star Wars” and dreamed of marrying Luke Skywalker one day — before the brother/sister reveal in “Return of the Jedi” spoiled that idea.
Fortunately, when the time came for her to get married for real, her fiancee, Tom Proprofsky, loved “Star Wars” more than she did — and had a Han Solo costume.
The couple spent almost two years planning their January 2016 wedding in intricate detail. For starters, the invitation was shaped like R2-D2 and held the “secret plans” to the wedding, held in Costa Mesa, California.
They cut their cake with serving tools that looked like light saber hilts. And there were themed drinks and lasers and entertainment by Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes, better known as the Cantina Band.
The bride and groom were decked out as Han Solo and Princess Leia (naturally), Proprofsky’s best friend was his Wookiee sidekick Chewbacca (also naturally) and they had a life-size R2-D2 as their ring bearer.
“Most wedding guests did dress up since the wedding invitation said, ‘by Royal Decree dressing thematically required,’ Rios-Proprofsky said.
Her mentor dressed like Darth Vader to walk her down the aisle and her mother wore a custom dress styled after Rebel Alliance leader Mon Mothma “because the character name sounds so similar to the word mom.”
Their wedding bands were engraved with “I love you,” and “I know,” the tender-and-cocky exchange from “The Empire Strikes Back” that brought romance to the “Star Wars” universe.
Fortunately, no one at the ceremony was captured by bounty hunters or frozen in carbonite.
Episode II: The Long Journey
Jonathan Axtell was a changed man (or little boy, to be more accurate) when he walked out of a Pennsylvania theater after seeing “Star Wars” for the first time. He was 7 when the movie came out and just the right age to be swept up in the space opera.
“My favorite thing about ‘Star Wars’ is that it takes me back to my childhood — great memories of the movies themselves, having lightsaber battles with my friends, and playing with the toys,” he said.
In 2014, he went to Tunisia, where many of the scenes on Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine were filmed.
“I walked right back into my childhood and had dinner where Luke ate with his aunt and uncle,” he said. “Amazingly, some of those filming locations look exactly the same today as they did forty years ago.”
“It brings that galaxy ‘far, far away’ so much closer.”
Episode III: The Rise of Darth Tuba
Music and R2-D2 have been passions for William Magalio since he first saw “Star Wars” in 1977 at a Flemington, New Jersey, theater. He was 6 and started taking violin lessons the same year.
He taught himself to play the theme song on the piano when he was about eight, and performed it with a community orchestra as a teen (he also got yelled at by his teacher, Mrs. Monk, for using his bow in lightsaber fights in third grade, but we’ll speak no more of that.)
Magalio has been the high school orchestra teacher in Flemington for 21 years and often works “Star Wars” music into his programs.
“They look forward to playing it. I get many requests for different themes from the films,” he said. “Even when we are not rehearsing or performing it for an upcoming concert, students will still try to figure out themes on their own.”
Magalio’s fandom has also spilled offstage. He’s got a room filled with action figures, toys and other collectables, he’s come to school dressed as a rebel soldier and a Jedi, and he’s putting the finishing touches on a life-sized, radio-controlled R2-D2.
He goes by DarthTuba on YouTube, where he posts reviews of different “Star Wars” toys.
“I learned to play tuba and actually was a tuba major in college, so the name works,” he said.
Episode IV: From Princess to General
When Hayley Mosteller saw “Star Wars” at the Majestic Theatre in Chillicothe, Ohio, she fell in love with R2-D2.
But she wanted to be Princess Leia.
“From that moment on, starting at age 9, Princess Leia was my role model. I grew up to be strong willed, principled, relentless, and (relatively) independent,” she said.
Mosteller started cosplaying and going to conventions as a young adult and found a home away from home.
Now, she and her husband are raising four daughters, and she is still drawing inspiration from the iconic character.
“In ‘The Force Awakens’, General Leia and Carrie Fisher finally, officially, gave all women permission to grow old and be awesome at the same time,” she said. “May her memory be eternal.”