'Star Wars' 40th: Everything you probably never knew about the iconic film

Luke Starkiller?!

ByMichael Rothman
May 25, 2017, 10:42 AM

— -- "Star Wars" arrived in theaters 40 years ago today and is still considered one of the most groundbreaking films in cinematic history.

But there are so many things you may not know about Luke, Han, Leia, Darth Vader and the rest of the gang. For example, did you know Kurt Russell auditioned and was considered for the role of Han Solo? That would have made for a very different film!

Here's a quick list of fun facts to know:

1 - Han Russell?

Yep, Kurt Russell was almost the swashbuckler that Harrison Ford made famous.

In 2015, Russell admitted that he passed on the project because he was busy shooting a TV Western called "The Quest."

"I was in there on 'Star Wars' and remember asking George [Lucas] one day, 'Do you think you’re going to use me or not?' And he said, 'I don’t know which part I prefer you in. I don’t know if I like you as Han and this guy as Skywalker, or this guy as Han and you as Skywalker. I don’t know,'" Russell recalled to The Daily Beast.

The 66-year-old actor added that he doesn't know if he would have been ultimately cast, but that he was definitely considered.

2 - Godfather Solo?

Another "what if" is Al Pacino, who revealed in 2014 that he was offered the role of Solo but turned it down. He said he didn't understand the script and it came to him at a time when he was "offered everything" after his famous turn in "The Godfather."

3 - Luke Starkiller?

Luke Skywalker was almost Luke Starkiller. Fans may have confused Luke's last name with the Death Star, the Empire's planet-like weapon.

4 - Chewie's voice

Chewbacca, Han's trusted ally and co-pilot, got his unique voice from bears.

Ben Burtt, the sound designer of the film series, said in a video interview years ago that he used the growling of bears in addition to other recordings of animal noises like lions and badgers.

5 - Original lightsabers

If you ever wondered why the original fight between Obi-Wan and Darth at the end of "Star Wars" looks very careful and slow, that's because it is.

The original lightsabers were made out of glass that reflected light in such a unique way. But if they touched, they would shatter, so the actors had to be careful not to destroy the prop. Technology got better in the coming films.

6 - Carrie Fisher

Looking back, there's no one else who could have played Princess Leia. But at the time, it was her big break and actresses like Cindy Williams, Jodie Foster and Terri Nunn were also up for the role, according to StarWars.com.

Here's a look at Fisher's audition.

7 - Rubbish?

Sir Alec Guinness, who brilliantly played the Obi-Wan Kenobi in the film, actually thought the dialogue was rubbish.

Last year, Oscar Isaac, who is in the new trilogy of "Star Wars" films, read a letter Guinness wrote to a friend as part of a series "Letters Live" for The Telegraph in London.

"New rubbish dialogue reaches me every other day on wadges of pink paper, and none of it makes my character clear or even bearable," the actor wrote to Anne Kauffman during filming. "Mark Hamill and Tennyson (that can't be right) Ford. Ellison? No! Well a rangy, languid man who is probably intelligent and amusing."


8 - Modest wages

In 2015, Harrison Ford told "Good Morning America" that he was paid just $1,000 a week for the original film.

The film went on to gross more than $460 million worldwide.

9 - The buildings from Luke's home of Tatooine are still standing in Tunisia

You can see where he and Obi-Wan were said to live in the original film. Road trip anyone?

Lucasfilm and ABC News are both part of parent company Disney.

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