Take a peek behind the scenes of this classic series.
1. Luke Skywalker was almost a girl
A long time ago (January 1975, to be exact) a fledgling screenwriter named George Lucas was working on the second draft of an epic sci-fi space opera he called Adventures of the Starkiller, Episode One: The Star Wars.
Of the many, many problems with this clunky script that would eventually become Star Wars: A New Hope, one that seemed easily fixed to Lucas was the serious lack of female characters.
So, Lucas did something radical: rewrote his story’s main character, Luke Starkiller, as an 18-year-old girl.
At least one concept drawing by artist Ralph McQuarrie exists of this short-lived gender swap, but a few months later, with Lucas’ next draft, Starkiller was a boy again.
Too bad… Star Wars could probably use a few more female voices.
2. Yoda was almost a monkey in a mask
Next time you complain about the goofy CG Yoda from the prequels, consider the alternative: the spiritual center of the Jedi order was almost a real-life monkey in a green mask carrying a cane.
Luckily, there was a monkey expert on set to throw a banana peel in this plan’s tracks.
One of the crew who worked with apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey quickly pointed out, “Look, the monkey’s just going to pull off the mask over and over again. It’s never going to work.”
The team soon enlisted Muppet master-crafter Jim Henson, who suggested casting Frank Oz (formerly the voice of Miss Piggy) to bring Yoda to life.
Bonus fact: According to the early “Starkiller” drafts of the movie, Lucas wanted to call Yoda “Buffy”.
3. Han Solo died in the original script
The original ending of Return of The Jedi has Luke assuming Darth Vader’s role as evil Galactic enforcer, and Han Solo dying in his heroic raid on the Death Star.
Harrison Ford probably would have been fine with this.
Ford was famously snippy about Lucas’ script (“George, you can type this ****, but you can’t say it.”) and in a 2010 interview he waved off his iconic character as “Ham Yoyo”, stating he was officially “done with him”.
Time makes fools of us all.