Tales from the Production of the Original ‘Star Wars’

Now that we’ve all had time to digest the latest in the Star Wars series and compare it to both the original trilogy and the prequels, we’re kind of realizing that there’s really nothing new about The Force Awakens—it just recycles old Star Wars content. The first Star Wars trilogy suddenly seems very original. And with the new and untried territory that was the very first Star Wars production came a series of bizarre tales.

The Actors Who Played R2-D2 and C-3PO Actually Hated Each Other

R2-D2 and C-3PO

Despite its dumpy, rounded appearance, R2-D2 had an actor inside it. And the R2-D2 actor, Kenneth Baker, hated the guy who played C-3PO, Anthony Daniels. Baker claimed that Daniels was both boring and rude, never socializing with the rest of the cast and once blowing off Baker.

While their on-screen characters bickered liked an old married couple, the two actors grew to resent each other. Daniels, unlike his chipper C-3PO character, was something of an introvert. Daniels also saw Baker as just “a bucket” who was never too involved with Star Wars filming as Baker never said anything on-screen. He even compared Baker to a good luck charm at one time, something minor that Star Wars kept in its metaphorical pocket.

George Lucas Built His Star Wars Media Empire by Giving Up a Million-Dollar Salary

George Lucas

By the time George Lucas started filming Star Wars, he was a respected director. Executives at 20th Century Fox worried that Lucas would ask for the unprecedented sum of $1 million to direct Star Wars, but Lucas instead hammered out a deal with Hollywood where he would take only slightly over $100,000, while gaining exclusive rights to license Star Wars merchandise. This was a new idea at the time because back then, there weren’t really concerted marketing efforts or merchandise tie-ins for movies. Lucas also gained executive control to direct any sequels as he saw fit. This was what made Lucas very wealthy—not the movies themselves.

Alec Guinness Hated the Film but Earned Millions from It

Alec Guinness

Alec Guinness, who played Obi-Wan, wrote letters to a friend during filming, lambasting the movie as “fairytale rubbish” and noting he had to “work with a dwarf.” Other complaints were that the other members of the cast treated him like an old man and the dialogue was rubbish. Guinness did, however, think the food provided was good. He later warmed slightly when he first saw the completed film, regarding it as a spectacle and “technically brilliant.”

Lucas Copied World War II Dogfight Footage For Star Wars


The dogfights between rebel X-wings and Imperial TIE fighters were dramatic and game-changing scenes when the movie first came out. Lucas had been inspired to make them because he wanted a dramatic dogfight in space between two spacecraft, specifically one different from space fight scene of Star Trek. When the first postproduction version of the film came back with terrible special effects, Lucas was unhappy. He fired the old editors and brought in new ones to turn his vision into reality.

Lucas Didn’t Want Harrison Ford As Han Solo At First

Harrison Ford

It’s now hard to imagine anyone but Harrison Ford as Han Solo, the dashing galactic smuggler. But not only did Ford have to beat out several other actors for the role, including the likes of Sylvester Stallone and Al Pacino, but he also had to contend with George Lucas himself, who initially didn’t want Ford playing Han Solo at all.

Ford was eventually hired by Lucas to aid in the audition of other actors wanting the part of Han Solo, with the expectation that he would not get to play Han. But after several excellent auditions, Han finally got the part, partly because he could act mean or funny depending on the situation.

Lucas Fought Tooth And Nail For The Unique Opening Sequence


The classic Star Wars opening sequence, another icon of the series, almost didn’t happen. First of all, the sequence itself was difficult to do with technology of the 1970s and required a lot of complex equipment to create a computerized film camera to physically film the opening sequence of text. The second problem was the Directors Guild of America.

Lucas thought traditional opening credits that start films are stupid and ruin the movie. The Director’s Guild of America, which Lucas was a part of, disapproved. When “the Empire Strikes back “came out, the Guild wanted Lucas punished with a $1,000 fine and the film withdrawn from theaters until an opening credit sequence was inserted in. Lucas, enraged at this, sued the Director’s Guild, but when the Guild countersued, he decided to pay the fine and then resign from the Guild.

All future Star Wars films would have the “classic” opening sequence, and Lucas selected a British director for the third and final Star Wars film, one not part of the American Director’s Guild.

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