Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope - Rare Photos And Trivia
See Also: Star Wars: Episode VII
George Lucas had planned the character of Han Solo to be a huge green-skinned monster with no nose and gills. Then Lucas changed the idea of Han Solo to a black human. He auditioned several black actors and even musicians (including Billy Dee Williams) until finally settling on Glynn Turman. But after this he decided to make the role white. Kurt Russell, Nick Nolte, Christopher Walken, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Robert Englund, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta and Perry King were all candidates for the role of Han Solo. George Lucas also wanted to stay away from any actors he had previously used in his films. James Caan, Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro and Burt Reynolds turned down the role. Harrison Ford (who had played Bob Falfa in Lucas's American Graffiti) read the part of Han Solo for screen tests of other characters but wasn't originally considered for the part. During these tests Lucas realized Ford was perfect for the role.
Due to the limited budget the American cast members and crew (including George Lucas) all decided to fly coach class to England, rather than first class. When Carrie Fisher's mother Debbie Reynolds heard about this she called Lucas, complaining about how insulting it was for her daughter to be flying coach. Fisher was in the room with Lucas when he took the call, and after a few minutes asked if she could talk to her mother. When Lucas handed her the phone she simply said, "Mother, I want to fly coach, will you f**k off?!" and hung up.
At one point, George Lucas planned for the characters of Luke Skywalker and his aunt and uncle, to be dwarves.
Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) spent most of the production period in chaos, attempting to create special effects that had never been created before. They blew half their budget on four shots which George Lucas rejected. Ultimately, around $5,000,000 of the $8,000,000 budget was spent by ILM.
Alec Guinness always recalled the experience of making the movie as a bad one, and consistently claimed that it was his idea to have his character killed in the first film, so he "wouldn't have to carry on saying these rubbish lines". Reportedly because he hated working on Star Wars so much, Alec Guinness claims that Obi-Wan's death was his idea as a means to limit his involvement in the film. Guinness also claimed to throw away all Star Wars related fan mail without even opening it. Contrary to this, George Lucas has said he made the decision to kill off Kenobi, that Guinness was "less than happy" his character was dying earlier than expected, and that Guinness appeared to enjoy his time on set. While Alec Guinness made no secret that he disliked the dialogue in George Lucas's script, he claimed that he accepted the role for two reasons: 1). He was an admirer of Lucas' previous film American Graffiti and 2). The narrative compelled him to read the whole script through to the end, in spite of not liking the dialogue and not being a fan of science fiction.
George Lucas had not originally intended to use Anthony Daniels's voice for the voice of C-3PO. He only changed his mind after a suggestion by Stan Freberg, one of the actors considered as Daniels' replacement Daniels' voice was altered in post-production. His character was supposed to be like a "used-car salesman". Ultimately, though, George Lucas was won over by the charisma of Daniels' reading of the part as a "snooty British butler" and so Daniels has done the voice for C3PO ever since.
P.J. Soles, Sissy Spacek and Nancy Allen, Farrah Fawcett, Glenn Close, Barbara Hershey, Bernadette Peters, Bonnie Bedelia, Dianne Wiest, Margot Kidder, Jessica Lange, Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver, Cybill Shepherd, Christine Lahti Jane Seymour, Anjelica Huston, Catherine Hicks, Christine Baranski, Kay Lenz, Kim Basinger, Kathleen Turner, Debra Winger, and Geena Davis all auditioned for the role of Princess Leia. Linda Blair, Pamela Sue Martin and Jill Clayburgh were considered.
Terri Nunn of the band Berlin was in the running for the role of Princess Leia and had readings with Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill.
Before casting Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi, George Lucas considered casting Japanese actor Toshirô Mifune. He also considered making casting a Japanese Princess Leia.
Before Alec Guinness was cast as Obi Wan, George Lucas briefly considered using Peter Cushing, who plays Tarkin.
On the first day of filming in the deserts of Tunisia, the country experienced its first major rainstorm in 50 years.
Carrie Fisher's breasts were taped down with gaffer tape, as her costume did not permit any lingerie to be worn underneath. She joked later, "As we all know, there is no underwear in space."
The origin of R2-D2 can be found in the "drones" Huey, Dewey, and Louie from the film Silent Running. Upon meeting Douglas Trumbull, director and special effects chief on "Silent Running", George Lucas commented on how much he liked the designs of Trumbull's two-footed robots in the film (which were operated by bilateral amputees). Four years later, a functionally similar design appeared as R2-D2 in "Star Wars". Universal Studios, the distributor of "Silent Running" noted the similarity between the robots (and the similarity of "Star Wars" to the Buck Rogers serials of the '30s), and promptly sued 20th Century Fox for infringement. The lawsuit was eventually settled when Fox counter-sued over Battlestar Galactica: Pilot, which bore a striking resemblance to "Star Wars".
Luke went through several changes. Lucas toyed with the idea of changing him into a woman after cutting Princess Leia from the script. He also entertained the notion of casting the principal characters as a dwarfs. In an early screenplay, Skywalker was a 60 year-old general. In the shooting script, he was called Luke Starkiller but this was changed to Luke Skywalker during production.
During the scene on the Death Star right after Ben leaves to shut down the tractor beam, Chewbacca barks something to Luke to which Han says "Boy, you said it Chewie". Backstage footage reveals that what Chewie says is "The old man's gone mad".
20th Century Fox was so sure Star Wars was going to be a disaster that they came within a matter of days of selling off their stake in the film as a tax shelter. Positive feedback from an advanced screening made them change their minds, and the profits from the film ended up saving the studio from bankruptcy.
Following principal photography, new scenes had to be filmed for the Cantina scene, to give it more diversity and add more aliens to the scene. However, the reshoot set was very small. If you look at the close-up scenes of most of the aliens when Luke and company enter, you can see the same window in the background.
David Prowse was not the only on-screen actor to have his voice overdubbed by another. In the early rough-cut of the Cantina sequence, Wuher, the barkeeper is speaking in a very pronounced Cockney accent, one that was overdubbed by an American actor before the film's release. The same also happens with the character of Dr. Evazan ("I have the death sentence in 12 systems!") for much the same reason.
The cantina creature later to be known as 'Dice Ibegon' was really nothing more than a hand puppet known as the 'Drooling arm'. This was because it was fashioned to have a red, oozy liquid drip from it's mouth. When they tried this on film however, the liquid spurted all over the place and the shot was judged to be too disgusting for a PG movie.
A small pair of metal dice can be seen hanging in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon as Chewbacca makes preparations to depart from Mos Eisley. Set designer Roger Christian claims he added the pair of dice hanging in the Millennium Falcon cockpit (briefly seen when Chewbacca bumps his head on them as he first enters) because there were dice hanging in Harrison Ford's car in American Graffiti. However, Ford's character had a skull hanging from his rear-view mirror. Ron Howard had the fluffy dice. They don't appear in subsequent scenes, because they were stolen from the set and not replaced.
In earlier drafts, including the ones that were used for audition readings, the planet Alderaan was known as Organa Major. Although the name was changed, the "Organa" was retained and became Leia's adoptive family name.
Stunt doubles were not used for the scene in which Luke and Leia swing to safety. Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill performed that stunt themselves, shooting it in just one take.
When the film was re-released in theaters after it became so successful, the Daffy Duck cartoon Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century was run preceding the feature at the request of George Lucas.
James Earl Jones supplied the voice of Darth Vader, but specifically requested that he not be credited. At the time, the reason he cited was that he felt he had not done enough work to get the billing, but he later admitted that he didn't want his name associated with the film because he was still an up-and-coming actor, and didn't want to be typecast. Jones does receive billing in the 1997 "Special Edition".
George Lucas originally wanted Orson Welles to do Darth Vader's voice, but decided against it, feeling that Welles' voice would be too recognizable.
The terms "X-wing" and "Y-wing" and "TIE fighter" were used by ILM effects guys to distinguish the fighters. These terms are not used in this film, though they were incorporated into the sequels. They also became popular with the public after the toys and the Making of special aired on tv. In addition, ILM's special effects staff nicknamed the Millennium Falcon "The Porkburger" but this never caught on.
Several scenes were filmed of Luke with his friends on Tatooine in an effort to introduce the main character earlier in the film. First Luke and watches Princess Leia's ship battle with the Imperial cruiser through his Macrobinoculars and later he meets his best friend Biggs Darklighter in Anchorhead, who has left the Imperial Academy and plans to join the Rebel Alliance, Also present in the Anchorhead scenes were Anthony Forrest as Fixer and Koo Stark as Fixer's girlfriend Cammie. All these scenes were later cut, leaving Luke's mention of Biggs to his aunt and uncle as the sole reference to his character early on. The scenes have never officially appeared in any release of the movie, but stills were included in "The Story of Star Wars" (a book-and-record set), and the scenes also appeared in the comic book and novel adaptations. This has lead several people to believe they actually saw the scenes on the silver screen. All of the scenes were included on the CD-Rom Star Wars: Behind the Magic in 1998. A reunion scene between Luke and Biggs at the Rebel base was included in the Special Edition re-release of the movie. However, a line by Red Leader about having once met Luke's father was cut from this exchange.