The most remarkable thing about George Lucas's "Star Wars" franchise is that decades after the first movie launched, everyone is still obsessed with the galaxy far, far away. With Star Wars Day on May 4, we're taking a look back at some things you might not have known about the original film's cast members. Like did you know why no one wore underwear or who feuded on set? Let's get started…
Harrison Ford: Jack of all trades
Harrison Ford's stardom came late in life (by Hollywood standards anyway) considering he was the ripe old age of 35 in the first "Star Wars" film and circling 40 by the time "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was released. During the pre-"Star Wars" years, Harrison taught himself to be a carpenter. This lucrative "side job" allowed him to support his family while also pursuing his dream. In between auditions and acting gigs, Harrison helped build a studio for Brazilian bandleader Sergio Mendes and did some carpentry work for Francis Ford Coppola.
It's a bomb?!
While you might not expect George Lucas to have known he had one of the biggest films of all time on his hands, you also wouldn't think that he thought he had directed a cinematic bomb beyond "Gigli" proportions either. George was convinced the movie was a dud and the director friends he'd held an early screening for — including Francis Ford Coppola, Brian DePalma and Steven Spielberg — confirmed his fears with one exception: Steven Spielberg. George went so far as to skip the film's premiere to go on a Hawaiian vacation with Steven where they happened to come up with another cinematic turkey called "Indiana Jones."
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With all the stars who have appeared in "Star Wars" movies you'd think there would be at least one juicy on-set screaming match. Nope. The closest we get is in the last place you'd expect it. The actors behind droids C-3P0 and R2-D2 have had a long-simmering feud that goes back decades. It was reported years ago that 3-foot-8 Kenny Baker (R2-D2) blasted co-star Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) for being "the rudest man alive" and accused the actor of referring to him as a "little man." Anthony remained silent about the rumored feud until 2015. The Mirror explained that after it was acknowledged that the men were the only two actors to appear in all three trilogies, Anthony sniffed, "[Kenny's] not actually on the set… I haven't seen him for years. His name is on the credits as a sort of… I don't know, a good luck charm, a courtesy. He's a talisman." Oh snap! Also not very becoming of a man who plays a droid that specializes in human-cyborg relations.
Jedi in the buff
The late Carrie Fisher said she once asked George Lucas on the set of "Star Wars" why her Princess Leia costume lacked underwear. She said he earnestly replied that there is no underwear in space. Ewan McGregor has apparently embraced this philosophy here on Earth, as he is the "Star Wars" alum who has appeared nude the most often in movies. The Scottish heartthrob might have been covered from head to toe in bulky Jedi robes for the "Star Wars" prequels, but he took it all off in the films "Velvet Goldmine," "Young Adam," "The Ghost Writer," "The Pillow Book" and "Trainspotting."
Mark Hamill's car accident
Toward the end of filming "Star Wars," Mark Hamill was in a bad car accident that required some of the cartilage from his ear to be used to rebuild his nose. Rumors have persisted that the writers of "The Empire Strikes Back" included a scene in which Luke gets attacked by a snow monster to explain the slight changes in Mark's face. Most accounts of how that scene came about are varied but Mark himself has said that the makeup department did in fact play on his real scars from the crash in the scene following Luke's vicious attack.
Ewan McGregor's performance as a young Obi Wan Kenobi has been considered one of the high points of the polarizing "Star Wars" prequels. However, he is not the only person in his family who's had a memorable role in the "Star Wars" films. Denis Lawson, Ewan's uncle on his mother's side, played fan-favorite X-Wing squadron leader Wedge Antilles in the original trilogy.
When searching for an actor to portray Luke Skywalker's father in "Attack of the Clones," established names like Ryan Phillipe and Leonardo DiCaprio were thrown about, but among the many who auditioned was none other than "The Fast and the Furious" star Paul Walker. In a 2000 interview with iCast, the late actor confirmed that he had tried out for the role via a taped audition but had heard that George Lucas's concern was that Paul was too old to play the part. In a 2011 press conference for "Fast Five," Paul shared that he still wished he'd landed the role.
Carrie Fisher didn't just play royalty onscreen — she's royalty in real life. Well, Hollywood royalty. Carrie was born to popular singer Eddie Fisher and movie star Debbie Reynolds. Wedded bliss did not last long for the 1950s It couple, however. A major scandal erupted when Eddie rushed to be with their best friend, Elizabeth Taylor, after third husband Mike Todd was killed. Consolation soon turned into something more and Eddie left Debbie and their two children for the screen legend. In her 2010 one-woman show for HBO, Carrie jokingly likened these events to the more recent love triangle between Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston.
Skywalker siblings find success
While Harrison Ford went on to become one of the biggest box-office stars of all time, his two co-stars found success off the beaten Hollywood path. Mark Hamill became a prolific voice actor, the most notable of his performances being his portrayal of the Joker in the critically acclaimed TV show "Batman: The Animated Series." Although Carrie Fisher had notable acting roles in "The Blues Brothers," "When Harry Met Sally" and "Soapdish," she also found success as a writer. Carrie was not only an acclaimed author but also an in-demand script doctor — a screenwriter brought in to help fix scripts for major studio projects. Some of the films she worked on include "Hook," "Sister Act," "The Wedding Singer," "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" and the "Star Wars" prequels.
Sex, gold bikinis and rock 'n' roll
You probably know that one of Carrie Fisher's full-time jobs was as a muse for a generation or two of fanboys, but what you might not know is that she was a muse for musicians as well. Her on-again off-again relationship with music legend Paul Simon was tumultuous — they were married for less than a year before getting a divorce, then got back together again. Their relationship inspired Paul's song "Hearts and Bones" and, according to Carrie in her autobiography, the darker "She Moves On" is also written about her. The actress also partied with the Rolling Stones while she was filming "The Empire Strikes Back" and years later had a very close (but platonic) relationship with "You're Beautiful" singer James Blunt, who lived with her during the recording of his 2003 album "Back to Bedlam."
Jar Jar Jackson
No "Star Wars" trivia covering the entire franchise would be complete without at least one Jar Jar Binks entry. You might know that older fans would rather kiss Jabba the Hutt than watch Jar Jar, but you might not know that Michael Jackson wanted to play the clumsy Gungan. According to Ahmed Best, who ended up nabbing the part, the main reason George Lucas passed on the late King of Pop was because the music icon wanted to play the role in prosthetics versus CGI. "The Phantom Menace" would not have been the first time George and Michael worked together. George co-wrote and served as the executive producer on Michael's mini space opera, "Captain EO," which has played for years at Disney parks across the globe.
It was reported that Lucasfilms auditioned more than 2,500 young actors to play a young Han Solo in the 2018 movie "Solo: A Star Wars Story." While filling Harrison's shoes would be hard, imagine what the original trilogy would have been like if one of the then-up-and-coming actors who auditioned for the role had actually won the part? The pool of actors vying to bring the scruffy nerf herder to life reads like a laundry list of male stars of the '70s and '80s: It includes Kurt Russell, Al Pacino, Sylvester Stallone, Nick Nolte and Christopher Walken. Yes. Walken auditioned for the part. Take a minute to process that.
Woulda, coulda, shoulda
Sometimes it can be fun to look at what could have been in the roulette game known as casting, and the "Star Wars" cast does not disappoint. While Natalie Portman passed on some smelly movies like "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights" and "House of Wax," Ewan McGregor passed on playing the famous British spy 007 in the studio's reboot of the franchise. Harrison Ford almost landed but ultimately lost the role of Benjamin Braddock ("The Graduate") to Dustin Hoffman. The tables turned for Harrison in his post-"Star Wars" career, however, as he's turned down a number of big films including "Alien" and "The Hunt For Red October," among others.