February 21, 1997 in Seven

R2-D2 Had A Reel Name

Eleanor Ringel Cox News Service

Ten things you probably didn’t know about the “Star Wars” trilogy:

1. While shooting the first film, Mark Hamill had a nightmare in which he and Carrie Fisher slammed into a wall while rehearsing their big rope swing and were immediately replaced by Robbie Benson and Jodie Foster.

2. The little Jawas who first cart off R2-D2 and C-3PO are actually five Tunisian children, an English midget, a French-Tunisian midget and producer Gary Kurtz’s two daughters.

3. George Lucas originally wanted Orson Welles to speak for Darth Vader but decided his voice was too well known.

4. R2-D2’s name comes from a note scribbled to Lucas by sound genius Walter Murch during the making of “American Grafitti.” Murch had asked him for R2 D2 (Reel 2, Dialogue 2) of the film and Lucas liked the way the abbreviation sounded.

5. In one early version of the story, Han Solo is an oversized green monster with gills and no nose (as Dale Pollock, author of an excellent 1983 Lucas biography, “Skywalking,” notes, it’s unlikely Harrison Ford would’ve taken the role).

6. Lucas ordered Fisher’s breasts strapped down with gaffer’s tape because “There’s no jiggling in the Empire.”

7. Lucas originally planned to re-dub the English-accented Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) with someone who sounded like a used-car dealer from Brooklyn.

8. In 1977, more than one in twenty filmgoers saw “Star Wars” more than once.

9. “Star Wars” was nominated for 10 Academy Awards. Though it won four, Lucas himself went home empty-handed. However, his then-wife Marcia shared the Oscar for Best Editing.

10. In his 238-page autobiography, “Blessings in Disguise,” Sir Alec Guiness devotes one paragraph to “Star Wars.” He doesn’t even mention George Lucas.

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