5 Myths About Star Wars (And the Actual Truth Behind Them)

A movie franchise with such a long history as Star Wars is sure to have acquired a few myths and urban legends about the development and production of the films – and we'd like to discuss a few of them with you.

Here are five Star Wars myths that are now forever debunked!

5. Myth: George Lucas Actually Directed Return of the Jedi Instead of Richard Marquand

The absolute reality is that Marquand directed Return of the Jedi. This is not to say it was a smooth process. It was speculated that, due to many of the technical elements of the product, Marquand was out of his depth and this caused several issues.

It has even been whispered that Lucas asked the Director's Guild of America to get himself a directing credit for Return of the Jedi. This seems fanciful however as Lucas had a famous falling out with that group. In reality, Marquand was the director of the movie and was clearly very crucial to some very successful elements of it. This myth is kind of like the one about how Steven Speilberg directed Poltergeist instead of Tobe Hooper.

4. Myth: George Lucas Secretly Filmed a Horror Film Blue Harvest But Never Released It

Blue Harvest was the working/filming title of Return of the Jedi. It was so named as to try and put off the now fervent fans who might otherwise have visited the film sets and let some secrets out of the bag.

There was even an official logo made (with the Star Wars font, incidentally – see below) and the movie's production was heavily into the joke, with lots of caps and t-shirts being worn to put people off.

Image Courtesy of Lucasfilm

While it was rumored that Lucas wanted to actually make a horror film with the Blue Harvest name, no filming ever took place. Was there even actually a script? No.

The name has since become the stuff of legend – so much so that the Family Guy Stars Wars spoof was named after it.

3. Myth: Splinter of the Mind's Eye Was the Scripted Sequel to a New Hope

The book Splinter of the Mind's Eye was commissioned by Lucas as a potential sequel to Star Wars.
The myth is that the novel was written based on a script written by George Lucas. There was no written script at all – Alan Dean Foster was writing the novelization of Star Wars and also the second book. He was as simply instructed by Lucas to write the book based on some ideas and film treatments that George threw at him. Lucas could then turn it into a film script down the line if he so chose.
The reality is that, when Star Wars “went global,” Lucas changed gears and the sequel's script was first drafted by Leigh Bracket. After her death from cancer, Lucas refined it further with help from Lawrence Kasdan.
An interesting side note is that, in the novel, Luke cuts off Vader‘s arm with a lightsabre in the climax – an action that became a common theme in Star Wars movies.

2. Myth: The Wampa Was Created To Allow For Luke's Rearranged Face After a Car Accident

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Image Courtesy of Lucasfilm
Mark Hamill was injured prior to the filming of The Empire Strikes Back. This is a fact.
The myth is that due to his face being rearranged, Lucas had to rewrite the Hoth events to include the Wampa attacking Luke to account for his injury.
The truth is that no accommodations were made for Hamill's face. He did, however, apparently get a black eye when filming the famous “Dianoga attack in the Trash Compactor” scene in A New Hope, which meant he was filmed from one side only for the rest shooting that scene.

1. Myth: Lucas Had 12 Films All Mapped Out Before the First Star Wars Was Released

That is the legend but the mythology of it has grown over the years. The truth in a nutshell is that Lucas wrote a great deal of material when he was developing his little sci-fi adventure. Based on the so-called Journal of Whills, Lucas' script was eventually cut up, and Star Wars as we now know it was filmed. It was not until The Empire Strikes Back came out that the term “Episode 5” was mentioned officially.
Lucas' grand vision was actually pieced together over several years in very broad strokes. The 12 – or nine films that most people know of – were never fully scripted, but were largely imaginings of Lucas that were eventually firmly realized well after 1977.
star wars treatment film list
The story of the novel, Splinter of the Mind's Eye, effectively confirms this. This handwritten vision by George totally proves it (above). Indeed, he had A New Hope at six. Sidenote: The Whills were eventually referenced in Rogue One.

Bonus Myth: Darth Vader's Name Was Not a Clue He Was Luke's Father

There's a persistent myth that some fans like to spread that Darth Vader‘s name is a clue to Luke's heritage. The truth is Lucas did not have the idea to do this until he and Kasdan had been through a few iterations of the script – and crucial to this point, the first draft written by Leigh Bracket made no mention of it.

The story probably started due to people taking the Dutch word “vader” which means “father” and crossing the two together. Fine in theory, a myth in practice.

So there you have it, some Star Wars myths and the truth behind them. It's amazing how much history Star Wars really has!

Let's Bust Some Minor Myths About Star Wars

It seems that, with every major movie franchise, countless myths emerge about them. Millions of people end up believing them but, more often than not, they aren't true.

There isn't a dead munchkin actor hanging in the background of The Wizard of Oz, there isn't a little ghost boy in Three Men and a Baby, and there was no detonator malfunction in The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan purposely delayed the explosion, which did indeed prompt Heath Ledger to improvise).

Star Wars is no different. Countless myths have emerged about the production, plots, and more with regard to Star Wars movies. Like other movie myths, they're mostly untrue. Let’s clear a few things up about the state of play about a couple of Star Wars-related things by busting a few myths:

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Image Courtesy of Lucasfilm
  • In spite of their somewhat similar appearances, Ewoks are not smaller cousins of the Wookie.
  • Han Shot first. No matter what George Lucas said, Han. Shot. First.
  • Lucas did not have 12 films all mapped out before the first Star Wars installment was released. He totally did have the idea of serializing Star Wars, though.
  • There is a difference between a Clone Trooper and a Stormtrooper. One of them is a clone. The other is not so much and is usually a drafted-in human.
  • Kylo Ren is not a Sith Lord. Ren is not his last name. It is a direct reference that he is a Knight of Ren. Kylo is not even his real name. It's Ben.
  • Senator Bail Organa may have died on Alderaan. He certainly appears in Rogue One.
  • There is no longer an official explanation for how Han Solo did the Kessel Run because the Legends novels are now no longer canon.
  • The Wampa creature was not created to allow for Luke Skywalker/Mark Hamill's rearranged face after a car accident
  • Splinter of the Mind's Eye was not the scripted sequel to A New Hope. It was a collection of cool story ideas that Lucas gave to Alan Dean Foster which they COULD have made into a movie. Instead, it became a classic Star Wars story.
  • Anakin Skywalker is the “Chosen On,” not Luke. Think about it, in the end, it was Darth Vader who killed the Emperor, thus ending his reign of tyranny.
  • Darth Vader does not mean “Dark Father” and was not a clue to Luke’s parentage. At all. Stop arguing about it!
  • Princess Leia said the classic Star Wars quote “It’s a trap” first in The Empire Strikes Back, not Ackbar in Return of the Jedi. She was warning Luke Skywalker.
  • Yes, George Lucas did consider Return of the Jedi ending with Luke Skywalker turning to the dark side.
  • “I know” was not an on-the-spot ad-lib. Director Irvine Kershner suggested it to Harrison Ford who agreed to give it a go.

There are, of course, may more Star Wars myths, but we thought we'd give you a snippet that proves not everything you hear or read about the franchise is true!