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Star Wars Mythbusters
Darth Vader is from the German (or Dutch) for “Dark Father”
1. “General Vader/Imperial Commander” appears on an early-1974 list of potential character names by George Lucas
(screenshots from @jwrinzler’s essential Making of #StarWars book series)
2. “Darth Vader, a tall, grim-looking general” appears in the May 1974 The #StarWars rough draft
3. Darth Vader is not Luke Skywalker’s father until the April 1, 1978 second draft of #EmpireStrikesBack
4. “Darth” doesn’t mean anything in Dutch or German
Star Wars Mythbusters
Imperial AT-AT walkers in #EmpireStrikesBack were inspired by Oakland container cranes
1. In late-1977, @ILMVFX art director Joe Johnston proposed a two-legged walking tank to replace wheeled or treaded tank concepts for the Hoth battle
2. Johnston’s two-legged tank evolved into a four-legged one, inspired by a 1968 Syd Mead illustration of a walking truck, General Electric’s 1968 walking truck prototype and the alien invaders of H.G. Wells’s classic sci-fi novel War of the Worlds
3. #StarWars creator George Lucas and AT-AT stop-motion animator Phil Tippett both refuted the claim that the walkers were inspired by Oakland cranes in a 2007 @SFGate interview. “That’s a myth,” Lucas said.
I will continue busting #StarWars myths on this thread in the coming days/weeks. I have quite a long list. Apologies to @donttrythis, @JamieNoTweet, @KariByron, @grantimahara, @ToryBelleci, et al.
Star Wars Mythbusters
Traditional #StarWars matte paintings were painted on shower door glass
1. Making of SW author J.W. Rinzler asked the original trilogy matte painters, who said this wasn’t true.
2. Corroboration that #StarWars matte paintings were not on shower doors, from original trilogy matte painter Harrison Ellenshaw, via @agraphafx.
Star Wars Mythbusters
The Slave I design was based on street lamps outside of @ILMVFX in Marin County
1. Designer Nilo Rodis-Jamero based the Slave I on a round radar dish, as stated in #StarWars: The Annotated Screenplays and seen in Ralph McQuarrie’s “East Landing Platform”.
2. #StarWars creator George Lucas interpreted the round Slave I in 3/4 perspective as an oval so the design changed.
3. Only while building the Slave I model did an @ILMVFX employee point out to Rodis-Jamero that nearby street lamps resembled the ovoid ship.
3. More corroboration that @ILMVFX matte paintings were not painted on shower doors from #StarWars original trilogy matte painting photographer/compositor Craig Barron, via @halhickel
Star Wars Mythbusters
Chewbacca was named for the Russian words “chudovishye” (meaning monster) combined with “sobaka” (meaning dog).
1. “Chuiee Two Thorpe”, later “Chewie” a hotshot pilot, appears in the early-1973 Journal of the Whills outline by #StarWars creator George Lucas.
2. In The Making of #StarWars, George Lucas says that he came up with “Chewbacca” and other Wookiee names by “changing words around”. No mention of Russian.
3 The origin of the Russian words myth appears to be a 2007 website which cites no other sources or quotes.
Star Wars Mythbusters
The wampa attack on Luke Skywalker was written into #EmpireStrikesBack to explain Mark Hamill’s scars from his 1977 car accident
1. In Empire story notes, George Lucas wrote “Luke crash in beginning (scar on face)” to explain why he might look different.
2. By the November 1977 #EmpireStrikesBack treatment, Luke is “bashed in the face by a snow monster”.
(screengrabs from The Making of The Empire Strikes Back by J.W. Rinzler) #StarWars
Star Wars Mythbusters
The final Millennium Falcon design is based on a hamburger with a bite taken out of it and an olive
1. In an interview, likely from 2006, George Lucas said “I thought of the design... flying back from London [in November 1975]: a hamburger.”
2. But Falcon designer Joe Johnston recalled that Lucas “may have said that it could have the essence of a flying saucer” and that he picked the “disc-shaped hull” design out of a series of “very rough sketches”.
#StarWars #ANewHope
3. A preliminary Johnston drawing, likely from after Lucas’s Nov. 1975 flight, shows a disc-shaped hull with a centered cockpit and the unhamburger-like long neck/engine package from the previous Falcon design.
(image from The Art of #SoloAStarWarsStory) #StarWars
4. In a recent Facebook post, Johnston called the “burger with an olive” story an “urban myth”.
#StarWars #ANewHope
(Kudos to @Kitbashed for their decade-long research on the evolution of the Millennium Falcon’s design, including the Johnston quotes)
Star Wars Mythbusters
Ralph McQuarrie’s artwork sold 20th Century Fox on #StarWars
1. The Fox deal memo for Star Wars was signed on Aug 20, 1973.
2. McQuarrie & Colin Cantwell were hired Nov 1974, to design what was scripted & help LFL formulate a budget based on those designs.
3. Even with the concept art & models as visual aids, Fox put a “moratorium” on further #StarWars development in October 1975.
4. The Fox board of directors met in December 1975 and finally green-lit the film.
(screengrabs from The Making of Star Wars)
5. Each Fox board member had been given a portfolio of McQuarrie and Joe Johnston art. But it is generally agreed that Lucas’ relationship with Fox executive Alan Ladd Jr. and his belief in the project that got #StarWars the green light.
Star Wars Mythbusters
R2-D2 is named for “Reel Two, Dialogue Two”, sound mixing tracks that George Lucas was working with
1. In The Making of #StarWars, Lucas recalled that, when mixing THX 1138, someone yelled out “R2D2” for “Reel Two, Dialogue Two” and he jotted the name down.
2. The actual “R2-D2” reel that Lucas spoke of turned up at an April 2018 Skywalker Ranch screening for American Graffiti, saved by the film’s sound designer Walter Murch.
(photo courtesy of @missingwords) #StarWars
If you have any #StarWars myths you’d like me to bust or confirm, reply to this tweet with your ideas and I’ll add them to the list!
Star Wars Mythbusters
At the time of #StarWars’ release in 1977, Obi-Wan Kenobi wasn’t lying to Luke Skywalker about his father because Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader were different people
1. In the August 1975 third draft of “The #StarWars”, Kenobi explains to Luke Starkiller that his father Annikin was killed at the “Battle of Condawn”.
2. The backstory to Lucas’ January 1978 fourth draft is “about Ben & Luke’s father & Vader, when they are young Jedi Knights”.
3. In August 1977, after the release of #StarWars, Lucas stated that Vader massacred the Jedi but Kenobi and Luke’s father Annikin survived.
4. Darth Vader wasn’t Luke’s father until the second draft of #EmpireStrikesBack in April 1978.
*January 1976 is the correct date for the fourth draft. Apologies.
Great thread by @ILMVFX’s-own @tvaziri on the audience’s interpretation, over time, of Alec Guinness’s acting in this scene...
To summarize, the name “Vader” appeared months before being paired up with “Darth”. And “Darth Vader” appeared long before the protagonist was an orphaned teen. So “dark father” being the inspiration or translation for “Darth Vader” doesn’t make much sense.
Star Wars Mythbusters
Chewbacca was inspired by George Lucas’s dog, an Alaskan Malamute called Indiana that rode in the front seat of his car
1. George Lucas is quoted in late-1997 that Indiana “inspired me to give Han Solo a sidekick who was like a big, furry dog.”
2. The Making of #StarWars verifies Lucas’s story.
3. Lucas’s dog Indiana also inspired the name “Indiana Jones” for that film series and the Jones family Malamute that the character named himself after.
4. Further confirmation from @kershed’s essential The #StarWars Archives 1977-1983, in which Lucas says, “I got the idea from looking at Marcia [Star Wars editor & Lucas’ ex-wife] & the dog when they go out driving together. Indiana, the dog, sits in the front next to Marcia...”
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