20 pieces of trivia you need to know about Star Wars

14 of 21

George Lucas almost directed Apocalypse Now

What’s the main lesson of Return of the Jedi? Redemption is always possible if you truly want it and work for it? There is power in forgiveness? Or simply, that you should not ever underestimate an Ewok, just because they look like teddy bears? Though they be but little, they are fierce.

The guerilla tactics employed by the Ewoks at the Battle of Endor, in which they help Han and Leia defeat the Stormtroopers, were heavily influenced by the 1960 film Swiss Family Robinson, complete with homemade booby traps used against the Empire.

These tactics were almost seen in a much different film too — Apocalypse Now. The scene was modeled after George Lucas’ original idea for the climax of the film, which he was initially interested in directing back in 1970 before his friend Francis Ford Coppola took it on.

A pre-Han Solo Harrison Ford starred in Apocalypse Now, which was filmed before A New Hope, despite being released after it. The name of Ford’s character in that film was Colonel G. Lucas, a sure nod to the Star Wars director.

In an interview with Screen Daily in 2015, Coppola revealed that he thought Star Wars was a mistake for Lucas, and that “it’s a pity, because George Lucas was a very experimental crazy guy and he got lost in this big production and never got out of it.”

We’re sure the millions that keep rolling in as a result of that big production are some comfort to Lucas, even if the enduring legacy and its fandom aren’t.

Still, we’d love to see the Battle of Endor accompanied by Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, if he fancies coming to our aid.