The A to Z Guide to 'Star Wars'
As we enter into the last days before the release of 'Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker', the Skywalker saga is finally coming to an end.
This means that from 'Rise of Skywalker' on, future movies and TV shows will focus on supporting characters and no longer the extended Skywalker family. In any other franchise, that might seem crazy - but considering how deep 'Star Wars' is with supporting characters, different planets and everything else that they're not going to be short of inspiration.
But if you're not up on your 'Star Wars' trivia, not to worry. We've got an A to Z guide to Star Wars - from Anakin Skywalker to X-Wings and Z-95 Headhunters (they're types of ships). Just for clarity's sake, we're keeping the trivia strictly to the movies and leaving out the TV series, video games, books, comics and cartoons that spun off from them.
A is for ANAKIN SKYWALKER
Before he became Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker was a Jedi Knight and looked much, much different. The prequel trilogy - that's 'The Phantom Menace', 'Attack of the Clones', and 'Revenge of the Sith' - focused on how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. Originally played by Jake Lloyd, and later Hayden Christensen, Anakin Skywalker is the father of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.
B is for BOBA FETT
A ruthless bounty hunter, Boba Fett was introduced in 'The Empire Strikes Back' and soon became a fan favourite. However, he met a fairly ignominious end in 'Return of the Jedi' when he fell into the Pit of Carkoon after Han Solo knocked on his jetpack by accident. A spin-off movie like 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' was planned, but then cancelled after the latter movie failed to meet box office expectations by Disney. 'The Mandalorian', the very first live-action series set in the 'Star Wars' franchise, follows a bounty hunter who wears the same armour as Boba Fett, but is in no way related to the character.
C is for C3PO
Also known as Threepio or Goldenrod, C3PO was built by Anakin Skywalker in 'The Phantom Menace' and has featured in every single 'Star Wars' movie except 'Solo: A Star Wars Story'. The character was played and voiced by Anthony Daniels. (See also: R2D2)
D is for DEATH STAR / DEATH STAR II
A massive space station that had the ability to destroy planets with a single beam, the Death Star was the Galactic Empire's grand design for keeping the galaxy under its control. After it was destroyed in 'A New Hope' by Luke Skywalker, the Empire tried to build another in 'Return of the Jedi'. That one was blown up by Lando Calrissian piloting the Millennium Falcon. Starkiller Base, which was featured in 'The Force Awakens', was a much larger version of the Death Star and had the same planet-destroying capabilities as the Death Star - except that it could destroy multiple planets with a single beam spreading out into several beams.
E is for EMPIRE
The Galactic Empire came to power at the end of 'Revenge of the Sith', having replaced the Galactic Republic. Led by Emperor Palpatine, it was destroyed at the end of 'Return of the Jedi' when Darth Vader turned on Emperor Palpatine and killed him. The First Order, who are the protagonists in 'The Force Awakens' and 'The Last Jedi', are the successors of the Empire and seek to restore it to its former glory. In 'The Mandalorian', it's shown that only remnants of the Empire still exist, but are mostly confined to warlords squabbling over resources and planets.
F is for FORCE
A mystical energy that gives people who are sensitive to it unique powers, such as telepathy (mind-reading), superior speed and strength, telekinesis (move stuff without touching it) and in some cases, the power of flight and the ability to shoot lightning from their hands. The Force is split into two sides - the Dark Side and the Light.
G is for GREEDO / GRIEVOUS
Greedo was a small-time bounty hunter who was shot dead by Han Solo on Tatooine. The big debate with fans is over who shot first, Han or Greedo. George Lucas didn't want children thinking it was a good thing that Han Solo shot Greedo first without warning, so he digitally altered the scene for the 1997 re-release to make it more noticeable that Greedo shot first with Han returning fire. However, when you look at the original and unedited movie, it looks pretty clear that Han shot first.
Grevious, meanwhile, was the main villain from 'Revenge of the Sith'. An alien-cyborg created by Count Dooku, General Grievous was the leader of the droid army used by the Separatist forces and featured prominently in the animated TV series, 'The Clone Wars'.
H is for HOTH
The ice-planet where the Rebel Alliance is hiding at the beginning of 'The Empire Strikes Back'. The opening battle sequence, with the giant armoured walkers and snowspeeders, is set on the tundras of Hoth. In reality, the scenes were shot in Norway and on a set in Shepperton Studios, England.
I is for INDUSTRIAL LIGHT & MAGIC
The special effects company set up by George Lucas, it went on to become one of the largest special effects houses in film history. Some of its early staff went on to become hugely successful directors, most notably David Fincher ('Gone Girl', 'Se7en') and Joe Johnston ('The Rocketeer', 'Captain America: The First Avenger').
J is for JEDI
The Jedi were wiped out by Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader at the end of 'Revenge of the Sith' after centuries of acting as guardians of the peace across the galaxy. Obi-Wan Kenobi, one of the few surviving Jedi Masters, hid on Tatooine to escape the Empire's reach whilst Yoda went into seclusion on Dagobah. It's there that he meets Luke Skywalker and begins to train him in the ways of the Force. At its height, there were hundreds of thousands of Jedi spread out across the galaxy, but by 'A New Hope', there were only a handful remaining who lived in secrecy.
K is for KAMINO
The rain-soaked planet in 'Attack of the Clones' that served as the breeding facility for the cloned stormtroopers in the prequel trilogy... Lost you, didn't we? Doesn't matter. It's basically the setting of the only good scene in 'Attack of the Clones'. Sorry, but it's true.
L is for LIGHTSABER
An elegant weapon for a more civilised age, the lightsaber was the weapon of choice for the Jedi. There have been a few variations on it, including Darth Maul's double-edged lightsaber from 'The Phantom Menace' and Kylo Ren's claymore-inspired one from 'The Force Awakens'. Usually come in one of three colours - blue, green or red. Blue and green are good, red are bad. Samuel L. Jackson specifically requested a different colour lightsaber - purple - in 'Attack of the Clones' so that audiences could see his lightsaber in battle. Jackson also requested that the bottom of the hilt of his lightsaber have an inscription - 'BMF' - which stands for 'Bad Mother F****er'.
M is for MILLENNIUM FALCON
Han Solo's personal ship and "the fastest hunk-of-junk in the galaxy", the Millennium Falcon was originally designed from parts of a Ford Galaxy (really) and based on the shape of a half-eaten burger (again, really) and a gherkin. Can do the Kessel Run in twelve parsecs and has a ropey hyperdrive. Previously owned by Lando Calrissian.
N is for NABOO
The setting of most of the action in 'The Phantom Menace', Naboo is the lush and beautiful planet where Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) comes from. In reality, Lake Como and the Palace of Caserta in Italy filled in for Naboo.
O is for OBI-WAN KENOBI
Also known as Ben Kenobi, he was one of the few remaining Jedi who survived the Galactic Empire's purges at the end of 'Revenge of the Sith'. He was killed by Darth Vader in 'A New Hope' and returned in 'The Empire Strikes Back' and 'Return of the Jedi' as a Force ghost that guided Luke Skywalker through some tricky moments. Played by Alec Guinness in the original trilogy and Ewan McGregor in the prequel trilogy. Disney+ are currently working on a TV miniseries that will follow the time Kenobi's life between 'Revenge of the Sith' and 'A New Hope', with Ewan McGregor set to return.
P is for PADAWAN
A Jedi's apprentice is known as a Padawan. The Jedi are trained from a relatively young age to harness their powers and to teach the ways of the Force. The Jedi Temple on Coruscant was where they were trained, but was sacked and destroyed in 'Revenge of the Sith'. It's revealed that between the years of 'Return of the Jedi' and 'The Force Awakens', Luke Skywalker took a few Padawans and tried to restart the Jedi Order with a new temple, which was eventually destroyed by Ben Solo / Kylo Ren when Luke Skywalker lost control of his student and feared he'd turn to the Dark Side.
Q is for QUI-GON JINN
Obi-Wan Kenobi's tutor and the Jedi responsible for bringing Anakin Skywalker to the attention of the Jedi Order, Quin-Gon Jinn was killed by Darth Maul at the end of 'The Phantom Menace'. Played by Liam Neeson.
R is for R2D2
The astromech droid who's often paired with C3PO, R2D2 originally belonged to Luke Skywalker's mother, Padme Amidala, before it came into his possession in 'A New Hope'. Like C3PO, R2D2 has been every single 'Star Wars' movie except 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' and was played by Kenny Baker, up until 'The Force Awakens', where he was replaced following his passing by Scottish actor Jimmy Vee in 'The Last Jedi'.
S is for SKYWALKER / SOLO
Right, we need a family tree for this.
Darth Vader's real name is Anakin Skywalker. We covered that earlier. He assumed the name Darth Vader at the end of 'Revenge of the Sith' after he was nearly killed by Obi-Wan Kenobi. He had two children with Padme, Luke and Leia, who were raised in secret and without either one of them knowing who their father was or that they were related. Luke Skywalker was raised on Tatooine by his aunt and uncle, whilst Leia was raised on Alderaan and adopted into the royal family, hence the whole Princess thing.
Han Solo, meanwhile, is a smuggler who owns the Millennium Falcon and flies it with the help of his friend, Chewbacca. Although he initially is shown to have questionable morals and only interested in money, he soon finds himself promoted to the rank of General in the Rebel Alliance. He and Leia have a love/hate relationship that eventually blossoms into the real deal at the end of 'Return of the Jedi'.
By the time 'The Force Awakens' happens, Han Solo and Princess Leia have raised a son - Ben, who becomes Kylo Ren - and have separated from one another. Both Han and Leia blame themselves for what happened to Ben/Kylo Ren, however, Luke Skywalker himself also shares in the same guilt, as revealed in 'The Last Jedi'.
T is for TATOOINE
The desert planet that features in almost all of the Star Wars movies, it's home to gangster kingpin Jabba The Hutt (that's the slobbery guy that looks like a worm) and where Luke Skywalker was raised by his aunt and uncle. After they're both killed in 'A New Hope', he leaves with Obi-Wan Kenobi - who was also hiding out there. He returns to Tatooine in 'Return of the Jedi' to free Han Solo who was captured by the Empire and delivered to Jabba The Hutt by Boba Fett. In reality, it was filmed in Tunisia where some of the sets are still there to this day.
U is for UTINNI
UTINNI! UTINNI! This is basically the only bit of dialogue that comes from the Jawas, these weird little scavengers that live on Tatooine. In reality, they were played by Alec Guinness' young children.
V is for VADER
Darth Vader was born Anakin Skywalker, a slave who was freed by Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi in 'The Phantom Menace'. He was then trained by Obi-Wan Kenobi, however his aggressive and impulsive nature often got him into trouble. By 'Revenge of the Sith', he was secretly married to Padmé and had gotten her pregnant. Jedi were forbidden to marry or have children - he had done both. In 'Revenge of the Sith', he kept having visions of Padmé dying in childbirth and sought out ways of keeping her alive. Chancellor Palpatine, who was secretly a Sith Lord (bad guy), offered to show Anakin Skywalker ways of bringing people back to life if he would renounce the Jedi and become his apprentice.
Long story short, he went a bit mad, had a major fight with Obi-Wan Kenobi which ended with Vader being burnt alive and having his legs chopped off. Because his injuries were so severe, he had to have a specially-designed suit made for him that would allow him to walk and breathe. That's where the whole Darth Vader suit came from. In the original trilogy, he was voiced by James Earl Jones (who also voiced Mufasa in 'The Lion King') whilst the actual person on-screen was played by bodybuilder David Prowse. In the prequel trilogy, he was played by Hayden Christensen and Jake Lloyd as a child.
W is for WAMPA
This is the huge furry thing that attacked Luke Skywalker in 'The Empire Strikes Back'. In reality, the whole wampa sequence was written to explain why Mark Hamill - the actor who played Luke Skywalker - looked so different from how he did in 'A New Hope'. Just a day before 'A New Hope' was due to finish filming, Hamill was in a horrific car crash that severely damaged his face and caused significant scarring.
X is for X-WING
The X-Wing is perhaps one of the most recognisable ships from the entire franchise. It's featured in countless videogames, comics, novels - everything. The X-Wing featured primarily in the original trilogy and an upgraded version was used by Poe Dameron in 'The Force Awakens' and 'The Last Jedi'.
Y is for YODA
Yoda was the most senior Jedi Master and responsible for training countless Jedi. Extremely long-lived, Yoda was 800 years old before he died in 'Return of the Jedi' from his advanced age. Voiced by puppeteer Frank Oz, Yoda became known for his distinctive voice and odd speech pattern. Don't try and replicate it. Really.
Z is for ZERO
The amount of times any of the Star Wars movies has won an Oscar for Best Picture AND THAT'S A TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE.