The A to Z Guide to 'Star Wars'

The A to Z Guide to 'Star Wars'

With 'Episode IX' now less than 300 days from release, excitement is brewing for what will be the final instalment of the Skywalker saga in 'Star Wars'.

This means that from 'Episode IX' on, future movies will focus on supporting characters and no longer the extended Skywalker family.

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.

Like Darth Vader, Boba Fett was played by two actors - Jeremy Bulloch wore the armour and acted on set, whilst lines were originally dubbed by Jason Wingreen before it was redubbed by Temeura Morrison.

 

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. The character was played and voiced by Anthony Daniels. (See also: R2D2)

C3PO (right) and R2D2 (left).

 

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 multiples.

The trench that runs across the equator of the Death Star was not originally planned, as its designer did not have enough time to fill in the space. George Lucas liked the idea and rewrote the script to fit the new design.

 

 

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.

 

F is for FORCE

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.

Greedo was played by a total of three actors in total. One for the shooting scene (Paul Blake), another for pick-ups (Maria de Aragon), and then a third actor (Larry Ward) to provide his voice.

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.

Frank Oz, who voiced and operated Yoda, was also the voice and puppeteer for Miss Piggy, Sam Eagle, Fozzie Bear and Animal.

 

 

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'.

The distinctive lightsaber hum sound effect was actually a mixture of the noise from motors on a film projector and a microphone moving over an old-style transistor television.

 

 

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.

The Falcon multi-use rocket system developed by SpaceX took its name directly from the Millennium Falcon.

 

 

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.

Alec Guinness negotiated a deal for starring in the movie which netted him 2.25% of the gross royalties paid to George Lucas. This made him a very wealthy man by the end of his career.

 

 

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.

 

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.

The name Qui-Gon Jinn is a mixture of the Chinese word qigong, meaning Light Energy, and the Arabic word jinn, meaning Spirit or Genie.

 

 

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.

(Left to right) Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, Princess Leia, played by Carrie Fisher, and Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford

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 Padme. Jedi were forbidden to marry or have children - he had done both. In 'Revenge of the Sith', he kept having visions of Padme 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.

Although imposing on screen, the voice of Darth Vader on set was decidedly not. David Prowse spoke his lines in a thick rural accent which led to the behind-the-scenes crew referring to him as Darth Farmer.

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.

 

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'.

The X-Wing was inspired in part by the World War II-era fighter plane, the P-47 Thunderbolt. It had folding wings similar to the X-Wing.

 

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.