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rec.arts.sf.starwars FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Frequently Asked Questions List (FAQ-L)
Version 1.10 - 04/16/92
This is the Frequently Asked Questions List (FAQL) for the newsgroup
rec.arts.sf.starwars. The purpose of a FAQL is to compile authoritative
answers to many commonly asked questions so that the group will not be
cluttered with repetitive requests for the same information. This list
will be posted to rec.arts.sf.starwars on a bi-monthly basis. Please read
it before posting to see if your question has already been answered!
The rec.arts.sf.starwars FAQL is currently being maintained by me -
Christopher Wolf. Many others have also contributed to the information
contained in this list and I have tried to credit them in the text. If
you have any suggestions for corrections, modifications or additions to
the list please e-mail them to me at "email@example.com".
If you have a question which you think should be added to the list it
would be greatly appreciated if you could also provide the answer (with
Thanks and May the Force be With You... Always.
Table of Contents =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
001 Why is Star Wars titled Episode IV?
002 Were there scenes cut from SW after its release?
003 Was RotJ originally titled _Revenge_ of the Jedi?
004 Do scripts exist for the other trilogies? Will they
ever be made into films?
005 Did Lucas "borrow" ideas from other films?
006 What/where is the "Fall of the Republic" script?
007 What other Star Wars novels exist?
008 What about adaptations to other media? (comics, radio)
009 What sources are canon in the Star Wars universe?
010 Are the Star Wars toys/action figures valuable?
011 What is Hardware Wars?
012 How can I contact the LucasFilm fan club?
013 Where is the infamous tennis shoe in RotJ?
014 Why are there yellow boxes surrounding TIEs?
015 What other fx-mistakes/bloopers are there?
016 Why did Han Solo say parsecs?
017 How did the Falcon get to Bespin?
018 What are the clone wars?
Revision History -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
1.00 - 04/16/92 Original release.
1.10 - 04/30/92 Fixed major mistake in answer to the parsecs question.
Inserted separate question dealing with the "canon"
issue. Added additional info to many other questions.
(novels & bloopers questions in particular)
Q 001: Why does it say Episode IV in the scroll-text at the beginning
of Star Wars, Episode V in The Empire Strikes Back and Episode
VI in Return of the Jedi? Did the Episode IV sub-head appear
in the original theatrical release or was it added at a later
Answer: The Star Wars saga as originally conceived by Lucas was much
too large to be made into a single film or even a single
trilogy so Lucas structured his ideas into three trilogies.
He decided to make the middle trilogy (Episodes IV, V and VI)
first because he believed it had the greatest chance of being
a theatrical success.
An interesting point is that apparently the "Chapter IV: A
New Hope" sub-title did not appear in the original theatrical
release of Star Wars (SW - 1976). According to
firstname.lastname@example.org (Mitch Pockrandt) (and others):
"Episode IV: A New Hope" appeared on the opening trailer
at the _second_ theatrical release. (I think this was during
1979, but I'm not sure at the moment.) During the initial
release, which ran from May 1977 through at least March 1978
(in Kansas City anyway) there never was a mention of an
Empire Strikes Back (ESB - 1980) was always sub-titled Chapter V
and Return of the Jedi (ROTJ - 1983) was always sub-titled
(Note: the name of the first FILM is Star Wars - the name of the
CHAPTER is "A New Hope" In Empire Strikes Back and Return of
the Jedi the film name and chapter names just happen to be
the same. All the films together are collectively referred to
as the Star Wars saga.)
Q 002: Were there scenes cut from Star Wars after its original theatrical
release? I seem to remember a reunion scene on Tattoine between
Luke and his friend Biggs on leave from the academy?
Answer: This scene never appeared in any theatrical release of Star Wars.
The scene is described in the novelization of Star Wars and
apparently was even filmed since images from it appear in the Star
Wars picture-book adaptation. Perhaps is why so many people (me
included) swore that they remember seeing the scene at one time.
Also there was apparently a scene in the Rebel hangar which was
filmed but not included where Red Leader speaks to Luke about
having met Anakin Skywalker and what a great pilot he was.
Another scene that was originally intended for Star Wars was an
encounter between Han Solo and Jabba the Hutt at the spaceport on
Tattoine. The scene was partially filmed but never finished
because Lucas was disatisfied with his options for portraying
Jabba due to budget, FX technology and story constraints.
Partial unfinished footage of this scene can be found on the VHS
video titled From Star Wars to Jedi: The Making of a Saga.
Also there may have been some additional minor dialog in the
original release of Star Wars. When the StormTroopers are chasing
Han & Chewie through the Death Star corridors in the original
release they first say "Close the blast doors, close the blast
doors!" and when they get trapped on the wrong side of the door
they then say "Open the blast doors, open the blast doors!" In
the VHS version the "Close the blast door" line is not audible.
Q 003: Wan't Return of the Jedi originally titled Revenge of the Jedi?
Why was it changed?
Answer: Up until shortly before it was released ROTJ was indeed titled
Revenge of the Jedi and some promotional materials (movie posters,
patches etc.) were printed with that title. Materials saying
Revenge of the Jedi are now collector's items. There are two
explanations commonly given for why the title was changed:
1) Revenge isn't very Jedi-like. 2) The studio wanted to avoid
confusion with Star Trek II which was due to be released at
about the same time and was originally titled Vengeance of Kahn.
Q 004: Does Lucas have scripts/stories already written for the other
episodes in the saga? Will he ever make them into films?
Answer: No one knows for sure how much development Lucas had done on the
plots/scripts for the other trilogies at the time Star Wars was
released. Some people believe that Lucas has scripts for ALL the
films locked away in a vault someplace. Most people believe
that he has lots of story ideas and possibly preliminary
treatments for the films but not complete scripts.
After Return of the Jedi, Lucas stated he would not make any
more Star Wars films - he needed a creative break and had other
projects going he wanted to concentrate on. Recently however
Lucas has changed his mind and has publically stated that he will
soon be starting work on new Star Wars films. It is generally
believed (but not confirmed) that Lucas will produce Episodes I
to III next, that he will film all three episodes simultaneously
and that they will be released sequentially starting in about
1997. (Perhaps on the 20th anniversary of Star Wars?)
Episodes I to III are expected to take place about 20 years
before Star Wars. The plot is expected to concern the fall of
the Old Republic, the rise to power of the Emperor, the Clone
Wars and the exploits of Ben Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker.
No plans are currently being made to produce Episodes VII to
IX. Apparently these episodes as conceived by Lucas take
place about 20 years after ROTJ and would also involve a new
set of actors and characters (the descendants of the original
heros?). Lucas has stated many times that the only characters
which would appear in all 9 episodes are the droids R2-D2 and
Q 005: Isn't Star Wars a rip-off of a Japanese film called The Hidden
Fortress or <insert your favorite film here>?
Answer: email@example.com (Lee Campbell) writes:
It's pretty clear there *is* a connection between 'Star Wars'
and a Japanese film called 'The Hidden Fortress' made by Akira
(spelling?) Kurosawa. Not that SW is a copy of THF, just that
THF was *one* of the inspirations for SW. [In] this Japanese
epic, a lord has been defeated, his empire overrun, but his
daughter the princess is still free. Some samurai and
retainers are trying to bring her back across a hostile land
to another lord's domain where she will be safe. If it is
true that 'The Hidden Fortress' was an inspiration for 'Star
Wars' than all Lucas borrowed was the idea of a princess,
loyal retainers, and a hostile land.
Also, some people who have seen both films say that there are
also similarities in the dialog, film-making techniques, camera
To answer the more general question about parallels between
Star Wars and other films (in this case Wizard of Oz)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Teri) writes:
I think it is not so much that plots were ripped off but that
both movies express the ancient archetype of the hero who goes
on a quest. In this sense they are very similar. The "plot"
is really an old, old one that goes back to the first
storytelling days of man. The hero is usually aided by
supernatural forces against perilous dangers and ultimate
evils. Joseph Campbell (comparative religion/mythology) has a
lot to say about archetypes like this. See "The Hero of a
Thousand Faces," or some such. This theme appears across many
cultures and many different times. You might argue that the
Indiana Jones series partook of this as well. Or "Clash of
the Titans," a greek myth brought to the screen.
Q 006: I've heard of a movie script that is supposedly for Episode III
of the Star Wars saga? Is it real? Where can I get a copy?
Answer: It is entitled Fall of the Republic and is not a complete script
but more of a plot outline. It is generallly agreed that it
was NOT written by Lucas or anyone with inside knowledge and
therefore should be treated purely as speculative fiction.
If you want a copy send me e-mail (see my address in the FAQ
intro) and I'll try to mail you one back. If I get inundated with
requests we may have to make other arrangements though.
Q 007: What novels have been created that are set in the Star Wars
universe? Are these official (canon) or not?
Answer: There official novelizations of the movies are:
Star Wars by George Lucas (with help from Alan Dean Foster)
Empire Strikes Back by Donald F. Glut
Return of the Jedi by James Kahn
There are also several official picture-book adaptations of each
of the movies.
Lucas has also given permission for others to use the characters
and situation of the Star Wars universe in their own works.
Concerning recent books, email@example.com (Letha L. Burchard)
_Heir to the Empire_ was written by Timothy Zahn and is set
five years after _Return of the Jedi_. I thought it was an
enjoyable book, but some of my friends didn't think it was
imaginative enough to be a Star Wars sequel. Timothy Zahn is
contracted to do a trilogy, and his next book, _Dark Force
Rising_, is due out in May. There is also a giant standalone
novel by Kenneth C. Flint that is supposed to come out in
November. The events in that book are supposed to take place
between _Return of the Jedi_ and _Heir to the Empire_.
The material in the Zahn books is NOT the contents of the last
trilogy of movies - those movies will concern events at a later
date than the period covered by Zahn's novels.
Alan Dean Foster also wrote a book entitled Splinter_of_the_
Mind's_Eye which takes place after Star Wars. Much of the
speculation in that book was invalidated by events in ESB. There
were also three books written about Han Solo by Brian Daley:
Han Solo At Stars' End (1979)
Han Solo's Revenge (1979)
Han Solo and the Lost Legacy (1980)
and three books written about Lando Calrissian by L. Neil Smith:
L.C. and the Mindharp of Sharu (1983)
L.C. and the Flamewinds of Oseon (1983)
L.C. and the Starcave of Thonboka (1983)
Q008: Has the Star Wars series been adapted to any other form of media?
Answer: There are two comic book series. The first series was by Marvel
Comics and started with an adaptation of Star Wars and continued
on past the end of ROTJ for a total of 107 issues. Marvel also did
official comic adaptations of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the
Jedi as limitted series. A new limitted series (6 issues) of Star
Wars: Dark Empire comics is now being produced bi-monthly by Dark
Horse Comics. Issues 1 and 2 have been released and dealt with
events following Return of the Jedi. They are consistent with
Zahn's novels but take place at a later date. These also are NOT
Episodes VII to IX of the Star Wars saga. Issue 3 should be out in
There is a Star Wars role playing game produced by West End
Games. They produce a lot of supplemental source books for
the game containing tons of interesting info about the
characters/history/technology of the Star Wars universe but
once again these interpretations are not "official".
National Public Radio also did radio broadcast adaptations of
Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back. At least some of the
actors from the films (Mark Hamill and a few others) also did
the readings for the radio adaptation. You may be able to
purchase copies directly from NPR.
There were a couple of made for TV specials too including
The Star Wars Holiday Special (involving Chewie visitting
his family on the Wookie home planet) and two shows about
Ewoks: The Ewok Adventure: Caravan of Courage, and The Ewoks:
Battle for Endor. There was also a saturday morning Ewok &
Q 009: What sources are considered "canon" (official) in the Star
Answer: Of course the movies produced by LucasFilm and the novelizations
of the movies are "canon".
Scavenger (kogutt@ucsu.Colorado.EDU) writes:
According to LucasFilm: The Zahn Novels, Dark Empire, and
the RPG are all official canon. Also the upcoming young a
adult series and any other comics that Dark Horse puts out.
Q 010: Are the action figures/toys worth anything as collectors items?
Answer: Most of the action figures/toys are not all that rare and not
worth anything. I have heard some stories that certain rare
figures and toys (which were produced only in certain countries
or only for a limitted time or only in limitted quantites) are
extremely valuable and sought after by collectors. Unopened
action figures and figures from special limitted edition 3-packs
may be worth something. Die cast miniature tie-bomber toys are
also supposed to be valuable. There is a Boba Fett figure which
has a jet pack which launches a spring loaded missile which is
extremely rare and valuable. Yak face figures are also supposed to
be rare. Another rare figure is the original release of Luke
which came with a lightsaber made from two interlocking sliding
Q 011: What is Hardware Wars?
Answer: Hardware Wars is a very short, very funny, very low budget
parody of Star Wars.
Q 012: How can I contact the LucasFilm fan club?
Answer: Write to:
The Lucasfilm Fan Club
P.O. Box 111000
Aurora, CO 80011
Q 013: Is it true that a tennis shoe appears in one of the space battle
scenes in ROTJ? If so where?
Answer: boisvert@wpi.WPI.EDU (Brian Richard Boisvert) answers:
My roommates have found the elusive tennis sneaker in Return
of the Jedi. It is in the space battle scene right before
the first blast from the Death Star destroys a rebel ship.
One of the rebels says: "Three of them coming in 20 degrees."
And then Wedge says "Cut to the left, I'll take the leader."
Very soon after there is a view of space from inside a rebel
ship. If you watch in the upper right hand side of the screen,
after two TIE fighters explode (one for no apparent reason :-))
a huge tennis sneaker appears. You can clearly see the treads
on the bottom and you can begin to see a blue Nike-ish logo on
the side. It is very quick so slow motion and freeze frame are
essential. Once you notice it once, it is unbelievable that
you had never seen it before. I hope this helps.
Q 014: Why do the TIE fighters in the VHS versions of ROTJ have very
faint hazy yellow boxes surrounding them?
Answer: Its an artifact of the special effects process used to matte the
space-ships. For some reason the artifact is much more visible on
VHS tape than on the big screen.
Q 015: What other editting/special-fx bloopers appear in the films?
Answer: Lots. In Star Wars, when Uncle Owen is purchasing the droids after
the red R2 unit blows its motivator they decide to purchase R2D2.
When the camera pans back to R2D2 you can still see the red unit
standing behind R2D2 although this shouldn't be since the red unit
is supposed to be next to Luke. Later, on Tattoine during dinner
with his aunt and uncle Luke picks up a glass in one hand. A few
frames later it has magically switched to his other hand. Later,
when Vader and Tarkin are having a discussion in the conference
room Vader's voice and hand-gestures are obviously out of synch.
(He talks and THEN the gestures follow about 2 seconds later.)
Also, when the Stormtroopers are raiding the communications post
overlooking the landing bay where Artoo and Threepio are hiding the
trooper on the right hits his head on the door as he enters. During
saber duel between Vader and Kenobi, in some frames they forgot to
colorize Kenobi's saber (use single frame advance to see this clearly).
In Return of the Jedi during the scene in Jabba's palace, the
dancer with the twin head-tails falls out of her costume for
several frames right before Jabba opens the trap door dropping her
into the pit. (You probably need a single frame VCR to see this.)
During the space battle at the end when all those TIE fighters
swoop past the Falcon two can actually be seen to fly through(!)
the Falcon and can still be seen as translucent images even after
they should have been obscured by the Falcon. Also, the star-field
imagery visible behind the Emperor in the throne room is not
logically consistent from shot to shot - the stars get reset back
to their original positions at the start of every shot it seems.
In the throne room scenes there is a dark-blotch that looks like
bad touch-up work consistently visible on the left of the Emperor's
face near the shadows of his hood.
Q 016: Why does Han Solo say that the Millenium Falcon made the Kessel
Run in under 12 parsecs when parsecs are a unit of distance
instead of time?
Answer: There are several possible explanations: 1) Lucas didn't know what
he was talking about and thought parsecs are a unit of time.
2) Lucas knew that parsecs are a unit of distance but wrote the
line that way intentionally to show that Han was just blowing smoke
to try and impress Ben & Luke. 3) During the oddities of
hyperspace travel time and distance are interchangeable. 4) Han
was boasting that he had discovered a new physically shorter route
to make the Kessel Run.
Q 017: In ESB, after their escape from the Star Destroyer Fleet the
Falcon's hyperdrive is still not working. How do they make it
to Bespin and how long does it take?
Answer: There are two possible answers: 1) According to the Star Wars
role-playing game most ships have a back-up hyperdrive which
can be used in emergencies. It is slower than normal hyperdrives,
has a shorter range, is more easily tracked and is only good for
a few uses. It takes a while to switch to back-up which is why
Han couldn't use it escape the Star Destroyers. 2) The time
interval between the Falcon's escape from the Imperial fleet and
its arrival at Bespin is a lot longer than it originally appears
to be. (1 & 2 are not necessarily mutually exclusive) This also
allows sufficient time for Luke's training on Dagobah to occur.
According to someone who's name I accidentally deleted:
I figure it takes at least one year for Luke's training and
for the Falcon to get to Bespin. In Star Wars, Han says that
the Millennium Falcon can "make it to point five past
lightspeed". I take this to mean that the Falcon has a top
speed of 1.5c without using hyperdrive. Interstellar
distances are usually between 2 and 5 lightyears (Alpha
Centauri is 4.3 lyrs away from the sun). That could mean it
would take anywhere from one to three years assuming a
galactic star density similar to ours.
Q 018: What are the Clone Wars?
Answer: No one knows for sure. All that is know is that they were fought
around the time of the fall of the Old Republic and that Ben
Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker fought in them. It is generally
believed that these wars had something to do with the Emperor's
ascendancy to power and extermination of the Jedi. A common (but
unsubstantiated) claim is that the war was between the Jedi and
genetically cloned soldiers created by the Emperor - who later
became known as Stormtroopers.
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