15 Crazy Facts You Don’t Know About Star Wars

(20th Century Fox)

Ghostbusters, Die Hard and Back to the Future all have hardcore fanbases. But people don’t just like Star Wars, they like knowing everything there is to know about it. I grew up with all the Essential Guides, Visual Dictionaries, and Incredible Cross-Sections, but every day Twitter informs me that I am like a mid-grade Star Wars nerd, at best. So, depending on your own level of fandom, the mileage you get on this 15 Facts article may vary, but I promise we dug up some cool things your average nerf-herder wouldn’t know:

1. There Is No Light Side Of The Force

Obviously I have started with a bold claim, but the fact remains that nowhere in the Star Wars movies is there a reference to the “Light” side of the force. In the original movie, the Force was presented as an all-encompassing aspect of life. The “Dark Side” was more of a shadowy corner of the Force, rather than a fully developed B-side. As the series progressed over 40+ years, the idea of duality grew from such a massive good vs. evil story. The prequels made it pretty official by focusing on the whole “Chosen One bringing balance” runaround. Still, the closest the movies have gotten to identifying the Light Side is Kylo Ren struggling with “the call to the light” in The Force Awakens. So what is the true nature of the Force? Is the Force a balanced yin and yang, or is it ~everything~ and that just means there’s a dark corner? The answer is: Star Wars is a fairy tale that is fun to talk about.

2. The Ewok Language Is Real

Ben Burtt, the man behind Darth Vader’s breathing and the lightsaber hum, created most of the languages in the galaxy far, far away. Ewokese was based on the Kalmyk Oirat, a language spoken in Russia after Burtt heard it in a documentary. In fact, most alien languages in movies are created by rearranging sounds and words in real languages, because making them up out on your own is really hard. Yub nub!

3. There Are No Bras In Space

When we lost Carrie Fisher in 2016, we lost not only our Princess and General but one of the most honest and hilarious voices in Hollywood. In her memoir-turned-performance piece, Wishful Drinking, Fisher shares the reasoning George Lucas gave for not letting her wear underwear. 

“What happens is you go to space and you become weightless. So far so good, right? But then your body expands??? But your bra doesn’t — so you get strangled by your own bra. Now I think that this would make for a fantastic obit — so I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.”

I guess Gold Bikinis have a little more room to breathe?

4. Yoda Dang Done Gone To The Damn Dark Side

Dark Yoda
(Star Wars Underworld)

In the Clone Wars-era novel Dark Rendevous, there’s a moment where Yoda and Count Dooku have a little lightsaber fight chit-chat about the nature of the Force. During the debate, Dooku does the basic “you don’t know the power of the dark side” spiel, which Yoda throws back in his face, basically saying “yeah-huh.” Of course, the book is not officially canon, as it was released pre-Disney, but A) “canon” is a made-up way to classify different made-up stories. It’s all made up! But if you insist on following the rules when it comes to imagination stories, then may I refer you to the episode “Destiny” from the sixth season of Clone Wars. Yoda meets his own dark shadow in the Wellspring of Life, and while it’s not spelled out, the implication is that he maybe went through, like, a phase.

5. TIE Fighters Sound Like Elephants

Back in the sound booth, Ben Burtt combined the sound of a car skidding on wet pavement with an elephant…neighing? Honking? What do you call the sound elephants make?* Either way, that goofy noise is what’s behind the intimidating screech of the Imperial Navy’s staple fighter.

*I looked it up, it’s called honking. TIE Fighters honk like elephants. That’s cannon.

6. David Prowse is Banned From All Official Events

David Prowse is the body inside Darth Vader’s armor, and as far as he knew he was the voice of the iconic villain as well…right up until he saw the movie at the premiere. While we can all agree that hiring James Earl Jones to dub Vader’s lines was one of Lucas’ better decisions, he probably should have, like, mentioned it? The British bodybuilder spent years being understandably  -but vocally- frustrated about the snubbing, to the point that he was finally banned from all official Star Wars events in 2010. According to Lucas’ representatives, Prowse had “burned too many bridges.”

6. A New Hope Is The Reason You Have To Leave When Movies Are Over

Back in the day, buying a movie ticket would let you hang out in the cinema all day. Rather than a scheduled attraction, you bought admission to the theater and could stick around for whatever you liked. That changed when Star Wars became so popular that people would sit and watch it multiple times in a row. Film distributors quickly changed the rules to capitalize on multiple viewings. This is why you have to awkwardly smile and nod to the teenagers trying to clean while you wait for a three-second joke after the credits of a Marvel movie.

7. The Original Millennium Falcon Was Kinda Meh.

Before Colin Cantwell landed on the flying hamburger design for Han’s bachelor van, his original concept was much closer to a classic rocket tube. This earlier version, known as the “Pirate Ship” was even built by ILM modelmakers before George Lucas saw the similar-looking ship from Space:1999. The creative direction was to ensure Han’s ship was wholly unique and original; so the Pirate Ship was retooled into Leia’s Tantive IV, which is the very first ship we see in the franchise.

8. The Opening Crawl Cost Lucas His Seat In The Director’s Guild

According to movie rules in the 1970s, a movie needs to have opening credits. Of course, Lucas had a different vision for kicking off the biggest adventure ever. Lucas resigned from the Director’s Guild and paid a fine to have his movie start with the iconic crawl, rather than telling us who the third executive producer was.  This did cost the original trilogy another director, though/ Steven Spielberg, who was in good standing with the guild, was later unable to sign on to direct Return of the Jedi as he originally hoped.

9. “Endor” is Elvish for “Middle-Earth”

Endor’s race of Fozzie Bears may be closer to dwarves than elves in stature, but warriors more attuned to nature than technology is something Tolkien’s elves would surely appreciate. Fantasy writers gotta stick together, yo. Speaking of Ewoks…

10. Kenny Baker Was Originally Supposed To Play Wicket

The man behind – or rather, inside – R2D2 was originally supposed to play the young Ewok in Return of the Jedi. Baker fell ill during filming, and the role was passed to an 11-year-old boy who was an extra on set. The kid was a HUGE Star Wars fan, so getting recast as an actual character and hero to the Rebellion was a big role upgrade. That boy, of course, was Warwick Davis, who would grow up to be a successful actor famous for roles in Willow, the BBC Chronicles of Narnia miniseries, the freakin Leprechaun in Leprechaun, and Harry Potter.

11. There Are No Clone Trooper Costumes From The Prequels In Existence

…Because every single one of them was CGI. Every single one. So, my condolences to the 501st Legion, but if y’all really want film-quality replicas of Clone Trooper armor, you’re gonna have to walk around with those little CGI tracking balls stapled to a unitard.

12. Darth Vader’s Chestplate Has A Secret Message

In Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Vader’s control panel displays three lines of text under the buttons on the left side. While it looks close enough to Aurebesh (the Star Wars language you see on control screens and such through the movies), the lettering is actually Hebrew. The translation isn’t exact, but the general gist reads “His deeds will not be forgiven until he merits” which is, you know, freakin’ rad.

13. Luke “Pulls” His Lightsaber By Throwing It

Movie magic at it’s finest: when Mark Hamil would reach out with the Force to bring his lightsaber to hand, they’d film him just chucking the thing across the room, then reversing the footage in the final edit. Legitimately hilarious visual.

14. The Millennium Falcon Can Travel 25,000 Light Years Per Day

The Falcon Makes the Jump To Lightspeed
(Yahoo.com)

While I think applying any sort of real-world science to the Big Laser Movies misses the point, Han and friends do seem to get places awfully fast, even with the fastest ship in the galaxy. Of course, all fictional spaceships travel at the speed of plot, but it turns out there’s some math that says the Falcon blows the Starship Enterprise out of the water in a space race. With only the vague technobabble of  “.5 past lightspeed” as a reference point, Slate put together a pretty cool interactive chart that maps out how fast various classic sci-fi ships can run.

15. The Force Is Yoga.

This one’s for all of us. As George Lucas explained to Empire Strikes Back screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, “If you want to take the time to do it, you can do it. It’s like yoga, anyone can do it.” So. We are all one with the Force, and the Force is with us.

These crazy facts are a part of our dad trivia series, where we drop some pop-culture science you can impress your dad pals with at the next BBQ.

Mark Hamill Cheers up Children’s Hospital Patients With His Voices

Hamill Cheers Up Kids with Voice Talents
(YouTube/Children's Hospital Los Angeles)

Luke Skywalker was a hero, but the man who played him, Mark Hamill, is every bit a legend himself. The 69-year-old actor went above and beyond to cheer up some patients at a Children’s Hospital by reading to them virtually and delighted them by doing his Joker voice and impressions of Darth Vader and Yoda.

Hamill flexed his prodigious voice talents (the guy did do a killer cartoon Joker for years) by reading to patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles as part of the Make March Matter campaign, where actors and organizations come together to support the hospital. He told People the kids knew more about Star Wars than he did.

“Virtually visiting young patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles was a remarkable and touching experience. My favorite part was reading a special book with them, Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown,” Hamill said.

One patient asked a brilliant question, pondering what Hamill’s Joker would say to Luke Skywalker. Hamill responded PERFECTLY.

He said he was happy to do the Joker impression on a private Zoom with a patient, but that it’s awkward to do when people ask in public.

“You can’t do him quietly and it’s disturbing for those who assume I’m just some random kook.”

During the book readings, he also voiced Vader, a stormtrooper, and Yoda. Hamill does a lot of charity work, but you always gotta give it up when someone can bring Luke Skywalker and The Joker to life to help put a smile on the face of a sick child.

Turns Out You Can Teach an Old Pooch Cool Dog Tricks, Here’s Where to Start

cool dog tricks, dog with stick in mouth
(Jamie Street/Unsplash)

First, we’ll level with you: Even if our dog were a complete idiot who never listened to a single command or learned a single trick, we’d still love her. Those tip-tappy toenails on the wood. The clumsy whole-butt tail wagging. Even that stinky, stanky hot breath. They’re all lovable and irreplaceable. After all, there’s a reason why emotional support dogs are a mainstay at children’s hospitals and hospice care facilities. All this to say if the only cool dog trick our dog ever learned was how to be excited when we walked in the door, that would be enough.

Having a dog isn’t about the tricks, but they’re certainly fun. What tricks you teach your dog might depend on what you need from them, what your kids will find most entertaining, or simply what sparks your interest. How you teach your dog, however, tends to be the same across the board. The American Kennel Club offers some pretty helpful tips. They recommend first teaching your dog to want praise. Any time your dog does something “right,” impressive, or even sweet, reward her. This is called “positive reinforcement” and it works with toys, treats, or just additional love and praise. For some dogs and for easy tasks, a simple but excited, “Good boy!” is all you need. For more complicated tricks, you might have to pull out the big guns, like those tiny but super pungent treats. They also suggest starting early (even at just eight weeks) and keeping sessions short. A couple of 5 to 10-minute sessions each day will be much more effective than one long, boring training session.

So, what do you want to teach your dog? There are tons of cool tricks here but start with the basic commands: Come, stay, and speak. You’ll have a much easier time getting Fido to jump through that hoop if they know how to come when called. Similarly, it’s less stressful teaching them to jump for a frisbee if you teach them to stay when told and they don’t run off. Need a little help with just the basics? Start here before moving on to more complicated tricks.

1. Train Your Dog to Open the Door

This could be a really cool trick. It will certainly surprise your guests. Just keep in mind that if you train your dog to open doors, they might start opening doors to places you don’t want them to go.

2. Train Your Dog to Close the Door

Opening doors is all well and good. But, how about closing a door behind them? Yep. You can teach that, too.

3. Jumping Through Hoops

Once your dog knows basic commands like “come” or “heel,” it becomes a lot easier to teach them more complicated tricks. Is jumping through a hoop useful? Uh, no. But, it’s certainly impressive and fun.

4. Teach Your Dog to “Get”

“Get” is different from “fetch.” In the dog training world, fetch implies you have an object, you’re tossing it, and your dog is retrieving it. Teaching your dog to “get” something means they’re bringing you an item you request. Since you can teach your dog the names of objects in your home, once they learn to get one or two items, it should be fairly easy to branch out. Start by having them get their leash or your slippers and branch out from there.

5. Train Your Dog to Count

Math can be hard for humans. It turns out, however, that it’s a little easier for Spot.

6. Teach Jump Roping to Your Dog

Wanna make all the other dog owners at the dog park jealous? Teach your pooch how to jump rope! As a bonus, you can refer to playing with your dog as “doing some cardio” and sound very fit.

7. Train Your Dog to Turn Off The Lights

One common command service dogs learn is to turn lights off and on. After all, how often do you find yourself doing just that? Your Doodle may not be a service dog, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be of service when you’re too lazy to get up.

8. Teach Your Dog The Snoot Challenge

Thank God for TikTok or we’d be without this completely useless but cool dog trick.

Ryan Reynolds Is Back in the Trailer for The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

Ryan Reynolds Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
(YouTube/Lionsgate)

Ryan Reynolds has been in the news a bunch over the past year, for his hilarious social media hijinks, he and his wife’s repeated efforts to help during the pandemic, and for his work with his liquor brand, Aviation Gin.

Unfortunately, aside from his Netflix action movie 6 Underground, he hasn’t been on screens all that much.

Deadpool 3, which will be the MCU’s first (and only?) R-rated entry is still a ways off, and his involvement in the newly-launched ThunderCats project is nothing but a rumor at this point. Thankfully, though, he does have a new flick coming out soon, and today we finally get to see the trailer.

It’s called The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. Reynolds stars as, well, the titular hitman’s wife’s bodyguard, and in the movie, he’s tasked with protecting Salma Hayek, who plays hitman Samuel L. Jackson’s wife, who is in danger from Antonio Banderas. The sequel to 2017’s action-comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard hits theaters on June 16th, and it looks like a lot of fun. At the very least it will be nice to see Reynolds again!

Check out the trailer:

Special Needs Puppy Gets Ghosted by Adopters, Goes Viral, Finds Fur-Ever Home

Jack Ghosted Puppy
(Facebook/PeachesBullyRescue)

After being ghosted by potential adopters, a special needs puppy named Jack has finally found his forever home.

In January the 9-month-old pup with spina bifida had a bath, put on his fancy harness, a fresh diaper, and went with his foster team on a 40-minute drive to meet his new owners. And he was ghosted. All that, and they were a no-call, no-show.

Peaches Bully Rescue in Ohio posted about the puppy’s disappointing day out. They said the foster team put in all that work, drove 40 minutes each way, and puppy Jack was ghosted. The post on Facebook said he was “very sad” and that it was a “huge disappointment.” But, they realized that just wasn’t going to be his family.

“Respect that we are all volunteers just trying to give this guy his best chance. Not showing up or calling is bad form,” they wrote. “Your family will come sweet boy, and when they do, they will be perfect.”

But the post on Facebook did resonate with people. Like, a LOT of people. In fact, it quickly went viral, as plenty of decent people out there felt for the lil guy. And since the post went viral, Jack had HUNDREDS of people lining up to adopt him and give him a home.

Since then, his story has been covered by People Magazine, the Today Show, and The New York Post.

The rescue is processed hundreds of applications and has expressed deep gratitude for the gifts and warm wishes they’ve received. They said the post reached more than 3 million people, and they’ve heard from folks in Australia, the U.K., Germany, Singapore, and more.

“Who knew that our little Jack Jack would be so widely loved,” they posted about the attention. “Thank you all and please support rescue. We are the last chance for many animals in this world.”

Because of his condition, Jack has to wear a diaper, but he is still mobile and still cute as heck.

And now he has a family to take him in fur-ever!

 

Watch Will and Martin Honor “Bad Boys” 26th Anniversary and Tease a 4th Flick

Will Smith Martin Lawrence
(Instagram/willsmith)

“Bad Boys” was a blockbuster for the action-comedy genre, which is a lost art (unless you shoehorn a few select Marvel offerings in there). And it’s definitely developed a cult following over the years, even though it’s only been out a short…26 years. OK, well it feels like less, but you can really feel those years when you see the stars then and now.

And even those it’s been 26 years, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence decided to celebrate the occasion, while renewing their vows to each other as Bad Boys and recreating the original movie poster.

 

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A post shared by Will Smith (@willsmith)

“When we say FOR LIFE we mean it,” Will Smith wrote on Instagram. “Bad Boys came out 26 years ago today!”

Lawrence added “Today marks 26 years and we STILL riding strong! Bad Boys for life!”

So life means life, and the baddest boys are still all about that. Not only that, but we also MAY be getting a fourth (and final) installment of the franchise.

We had a sequel in 2003, and then a long time off before the duo reunited in 2020, but when they were accepting an NAACP Image Award for that latest film is when they tipped their hand about a possible final chapter.

They thanked the fans and said “hopefully, we’re gonna try to get one more…you guys seem to like it, so we’re gonna try to do one more, before we become the sad boys.”

Previously Unpublished Prince Album Drops This Summer

New Prince Album
(YouTube/Prince)

Prince was a legend with no true equal, whether it was as an entertainer or on the court. And even though he’s been gone for five years now, we are about to get some new music from the iconic artist, as his estate is releasing a previously unpublished album from 2010.

The Prince Estate and Legacy Recordings announced earlier this month a forthcoming release of “Welcome 2 America”, recorded by the star in 2010. The press release described it as a “powerful creative statement that documents Prince’s concerns, hopes and visions for a shifting society, presciently foreshadowing an era of political division, disinformation and a renewed fight for racial justice.”

If you can’t wait for the full album, along with the release of a previously recorded full concert, you can hear the title track from “Welcome 2 America” on Spotify and Apple Music. Along with the album, the unreleased concert film (recorded from his 2011 tour of the same name) includes him covering some Bob Dylan and Janet Jackson.

The visionary reportedly had a treasure trove of unrecorded material, a mysterious vault of music intended for the children he never had. His bandmates say Prince’s “Welcome 2 America” is disillusioned funk and ‘perfect for the times’, and will be absorbed in a different way in 2021 than it would have a decade prior.

He never said why the album wasn’t released at the time, but for material that covers commentary on social media, celebrity culture, and the state of the country, it will probably still make a pretty poignant statement about the world he left behind.

The album will drop on July 30th.

Veteran in Hospice Care Has Final Wish Granted, Sees Beloved Dog One Last Time

Dying veteran sees beloved dog one last time
(Facebook/Albuquerque Animal Welfare)

For many, dogs become far more than just pets. Their loyalty, intuition, and unconditional love make them members of the family, ones who stand by our sides during life’s most challenging moments. A veteran named John Vincent was heartbroken when he had to give up his beloved dog Patch after entering hospice care, and even during his final days, he didn’t stop thinking about his best friend.

The 69-year-old had no family nearby, and nobody he knew was willing to take in his 5-year-old companion. When Vincent was moved to the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Patch was relinquished to Albuquerque Animal Welfare.

Vincent’s condition was quickly deteriorating, and during a session with his palliative care social worker, Amy Neal, the veteran made a far-fetched last request. His last wish was to see his best friend once more, to say one last goodbye to the loyal terrier. After realizing how meaningful the reunion would be to Vincent, Neal scrambled to make the veteran’s last wish a reality.

“When the request came in, it was an immediate ‘absolutely,’ and let’s do whatever we can to get it done,” Danny Nevarez, Director of Animal Welfare told the Albuquerque Journal. “It was as simple as getting Patch over here.”

As the animal welfare workers drove towards Vincent with Patch quietly in tow, something in the small pup changed.

“It’s almost like he knew, he just started whimpering,” Nevares told the Journal. “Like he had that anticipation.”

The reunion between Vincent and Patch was nothing short of extraordinary, with both man and dog perking up at the sight of one another.

Veteran in hospice says goodbye to beloved dog
(Facebook/Albuquerque Animal Welfare)

“Yeah, that’s me, that’s daddy,” Vincent said to Patch. “Are you so happy to see me? I’m so happy to see you.”

Albuquerque Animal Welfare shared touching photos of the reunion on Facebook, grateful to be part of something so meaningful. Vincent and Patch got to take their time saying a final goodbye, closure that each of them likely needed.

“It was such a heart warming moment,” Albuquerque Animal Welfare wrote on Facebook. “They were so happy to see each other and to say their good byes. It was an honor to make this veterans final wish come true.

Adidas and South Park Collab For the Perfect 4/20 Shoes

Adidas South Park Towelie Shoe
(Instagram/JustJuice)

It isn’t 1992 anymore and the easiest way to tell (besides, well, a calendar) is how culture’s attitude towards cannabis has shifted. State governments are decriminalizing or outright legalizing marijuana use, the medicinal benefits of cannabis are being embraced (by some), and brands and personalities are a lot more open about weed. And that’s why you can celebrate 4/20 with the highest shoes we’ve seen.

There have been some pretty awesome shoe collaborations, but if you’re looking for a partner for 4/20, good luck beating out Adidas teaming up with one of the greatest comedies of all time and releasing a South Park-themed pair of Campus 80s.

South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone worked with the shoe company to make the perfect 4/20 shoes by leaning on everyone’s favorite cartoon-user, Towelie. The Towelie shoes have eye illustrations on the tongue, which can turn pink and bloodshot when exposed to sunlight. The shoes also have a stash pocket beneath the tongue, for whatever you may need to put in a tiny pocket. You know, right where it says “I have no idea what’s going on.”

 

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A post shared by Juice Rodriguez 🇩🇴 (@justjuice)

There’s more Adidas and South Park branding inside the shoe, but from a distance, it’s the blue terry cloth and trademark eyes that will help other fans quickly identify how high your shoes truly are.

South Park knows its demo, which has been a trademark of their success for a long time, and these shoes, available on (well, you know what day they’re available) are another testament to its creator’s ability to make jokes come to life.

After Two Years, the “Perfect” Super Mario Bros. Speedrun Has Been Dethroned

(Youtube/Niftski)

The original Super Mario Bros. is notoriously difficult, and I feel like anyone who can complete the game deserves some kind of medal.  You can imagine my shock then while watching Niftski’s new world record speedrun that clocks in at 4 minutes and 54 seconds.  This is some next-level Mario Bros. gameplay.

Before we get to that run though, we need to go back to September 25th, 2018.  This was the day streamer Kosmic achieved the (previously) “perfect” Super Mario Bros. speedrun world record with a time of 4:55.913, which had only ever been achieved during a tool-assisted run.  These tool-assisted runs are special programs that allow creators to play perfectly, giving them an idea of just how far they can potentially push a game to its limits.  As experts continued to tinker with different speedrun methods, there were tool-assisted runs that would end up clocking in at under 4:55, but what Kosmic had done was as perfect as humanly possible.  Could anyone achieve a better time than his?  How do you improve on perfection?

It wouldn’t be until April 7th, 2021 that streamer Niftski would blow everyone’s minds.  He pulled off a perfect run like no other, just barely sneaking in by milliseconds and setting a new world record of 4:54.948.  I don’t even want to know how many attempts it took to reach this point, but watching this will leave your palms sweaty.  Each jump over an enemy is so close to ending Niftski’s run, it physically pains me to watch.  As he inches closer towards the end, the chat starts to go absolutely berserk and once he knocks Bowser into the lava for the last time, the sheer joy from Niftski’s voice tells you all that hard work has paid off.

“IT HAS FINALLY BEEN DONE! THE 55 BARRIER IS NO LONGER. Huge thanks to everyone who has supported me on this journey. This was my 2nd run ever on this pace into 8-4, so I am blessed to say I finished it out. This is a time I can be proud of for the rest of my life. Also, I don’t plan on stopping here! ;)”

I have a hard enough time jumping on Goomba’s properly, so Niftski’s speedrun is a sight to behold, with each movement being executed with precision.  What’s also interesting is Niftski uses a keyboard to play.  The original NES controller is pretty uncomfortable by today’s standards, but I couldn’t imagine using anything other than that.  I guess if you are going to be playing Mario Bros. as much as these guys do though, comfort is key.

Now, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if anyone can beat this new record.  Will we be waiting weeks or years to find out?  I hope for Niftski’s sake it’s a very long time.