In science fiction, the “Star Wars” films are among the ultimate sources of trivia, and it’s no coincidence.
They are based on epic science fiction series from the 1940s, 50s and 60s, and they use a similar plot device: provide plenty of detail to hold readers’ interest.
Characters are given real-seeming pasts allowing reader identification. They have full names, home towns (or planets), families and deep, dark secrets.
To their faithful fans, they become friends. Every new detail makes them more real. This compelling device is still being used in action-adventure films and TV series today.
“Star Wars” is long and complex, so there is much room for detail. Fans can talk about the films for years, and there may still be a few details they don’t know. There is always the tantalizing thought that the next conversation might bring a new bit of trivia, expanding the fantasy.
Here’s a list of little-known trivia that may bring you new respect the next time you have a “Star Wars” moment:
Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu, Anakin Skywalker… all the rest of the Jedi have two names, but Yoda has only one. Few fans know that the little Jedi has another name he seldom uses. The name isn’t very imposing, but it perfectly captures Yoda’s appearance and personality.
However, George Lucas wanted to send the message of his great power, so Yoda was known by one name instead of his original one: Minch Yoda.
Providing all his characters with first and last names was a touch of verisimilitude from George Lucas. Since almost all human societies use names composed of multiple words, having such names for fictitious characters make them seem more real to us.
In Yoda’s case, the realism was carried a step further by designing the character after a real person. Since Yoda was so short, makeup designer Stuart Freeborn knew he would have to provide him with a face full of wisdom and respectability to prevent the character from seeming toy-like. With this in mind, Freeborn based Yoda’s face on Albert Einstein.
Yoda’s original voice was done by Frank Oz, who also did the voices for Miss Piggy, Cookie Monster and other classics.