Why is Star Wars™ being celebrated on UK coins?

2023 sees the release of the UK’s FIRST EVER Star Wars™ 50ps, and collectors are eager to get their hands on them. The first 50p will feature the lovable duo C-3PO™ and R2-D2™, you can find out all you need to know about these coins here >>

2023 UK Star Wars™ 50p coins
2023 UK Star Wars™ 50p coins

But with Star Wars™ being such a hugely popular global franchise, you might find yourself asking ‘Why is Star Wars™ being celebrated on a UK 50p?’…

Filmed in the UK

Back in 1973 when the idea of Star Wars™ was pitched by then up and coming director George Lucas, many major studios passed on producing the film. Nevertheless, Lucas began working with designers in Kensal Rise, England with no funding to create props and sets. Soon after they began buildings sets at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire.

The George Lucas Stage at Elstree Studios
The George Lucas Stage at Elstree Studios
Credit: Steve Daniels, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Despite struggling themselves at the time, 20th Century Fox took a chance on Lucas and started production on Star Wars: A New Hope. Filming started in several locations across the world, but returned to Britain where the interior scenes were filmed at Elstree Studios and Shepperton Studios in Surrey. Filming in the UK took 14 and a half weeks in total!

A British cast

Despite Star Wars™ being the brainchild of American director George Lucas, a large percentage of the cast was made up of British actors. Several homegrown actors topped the billings, giving Star Wars™ a very different accent from many other big-budget franchises.

George Lucas in 1986
George Lucas in 1986
Credit: AP Wirephoto, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The British accent began to signify the Empire, with actors such as Ian McDiarmid, Christopher Lee and Kenneth Colly all portraying characters from ‘the dark side’. David Prowse’s Norfolk twang never quite made it into Darth Vader’s repertoire, however.

Harrison Ford once told the BBC that working with a British crew was essentially the same as working with Americans, apart from the fact that they “drink more tea”. It wasn’t just tea that was being enjoyed by the cast and crew however as it’s said that they fully immersed themselves into the ‘after work pub visit’ culture.

Returning to the UK

The franchise returned to the UK for the Phantom Menace, which was largely filmed at Leavesden Studios by British cinematographer David Tattersall.

The late Richard Marquand became the first British Star Wars™ director on Return of the Jedi, a baton picked up by Gareth Edwards for Rogue One many years later.

In more recent years, the Sequel trilogy has seen British talent take centre stage, with the likes of Daisy Ridley and John Boyega taking on leading roles.

John Boyega and Daisy Ridley at Comic Con San Diego
John Boyega and Daisy Ridley at Comic Con San Diego
Credit: George Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Don’t miss out

With so many ties to the UK, it’s no wonder the global Star Wars™ franchise is being celebrated on UK coins. Don’t forget to sign up for updates about the new UK Star Wars™ 50ps to make sure you’re one of the first to get yours hands on them!

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1 Comment

  1. Robert Downey on July 8, 2023 at 9:29 pm

    Update me