"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away"...Well, it was actually just 40 years ago this month (and on the planet Earth) that the epic 'space opera' Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope was released onto screens around the world, going on to become one of the most beloved films ever made. Here we look at some of the (mostly well trodden) Star Wars lore...

  Star Wars

NOT A SCENE FROM THE FILM! One of the many spin-off products from the film franchise, a Lego stormtrooper walks purposefully into the desert. PICTURE: Daniel Cheung/Unsplash

• While Star Wars fans celebrate the film on the 4th May each year - "May the Fourth Be With You!" - the film was actually first released into 32 US cinemas on 25th May, 1977 - the figure rose to 43 on the following weekend (and didn't premiere in Australia until 27th October).

• Harrison Ford, who plays the rogue Han Solo, was only paid around $US10,000 for his appearance in the first Star Wars film. He negotiated a better deal for later films. Ford, incidentally, only received the job by accident - he was brought in to feed lines to auditioning actors when he was cast.

• The planet Tatooine sets from the first film - A New Hope - were built in Tunisia and many of them are still standing to this day, albeit slowly being consumed by the desert. Scenes of the ice planet Hoth, seen in The Empire Strikes Back, were partially filmed in Norway.

• Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill) was originally going to be named Luke Starkiller - it was only changed as shooting began and fortunately hadn't been used in any pre-publicity. The change apparently was made because of the connotations the name carried, particularly with regard to recent events in California involving Charles Manson.

• Speaking of Mark Hamill, he had a bad car crash before film started on the second Star Wars film - The Empire Strikes Back, so it's widely believed that a scene in which Luke is mauled by a creature called a Wampa on Hoth was added to account for the scarring on his face.

Return of the Jedi - the third film to be made - was originally going to be called Revenge of the Jedi (there were even posters and trailers made featuring the name) but the name was changed apparently because the idea of 'revenge' didn't really sit well with the life-affirming philosophy of the Jedi. It did come to be associated with their enemies in the third of the prequel films, Revenge of the Sith.

• Every single one of the clone troopers seen in the prequel Star Wars films - in particular Attack of the Clones - were created with CGI meaning no actual clone suits were ever created.

• The alien ET - star of the Steven Spielberg-directed film of the same name - appears in the first prequel film The Phantom Menace when a group of them are shown as delegates to the Galactic Senate.

• The word Ewok is apparently never uttered in the films but is in the closing credits. The species of which Yoda (who originally had a first name, Minch, which was later dropped) is a member of is never named and remains a mystery.

Star Wars is famous for its sound effects which owe their creation to some weird and wonderful combinations - Chewbacca's voice, for example, is a blend of sounds made by bears, walruses, lions and badgers, Darth Vader's breathing comes from a microphone being placed inside a scuba tank regulator, and the sound of the TIE Fighter engine is a combination of an elephant's bellow and a car driving on a wet road.

Additional sources: Mashable, Buzzfeed, MentalFloss