It’s the 30th anniversary of Mel Brooks’ Star Wars parody Spaceballs and to celebrate the 1987 cult classic, we thought it’d be cool to take a look back at a few interesting facts about the film.
For one, Brooks asked Star Wars creator George Lucas for permission to spoof the film. Lucas agreed, but on the condition that Brooks agree not to merchandise anything from Spaceballs—a promise that was clearly born out of Lucas’ drive to build what would ultimately become, along with Harry Potter, one of the two biggest marketing franchises in the history of cinema. Brooks, however, did find a way to poke fun at the whole merchandising idea in the movie.
Another obscure tidbit is the fact that studio heads wanted Tom Cruise or another big name actor to play the Lone Starr role. But, Brooks said he thought that a big star would take away from the film and lobbied for Bill Pullman, and obviously got his way.
“The studio fought me on that choice,” he said. “They wanted Tom Cruise or Tom Hanks—anybody named Tom who cost $2 million…That’s what’s wrong with this business. If you make it a ‘Tom’ movie, it’s no longer a parody, it’s a ‘Tom’ movie and you have to build scenes around him.”
Pullman, however, tells a different version of events. In a 2011 interview, he recalled Brooks telling him that he tried to get both Cruise and Hanks, but failed. And when he was able to cast comedic actors John Candy and Rick Moranis, he was given more leeway to put an unknown actor in the lead role.
Spaceballs 2 has been a possibility for almost as long as the film’s been around. Spaceballs met with so much success when it was released on home video that Brooks immediately tried to get a sequel off the ground, but he couldn’t make it work financially. A reboot was being discussed as recently as last month, so it could still happen.