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John Wayne

John Wayne’s Surprising Connections To ‘Star Wars’

It’s no secret to anyone how John Wayne influenced the original Star Wars. Just look at the whole Wild West vibe in Tatooine and other Outer Rim planets, or the way Harrison Ford imprinted an aura of cowboy coolness in Han Solo, and his dynamics with his sidekick Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). Westerns have always played an important part in creating George Lucas‘ galaxy far, far away, and remain so even today, with series like The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett still attempting to emulate the same spirit as Wayne’s classic movies.
But what’s even cooler about Wayne’s relationship with Star Wars is that it goes way beyond mere inspiration and influence, and he and his legacy play an important role in the franchise to this day. Many scenes in A New Hope were modeled after moments in Wayne’s classic The Searchers, like Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) arriving at the Lars Homestead to find it in flames, and, later, in Attack of the Clones, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) kills a whole Tusken Raider tribe much like the Comanche camp battle in Wayne’s classic Western. And while many may think John Wayne himself was never in Star Wars, that’s not quite true — from a certain point of view, of course.

RELATED:John Wayne’s Best Co-Star Was In All Of His Final Movies
The Duke Has a Secret Cameo in the Original ‘Star Wars’

Feature Image of John Wayne

How can you think of a desert planet and not populate it with Western-inspired lore? Well, Star Wars goes a little beyond that, really, as the Duke has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo in A New Hope, something revealed by legendary sound engineer Ben Burtt himself a few years back, in Star Wars Celebration IV in 2007.
Burtt needs no introduction to Star Wars fans, but we’ll cut everyone else some slack: he’s the genius behind every iconic sound in the franchise under Lucas’ command. From Chewbacca’s roar to R2-D2’s (Kenny Baker) beeping, from blaster shots to lightsaber humming and, of course, Darth Vader’s (James Earl Jones) breathing — it’s all him. And John Wayne’s part was only possible because of him, too. Wayne voices Garindan, a Kubaz spy in Tatooine’s Docking Bay 94. Okay, but who’s Garindan, and what’s a Kubaz? The character itself is an insectoid alien that looks like a hooded mosquito. He’s working for the Empire and tips them on the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), and R2-D2. If you’re still having trouble, think of The Mandalorian, and its very first episode: the alien who calls the cab for Mando (Pedro Pascal) and the Mythrol (Horatio Sanz) by playing a flute. That’s a Kubaz, and Garindan looks like that.

Garindan in 'Star Wars: A New Hope' Image via 

The realization came when Burtt was working on Attack of the Clones, looking for inspiration for the voice of Poggle the Lesser (Matthew Wood), who’s an insectoid. The only other insectoid character before him was Garindan, and Burtt remembered how he did it by going through his notes at that time: “I discovered it was an electronic buzzing which had come off of my synthesizer that was triggered by a human voice. And I listened to it and realized it was John Wayne — I had found some loop lines in the trash from the studio that had been thrown away. So the buzzing was triggered by some dialog like ‘All right, what are you doing in this town’ or something like that.”
As Burtt revealed this information only in 2007, it’s likely that Wayne never knew about his part in A New Hope. He died in 1979, two years after the movie came out. Officially, his last role was in The Shootist, which came out a year before the original Star Wars. He’s uncredited for Garindan’s voice in the movie, but that’s also not his last contribution to the franchise…

The Wayne Legacy Continues in ‘The Mandalorian’

brendan-wayne-as-the-mandalorianImage via Disney+

While John Wayne’s avatar in Star Wars may indeed be Han Solo, recently another character arose with the same principle. Anyone who has ever watched The Mandalorian can see how the main character is based on multiple Western heroes, and John Wayne is one of those. But it goes way beyond that, actually, as there’s an actual member of his family under the armor. While Mando is voiced and generally credited to Pedro Pascal, it’s Brendan Wayne, John’s grandson, who we see most of the time.
Mando is a rather complex character, so it takes three people to properly portray him. Pascal is in extremely high demand in Hollywood, so he shares the role with Brendan Wayne and Lateef Crowder. Each of them brings a different aspect of the single character we know as Din Djarin, and those three performances are complimentary to one another. Pascal is his voice and face, while Brendan Wayne is the one who handles guns and weapons and Crowder takes over for fight scenes.
In a recent interview with Vulture, Brendan revealed that much of his work as Din Djarin is based on his grandfather’s iconic presence. Whenever we see John Wayne on-screen, we can’t help but notice his signature posing, from the way he walks to how he stands. According to Brendan, that’s all because, while he was a very strong man, he had tiny feet. “So he walked on his toes, like a dancer,” he says. He picked that up for his own portrayal of Din, who’s really a space gunslinger at heart.

For Seasons 1 and 2 of The Mandalorian, Din Djarin’s character was credited only to Pedro Pascal, but that changed for Season 3. Brendan and Lateef finally have their names up there along with Pascal’s in the credits for the episodes, and it’s about time! A bounty hunter by trade, Mando has those three sides of his character very active all the time, so each of the actors brings a very important contribution to the part. Still, since guns are his main way of doing business, Brendan is the one who spends the most time with the helmet on. Luckily for us, a beskar helmet fits him just as right as a cowboy hat did his grandfather.

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John Wayne

John Wayne Was ‘Disappointed’ He Didn’t Get an Oscar Nomination For His ‘Best Achievement’

John Wayne made it to the Academy Awards three times over the course of his career. However, he only ultimately won a single golden statue. Wayne was “disappointed” that he didn’t get an Oscar nomination for She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, which he considered his “best achievement” over the course of his career. Here’s a look at how that impacted the legendary Western star.

John Wayne played Capt. Nathan Cutting Brittles in ‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’

'She Wore a Yellow Ribbon' Ben Johnson as Sgt. Tyree and John Wayne as Capt. Nathan Cutting Brittles posing with hat over chestBen Johnson as Sgt. Tyree and John Wayne as Capt. Nathan Cutting Brittles | Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon follows Cavalry Captain Nathan Brittles (Wayne) through the final job of his career before he retires. He seeks to settle an intense situation between the Cheyenne and Arapaho. However, he’s also busy transporting the wife (Mildren Natwick) and niece (Joanne Dru) of his superior. Brittles must do all that he can to stop an all-out war from taking place and get them to safety.

John Ford directs a screenplay written by Frank Nugent and Laurence Stallings. It’s the second installment in Ford’s Cavalry Trilogy, which also contains Fort Apache and Rio Grande. It was one of the most expensive Western movies of its time. Wayne plays a character much older than he was in real life, but Ford trusted him with bringing the character to life.

John Wayne was ‘disappointed’ that he didn’t get an Oscar nomination for ‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’

John Farkis’ Not Thinkin’ … Just Rememberin’ … The Making of John Wayne’s ‘The Alamo’ walks readers through the iconic actor’s career. Wayne wasn’t afraid to call out a bad film when he had them, but he also openly talked about the films that he was proud of. His performance as Brittles in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon remains a huge fixture of his career. However, he wasn’t the only one singing praises of his own performance.

“I feel strongly that Duke should have been nominated for an Academy Award for his role in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,” co-star John Agar said. “He was just brilliant. Remember, too, I have a lot of scenes with him. He played a guy 20 years older. To me, Yellow Ribbon was the best thing Duke ever did.”

Public audiences even felt a similar way. The movie brought in a stunning $9.15 million at the worldwide box office, making it a huge hit. As a result, Wayne knew that he had something special here that kept him involved in acting.

“For the first time, Pappy was treating me like an actor, and he showed me great respect, which I appreciated,” Wayne said. “I felt that I’d worked hard and long to reach the stage of my career, having been thinking of giving it up.”

Wayne continued: “I was disappointed at not even being nominated for Yellow Ribbon. I had played a man 60 years old, which was 17 years older than I was. I have always believed that this was my best achievement in pictures.”

‘True Grit’ won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon won an Oscar, but Wayne didn’t even get a nomination. Rather, the film won for Best Cinematography. However, the Academy Awards wouldn’t ignore Wayne forever. He would get two nominations and the eventual win.

Wayne earned his first Oscar nomination for Sands of Iwo Jima. Next, he got another nomination for The Alamo in the Best Picture category. Finally, he won his only Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his legendary performance in True Grit. However, he would prove to have a bigger effect on Hollywood than its top award, influencing fight sequences forever.

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John Wayne

John Wayne Once Explained Why He Turned Down so Many ‘Petty, Mean’ Movies

Actor John Wayne is one of Hollywood’s most iconic figures to ever work in movies. However, he was very specific about the roles he would accept and the ones that he refused to involve himself in. Wayne once explained why he turned down so many potentially big movies that he described as “petty,” “small,” and “mean” through the evolution of Hollywood.

John Wayne played particular movie roles

John Wayne in one of his last movies 'The Shootist' alongside Ron Howard. He's wearing a Western outfit and holding a gun, pointing it out standing next to a stunned Howard.L-R: Ron Howard and John Wayne | Bettmann / Contributor

Wayne has over 180 acting credits to his name, spread across movies and television shows. He became a household name for the Western and war genres, ultimately contributing huge star power to the projects later in his career. However, Wayne also wasn’t afraid to speak up when he didn’t like something about the movies that wanted him involved. This held true for both prospective projects and ones that he already signed on for.
The actor ultimately turned down projects that earned attention at the Academy Awards, including High Noon. However, it wasn’t always because he didn’t like the roles themselves. Rather, Wayne was a patriot, who didn’t want anything to do with movies that he deemed insulting to the American image.

John Wayne explained why he turned down so many ‘petty, mean’ movies at the time

The official Wayne Twitter account shared a behind-the-scenes look at one of his movies, The Shootist. He talked about the state of violence in cinema, but he also touched on how he chose what to star in. The film hit theaters in 1976, so it’s worth taking the time period in mind for what he has to say about “modern” filmmaking.

“The whole idea of our business is illusion and they’re getting away from that,” Wayne said. “They’re putting electric squibs in livers and blowing them up in slow motion and then having blood all over everything. I mean, it’s not that there’s more violence in pictures today. It’s that it’s done with such bad taste that people turn their stomachs, not their emotional insides are affected. It turns their stomach. I just don’t want to play anything petty or small or mean. I don’t mind being rough and tough and cruel, but in a big way, no little petty things.”

The actor believed that cinema should be family-friendly

Wayne had a very firm stance when it came to violence in the movies. The rating board once even reached out to the actor to get his input. However, Wayne didn’t want any part in it because he didn’t think a rating system was necessary. He believed that Hollywood should make motion pictures aimed at the whole family.

Wayne starred in a wide variety of movies that included violence, but they never reached the extremes of what he talked about while filming The Shootist. Today’s filmmaking would certainly give him a shock if he were to see how much some movies push the boundaries and make audiences squirm.

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John Wayne

John Wayne Once Confessed the ‘Stupidest Damn Thing I Ever Did in My Life’ Involving His Romance

Actor John Wayne had three wives over the course of his life. However, the couples would always go through various hardships. Wayne always publicly embraced family life and would combine his image as a father with his tough, Western one. The actor once confided in a friend and told them the “stupidest damn thing” he ever did over the course of his lifetime.

John Wayne married his second wife 3 weeks after his divorce became final

John Wayne and Esperanza Baur, the second wife over the course of his life smiling sitting in a car wearing hats

L-R: John Wayne and Esperanza ‘Chata’ Baur | Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Marc Eliot’s American Titan: Searching for John Wayne touched on personal and professional aspects of the actor’s life. The divorce from his first wife, Josephine, was finalized on December 26, 1945. However, that certainly didn’t stop the actor from jumping into another relationship soon after. Wayne married Esperanza Baur, also called Chata, exactly three weeks after his divorce in the Unity Presbyterian Church of Long Beach, which is where his mother married her second husband, Sidney Preen. Actor Ward Bond was Wayne’s best man.

However, everything in Wayne’s life would change when he returned to Los Angeles after his honeymoon with his new wife. They purchased a new home in Van Nuys, California, and made sure to have a separate room for his mother-in-law. As a result, the newly-married couple started to have some difficulties.

John Wayne said that marrying Chata was the ‘stupidest damn thing I ever did in my life’

American Titan: Searching for John Wayne mentioned that Chata wanted to get a real role in a movie, but Wayne didn’t want her to have the life of a movie star. As a result, he told her that she belonged at home. Chata didn’t take this very well and turned to alcohol, developing an addiction.

Wayne ultimately turned to Bond to complain about Chata and his mother-in-law speaking Spanish and their desire for a bigger home. His new wife and her mother would often sleep in the same bed, forcing the actor to sleep on the couch in the living room.

Eliot wrote that Wayne took pride in his physical appearance and kept it in a specific condition for the camera. His ex-wife also took care of her physical appearance, but Chata refused to remove her facial hair, as she had a bit of a mustache. She also wouldn’t bathe very often and refused to shave her legs, which would make Wayne angry. Their arguments became increasingly frequent, which Wayne told Bond.

“Our marriage was like shaking two volatile chemicals in a jar,” Wayne said, admitting that marrying Chata was “the stupidest damn thing I ever did in my life!”

The actor would marry one final time

Wayne’s life moved on past Chata, as they divorced in 1954. Tragically, she died from a heart attack in 1961. Wayne married one final time to Pilar Pallete in the same year that he divorced Chata. They would ultimately remain married until the actor died in 1979, although they no longer lived together. The couple separated, but it was never legally so.

Meanwhile, Wayne became romantically involved with his former secretary, Pat Stacy, until his death.

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