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Z6PO? How the French translated the names in Star Wars

The Local · 16 Dec 2015, 11:42

Published: 16 Dec 2015 11:42 GMT+01:00

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In the original Star Wars most of the characters had to be given a Gallic name so it was either more pronounceable or more understandable to a French audience. 

Translating names of film characters from English into French is a fine art but when it comes to a blockbuster cult film like Star Wars the task is even harder.

Back in 1977 when the original Star Wars film came out those who had the job of Frenchifying George Lucas’s film had a tough job, especially when you had characters like Chewbacca and Darth Vader that would have French viewers' tongues all in a twist.

Here’s a look at what the original French characters were called, although some of the names have since been dropped after being ridiculed by French viewers.

Note that the original film was called "La Guerre des Etoiles" but the cultural language police seem to have softened up a bit since 1997 with the original English name Star Wars adopted for the new film.

1. Jabba the Hutt

Jabba the Hutt, the gangster described as a cross between a toad and a cheshire cat was called "Jabba Le Forestier" (Jabba the Woodsman) in the orginal French version of the film, however times have changed and Jabba is now referred to in French as Jabba le Hutt. 

2. The Millenium Falcon

The legendary spaceship driven by Han Solo had to be given a French makeover and it was decided the best name to suit it was "Le Millénium Condor", but that name has since been dropped too and the Faucon Millénium seems to suffice these days.

3. Han Solo

Given the French difficulty with pronouncing the letter H, Han Solo was given a name change and became Yan Solo. Not far off, but just not the same.

4. C3PO and R2D2

The famous droids from the film also had their names changed for a French audience. For some reason the blue and white R2-D2 was reversed to become D2-R2 and his buddy C3PO became Z-6PO, possibly because "C3" when pronounced in French sounds a little bit too much like "C'est toi" - "It's you"

5. Chewbacca

The "Chew" sound is another tough one for the French so the film's famous furry fighter was renamed "Chiktabba" or "Chico" for short. 

Story continues below…

6. Darth Vader

That old pesky "th" sound is a problem for French tongues so Darth Vader had to be given a Gallic name change - well, more of an Anglo name change as he became "Dark Vador" on French screens. Not too far from the truth. 

7. Luke Skywalker

The "humble farmboy who rose to become the greatest Jedi fighter ever known" (not our words) was actually called Luc Courleciel ("Run the Sky") in the original film, but since then he's been allowed to drop the French translation.

All photos: AFP

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