The opening space battle scene from "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" is shown while musicians perform during "Star Wars: in Concert" in Las Vegas.

 
The opening space battle scene from "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" is shown while musicians perform during "Star Wars: in Concert" in Las Vegas.   - 
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In his day job, Chris Taylor is deputy editor of the news site Mashable. But recently he’s been able to combine his love of journalism and “Star Wars” to pen the ultimate behind-the-scenes biography about the storied franchise.

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe” sets the record straight on rumors, and offers a few spoilers from the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode VII," due to hit theaters in December 2015. Here are the three big “Star Wars” facts Kai discovered when he sat down with Taylor:

The first movie came dangerously close to being scrapped.

Several major production companies dropped “Star Wars” because they believed it would be a huge flop. The movie studios—and George Lucas himself—believed it was going to be a children’s movie; the average children’s movie at that time grossed about $12 million. 

It's near-impossible to find someone who has never heard of "Star Wars."

Taylor traveled to Window Rock, Arizona, for a "Star Wars" screening — it was the first movie to be translated into the Navajo language. One tribe elder told Taylor he’d never heard of "Star Wars," but remembered seeing "wild birds in space” on television once. After talking to the man some more, Taylor realized he had actually caught a glimpse of the movie's X-Wing fighters. So the search continues.

The franchise has made about $42 billion (so far).

Taylor estimates "Star Wars" merchandise has raked in $32 billion so far. Ticket sales? A measly $4 billion, and another $6 billion on home video. But there's far more money to be made. Since buying Lucasfilm for more than $4 billion in 2012, Disney has announced at least five more films and a new TV series.

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Follow Kai Ryssdal at @kairyssdal