Happy 40th anniversary! Celebrities share their 'Star Wars' memories

Brian Truitt

Star Wars movies have become part of our pop-culture DNA over the past 40 years, being loved by everyone — even really famous people.

Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) debuted on the big screen 40 years ago in the original 'Star Wars.'

In honor of the 40th anniversary of George Lucas' original Star Wars, we asked a few movie luminaries about their first recollections of that famous galaxy far, far away.

The 40 best movie characters in 40 years of 'Star Wars,' ranked

Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)

"My first memories of it were probably getting some small toys. There was this Chewbacca toy — he has some belt thing he wears around his shoulder with small compartments on it, and in each of the compartments was a small Star Wars toy. My mom found one at a garage sale and bought it for me."

Kurt Russell (left) recalls auditioning for the original 'Star Wars,' while his 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' co-star Chris Pratt remembers the cool toys.

Kurt Russell (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)

"Interviewing for the parts of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. It's on tape, it exists — anyone out there can go to YouTube and see it. I didn't have any idea what I was talking about, something about a Death Star and a Millennium Falcon. I was actually in the final running, but I needed to give an answer to ABC to do a Western show. I asked George, 'Do you think you're going to use me?' He said, 'I don't know if I'm going to put you with him, or him with those two guys.' I gotta go to work, so I did the Western. I clearly made the right choice (laughs)."

Javier Bardem (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales)

"I’m 48, so that means the first one I saw (Star Wars), I was 8 years old. It’s funny, I remember myself being younger than that ... and being blown away. Like, 'Wow. What is that?' I saw it in Spanish — Darth Vader was speaking Spanish and all that. Then at school, I didn't play as Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker, I played spaceships. I was a spaceship. That’s what I wanted to be. I don’t know why. It’s crazy, huh?"

Ridley Scott attends his hand and footprint ceremony at Hollywood's Chinese Theatre — incidentally where he first saw 'Star Wars' 40 years ago.

Ridley Scott (Alien: Covenant director)

"I was depressed for a month when I saw Star Wars (in 1977). When I'm thinking of doing Tristan and Isolde, this guy (Lucas) has just done this film and I need to have my head examined. It threw me completely because I had just done The Duellists, which I thought was pretty good — we won a prize at Cannes (Film Festival) but they didn't know how to release it, God bless them. My friend and producer David Putnam said, 'Let's go and see this film that's playing at the Chinese. I feel it may be quite interesting. It's by a guy called George Lucas.' ... We went in and the theater was absolutely shuddering with expectation and I thought, 'This is what film ought to be.' "

Pro wrestler and actor John Cena fell asleep during 'The Empire Strikes Back,' the first movie he ever saw in a theater.

John Cena (The Wall)

"I was very young and fell asleep in the theater during Empire Strikes Back. In my defense, everything was sold out, my dad took me to a late show, it was the first movie I ever saw in the theater and slept through half of it. The fact that I can tell you that with a sense of regret in my voice, I think you understand exactly how much I enjoy Star Wars."

Contributing: Bryan Alexander