Though it was not in the original script, director Danny Boyle was so taken with the discovery of a recording studio by a railway track that he had the text altered to incorporate the trains and utilize the location as Gavin's studio.
During the scene where Jack first performs "Yesterday," his friends claim that it is not as good as Coldplay. Ed Sheeran's role was originally meant for Chris Martin, the lead singer of Coldplay, who could not do it due to scheduling conflicts, so then it was offered to Sheeran. The joke was left in the script.
One early concept was that the color purple was among the things that did not exist, with a casual reference to the band Deep Purple now being called "Deep Orange." This idea was abandoned because it would be too much work to ensure no extras were wearing purple.
When Jack flies back from Los Angeles to Liverpool, the camera lingers on the front of the airport building which reads, "Liverpool International Airport." In reality, the sign on that building reads, "Liverpool John Lennon Airport," but of course, that has changed in Jack's world.
In the movie, Jack was hit on his bike and broke his front teeth and bloodied his lip. That actually happened to Paul McCartney in 1966. McCartney fell from his moped and chipped a front tooth in Liverpool. He also cut his lip and was left with a scar.
According to director Danny Boyle, some twenty Beatles songs were secured for use in the film, of which about seventeen appeared in the final cut. Expensive as it was to get the rights to the songs, it was still only the second most expensive "asset" Boyle had acquired for a film, with ensuring Leonardo DiCaprio's face taking the top seat.
Some of the characters share their names with Beatles songs: Rocky, the roady/temporary manager, is named for "Rocky Raccoon," Ellie, Jack's love interest, is named for "Eleanor Rigby," which also happens to be the one song that Jack has trouble remembering, and Ellie's roommate, Lucy, is, of course, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."
The Beatles had zero input creatively, outside of approving of their music being used in the film. Director Danny Boyle stated in interviews that the film was "blessed" by McCartney and Starr, as well as the estates of Lennon and Harrison.
The original story for the movie was written by Jack Barth. It was much darker in tone, with the main character struggling as a musician in the new timeline and the premise of the alternate universe explored in more depth. When Richard Curtis did a rewrite, he made the tone much more lighthearted, put less emphasis on the premise of a new timeline without The Beatles, and more focus on romance between Jack and Ellie.
The font of the movie's titles resembles the original font which was used for The Beatles' logo (with the exception of the bigger "T" that was used in the original logo). Also, the poster showed Himesh Patel in a crosswalk, which is a reference to the famous cover of the "Abbey Road" album that shows The Beatles on the crosswalk at the Abbey Road Studios.
At one point in the film, Ed Sheeran suggests to sing the famous Beatles song "Hey Jude" as "Hey Dude." The Milwaukee-based Beatles-Metallica-crossover metal-band "Beatallica" actually did a parody version of "Hey Jude," entitled "Hey Dude." They officially released it in 2007 on their album "Sgt. Hetfield's Motorbreath Pub Band" (a parody to the Beatles-Album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"), which was full with other Beatles-covers in Metallica-Style.
The film featured a scene in the Birkenhead Tunnel, which was also used as a location in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010), Fast & Furious 6 (2013), Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014), and the British television drama series Bulletproof (2018).
Robert Carlyle played the uncredited role of John Lennon. He appeared in the music video for the Oasis song "Little by Little." Oasis, like The Beatles, does not exist in the alternative universe of Yesterday (2019).
The fact that Jack meets an elderly John Lennon brings some very subtle nuance to the main plot. The movie bills itself as showing a world "where The Beatles do not exist." This scenario could go one of two ways: either John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr were never even born in the first place, or they *were* born and *do* exist but simply never met and/or formed The Beatles. The scene with John Lennon makes it explicit that the filmmakers went with the second option.
There was originally going to be a scene where Jack also meets George Harrison and Ringo Starr in a pub. This was eliminated because the writers felt it would blunt the impact of the scene with John Lennon.
In addition to The Beatles, Harry Potter, the band Oasis, the soft drink Coca-Cola, and the entire concept of cigarettes do not exist in the world of Yesterday (2019) either. Also, the show Saturday Night Live is on Thursday and is known as "Thursday Night Live."
George Harrison was the only Beatle to not physically appear in any capacity in the film. Apart from the scene with Jack and an elderly John Lennon, there is a brief shot of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr's feet in a dream sequence (McCartney is barefoot in a reference to the Abbey Road album cover). Lennon's all-denim outfit is also a reference to the Abbey Road album cover.
In the film, Jack and Ellie remark multiple times about the time in middle school where Jack played "Wonderwall" at a talent show, and that was the moment where their friendship blossomed. However, after the accident the band Oasis (along with Coke, Cigarettes, and Harry Potter) is one of several well known entities to have disappeared from existence. This means that Ellie would not have any idea what the song "Wonderwall" is.
During a dream sequence, Jack imagines being on James Corden's late night talk show. Corden surprises Jack by revealing that they have found the true writers of The Beatles songs, and two men enter from the waist down. One of the men is not wearing shoes. This is meant to be Paul McCartney, who famously did not wear shoes on the cover of The Beatles' album "Abbey Road."
John Lennon is revealed to be alive and well in the movie's alternate reality. Since The Beatles never formed, he would have never become famous and thus, would never have been assassinated. George Harrison, who died in 2001, is likely to still be dead since he died from lung cancer. Still, it is possible that even Harrison would still be alive: if he never joined The Beatles, he might not have done so many drugs in the 1960s and since, in this reality, cigarettes never existed, he would not have smoked. Also, two years before his death, he was attacked by an intruder in his mansion and stabbed repeatedly, puncturing a lung. Without this assault, his lungs might have been healthier and he might have pulled through.
Two of the other things that no longer exist (cigarettes and Coca Cola) are mentioned in songs of The Beatles: in "A Day In Life," Paul McCartney sings, "I went upstairs and had a smoke," and in "Come Together," the main character "smoke[s] mojo filters" and "shoot[s] Coca Cola."
During a dream sequence, Jack imagines being on James Corden's late night talk show. During this scene, Jack's zip fly is open (in front of national television). The open fly is a prelude to Jack's embarrassment when Corden surprises him with two special guests.
When Jack is talking to John Lennon, Lennon mentions a romance with "prejudice and pride." Those words are usually said "pride and prejudice" after Jane Austen's famous novel. The switching of the words could imply that "Pride and Prejudice" was never written or published, or that Austen never existed like The Beatles, Coke Cola, or cigarettes.
In a scene where Jack is asking his Los Angeles based agent in the United States if he can go back to England for a few days to the city of Liverpool for inspiration, she asks him what Liverpool has that L.A. does not, to which Jacks gives a few different answers, one of them being Mo Salah. Mo Salah is a famous Egyptian footballer who plays for the Liverpool based football club Liverpool FC.
In the film, Jack learns that Harry Potter has also been erased from existence. The scene with Jack and Ellie in the tunnel was filmed in the Birkenhead Tunnel, which was also used as a location in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010).
Jack says to Ellie at one point that he feels like Harry Potter, to which she responds that she does not know who that is. Ellie is played by Lily James, and Harry Potter's parents were named "Lily" and "James."
The final concert scene at the end of the movie takes place at Wembley Stadium in England. Ed Sheeran is wearing an England Football shirt in the scene. England's football team plays its home matches at Wembley Stadium.