Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back turns 30 years old today
The Empire Strikes Back, the first Star Wars sequel, was released on May 21, 1980, 30 years ago, today. Empire was probably the best and most iconic movie in the entire Star Wars trilogy. From this movie we get Yoda, Boba Fett and the bounty hunters, Lando Calrissian, Obi-Wan’s ghost, Vader is Luke’s father, Luke gets his hand chopped off, Han says “I know” when Leia says “I love you”, Han gets frozen in carbonite and, in a throw away line by Yoda, revelation that there is another Skywalker (breathe!). It’s hard to believe that there is so much in this movie that defines the entire Star Wars saga and is what many fans identify with the series. All in one movie, possibly the greatest sequel in cinema history.
Here’s the original trailer for Empire. Notice how everyone does the famous “turn to the camera” when their character name is called.
Here’s an awesome fan made trailer for Empire as if it would have been made in 1950 (via Official Star Wars Blog)
Star Wars.com is all gussied up for celebrating Empire’s 30th anniversary by skinning itself with a bad ass Hoth Vader image.
While at the official site, you can see a bunch of cool candid photos from the set of Empire, see rare poster artwork and read about the 30th anniversary Empire screening which included Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew and Billy Dee Williams.
On October 12, Random House will release the long awaited book The Making of The Empire Strikes Back. It’s a sequel to the popular The Making of Star Wars released back in 2007. The book is chock full of rare photos and stories about the actual filming of Empire Strikes back in 1979. I haven’t bought the Star Wars one, but I would love to because it is awesome ($50 is a bit high for a hardback photo book, though). I would love to thumb through this Empire book to see some of the pics (and eventually buy it on the cheap).
Crave Online did a great writeup on the first draft of The Empire Strikes Back script by Leigh Brackett dated Feb 1978. Learn who Luke’s twin sister was going to be (hint, not Leia) as well as Yoda’s original name. Fascinating stuff.
Here’s the awesome Empire Strikes Back mural found on 20th Century Fox’s studio lot in Beverly Hills, CA.
You can see the “Nakatomi Building” from Die Hard in the background. I was an IT consultant for 20th Century Fox back in 2000-2001. I spent lots of time on that studio lot during my lunch breaks.
These are the four books that make up the awesome Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back manga series. The series was released around the time of the Phantom Menace in 1999.
I have all four of these as well as the four volumes in the Star Wars: A New Hope series. For some reason I was never able to find the 4 volume Return of the Jedi series.
The website JibJab has a section where you can put yourself into a condensed version of The Empire Strikes Back.
If you click here you can see the Empire Strikes Back video I made which features me in every male role (Han, Luke and Lando) and my wife Steph as Leia. If you can watch it and tell me it’s not better than every single one of the Star Wars prequel movies then I’ll assume you’ve never even seen the prequel movies (well done, sir).
So Empire is now 30 years old. Drink that statistic in and see if it doesn’t make you feel old. Most kids growing up today will never know a time when Vader wasn’t Luke’s father. Sobering thought, am I right?
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