17 Things To Know About ‘Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back’

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17 Things To Know About ‘Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back’

17 Things To Know About ‘Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back’

The Empire Strikes Back is often seen as the best Star Wars film ever made. It benefits from being the middle film in a trilogy, where character depth is explored and dramatic tension is typically at an all time high. Here are 17 things to know about the life of The Empire Strikes Back

1. In order to avoid sharing creative rights, George Lucas decided to avoid using a major studio to finance this film. Instead, he bankrolled the $33 million production himself, using a combination of his profits from Episode IV and a bank loan. Although the move was risky, it paid off several times over. Lucas recovered his million investment within three months of the film’s release.

2. During the filming of the Battle of Hoth, the Echo Base troops were actually Norwegian mountain-rescue skiers. In exchange for participation in the film, Lucasfilm made a donation to the Norwegian Red Cross.

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3. George Lucas decided that a battle on an ice planet was necessary because he felt that it was easy to “cheat” in space, because the background was black and you could hide errors easily. With a white background, the effects crews would have to work much harder, and the effects would be much more impressive.

4. In the asteroid scene, one of the asteroids is actually a shoe. The rumor is that George Lucas asked the SFX people to redo the scene so many times that they got annoyed and one of them threw in their shoe.

5. Another of the asteroids is actually a potato. It appears just as the Millennium Falcon first enters the field. Two asteroids travel from the top left to the bottom right corner of the screen. Just after the second asteroid leaves the screen a third one appears in the top left corner. This is the potato.

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6. Director Irvin Kershner said he had no interest in films with special effects. He was won over by George Lucas, although Kershner was determined to make the film more about characterizations than hardware. Kershner spent several months working on the script, pushing the writers into humanizing the characters more, smoothing Lucas could never do.

7. The Dagobah set needed to be elevated to give Frank Oz and three other puppeteers room to control the Yoda puppet from below. For proper interaction, Mark Hamill was given an earpiece so he could hear Oz doing Yoda’s voice. On numerous occasions, Irvin Kershner would give a direction to Yoda by mistake and Oz would have to remind him who to talk to.

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8. Yoda was originally going to be called Minch Yoda.

9. The concept design for Cloud City was originally created for Episode IV as a floating Imperial prison, but was never used. The design was recycled for use in this film.

10. Billy Dee Williams, who plays Lando here, originally auditioned for Han Solo in the first film.

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11. Han uses a lightsaber in this film and is the only non-Jedi to use a lightsaber in any of the films.

12. Darth Vader sarcastically inviting Han to dinner is the only time in any of the “Star Wars” films that Vader speaks directly to Han.

13. During his battle with Vader, Luke’s hand is severed and he loses his lightsaber (once used by Anakin/Vader and given to Luke by Obi-Wan). As part of the Expanded Universe, Luke’s hand and lightsaber were recovered and kept by the Emperor as trophies. Later, the hand was used to create a clone of Luke that also wielded the lost saber. After the clone’s death, Luke presented the lightsaber to Mara Jade, his future wife.

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14. In Leigh Brackett’s original draft of the script, Darth Vader was not Luke’s father. The character of Anakin Skywalker actually appeared in the film as a Force spirit to train Luke. Anakin’s characterization was later split into the characters of Yoda, and the Force spirit technique was used to allow Obi-Wan Kenobi to appear in the film.

15. Empire Strikes Back was the highest grossing film of 1980.

16. Empire voted it #3 on the list of 500 of the best films of all time.

17. When Han Solo is about to be frozen, Princess Leia says, “I love you.” In the original script, Han Solo was supposed to say, “Just remember that, Leia, because I’ll be back,” but at the time of filming, Harrison Ford wasn’t entirely certain he did want to come back for a third film. There is a recurring legend that his line, “I know”, was ad-libbed; however Alan Arnold’s book “Once Upon A Galaxy: A Journal of the Making of The Empire Strikes Back” includes a transcription of the discussion between Ford and Irvin Kershner in which Ford suggested the line.

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Related topics Facts, Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back Trivia
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