Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

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The Secrets of The Empire Strikes Back – You Have to Read This!

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Poster
Secrets Revealed: True fans of Star Wars, Welcome! I’m not going to enter the debate of which part of the Star Wars saga rules. Celebrating love for all Star Wars movies, this is the story of Star Wars – Part V: The Empire Strikes Back. And it’s not for the common fan. These are some surprising stories from behind the scenes together with several rare photos. And be sure not to miss the 2 rare videos towards the end.

 

How did Luke get the Lightsaber in the Cave?

I saw The Empire Strikes Back over 100 times, both as a kid, as an adult and lately as a parent with my kids. And not even once in all these times have I thought about how they shot this scene. For me it was obvious. Luke finally mastered the Force, so he could fetch the lightsaber.
Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Luke in Cave

The Secret Answer: Surprisingly, the shots where Luke uses his Jedi powers to retrieve his lightsaber from a distance were achieved by having Mark Hamill throw the lightsaber away and then running the film in reverse. So simple, yet so elegant. And I never noticed it.

 

Why The Empire Strikes Back is the Best Movie in the Star Wars Saga?

The answer is right after this short message…

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Behind the Scenes
Read Here: I spent long (happy) hours researching for this article, writing, editing and preparing all the photos – like this rare photo from behind the scenes of one my favorite scenes of all time. I did it all for you, the true fan. So please read, don’t just browse the photos… And since it’s a long article and heavy with photos, some even animated, I had to split it into several pages. Please forgive me, but otherwise the page doesn’t load well. Oh, and don’t miss the videos!

 

Why The Empire Strikes Back is the Best Movie in the Star Wars Saga

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Best
I know, it’s a debate. And still… Director Irvin Kershner said he had no interest in films with special effects. However, 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.

The Human Touch: And that was the secret sauce. The human touch, the characters, the relationships, the drama. This final scene is a sad happy ending and I always cry a little watching it. And can’t wait to watch it all over again.

 Continue: To read more stories – and some surprising facts and rare photos – simply scroll down for every few stories, not too often I hope. If you really like it and want to say thank you, please share the link on Facebook. It helps (mostly my ego). May the Force be with You!

 

What’s Next? Surprise! How Older and Taller was Han?

How Older and Taller was Han?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Han and Leia

 

Secrets Revealed: Actress Carrie Fisher, our beloved Princess Leia, stood on a box for many of her scenes with Harrison Ford, the handsome Han Solo, in order to make up for the height difference and have her appear in the frame with him. Carrie Fisher (5’1) is about a foot shorter than Harrison Ford (6’1). Ford was also 14 years older than Fisher.

 

I Know or I’ll Be Back?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - I Know

(Give it a few seconds, if you don’t see the animated photo above)

The Story Behind this Line: 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.

 

Why Han Solo Almost Died?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Han Solo Frozen

The Real Reason why Han Solo was Frozen: Having Han Solo frozen in carbonite was (at least in part) due to the fact that they were not sure that Harrison Ford would return for a third film. When the original Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope was made in 1977, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill were signed for a three picture deal, but Harrison Ford refused.

He asked to die? Ford even requested George Lucas to kill off Solo, since the character had played its part already, but Lucas refused, saying that he still had a heroic part for Han Solo to play in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983). And we know that he will even reappear in Part VII many years later (in 2015).

 

Test Yourself? What was Yoda’s Part in the First Movie?

What was Yoda’s Part in the First Movie?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Yoda and Luke

The Answer: Any true fan of Star Wars knows that Yoda actually appeared for the first time in Part V: The Empire Strikes Back. He had no part in the first Start Wars movie. But there are other stories and secrets about Yoda that many don’t know…

 

Why Yoda Did Not Win an Oscar?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Yoda Frank Oz
The Muppet Show’s Jim Henson, a friend of George Lucas, was offered the role of Yoda. Henson turned it down, as he was busy with The Great Muppet Caper (1981). He recommended Frank Oz for the role. Eventually, Lucas was so impressed by Frank Oz’s performance as Yoda that he spent thousands of dollars on an advertising campaign to try and get him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Lucas’s campaign ultimately failed because it was felt that a puppeteer wasn’t an actor.

 

Why Does Yoda Speak Like That? The answer is next…

Why Does Yoda Speak Like That?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - The Is No Try
Why Does Yoda Speak Like That? Yoda’s iconic manner of speech has the parts of speech in Object Subject Verb order. Very few languages on Earth use this and most are based in the Amazon river basin. Do or Do Not, There is No Try!

 

And so… Why Does Yoda Look Like That?

Why Does Yoda Look Like That?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Making Yoda

These are rare photos from the making of the original Yoda! Yoda’s appearance was originally designed by British makeup artist Stuart Freeborn, who based Yoda’s face partly on his own and partly on Albert Einstein’s, as his eyes are supposedly inspired by the latter.

Yoda was Heavy! The Yoda puppet was made of a less than optimal material, resulting in it being quite a bit heavier than what Frank Oz was used to from his time with the Muppets. The strain put on his arms meant the scenes had to be shot on a quite erratic schedule.

 

Quiz: Who were the troops on the frozen planet Hoth?

Who were the troops on the frozen planet Hoth?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Behind the Scenes Hoth
The Payment Surprise: During the filming of the Battle of Hoth, which was shot at Finse, Norway, 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. Because they didn’t speak any English, second unit director Peter MacDonald had to “act out” what he wanted them to do, by pointing in the direction of the “enemy” (which wasn’t visible during shooting) and demonstrating the recoil motion he wanted for the blaster rifles.

Some of troops became famous! One of the extras – Tom Egeland – would later become the chief news editor for one of Norway’s largest TV networks, as well as a critically acclaimed mystery writer. Another – Arve Juritzen – would become one of Norway’s best known TV-personalities (hosting eg. Vil du bli millionær? (2000), Big Brother Norge (2001)).

 

Did You Know that the Storm was Real?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Frozen Hoth

No Storm is Too Strong for a Jedi! When shooting on location in Finse, Norway, a fierce snow storm hit the hotel where the cast and crew were staying. This would have normally halted filming, but director Irvin Kershner thought these weather conditions were an excellent opportunity to film the scene where Luke wanders through the snow after escaping the Wampa cave.

This is Crazy! Kershner did this by sending Mark Hamill outside into the cold, while he and the cameraman stayed and filmed inside the hotel’s front hall. Can you imagine this?

 

Why Harrison Ford Suffered More from the Cold?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Han Gun
He didn’t shoot himself, but he was cold…! Harrison Ford was not expected to take part in the location filming in Norway which represented the scenes based on the ice planet of Hoth, so his costume was made for the stage and consequently not very well insulated. At the last minute, weather conditions were such that the schedule needed to be changed, and it was decided to shoot his scenes in Norway instead. He was freezing…!

 

What Happened to Luke Skywalker?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Mark Hamill Behind the Scenes

Brave Jedi! With the exception of being sucked out of a Cloud City window, Mark Hamill did all of his own stunts. Give it a few seconds, and you can see here the painful second when Luke loses his hand. That was part of the movie. But there were a few real blows as well…

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Luke Loses Hand

Jedi Head Banging: Mark Hamill had to bang his head 16 times on the ceiling of Yoda’s hut before director Irvin Kershner was satisfied. And then, Hamill’s wife gave birth to their first son (Nathan Hamill) early one morning, and Mark went straight from the hospital to shooting. This was the day they filmed the shots of Luke climbing out of his snowspeeder before it is crushed by the Imperial walker, and Hamill broke his thumb during the stunt.

 

Was it a Real Snake?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Luke Training

Real Snake Bite! As Yoda and Obi-Wan urge Luke to stay on Dagobah to finish his training, Luke pulls a snake from his spaceship. Irvin Kershner assured Mark Hamill that the snake was harmless, though it did bite him during one take.

The Scars are Not Real: An oft-quoted myth is that the Wampa attack on Luke was devised to explain the actual scars on Mark Hamill’s face because he had been involved in a car crash and had to have reconstructive surgery. Hamill did indeed survive a serious car crash in January 1977 but did not have any visible scars by the time Empire began filming over two years later.

 

Who was the most surprising guest on the set?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Yoda Luke Piggy
My favorite piglet! When Mark Hamill was having trouble with the Dagobah scenes with Yoda, Frank Oz brought in Miss Piggy to make him laugh.

 

You have to slow down and look closely to catch this

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Leia and Han
I never noticed this before! When the Millennium Falcon is inside the worm and a tremor makes Princess Leia fall on Han Solo she says, “Captain, being held by you isn’t quite enough to get me excited”, Han Solo is mouthing her line. Look at his mouth closely.

 

Why was Princess Leia so Happy arriving to Cloud City?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Leia Cloud City
The Secret Party: During some of the London filming, Carrie Fisher stayed in a house rented from Eric Idle. Idle and the Pythons were filming Life of Brian at the time. One evening, Idle had a small party, including Harrison Ford and The Rolling Stones, and served a potent liquor (which the Pythons had been distributing to extras on their film, to help boost morale) that he referred to as “Tunisian Table Cleaner”. They stayed up most of the night drinking and having fun. The first scenes shot the next day were the arrival at Cloud City, which she says helps explain why she and Ford were so happy in those scenes. Idle is said to be pleased that he had a small hand in how the finished film turned out.

Perhaps you can spot some drunken spirit in this rare photo from behind the scene…?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Leia Drunk

Did you know? In each Star Wars film, the line “I have a bad feeling about this” is spoken by one of the characters. In this film, Leia says it. For more, scroll next, and don’t miss the two amazing videos towards the end…!

 

What’s Next? Behind the Scenes of the Biggest Duel

Behind the Scenes of the Biggest Duel

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Behind the Scenes Duel
Notice the mattresses below Luke? I was so sure he’s going to fall. The first time, the second. And each of the 100 times I’ve watched it. And all this time, he had these mattresses below… Hmmm.

 

Behind the Scenes of the Lightsaber

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Lightsaber Duel
Was I Alone? I spent days and nights of my childhood planning how to make a real lightsaber. Looking at this photo from behind the scenes, without the light effect, is a little disappointing. But also, it gives me hope. I can still be the first to design the real thing!

 

OMG, Where’s My Hand?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Luke Hand
Laugh about it? If there’s one single thing that I simply adore about the photos from behind the scenes of The Empire Strikes Back, it’s the sense of humor. You can see them so young and so happy all the time, enjoying it. Even when loosing his hand, Mark Hamill kept he’s smile on. And now, we can smile seeing how they created the effect back then. Cute.

 

Four Surprising Droid Stories

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - IG-88
Have you noticed IG-88 twice? One of the bounty hunters that Darth Vader hires to find Han Solo, IG-88, can be seen in the Cloud City. IG-88 is a droid, and his dead body is sitting next to a furnace in the room where C-3PO is dismantled.

 

Crazy! What was IG-88 made of?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Behind the Scenes - IG-88 Origin
Brilliant Trivia: One of our readers – Thank you Aaron! – sent us this image that shows the origins. It’s simply crazy. The IG-88 droid was built from one of the drink machines above the bar in Chalmun’s Spaceport Cantina in Mos Eisley, Tatooine.

 

And what is the Medical Droid made of?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - 2-1B Medical Droid
Look closely: The 2-1B Medical Droid’s mouthpiece is actually an antique microphone.

 

Where was R2-D2’s Pool?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - R2D2 Mud Pool
And who shot the scene? The scenes where R2-D2 is submerged in the mud pool were shot in George Lucas’ unfinished swimming pool. Most of the crew were hidden under the water and the entire sequence was shot by George Lucas himself.

 

The Three Lost Arms

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - C-3PO Blasted
Have you noticed this? Luke cuts off the Wampa’s arm. C-3PO loses an arm when blasted by the Stormtroopers. Darth Vader cuts off Luke’s hand.

 

The Best Tank Ever – AT-AT

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - AT-AT
I wish I could drive one… More scenes of the AT-ST Imperial “chicken walkers” were filmed, but George Lucas decided that the larger AT-ATs were more menacing and impressive. He later realized that the AT-STs would work better in close quarters, which led to using them extensively in the forest battle in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.

More AT-ATs? The next images are animated, so please scroll next and give them a few seconds to load.

 

How did the AT-AT Walkers Walk?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - AT-AT Walk
Not all effects were stop-motion: The AT-AT Imperial walkers were all animated through traditional stop-motion techniques, except for the scenes where they fall (e.g. the walker which is “tripped up” by cables and falls on its face, or the one that Luke throws a grenade into, which falls on its side). These were filmed in real-time on high speed cameras with precision-timed mini-pyrotechnic charges.

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - AT-AT Fall
Inspiration and background: The AT-ATs were inspired by the walking machines in H.G. Wells’s “War of the Worlds” and their appearance was based on gantry cranes which are used in most shipping ports in the USA. Walking patterns of elephants were studied to make the movements seem as realistic as possible.

 

Quiz: Which Non-Jedi Character Used a Lightsaber? The answer comes next…

Which Non-Jedi Character Used a Lightsaber?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Han Solo Tauntaun
Easy Answer? While he never got intimate with the Force, Han Solo did. He is the only non-Jedi (and non-Sith) in the entire original trilogy to ever wield a lightsaber, which he used to cut open the tauntaun’s belly on planet Hoth.

 

Professional Quiz: How Many Characters Died in The Empire Strikes Back?

How Many Characters Died in The Empire Strikes Back?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Body Count
The Body Count: At 30 only, Episode V has the lowest body count of the entire Star Wars saga. Perhaps it’s another reason why it feels softer.

 

Was the Millennium Falcon a Miniature?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Millennium Falcon
Surprise, surprise! The entire Millennium Falcon was built live size for the first and only time for this installment (only half of the spacecraft was constructed for the first movie Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, and just part of it was used for the deleted sandstorm scene in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.

25 Tons! The ship was built by Marcon Fabrications (in the old Sunderland Bomber hangers) in the former Royal Navy shipyards at Pembroke Dock, on the Milford Haven waterway in West Wales. It weighed over 25 tons and used compressed air hover pads for movement around the set and was shipped to the studio on 16 low-loaders.

 

Do you remember which Jedi mind trick was used?

Which Mind Trick Was Used?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Mind Trick
Have you noticed this? The Empire Strikes Back is the only movie in the original Star Wars trilogy in which Jedi mind tricks are never used. This photo from behind the scenes is the closest. In Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi uses the Jedi mind trick to get past the Stormtroopers on Tatooine, and in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker uses (and attempts to use) the mind trick several times inside Jabba’s palace.

 

Do you know the story about the credits?

The Opening Crawl and No Credits

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Opening Crawl
Interesting background story: To preserve the dramatic opening of the Star Wars movies, George Lucas insisted on moving all the credits to the end of the film. However, although the Writers’ Guild and Directors’ Guild had begrudgingly allowed this on Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) (because that film wasn’t expected to be very successful), they resented the trend being continued on Episode V.

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Irvin Kershner

The Guild’s Reaction: First they tried to pull The Empire Strikes Back from release, but were unsuccessful. They then fined Lucas heavily, and tried to fine director Irvin Kershner – here in some funny behind the scenes photos. But Lucas paid all the fines himself (nearly $250,000). Lucas then bitterly dropped his membership in the Writers’ Guild, Directors’ Guild, and the Motion Picture Association of America, a move that has hindered his hiring choices on later films.

 

What Don’t you Know about Boba Fett?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Boba Fett Animated Gif
What’s his name?? Boba Fett is never referred to by name in the film. He is always referred to as “the bounty hunter” by other characters. And what does he say? Boba Fett actually has only four lines in the movie.

 

The Real Face Behind the Mask

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Boba Fett Behind the Scenes
Boba is part of the family! Jeremy Bulloch, who plays Boba Fett, is producer Robert Watts’s half-brother. Nice story from behind the scenes: When Bulloch went in for the role of Boba Fett and donned the costume, he figured that the Wookie scalp which adorned his shoulder was some sort of hairpiece and he tried to put it under his helmet.

 

I couldn’t believe this… He has two roles!

Crazy! He has Two Roles!

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Boba Fett Actor
Did you know this? After an extra fell sick, Jeremy Bulloch, who played Boba Fett, was called in as a replacement to the Imperial Guard who escorts Princess Leia and pulls her into the elevator after she screams “Luke! It’s a trap!”. He’s the same Imperial Guard who is captured by Lando Calrissian’s men.

 

Am I Your Father? The answer is right here…

Am I Your Father?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Luke Darth
Best Scene Ever? When Luke is finally ready to face Darth Vader, I’m nervous every time as if it’s the first time. This is simply one of my favorite movie scenes of all time.

 

The Quote is NOT “Luke, I Am Your Father”

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - I Am Your Father
Episode V contains one of the most misquoted lines of all time. Most people quote Darth Vader’s famous line as “Luke, I am your father.” However, the actual line is “No, I am your father.”

 

How was Luke’s reaction so genuine?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Luke No
Top Secret Answer! George Lucas was so determined that the ending be kept secret that he had David Prowse (Darth Vader) say “Obi-Wan killed your father”, and dubbed it later to be “No, I am your father”. In fact, only five people eventually knew about the ending before the film’s release: George Lucas (came up with the idea in his second draft, after the death of Leigh Brackett), director Irvin Kershner (informed of such during story conferences), writer Lawrence Kasdan (also informed during story and script conferences), Mark Hamill (informed shortly before the shooting of the infamous scene), and James Earl Jones (told during the recording sessions for the final dub, and who himself believed that Vader was lying). While interesting, it doesn’t explain Luke’s reaction, because Hamill knew. He’s just an excellent actor.

 

Internal Conflict?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - No I Am Your Father
Surprising and true: James Earl Jones himself, who is the voice behind the dark mask, believed that Darth Vader was lying about being Luke’s father until he read the script for the next film.

 

What does Darth Vader Mean?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Darth Vader
The Name Explained: Darth Vader’s name comes from the following: “Darth” is a variation of the word “Dark” and “Vader” is the Dutch word for “Father”. Shortly after release, Darth Vader’s name was changed to Lord Fener in Italy. This is because the word ‘vader’ in italian sounds like ‘toilet’.

Not afraid! While Darth Vader is often selected as one of the top villains of all time, he is not really scary. Even my 3 years old son loves him. He wears his black mask proudly. Why? There’s still good in him…!

 

Have you noticed the special hidden asteroids? The revealing photo comes next…

Have you noticed the special hidden asteroids?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Potato and Shoe
A Potato and a Shoe? Originally in the asteroid scene, one of the asteroids was 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. Later remaster visions has said to have corrected this.

Spot the Potato Instructions: 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.

 

Have you noticed the different accents?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Imperial Officers
The true meaning of the accents: Director Irvin Kershner decided that for this movie, members of the Rebel Alliance would speak with American accents, while the Imperial Officers would speak with British accents, to make the story analogous to the American Revolution.

It wasn’t easy… However, most of the supporting actors that appeared as Rebel personnel on Hoth were in-fact British actors. Consequently, Kershner had to re-dub several of the scenes taking place at the Hoth rebel base with American voices in post production.

 

Why George Lucas was not the Director?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - George Lucas
Surprising Background Story: George Lucas chose not to direct The Empire Strikes Back because of his other production roles, including overseeing his special effects company Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and handling of the financing. Lucas offered the role of director to Irvin Kershner, one of his former professors at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Previous work? Kershner was known for smaller-scale, character-driven films, but had more recently directed the intense true-life drama Raid on Entebbe (1977) and the 1978 thriller Eyes of Laura Mars.

 

The gamble that paid off… Never Tell Me The Odds!

Never Tell Me The Odds!

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Never Tell me the Odds
The Gamble and Generosity: 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 the original Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and a bank loan. Although the move was risky (Never Tell Me The Odds!), it paid off several times over. Lucas recovered his million investment within three months of the film’s release. He then showed gratitude far beyond the Hollywood norm, by sharing the profits with his employees (nearly $5 million in bonuses!).

 

So, How Big was it at the Box Office?

How Big at the Box Office?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Beautiful Behind the Scenes
How many millions of dollars? The film grossed $10,840,307 on its opening weekend in limited release. It earned $209,398,025 during its first 1980 run in the United States. When The Empire Strikes Back returned to cinemas in 1997, it grossed $21,975,993 on its first weekend of re-release. As of 2007, the film has grossed $290,475,750 domestically and $538,375,067 worldwide.

 

What’s next? The Amazing Story of Writing the Script and the Surprising Twist…

Writing the Script and the Surprising Twist

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Luke and Vader
The original screen writer died: George Lucas originally hired science fiction author Leigh Brackett to write Star Wars II with him. They held story conferences and, by late November 1977, Lucas had produced a handwritten treatment called The Empire Strikes Back. The treatment is similar to the final film, except that Darth Vader does not reveal he is Luke’s father. In the first draft that Brackett would write from this, Luke’s father appears as a ghost to instruct Luke. Brackett finished her first draft in early 1978; Lucas has said he was disappointed with it, but before he could discuss it with her, she died of cancer.

 

How Vader was Reborn as Luke’s Father

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Luke and Father
The Biggest Story Twist: With no writer available, Lucas had to write his next draft himself. It was this draft in which Lucas first made use of the “Episode” numbering for the films; Empire Strikes Back was listed as Episode II. The disappointment with the first draft probably made Lucas consider different directions in which to take the story. He made use of a new plot twist: Darth Vader claims to be Luke’s father. According to Lucas, he found this draft enjoyable to write, as opposed to the yearlong struggles writing the first film. This new story point of Darth Vader being Luke’s father had drastic effects on the series.

 

What’s next? Princess Leia Behind the Scenes…

Princess Leia Behind the Scenes of The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Princess Leia Behind the Scenes

No words are needed. Princess Leia, my first true love. I still have a special place for her in my heart. And these photos from behind the scenes show how beautiful Carrie Fisher was. And probably also in the inside, she looks so nice. She probably still is.

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Princess Leia and Luke

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Princess Leia and Soldiers

 

Is there another hope, a sister? More from the Princess…

Is there another hope, a sister?

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Princess Leia and Stormtroopers
The Missing Sister Story: Leigh Brackett’s first draft of the screenplay contained the revelation of Luke’s sister, her existence disclosed by the ghost of Anakin Skywalker. Referred to as “Nellith Skywalker”, Anakin explains that it was he, not Obi-Wan, who separated the twins at birth to protect them from Darth Vader, and that Nellith also underwent Jedi training in another part of the galaxy so she could join forces with Luke to defeat the Sith.

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Princess Leia and Chewee
Concept Replaced: This concept was dropped in the second draft of the screenplay, along with the appearance of Anakin Skywalker and replaced with a scene of Obi-Wan and Yoda discussing how they must find another Jedi apprentice in anticipation of Luke’s failure. This too changed in later drafts, resulting in the more ambiguous scene in the final version where Yoda assures Obi-Wan that “another” exists.

 

What’s Next? Behind the Scenes of the Special Effects

The Special Effects of The Empire Strikes Back – Behind the Scenes

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Behind the Scenes Effects ATAT
Have you seen this poster? A 1980 issue of the children’s magazine National Geographic World featured an extensive behind the scenes look at the making of the film, and it’s special effects. The issue included a popular pull out poster of a still photo image showing the Millenium Falcon being chased down by a Star Destroyer.

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Behind the Scenes Effects Blue Screen
Love the Special Effects! Here are some awesome photos from behind the scenes, showing just how real the special effects were. There’s no CGI and computers. I believe this is an important part of the magic sauce of this brilliant movie.

 

And I thought it was alive…!

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Behind the Scenes Effects Snow
Favorite Yoda Quote – just for fun: Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.

 

Some more Special Effects Explained

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Behind the Scenes Effects Lightsaber

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Behind the Scenes Effects Ship

 

What’s Next? The Ultimate Droids Behind the Scenes

The Ultimate Droids Behind the Scenes

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Behind the Scenes Droids C3PO Head
Favorite C-3PO Quote: Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1. Well, and here’s the second best: Oh. They’ve encased him in Carbonite. He should be quite well protected. If he survived the freezing process, that is.

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Behind the Scenes Droids C3PO Leia

 

R2-D2 is the Real Hero, Right?

R2-D2 is the Real Hero

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Behind the Scenes Droids R2D2
Trivia Fact about R2-D2: The incident where R2-D2 accidentally electrocutes himself by mistaking a power outlet for a computer terminal was taken from the novelization for Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.

 

Conversation between C-3PO and R2-D2

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Behind the Scenes Droids R2D2 Yoda
[while the Falcon is fleeing from Imperial fighters, and R2-D2 is stitching C-3PO back together]
C-3PO: Noisy brute. Why don’t we just go to lightspeed?
R2-D2: [beeps]
C-3PO: We can’t? How would you know the hyperdrive is deactivated?
R2-D2: [beeps]
C-3PO: The City’s central computer told you? R2-D2, you know better than to trust a strange computer.
[R2’s welding arm shocks his ankle]

C-3PO: Ouch! Pay attention to what you’re doing!

 

What are your favorite quotes?

Favorite Quotes with Photos from Behind the Scenes of The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Behind the Scenes Quotes Han Leia
Princess Leia: I love you.
Han Solo: I know.

 

The is No Try!

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Behind the Scenes Quotes Yoda Luke
Luke: All right, I’ll give it a try.
Yoda: No. Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.

 

Apology Accepted? Two More Quotes…

Apology Accepted!

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Behind the Scenes Quotes Vader Apology
[after choking Captain Needa to death]
Darth Vader: Apology accepted, Captain Needa.

 

That’s two you owe me junior

Star Wars Secrets - The Empire Strikes Back - Behind the Scenes Quotes Han Luke
Han Solo: How ya feeling kid? You don’t look so bad to me. You look strong enough to pull the ears off a gundark.
Luke: Thanks to you.
Han Solo: That’s two you owe me junior.

 

The Original Trailer of The Empire Strikes Back

OK, this is simply fantastic. While I still stand by my claim that The Empire Strikes Back is probably the best Star Wars movie, and one of my all time favorites, take 2 minutes to watch this… It’s the original trailer for Episode V from 1980. I’m not even sure I would have rushed to watch the movie having seen this. So funny! Click the red arrow to start the 2-minutes video.

Wow, right? Just wait and see what comes next…

scroll down for a crazy good video of rare deleted scenes…!

 

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – Deleted Scenes

OMG! Any true fan must watch these deleted scenes from The Empire Strikes Back. I can’t have enough of this video. I think I contributed quite a few of the million views. Lean back and enjoy… How many would you have added back to the movie?

All clips were edited to have sound effects or score to feel more like the final film. This clip includes the following deleted scenes:
Han and Leia (Extended Echo Base Argument) 0:00
– Deleted Wampa Scenes 1:39
– Luke’s Recovery 4:20
– Luke and Leia (Medical Center) 5:34
– The Fate of General Veers 7:46
– Yoda’s Test 8:15
– Hiding in the Asteroid 9:32
– Lobot’s Capture 10:36
– Leia Tends to Luke 11:29

 

Can you please share?

If you liked this post, I’m sure your friends would appreciate it as well. I worked hard on research, writing, images and editing and the truth is that I only earn from sponsors. If you’d like to say thanks, I would highly appreciate it if you could simply share on Facebook.

How simple is it to share? Just click on the blue share button here below (don’t worry, you will be able to see how it looks first):

Thank you!

 

More from Briff.me

Star Wars Secrets - A New Hope - Original Poster
This post about The Empire Strikes Back was written following the success of a post about the first movie, click here to read: Star Wars Secrets: Episode IV – A New Hope.

We also have this very nice article with some interesting stories… Don’t miss – Star Wars: Behind The Scenes.

Special Star Wars Gift Ideas

Star Wars Secrets - A New Hope - Gifts
If you’ve enjoyed these stories, don’t miss this post about Best Star Wars Gift Ideas: The ultimate guide for the die-hard Star Wars fan.

This original post about the secrets and facts of the second Star Wars movie The Empire Strikes Back was curated and edited with the help of IMDB. Here at Briff.me, knowing that our precious time together on Earth is waaay too short for a long feed, we bring you the best of the best, like this special briff about Star Wars Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back secrets and facts. If you want to get more posts like this, click like on the Briff.me Facebook page.

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