Coming off of Star Wars (A New Hope) the most successful movie of all time, the next film had to at the very least be as good as the first. The pressure was on and it was high. What happened next would become the heartbeat for all Star Wars films. The Empire Strikes Back released in 1980 and quickly became not only THE fan favorite of the franchise, but it became the sequel movie that set the bar for all sequel movies in all different categories.
The plot of The Empire Strikes Back is a simple one. The Empire is bent of destroying the rebellion. So simple as I said. Imperial Walkers, a city in the clouds, a swamp planet all pushed “Empire” to the forefront of Star Wars movies.
The film opens on an ice planet with a battle that sets the tone for the darkness to come. Luke Skywalker now feels he must learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi. Enter Yoda, a small Jedi Master who trains Luke. During his training Luke ventures into a cave and fights Darth Vader, upon slicing Vader’s head off the mask sort of explodes to reveal Luke’s face in the helmet.
Later in the film we learn Darth Vader is Luke’s father. I still remember seeing “Empire” in the theater for the first time and the ooh’s from the entire theater when Vader tells Luke the truth.
The Empire Strikes Back offers a collection of Bounty Hunters as means to find the Millennium Falcon in order to capture Han Solo, Princess Leia, C-3PO and R2-D2 and end the rebellion. This is where we meet Boba Fett, who would go on to have a very impactful presence in future Star Wars projects.
“Empire” pushed Star Wars and became the backbone of the franchise. In fact every Star Wars movie since is compared mostly unfairly to The Empire Strikes Back. Yet, so are other movie franchises second movies.
Tomorrow will conclude our look at the Original Trilogy when we dive into Return of the Jedi. See you then!