The Skywalker Saga: The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back is the second original Star Wars movie, released in 1980 to great success.

The sequel follows on from A New Hope, with Luke and the gang still avoiding the Empire and meeting old alliances.

Similar to A New Hope, we get shots of the Star Destroyer heading towards the camera, again to show off how massive these ships are compared to a regular person.

The action starts straight away as we’re taken to the planet Hoff where the rebellion is fighting the Empire’s forces. We don’t get reintroduced to the original characters but there is little change in their personalities that it doesn’t really matter.

Han and Leia are still the exact same, perhaps more lovey-dovey with one another, but there’s still this fighting attitude they share. Some scenes later in the movie really show how strong of a couple the pair were, and again, prove that this is a real love compared to Padme and Anakin.

Watching some behind the scenes footage provides additional laughs, even if the audience is given context clues by Solo about whatever it is Chewbacca is saying. Behind the scenes show the actor’s regular voice and what the lines actually are.

If Chewbacca were to say what he does in that footage, it would really boost the humour.

Speaking of which, the movie is toned down a little more in the comedy department. You still have witty characters like Han who give out a quip every so often, and you still have the comedic duo, R2-D2 and C-3PO.

You also have additional characters like Master Yoda, who walks a fine line between serious and comedic scenes.

The movie features a much more mature theme, rather choosing to focus on the characters and not the story. Where A New Hope was based solely around destroying the Death Star, this is purely based around Luke and his story.

Sure, you can argue we get enough of Luke’s story in the first movie; and that’s true. But here, it adds more to existing characteristics and gives the character more depth.

The story itself improves on the first, new characters feel flushed out and given enough screentime to make us like them. Boba Fett, though only appearing in the movie for six minutes, rose to stardom and became a fan favourite.

Other characters like Lando Calrissian, who didn’t peak nearly as much as Boba, still regularly appear in the new Star Wars media; it really goes to show how loved these characters are.

Planets like Hoff which don’t have much to look at still feel like every little detail has been looked over, compared to the Windows desktop screen we see in The Phantom Menace, Hoff still has interesting things to look at and isn’t just a flat piece of ground.

Dagobah is another planet well-known in the Star Wars fandom, it’s the home of Master Yoda and serves as one of the most breathtaking backgrounds to date.

Even though it’s not pretty to look at, all dark greens and browns, there’s something about the detail that brings it to life that just makes the whole set feel like eye-candy.

Darth Vader and the Emperor are back and worse than ever, this movie further improves on showing how ruthless Vader can be, even going so far as to freeze Han Solo in carbonite as a test subject.

The themes pretty much stay the same, but I’m not at all complaining, we get some great orchestral lifts during Luke’s time in Dagobah and towards the ending.

Compared to A New Hope where my favourite scene was Luke looking at the two suns of Tatooine, in the Empire Strikes Back it has to be the ending.

The good guys won, but at what cost? Vader is still out there; Han has been taken by Boba Fett and the rebels feel like they’ve accomplished nothing.

Though the movie ends with cheerful music and the cast stood in front of the stars, they didn’t actually win. The only good thing to happen is that Luke was alive after his furious battle with Vader and now Luke and Leia know they’re related, which makes the kissing scene in the previous movie super weird.

And that’s really my one complaint of the movie, the weird attraction of Luke and Leia.

Throughout the first movie and more so emphasised in this one, Luke and Leia seem to constantly flirt.

And you could argue that they don’t know they’re related, but you know who did know?

The writers, the director, the producers, the actors.

And yet they still thought it would be a good plot point to have in their movie, even Luke and Han get into this weird love-triangle, constantly trying to one-up the other for Leia’s attention.

Then once the movie is over, there’s no discussion about any of the flirting or just simple proof that Luke’s not lying. Maybe it’s in the comics, but the movies? They stay silent, probably because Disney doesn’t want a weird sibling romance on their hands and just hopes most people have forgotten about it.

But not me Disney, not me.

This movie is mostly famous for its huge plot twist that surely left audiences gasping for breath during the original release of the film. I feel as though it’s lost its effect over the years, what with people constantly referring to the classic line “Luke, I am your father.” being used constantly in pop culture.

But nevertheless, the scene still stands as one of cinema’s biggest plot twists in history. Poor Mark Hamill had to keep this a secret before the days of the MCU.

The Empire Strikes Back is a great movie and an amazing sequel to what I believe is the best Star Wars movie, aka my favourite.

This movie shows that with a good creative team, a great director who knows the property and convincing actors, sequels can be good if not better than the original; I mean, look at Shrek 2.

The Empire Strikes Back gets 4 out of 5 jumping Yoda's from me.

The Empire Strikes Back is streaming on Disney +.

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