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the Star Wars Saga

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Darth Maul
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« Reply #60 on: July 22, 2007, 05:28:47 pm »



Directed by Irvin Kershner
Produced by Gary Kurtz
George Lucas
Written by Story:
George Lucas
Screenplay:
Leigh Brackett
Lawrence Kasdan
Starring Mark Hamill
Harrison Ford
Carrie Fisher
Billy Dee Williams
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Peter Suschitzky
Editing by Paul Hirsch
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) May 21, 1980 (USA)
Running time 124 min. (original)
127 min. (Special Edition)
Language English
Budget $18,000,000
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Darth Maul
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« Reply #61 on: July 22, 2007, 05:29:44 pm »

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is a 1980 science fantasy film developed by George Lucas, written by Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett, and directed by Irvin Kershner. It is the second film released in the Star Wars saga, and the fifth in terms of internal chronology.

The film is set three years after the destruction of the Death Star. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia are being pursued by Darth Vader and the elite forces of the Galactic Empire. While Han and Leia are chased across space by the Empire, Luke studies the Force under Jedi Master Yoda. Vader is secretly plotting a trap for Luke that will lead to a vicious confrontation and a shocking revelation.

Following a difficult production, The Empire Strikes Back was released on May 21, 1980, and received mixed reviews from critics. Despite this, it earned more than $538 million (US$) worldwide over the original run and several re-releases, making it the highest grossing film of 1980 and becoming the 43rd highest grossing film of all time, though it places even higher when adjusted for inflation. Its reputation has grown considerably, with many now considering it to be the best of the Star Wars films.

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« Reply #62 on: July 22, 2007, 05:30:46 pm »



Two Imperial AT-AT walkers during a battle on hoth
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Darth Maul
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« Reply #63 on: July 22, 2007, 07:01:31 pm »

Plot

The opening crawl reveals that the Galactic Empire has pursued the Rebel Alliance across the galaxy, forcing them to establish a secret base on the remote ice planet Hoth. The Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader sends robotic probes in search of the base and its commander, Luke Skywalker. While Luke is patrolling near the base, he is knocked unconscious by an indigenous predator, the Wampa. Back at the base, the smuggler-pilot Han Solo announces his intention to leave the Rebels and pay the debt he owes to the gangster Jabba the Hutt, much to the displeasure of Princess Leia. After Han discovers that Luke has not returned from patrol, he delays his departure and leaves the base to search for him. After escaping the creature's lair, Luke is overcome by the cold and views the apparition of his late mentor, Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, who instructs him to receive training by Jedi Master Yoda on the planet Dagobah. Han finds Luke, and provides him shelter until they are rescued the following morning. Before being discovered and destroyed, an Imperial Probe Droid transmits the location of the base to the Imperial fleet. Darth Vader orders an attack while the Rebels set up infantry trenches and an energy shield to protect them from the Empire's orbital bombardment.

The Imperial forces land their ground assault walkers beyond the energy shield and Luke leads his squadron of flying speeders into battle. However, the Imperial forces eventually overpower the Rebels and destroy the generator powering the energy shield, capturing the Rebel base. Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and their droid C-3PO flee on board the Millennium Falcon. However, the Falcon hyperdrive is damaged and it cannot escape the Imperial blockade in space. During the confusion, they enter an asteroid field; Han Solo pilots the Millennium Falcon deeper into the field, eventually landing inside an asteroid crater. Meanwhile, Luke and his astro droid R2-D2 escape Hoth in Luke's X-wing fighter. After a crash landing on Dagobah, Luke meets a wizened, green little creature who reveals himself to be Yoda. Meanwhile, inside the asteroid cave, Han Solo and Princess Leia argue while repairing the ship, eventually leading to a tender kiss. However, they are forced to escape what they thought was a "cave," which is actually the esophagus of a gigantic space slug. Han evades pursuit cleverly and stealthily. He sets course for Cloud City, a mining colony run by Han's friend, Lando Calrissian. On Dagobah, Luke undergoes Yoda's rigorous lessons about the metaphysical nature of the Force. Luke has a vision of Han and Leia in danger and agony. Luke wants to rescue them, but Yoda and the ghost of Obi-Wan warn of the dangers of rashly leaving, because Luke is still susceptible to the powerful temptation of the Dark Side. Nevertheless, Luke departs from Dagobah and promises Yoda he will return to complete his training. Upon arrival at Cloud City, Han's party is welcomed by Lando Calrissian. After agreeing to help Han repair his ship, Lando invites him and the others to a meal. When they enter the dining room, they are captured by Darth Vader. Lando insists he was forced to conspire with the Empire to prevent them from invading and occupying the city.

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« Reply #64 on: July 22, 2007, 07:02:07 pm »

In captivity, Han is tortured to lure Luke to the city. Vader orders a carbon-freezing chamber prepared to freeze Luke, which will hold him in suspended animation for transport to the Emperor. The process is tested on Han Solo. As Han is lowered into the machine, Leia declares her love for him. He is frozen in carbonite and handed over to bounty hunter Boba Fett, who intends to return his quarry to Jabba the Hutt for a large reward. Meanwhile, Luke lands at Cloud City and is mis-directed into the carbon-freezing chamber. Luke meets Vader and engages him in combat. While escorting their prisoners, Vader's Imperial troopers are captured by Lando's private security force, who set Lando and the others free. Lando, despite nearly being killed by a furious Chewbacca, insists that there is still a chance to save Han, and along the way they find R2-D2. The group pursues Boba Fett and Han's frozen form through Cloud City, but arrive just as the bounty hunter's ship flies away. After a desperate chase, Leia, Chewbacca, Lando, and the two droids make their escape on the Millennium Falcon. Meanwhile, Vader and Luke's fierce lightsaber duel brings them to a narrow platform above the city's central air shaft. After gaining the advantage, Vader cuts off Luke's dueling hand along with his lightsaber. With Luke cornered and defenseless, Vader informs Luke that he does not yet know the truth about his father. Luke claims that Vader killed him. Vader answers:

“ No, I am your father. ”

Luke screams in denial. Vader tries to persuade Luke to join him, embrace the Dark Side of the Force, and overthrow the Emperor with him. Luke refuses, lets go, and falls off the platform into the abyss, signifying that he would rather die than join him. In freefall, Luke is sucked into an air vent, shoots out of the underbelly of the floating city, and lands on an antenna hanging beneath. In the Millennium Falcon, Leia senses Luke's distress through the Force and orders Lando to pilot them back to Cloud City. After saving Luke and leaving the planet, they are pursued by Darth Vader's flagship. R2-D2, who discovered that the hyperdrive was merely de-activated while searching the city's central computer, reactivates it and the Falcon escapes into hyperspace. Aboard a Rebel medical frigate, Luke is fitted with an artificial hand as Lando and Chewbacca set out in the Falcon to locate Han Solo.

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« Reply #65 on: July 22, 2007, 07:03:01 pm »



 
Luke Skywalker duels with Darth Vader
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« Reply #66 on: July 22, 2007, 07:03:54 pm »

Production

George Lucas' 1977 film Star Wars exceeded all expectations — in terms of profit, its revolutionary impact on the movie industry, and its unexpected resonance as a cultural phenomenon.[1] Lucas saw a chance to become independent from the Hollywood film industry by financing The Empire Strikes Back himself through loans and the previous film's earnings, going against the principles of many Hollywood producers.[1] Now fully in command of his Star Wars enterprise, Lucas chose not to direct The Empire Strikes Back because of his other production roles, including oversight of 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 Cinema-Television.[2] Kershner initially refused, citing that a sequel would never meet the quality or originality of the first Star Wars. Kershner later called his agent, who immediately demanded that he take the job.[1] In addition, Lucas hired Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett to write the screenplay based on his original story.[1][3] Brackett completed her draft in February 1978 before dying of cancer, and Lucas wrote the second before hiring Kasdan, who impressed him with his draft for Raiders of the Lost Ark.[4]

After the release of Star Wars, ILM grew from being just a struggling company and moved to Marin County, California.[1] The Empire Strikes Back provided the company with new challenges. Star Wars mostly featured space sequences, but The Empire Strikes Back featured not only space dog-fights, but also an ice planet battle sequence and elements of cities that floated among the clouds. For the battle scenes on the ice planet of Hoth, the initial intent was to use bluescreen to composite the Imperial walkers into still-shots from the original set. Instead, an artist was hired to paint landscapes, resulting in the Imperial walkers being shot using stop-motion animation in front of the landscape paintings.[1] In designing the Jedi Master Yoda, Stuart Freeborn used his own face as a model and added the wrinkles of Albert Einstein for the appearance of intelligence.[5] Sets for Dagobah were built five feet above the stage floor, allowing puppeteers to crawl underneath and hold up the Yoda puppet. The setup presented Frank Oz, who portrayed Yoda, with communication problems as he was underneath the stage and was unable to hear the crew and Mark Hamill above.[6] Hamill later expressed his dismay for being the only human character on set for months; he felt like a trivial element on a set of animals, machines and moving props. Kershner commended Hamill for his performance with the puppet.[1][7]

Filming began in Norway on March 5, 1979. Like the filming of A New Hope, where the production in Tunisia coincided with the area's first major rainstorm in fifty years, the weather was against the film crew. While filming The Empire Strikes Back on Norway's Hardangerjøkulen glacier, they encountered the worst winter storm in fifty years. Temperatures dropped to twenty degrees below zero Fahrenheit (-28°C), and eighteen feet (5.5m) of snow fell.[1] On one occasion, the crew were unable to exit their hotel. They achieved a shot involving Luke's exit of the Wampa cave by opening the hotel's doors and filming Mark Hamill running out into the snow while the crew remained warm inside.[1] Despite reports, the scene in which Luke gets knocked out by the Wampa was not added specifically to explain the change to Mark Hamill's face after a motor accident that occurred between filming of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Lucas admitted that the scene "helped" the situation, though he felt that Luke's time fighting in the rebellion was sufficient explanation.[7] The production then moved to Elstree Studios in London on March 13,[4] where over sixty sets were built, more than double the number used in the previous film.[1] A fire on Stage 3 caused the budget to spiral from $18.5 million to $22 million, and by July the budget spiralled $3 million more. Filming finished by mid-September
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« Reply #67 on: July 22, 2007, 07:04:47 pm »



An early sketch of the Empire's AT-AT walker
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« Reply #68 on: July 22, 2007, 07:05:20 pm »

One memorable exchange of dialogue was partially ad-libbed. Originally, Lucas wrote a scene in which Princess Leia professed her love to Han Solo, with Han replying "I love you too." Harrison Ford felt the characterisation was not being used effectively, and Kershner agreed. After several takes, Kershner told Ford to improvise on the spot. Consequently, Ford changed Solo's line to "I know."[1][8]

During production, great secrecy surrounded the fact that Darth Vader was Luke's father. Like the rest of the crew, David Prowse, who spoke all of Vader's lines during filming, was given a false page that contained dialogue which the revelatory line being "Obi-Wan killed your father."[9][10] Until the film premiered, only George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Mark Hamill and James Earl Jones knew what would really be said. Jones later reported that his initial reaction to the line was, "Oh, he's lying!"[1] The film includes a brief image of Vader with his mask off, facing away from the camera. For the original viewers of the film, this scene made it clear that Vader is not a robot, but instead organic — and possibly human. This fact becomes significant later, when Vader reveals himself to be Luke's father, which may have been confusing without the earlier scene.[7]

To preserve the dramatic opening sequences of his films, Lucas wanted the screen credits to come at the end of the movies. Though more common now, this was a highly unusual choice at the time. The Writers Guild and the Directors Guild (DGA) had allowed it for the first Star Wars, but when Lucas did the same thing for the sequel, they fined him over $250,000 and attempted to prevent the film from reaching theaters. The DGA also went after Irvin Kershner. To protect his director, Lucas paid all the fines to the guilds. The resulting feelings of frustration and persecution caused him to drop out of the Directors Guild, Writers Guild and the Motion Picture Association.[1]

The Empire Strikes Back finished production with a budget of $35,000,000,[11] making it one of the most expensive movies of its day. After the bank threatened to pull his loan, Lucas was forced to approach 20th Century Fox. Lucas made a deal with the studio to secure the loan in exchange for paying the studio more money, but without the loss of his sequel and merchandising rights
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« Reply #69 on: July 22, 2007, 07:06:34 pm »

Releases

The film premiered on May 21, 1980 as simply The Empire Strikes Back. Like A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back was rated PG by the MPAA for "sci-fi/action violence."[12] This 1980 version was released on VHS and LaserDisc several times during the 1980s and 1990s.


Special Edition

As part of Star Wars' 20th anniversary celebration in 1997, The Empire Strikes Back was digitally remastered and re-released with A New Hope and Return of the Jedi under the campaign title The Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition. Lucas took this opportunity to make several minor changes to the film. These included explicitly showing the Wampa creature on Hoth in full form, creating more details for the Falcon's approach to Cloud City, digitally inserting windows with vistas of Bespin into the original white interior walls of Cloud City, and replacing certain lines of dialogue. A small scene was also added depicting Vader's return to his flagship after his duel with Luke, a scene which used a deleted scene from Return of the Jedi. Most of the changes were small and aesthetic; however, some fans believe that they detract from the film
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« Reply #70 on: July 22, 2007, 07:07:38 pm »



From left: Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher)
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« Reply #71 on: July 22, 2007, 07:08:59 pm »

DVD release

The Empire Strikes Back was released on DVD in September 2004. It was bundled in a box set with A New Hope, Return of the Jedi, and a bonus disk. The films were digitally restored and remastered, with more changes made by George Lucas.[13] The bonus features include a commentary by George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher, as well as an extensive documentary called Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy. Also included are featurettes, teasers, trailers, TV spots, still galleries, video game demos, and a preview of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

For the DVD release, Lucas and his team made changes that were mostly implemented to ensure continuity between The Empire Strikes Back and the recently released prequel trilogy films. With this release, Lucas also supervised the creation of a high-definition digital print of The Empire Strikes Back and the other films of the original trilogy. It was reissued in December 2005 as part of a three-disc "limited edition" boxed set that did not feature the bonus disc.[14]

The film was reissued again on a separate two-disc Limited Edition DVD in September 12, 2006 to December 31, 2006, this time with the original, unaltered versions of the film as bonus material. There was controversy surrounding this release, because the DVDs featured non-anamorphic versions of the original films based on Laserdisc releases from 1993 (as opposed to newly-remastered, film-based high definition transfers). Since non-anamorphic transfers fail to make full use of the resolution available on widescreen sets, many fans were disappointed with this choice.
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« Reply #72 on: July 22, 2007, 07:10:02 pm »

Reaction

Although many now consider it the best film in the series,[16][17] The Empire Strikes Back initially received mixed reviews.[7] Financially, the film surpassed industry expectations; within three months of the film's release, Lucas had recovered his budget—a $30 million investment.[1] Opening weekend in the United States generated $10,840,307. When it was re-released in 1997, its opening weekend in the USA made $21,975,993. In the USA, as of 2007, the gross revenue is $290,475,751 and worldwide gross revenue is $538,375,067.[18]

Some critics had problems with the story but admitted the film was a technical achievement. For instance, Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote a largely negative review.[19] Judith Martin, of the Washington Post, complained of the film's "middle-of-the-story" plot, which featured no particular beginning or end,[20] a concept that Lucas actually intended.[7] However, Bob Stephens of The San Francisco Examiner later described the film as "the greatest episode of the Star Wars Trilogy."[21] Empire is now considered the most morally and emotionally complex of the Star Wars trilogy.[22] Roger Ebert, in his 1997 review, called the film the strongest and "the most thought-provoking" of the original trilogy.[23] On Rotten Tomatoes, The Empire Strikes Back has a 98% fresh rating, the highest Star Wars rated film episode on the site.[22] Darth Vader was ranked as the third greatest film villain of all time on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 greatest heroes and villains, for his role in this film.[24] The film's most famous line "No, I am your father" is often misquoted as "Luke, I am your father" (see List of famous misquotations). Many Star Wars purists are quick to point out the error.[25]

At the 1981 Academy Awards, The Empire Strikes Back won for Best Sound, given to Bill Varney, Steve Maslow, Greg Landaker, and Peter Sutton; in addition the film received the Academy Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects that went to Brian Johnson, Richard Edlund, Dennis Muren, and Bruce Nicholson. It was also nominated for Best Music, Original Score, to John Williams, and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, to Norman Reynolds, Leslie Dilley, Harry Lange, Alan Tomkins, and Michael Ford.[26] It won the BAFTA Film Award for "Best Original Film Music" by John Williams, as well as being nominated for "Best Sound" and "Best Production Design." Williams' score also received the Grammy Award and the Golden Globe.[26] The Empire Strikes Back received four Saturn Awards, including Mark Hamill for "Best Actor," Irvin Kershner for "Best Director," "Best Special Effects" to Brian Johnson and Richard Edlund, and it was awarded "Best Science Fiction Film." The film was awarded with the Golden Screen Award as well as the Hugo Award for "Best Dramatic Presentation." It was nominated for the WGA Award (Screen) for "Best Comedy Adapted from Another Medium."[27]

For many, The Empire Strikes Back has become the prime example of a superior sequel. Director Bryan Singer and producer Tom DeSanto emulated the film for X2, the sequel to X-Men, in that the characters are "all split apart, and then dissected, and revelations that occur that are significant... the romance comes to fruition and a lot of things happen."
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« Reply #73 on: July 22, 2007, 07:11:14 pm »

Cinematic and literary allusions

Like its predecessor, The Empire Strikes Back draws from several mythological stories and world religions. It also includes elements of 1930s film serials such as Flash Gordon, a childhood favorite of Lucas', that also featured a city in the sky.[32][33] J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings again influenced the film series. The novel features Gollum, a small creature with a peculiar style of speech, similar to the Jedi Master Yoda. In The Lord of the Rings, Galadriel predicts the future, forcing Samwise Gamgee to decide whether to help his friends. However, Galadriel warns that Sam has only seen one possible future. Luke is confronted with the same conundrum when, under the training of Yoda, he predicts the fates of his friends. Yoda, like Galadriel, warns Luke that he is only seeing one possible future. In the novel, Saruman attempts to lure Gandalf to assist him and Sauron, thereby bringing order to Middle-earth. In the film, Darth Vader attempts to turn Luke to the dark side of the force to bring order to the galaxy. Near the end of the novel, Gollum bites Frodo's finger off, which then falls into the abyss of Mount Doom. Near the end of the film, Vader cuts off Luke's hand which then plunges into the abyss of Cloud City.
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« Reply #74 on: July 22, 2007, 07:11:49 pm »

Frank Herbert's science fiction novel Dune also influenced the film. Liet-Kynes has a ghost-like vision of Pardot Kynes while dying from the desert heat. Luke has a similar experience with Obi-Wan Kenobi appearing while he is dying from the blizzard's cold. Later, the Millennium Falcon barely escapes the mouth of a giant space slug before it falls back into an asteroid. A similar event takes place in Dune, when the Duke's ornithopter barely escapes the mouth of a giant sandworm before it falls back into the dunes. Finally, the clearest allusion to the novel is the revelation of villain, Darth Vader, as Luke's father, being very similar to the villain, the Baron, as Paul Atreides grandfather.
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