Thirty years ago to the day, a sequel was released to a film that people would later consider a game-changer. Not only did it launch one man’s career (or several), it created a cult around it that has united science fiction fans, movie fans, and people trying to growl like a giant, hairy alien from Kashyyyk.
Somehow, that sequel outshone the original, and to this day it remains a fan favorite even amongst the die hards.
The Empire Strikes Back has an amazing amount of things to love about it. It’s a solid continuation of the characters we fell in love with from A New Hope, it sees Luke carry through with his training, there’s a blossoming love between the beautiful princess and the roguish smuggler, and then there’s Lando.
Plus, it has one of the most famous plot twists of all time. One that has been parodied, mimicked and discussed earnestly to the nth degree.
I hadn’t been born, so I wasn’t in line to see it like Harry was, but the movies still have a personal connection for me because my brother Daryl loved them more than anything in the world.
His bookshelves were littered with the novelizations, and every time a new edition came out of the Trilogy, he owned it almost immediately. There were the collectibles, the Yoda that came to life and talked you through your own training, and endless quoting and poorly done impressions that were none less endearing even when they got a little annoying.
Daryl was the biggest Star Wars fan that I knew personally, and, unfortunately, he didn’t live long enough to see The Phantom Menace, but I remember my mother being more than okay with me skipping school that day to get up way too early and find a spot in line for it.
I am not the world’s biggest fan of Empire Strikes Back, but I remember watching it dozens of time with the man who was, and for me, his memory is always going to be wrapped up in those films.
So on this auspicious day of memories and nerdy discussion, I ask humbly:
What was your favorite thing about Empire Strikes Back?
Mine is something I inherited from my brother – a love for a ridiculous, green, crotchety old alien that speaks in a funny voice and happens to be the most powerful Jedi in the universe. He also happens not to have a keen understanding of English grammar, and he sounds suspiciously like Frank Oz, but he’s such an insanely cool character, and, in my mind, the entire heart of those films. Whenever I see Yoda, I’ll always think of my brother.
What’s yours? Don’t be shy.