Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Editor’s Note: This article was part of our April Fools 2010 project, in which our site was transported back to April 1, 1980. To see all of the retro articles written for this event, please visit our April Fools 2010 Homepage.

Even though his latest brainchild, The Empire Strikes Back, won’t be in theaters for another month, George Lucas is talking about more movies in the franchise. After the success of Star Wars three years ago, Lucas will once again take us back to “A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away.” And while the success of this second film is not yet known — it is in theaters on May 21 — he is saying that he’d like to build a ranch in Northern California. And he’d like to make seven more Star Wars movies after Empire!

In an interview in this month’s Rolling Stone magazine, Lucas tells Jean Valley that he’s got “seven left.” He also mentions that he has “twelve-page outlines” for the next seven films, but that the actors in the movie, including young talents Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford, are not all under contract. “It doesn’t matter,” says Lucas. “I am not going to force anyone to make a movie.” This leads this writer to believe that the actors within the Star Wars galaxy could change over time.

But with these movies causing such an uproar with fans (Star Wars grossed $35 million in its opening weekend alone!), who would want to step away from a franchise like this? It’s a wonder why George Lucas let Irvin Kershner direct The Empire Strikes Back. But as Lucas explains, it’s still his story. “I provided the story and technical advice, like, does a robot do this or that?” Lucas said. “They shipped me the dailies and I looked at them. There were some problems. They were a little over budget, over schedule. That concerned me, because I only had so much money and I was afraid if they used it all up, we wouldn’t be able to finish the movie. But I knew they were trying to the best job they could, and I thought the stuff looked terrific. It’s truly Kershner’s movie.”

We will all know soon enough whether Kershner — an experienced director in his own right — can deliver an experience that is as remotely out of this world as the first Star Wars.

Speaking of The Empire Strikes Back. One of our intrepid readers caught a special episode of “Sneak Previews” with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert this past week, in which the two Chicago-based film critics show off part of the trailer for The Empire Strikes Back before talking about some of the best outer space movies of the past. This reader, who asked us to call him Boba Buddy, captured the first ten minutes of the show on his VHS camcorder and used some fancy technology to upload it to the web. Here it is, for your viewing pleasure.

Today’s question is, dear readers, will The Empire Strikes Back top Star Wars on the radness scale?

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