"The Empire Strikes Back"
Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back
Title: "The Empire Strikes Back"
Directed by: Irvin Kershner
Written by: Leigh Brackett; Lawrence Kasdan; George Lucas
Produced by: George Lucas; Gary Kurtz; James Bloom; Robert Watts; Rick McCallum [1]
Music by: John Williams & the London Symphony Orchestra
Cinematography: Peter Suschitzky
Edited by: Paul Hirsch; George Lucas; Marcia Lucas [2]; T.M. Christopher [1]
Distributed by: Lucasfilm Ltd.; Twentieth Century-Fox Productions
Released: May 21st, 1980
Rating: PG
Running time: Original release: 124 min. (2 hr. 19 min.)
Special Edition: 127 min. (2 hr. 22 min.)
Country: USA
Language: English
Budget: $18,000,000 (estimated) [3]
Gross: $538,375,067 (Lifetime) [4]
Previous: A New Hope
Next: Return of the Jedi

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is an American science fiction/fantasy film directed by Irvin Kershner. It was released theatrically in the United States on May 21st, 1980. It is the second film in the original Star Wars trilogy following the 1977 smash hit Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (which at the time was simply known as just Star Wars). In terms of chronology, it is the fifth film in the "Star Wars Saga" and is followed by the 1983 movie Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. The official novelization of the film was written by Donald F. Glut and released by Ballantine Books on April 12th, 1980. The film was also adapted in issues 39-45 of the original Star Wars comic book series by Marvel Comics and in Manga style in 1999 in the four-issue Star Wars Manga: The Empire Strikes Back limited series. The official soundtrack was released by RSO Records in 1980 and featured original music from the film composed by John Williams and conducted by the London Symphony Orchestra. The film is also noteworthy for introducing many new characters, many of whom become staples of the franchise such as Boba Fett, an armored bounty hunter who is on the hunt for Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, the suave administrator of Cloud City who also shares a tumultuous history with Solo. Yoda, a wise Jedi master show instructs Luke in the ways of the Force and most importantly, the Emperor, a character who was referenced in the previous film, but makes his first official introduction to the series with Empire. (See New characters for more details)

The Empire Strikes Back takes place three years after the first Star Wars and reunites heroes Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca the Wookiee and the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO as they continue their ongoing struggle against the forces of Darth Vader and the evil Galactic Empire. Personal relationships are explored and shocking revelations are introduced as the heroes journey to several new worlds including the frozen plains of Hoth, the swampy marshes of Dagobah and Bespin's serene City in the clouds.

Cast Edit

Actor Role
Mark Hamill Luke Skywalker
Harrison Ford Han Solo
Carrie Fisher Princess Leia
Billy Dee Williams Lando Calrissian
Anthony Daniels C-3PO
David Prowse Darth Vader
Peter Mayhew Chewbacca
Kenny Baker R2-D2
Frank Oz Yoda (voice)
Alec Guinness Obi-Wan Kenobi
Jeremy Bulloch Boba Fett
John Hollis Lando's aide
Jack Purvis Chief Ugnaught
Des Webb Snow Creature
Kathryn Mullen Yoda (assistant)
Clive Revill Emperor (voice)
Kenneth Colley Admiral Piett
Julian Glover General Veers
Michael Sheard Admiral Ozzel
Michael Culver Captain Needa
John Dix Imperial officer
Milton Johns Imperial officer
Mark Jones Imperial officer
Oliver Maguire Imperial officer
Bruce Boa General Rieekan
Christopher Malcolm Zev (Rogue 2)
Dennis Lawson Wedge (Rogue 3)
Richard Oldfield Hobbie (Rogue 4)
John Morton Dak (Luke's Gunner)
Ian Listen Janson (Wedge's Gunner)
John Ratzenberger Major Derlin
Jack McKenzie Deck Lieutenant
Jerry Harte Head Controller
Norman Chancer Other Rebel officer
Norwich Duff Other Rebel officer
Ray Hassett Other Rebel officer
Brigitte Kahn Other Rebel officer
Burnell Tucker Other Rebel officer
Bob Anderson Darth Vader (stunt double)
Lightning Bear Stormtrooper
Richard Bonehill Stormtrooper; Snowtrooper; Rebel soldier; Tauntaun handler
Stephen Buchanan Holographic officer
Morris Bush Dengar
Mark Capri Office M'kae
Martin D. Dew Cloud City guard
Peter Diamond Snowtrooper gunner
Tom Egeland Hoth trooper
Stuart Fell Snowtrooper
Michael A. Frandy Imperial shuttle mechanic
Alan Harris Bossk / Bespin Security guard
Susie Hudson Bespin woman
James Earl Jones Darth Vader (voice)
Arve Juritzen Rebel soldier
Ralph McQuarrie General McQuarrie
Ralph Morse Stormtrooper / Imperial Comms officer; Rebel soldier
Cathy Munro Zuckuss / E-3PO
C. Andrew Nelson Darth Vader [1]
Chris Parsons 4-LOM / K-3PO / Stormtrooper
Doug Robinson Snowtrooper
Robin Scobey Imperial officer
Tony Smart Snowtrooper
Harold Weed Wampa [1]
Treat Williams Echo Base trooper
Jason Wingreen Boba Fett (voice)

Plot Edit

Box Office Edit

Production Edit

Pre-production on Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back began on February 23rd, 1978. Principal photography on the film began on March 5th, 1979 and concluded on September 24th. Post-production on the film concluded on May 16th, 1980.

New characters Edit

The Empire Strikes Back introduced many new characters, locations and creatures to the Star Wars universe, several of whom have become staples of the franchise as a whole.

Major characters Edit

  • Yoda: Yoda is one of the most important and most popular characters introduced in the Star Wars mythos. The last of the Jedi Masters, this enigmatic diminutive creature resides on the swampy world of Dagobah. He is tasked with continuing Luke Skywalker's Jedi training - a chore he takes on with great reluctance. Yoda makes a brief appearance in Return of the Jedi, but is featured more prominently in the three prequel films. Yoda, as he is presented in The Empire Strikes Back is a puppet voiced by Frank Oz.
  • Lando Calrissian: Lando Calrissian is a suave gambler and scoundrel who had the great fortune of conning his way into becoming the administrator of Cloud City. An old rival of Han Solo, Lando once owned the Millennium Falcon, a fact that Lando is quick to remind Solo about at every given opportunity. Lando is a noteworthy character for he is the first named African American character featured in the series. Played by Billy Dee Williams, he also appeared in Return of the Jedi.
  • The Emperor - The mysterious hooded leader of the evil Galactic Empire, the Emperor was previously referenced in A New Hope, but makes his first appearance in The Empire Strikes Back. He appears only as a hologram in this film, but makes his first official appearance in Return of the Jedi. The Emperor, later revealed to be a man named Palpatine is a key figure in the prequel trilogy. The Emperor was originally played by Elaine Baker, wife of makeup artist Rick Baker and voiced by Clive Revill in the theatrical release and early home video releases. Baker and Revill were replaced with Ian McDiarmid for the Special Edition releases. McDiarmid plays the Emperor in Return of the Jedi and the prequel films.
  • Boba Fett: Boba Fett is a character who was first introduced in an animated vignette from the 1978 television movie The Star Wars Holiday Special. Canonically, he makes his introduction in this film as one of several bounty hunters hired by Darth Vader to track down and capture Han Solo. Fett is played by actor Jeremy Bulloch and voiced by Jason Wingreen. He also appears in Return of the Jedi and a younger verson of Boba Fett is featured in the prequel movie Attack of the Clones where he is played by Daniel Logan.

Minor characters Edit

  • Lobot: Lobot is the silent, bald assistant to Lando Calrissian and resides on the planet Bespin. Played by actor John Hollis, he is credited in the film only as Lando's aide.
  • Firmus Piett - Firmus Piett is a dedicated officer in the Galactic military who quickly finds himself promoted from Captain to the rank of Admiral by Lord Vader following an unforgivable mishap made by his superior Admiral Ozzel. He is played by Kenneth Colley and also appears in Return of the Jedi.
  • Carlist Rieekan - Carlist Rieekan is a General in the Rebel Alliance and the leader of the Rebel outpost Echo Base on Hoth. He is responsible for ordering the evacuation from the planet following the Battle of Hoth. Played by Bruce Boa, this is General Rieeken's only appearance in the films.
  • Bossk: Bossk is a Trandoshan bounty hunter and the first such character seen in the film. He was one of several hunters hired by Darth Vader to track down and capture Han Solo. Bossk makes a brief cameo appearance in Jabba's Palace in Return of the Jedi. He is played by actor Alan Harris.
  • Dengar: Dengar is one of several bounty hunters hired by Darth Vader to track down and capture Han Solo. Aside from Boba Fett, Dengar is the only other human in the group and is distinguished by the bandages wrapped around his head. Along with Bossk, Dengar makes a brief cameo appearance in Jabba's Palace in Return of the Jedi. He is played by actor Morris Bush.
  • Ugloste: Ugloste is the proper name of an Ugnaught seen in Cloud City. Credited as Chief Ugnaught in the film, Ugloste is played by Jack Purvis and was tasked with the unrewarding job of sifting through the remains of the destroyed protocol droid C-3PO.
  • IG-88: IG-88 is an assassin droid one of several bounty hunters hired by Darth Vader to track down and capture Han Solo. This is the only film in which the character appears, but his background has been expanded upon in the various comic books, novels and video games.

Special Edition Edit

As part of the 20th Anniversary celebration of Star Wars, franchise creator George Lucas went back to his original films in 1997 and digitally remastered all three films with THX sound, modernized visual effects and additional scenes not available in the original movie.

Home video Edit

The Empire Strikes Back was packaged along with A New Hope and Return of the Jedi in a four-disc DVD collection of the original Star Wars Trilogy. Distributed by 20th Century Fox, it was released in both full screen and anamorphic widescreen formats on September 21st, 2004. This collection included the 1997 Special Edition versions of the film, which also included brand new shots produced by George Lucas just for the DVD release.

Notes & Trivia Edit

See also Edit


The World of Star Wars

Star Wars miscellaneous

External Links Edit

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1997 Special Edition only
  2. George and Marcia Lucas were uncredited as editors on the film
  3. IMDB; Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back; Box office/business
  4. Box Office Mojo; Star Wars Epsiode V: The Empire Strikes Back

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