The Empire Strikes Back."
"The Empire Strikes Back" stars, as you probably all know already, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford, all reprising their roles from the first "Star Wars" film. We pick up with the band of rebels as they continue their fight against the evil Empire. Only thing is this time, things don't go quite as well as before. Alec Guinness also returns for this sequel, as well as James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vader. And we get the new (and wonderfully funny) addition of two characters, Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) and Yoda (voiced and puppeteer-ed by the great Frank Oz).
For "Empire Strike Back," Lucas decided to hire a director and screenwriters, instead of doing it all himself this time. (Something he should have done for the prequels too, but they don't exist for this discussion, so we'll overlook that for now.) For director, he hired his old USC professor Irvin Kershner. Originally, Kershner said no, thinking there was no way the sequel could match the original in quality. However, after he told his agent about this, his agent insisted he take the job. For screenwriters, Lucas first hired Leigh Brackett to write the script. She completed her first draft in February 1978, but sadly died of cancer the next month. Lucas then hired Lawrence Kasdan, whom Lucas liked from his draft of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," to finish the script.
battle scene on Hoth, stating that with a white background (versus the black background of space), it would be more difficult to hide mistakes. Thus, the stop-motion animation of the AT-ATs was created, using painted backgrounds instead of bluescreens, and imitation of elephants to get the walk more realistic. Lucas also wanted to put the credits at the end of the film again, so it wouldn't take away from the opening action. Unlike its wide use today, this was a huge no-no in the eyes of the Writer's Guild and Director's Guild back then. They had agreed to Lucas' request to put the credits at the end of "Star Wars" only because they thought it would be a flop. However, the guilds fined Lucas this time, and director Kershner. So Lucas paid all the fines out of his own pocket, including Kershner's, then cancelled his membership in both guilds and the Motion Picture Association.
Wampa sequence was not created to explain his scars. It had always been part of the original script, but Lucas did say that it did help with a satisfactory explanation.
While filming in England, Carrie Fisher rented Eric Idle's house. (The Python boys were off shooting "Life of Brian" at the time.) However, while he was there, Idle did through a party, attended by Harrison Ford as well. They had such a good time drinking an alcohol Idle called "Tunisian table cleaner" into the middle of the night that during the next day's shooting scenes (their arrival at Cloud City), they could not help looking relaxed and happy. And Idle evidently was very pleased to hear he had a little impact on "Empire."
**SPOILER ALERT for next paragraph only**
Return of the Jedi." Even though Lucas assured him that his character still had a heroic part to play in final film, Ford could only see his character as intricate to "Star Wars." He, therefore, was the only one of the three leads to not sign a contract for three films at the beginning. Luckily, he did come back (even if his "heroic" part is a bit weak in "Jedi"). Another interesting turn about the filming of "Empire" was that Lucas kept hearing rumors of leaks to the story. So determined to keep the final big surprise of the film a secret, Lucas gave David Prowse, the actor who played the physical presence of Vader, false lines for the scene, saying "Obi-Wan killed your father" instead. Only Hamill, Kershner, Lucas and Kasdan knew the truth while filming that scene. Only one other person would learn the truth before the film was released - James Earl Jones. However, his initial reaction was "He's lying."
**END of Spoiler Alert**
(Post-tidbit: "Family Guy" will finally be airing their parody of "Empire" this Sunday (5/23). It's called "Something, Something, Something Dark Side" and is the long-awaited follow-up to their "Star Wars" parody "Blue Harvest." Even though it was already released on DVD last December, this will be the first airing of it on television, just in time for the anniversary.)