Written by Richie Pepio
During the 124 days before the release of The Last Jedi, I’m reviewing all 124 minutes of the theatrical version of
The Empire Strikes Back. Join me and together we will watch Star Wars…
Chewie's upright walk and flying skills can often make him seem somewhat human-like, but whether it's with Han, Lando, or Rey, he's always the bridesmaid never the captain. Minute 120:00 starts with the above shot and, if we're being honest, he just comes off more as FaceTiming dog than as captain material. They fly off into the sunset in a scene that sends the opposite message of this scene because perhaps they'll never be together...
And it's on this uncertain note that Empire leaves us. Sure, we know all the characters reunite in the next movie, but back in 1980, things weren't so set in stone. And although it's so obvious now that everything would tie up in a happy ending, maybe there was still some doubt in certain audience members' minds that Luke wouldn't turn to the Dark Side, that Leia wouldn't thaw out Solo, and that Chewie would get a makeover. Whether or not the audience (or Lucas) knew it at the time, Empire closes out on the family central to the saga. Luke, Leia and the family droids (one from the mother and one from the father), reunited and ready for the final battle. But is Star Wars really a simple family drama as it's come to be known, or is it simply an epic arrangement of sights and sounds that are at once unbelievable and familiar. I don't know, when I see epic family drama, I think less like this...
...And more like this...
But who am I to judge? Because, you see...
Behind the scenes, it seems like the shoot of the finale was a bit more relaxed than other production days. This is probably because the leads just stared off into a backdrop, silently looking shaken about the past but hopeful for the future.
According to Empire’s original novelization and later Expanded Universe entries, the fleet’s current location is known as Haven. Far above the galaxy’s main disc of stars, the rendezvous point was deemed far enough away from any locations of interest to avoid attention. That area was a double-edged laser sword, however, because it’s lack of gravity made it a nightmare to reach. As a kid, I wanted this finale to have even more action, but in retrospect it may be the strongest conclusion in the series. “Escape to the Haven” would work better as a level in Rebel Assault 3 or a ride at Star Wars Land, than as an extra setpiece in the Empire Strikes Back Special-Special-Special Additional Definition High Definition Edition re-release in 2050. And they never storyboarded it differently.
If you want to see an artistic rendering of the Rebel fleet’s worst nightmare, check out Patrick Johnson’s TIE Fighter short. This piece of Imperial propaganda from 2015 has the look of a big budget anime feature, made by a single animator for a tiny fraction of the cost.
Johnson was inspired by the LucasArts computer game of the same name and made the Empire the protagonists because he always thought the Empire had a cooler look. But in the film our characters survive with more emotional wounds than physical ones, especially since the medical unit can add a prosthetic hand that looks almost as good as the real thing. These Rebel doctors: they can make Luke’s hand look just like it did pre-duel, but they can’t change his face to look just like it did pre-Wampa accident.
Best Performance by a Human: Leia seeming a bit more vulnerable than she has in the past, not exactly sure where the future is taking them.
Best Performance by a Non-human: Chewbacca chiming in from the Millennium Falcon's cockpit.
Best Line: Chewie growling, "goodbye."
Rating: 30,875 out of the 31,000 prosthetics sold in the U.S. each year.
This was originally posted on Mindctrlaltdel.tumblr.com