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….
One of the most iconic shots from Empire is the wide angle view of the Super Star Destroyer’s bridge, as Vader looks out into space. It’s etched into my memory because it perfectly summarizes the Sith Lord’s power. On the Death Star in A New Hope, he was more of a henchman. Yes, he did his own bidding, he had his own backstory and he was definitely the coolest villain around, but it was Grand Moff Tarkin’s space station and that old bag had final say. Now we see this is Vader’s ship and the filmmakers put us in his perspective. While all the technicians and underlings scurry around on the lower deck, Vader watches the fleet assemble in the space in front of him, silently. He doesn’t have to move, he doesn’t say a word but he is in total control.
Then a message comes through showing the probe droid's transmission from Hoth. First Officer Piett calls Admiral Ozzel and General Veers over.
Ozzel is the commanding officer of the Executor (the Destroyer they’re currently traveling on)…
But General Veers is the commanding officer of our hearts--
--because Veers is played by Julian Glover one of the all-time great character actors around. He’s been some classic villains in his day, like Walter Donovan in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Aristotle Kristatos in the underrated Bond adventure For Your Eyes Only, and Grand Maester Pycelle in Game of Thrones. Wouldn’t you know it, he even voiced Aragog in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. If you didn’t recognize him, that’s ok – he's aged a bit over some poor choices.
“What is happening to me!?”
Piett suggests the Rebels might be hiding on Hoth. Ozzel objects but Vader sides with Piett.
Piett 1, Ozzel 0
But there’s no time to get into a lightsaber measuring contest over who’s Vader’s favorite.
The Empire has declared war on the Skywalker boys!
Best Performance by a Human: The fear in the Imperial Officers' eyes.
Best Performance by a Non-human: The Super Star Destroyer (the Executor) cutting through space.
Best Line: Darth Vader’s “That’s it, the Rebel’s are there.”
Rating: 4.6 out of 5 Star Destroyers in the Hoth Invasion Force.