Among Star Wars fans and just cinema lovers in general, The Empire Strikes Back is revered as one of the greatest films ever made. As the movie celebrates its 40th release anniversary, Lucasfilm is sharing exclusive interviews, tidbits, behind the scenes stories and whatnot. Perhaps the most surprising of which is the fact that changes were made to The Empire Strikes Back’s ending; AFTER the film had already released.
The film was released in June 1980, but following the release of the film; George Lucas was bugged by the film’s ending. It’s not the Vader twist, of course! What happened is that Lucas called ILM for more footage on the film. Having attended several screenings of the film; Lucas realized that there was something a bit unclear about the ending of the film.
A Trial Run For The Special Editions?
The Star Wars creator was bothered that the film didn’t do much to establish the geography of where the characters were at the end of the film. Lucas was extremely bothered by the fact that there was confusion on whether Chewbacca and Lando were on the same ship as Leia, Luke and the droids. After a meeting with ILM, Lucas worked with his team to add three new shots to the film. The shots show the Rebel Fleet, the cockpit of the Millenium Falcon and the medical frigate.
Lucas is notoriously known for adding extra visual effects and changing up films even after release. The most famous of these changes is the “Han Shot First” scene in A New Hope. The team was able to finish the shots in record time. So much so that Lucas was himself surprised.
“Wait a minute. If you guys did this so fast, why did it take so long to all the other ones?” a surprised Lucas asked his team.
The Empire Strikes Back is currently streaming on Disney Plus.