This week's cover: 'The Empire Strikes Back' 30th anniversary

ew-cover-1098.jpgA long time ago (30 years, actually) in a galaxy not so far, far away (right here, in fact) we were treated to the release of what many consider the best sequel ever made: The Empire Strikes Back. ┬áIn celebration of that achievement and anniversary, Lucasfilm and Del Rey are releasing a new book in October titled Star Wars: The Making of The Empire Strikes Back, that goes behind the scenes of the epic space saga in exhaustive detail. And we’ve got your first taste right here.

In an exclusive first look, the new issue of Entertainment Weekly features several rare and never-before-seen photos and quotes from the cast and crew on the Empire set, as well as an original script page (with revisions and notes from director Irvin Kershner), and early sketches of key new characters Yoda and Boba Fett. It’s a visual feast sure to be gobbled up by any Star Wars fan. Plus, in addition to that treasure trove, Dalton Ross explains in the issue why The Empire Strikes Back remains the ultimate Star Wars film. “What makes The Empire Strikes Back the greatest and grandest of all Star Wars films is its emotional resonance,” explains Ross in his essay. “This is no feel-good popcorn film, as the Rebel Alliance is on the receiving end of a pretty much continuous loop of butt kickings, starting from the very first line of the opening crawl: ‘It is a dark time for the rebellion.'”

To see all the incredible behind the scenes Empire Strikes Back photos, as well as quotes from George Lucas and the stars, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands April 9.

Comments (140 total) Add your comment
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  • JPX

    The Empire Strikes Back is the best of all the Star Wars movies. I think it’s a perfect film.

    • alex

      agreed agreed! and i love knowing that Han Solo wasn’t originally scripted to say anything when Leia says “I love you”, and he threw in the “I know.” That is just all kinds of amazing movie-ness. Perfect film indeed.

      • llevinso

        I thought he was supposed to say “I love you too” but Ford knew Han just wouldn’t say something like that so instead he said “I know.” Made it perfect! Love this movie! All three originals are great.

      • alex

        llevinso- you are right! i completely forgot..

      • KRG

        BEST. LINE. EVER.

      • Ruby

        My favorite line in all the Star Wars film. What a pimp response.

      • the l

        llevinso, you’re right. He was supposed to say “I love you too” and Harrison made the change based on his interpretation of the character.

      • Nerwen Aldarion

        Actually Han as supposed to say “Just remember that because I’ll be back,” but Harrison changed it because he wasn’t sure if he would be back. At the time they were considering killing off Han Solo in ROTJ, but they decided not to and I am grateful.

      • Sarah D

        Douchiest. Line. Ever.

      • J.

        Sarah D. can suck it.

      • llevinso

        Nerwen Aldarion, you are wrong. And Sarah D go away.

      • Nerwen Aldarion

        llevinso: No I’m right! Did you ever read the book? Did you ever listen to the interview with Harrison Ford?

      • TJ

        @Nerwen Aldarion
        No, you ARE wrong. In the making-of doc “Empire of Dreams”, they talked about the line and how “I love you, too” wasn’t working. So director Irvin Kirshner told Harrison Ford to just say something, and the rest is history.

    • Madd

      Agree 100%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Q

      YES! I’ve seen it hundreds of times, yet every couple of months we still break it out again. And it just gets better. Han is so sexy, Leia is smart and tough, Luke gets less whiny and Yoda – I still have to remind myself he’s a puppet. Oh, did I forget Lando? LANDO!

      • jadar

        Han was my first true love
        and Billy Dee Williams was one of the smoothest, sexiest men of that era. I had seen him in several movies before this one, and he was perfect for Lando.

      • Anne

        Empire flat rocks. And while I loved Han with all the heart a child can muster, Lando was king, at least of a city in the clouds. Seriously, Billy Dee as Lando is still the smoothest on screen.

    • Mari

      Me too! It is by far my favorite of all the Star Wars films.

      • Carla

        I am a photographer, and triavleng around the USA Canada. I am on my way to Alaska. Check out my website at wwwdircksphotocomAfter doing so see what you think about selling my photos. I don’t have time to do anything. You will have to justify and explain how I can tell your referals vs mine. I have over 50,000 friends on my channel now. I am a show me kind of person. Please do all your correspondence via my personal email. Remember I am triavleng taking pictures! Erick

    • Mike

      Can’t argue with that! Best Star Wars film…possibly my favorite film!

    • Mary

      “Blasphemy!” Return of the Jedi is the best, lol!

      • Steve P

        R U kidding me? Jedi was good, but in all fairness, Teddy Bears beating the Empire with spears and rope? Lando getting the kill shot on the Death Star? Don’t get me started on the new and improved ending with Hayden “Don’t call me stiff” Christenson being dubbed in place of David Prowse. Empire is by far the superior movie in the franchise.

      • Lala

        I thought the Ewoks were meh in that movie. I really liked the beginning with the Jabba the Hut palace and the sandpit (or whatever that thing was,) and the ending was quite good (although the new version they should have kept David Prowse! Bahh.) Empire Strikes back is definitely my favorite, but Return of the Jedi is good too.

      • Mary

        Steve P, you clearly have never seen “Clerks.” I was making a joke. But, for me, I honestly can never pick between the two. There are things I like about both.

      • Flying My Geek Flag

        Steve P, sorry to do this, but Sebastian Shaw played Anakin in ROTJ (Prowse was Vader).

    • Many

      How was it the best movie ever? It didn’t even have ewoks in it!

  • Al Sharpe

    I understand that there is going to be a mass marketing campaign along with this book to commerate the 30th anniversary. There will be special screenings all over. The star wars celebration in the summer in Florida will feature Carrie Fisher and the guy who played Boba Fett. And of course Empire toys from Hasbro that feature packaging like those that were released in stores in 1980. You also can get a huge replica of the walking tanks called AT-Ats that attacked the rebels on the ice planet. It will set you back a hundred bucks though.

    • kfalcon77

      It was Sebastian Shaw, not David Prose.

  • tellusataletunes

    For the first time in months, an EW cover (and issue) worth savoring…

    • Anne

      Yes, I may have to buy a copy. Fantastic!

    • mscisluv

      This is the first time I’ve actually wanted to buy an issue in ages!

  • Psac

    Maybe one of the best movies ever made (top ten?), forget the sequal qualification.

    • CP

      100% yes.

      • Frank

        Yes, it really is. My top five are Lawrence of Arabia, Taxi Driver, Barry Lyndon, Empire Strikes Back, and Blade Runner. Empire is one of the few movies that, for all its praise, is TOTALLY UNDERRATED.

  • alex

    It’s Del Rey – not Del Ray. Come on EW.

  • Ms Kris Clark

    My favorite of the films Looking forward to receiving my copy

  • UGH

    Once again, the cover is extremely lacking.

    • crispy

      It’s like they don’t even know what’s cool about ESB. Boba Fett, AT-ATs, Yoda, Vader’s “I’m your father” moment, Han frozen in carbonite. Instead they go with a black-and-white behind-the-scenes image that looks like something you’d see in People magazine.

      • Jeannie

        Ahh yes, Boba Fett. The true love of my husband’s life . . . lol

      • Q

        Oh come on! This pic is adorable. I’ve idolized Leia all my life and have always wanted to hug Chewy. Not that I don’t appreciate all the other stuff, but give me a break, that’s a funny picture.

      • crispy

        Adorable and funny aren’t words I’d normally associate with ESB. But I concede that picture probably appeals to EW’s core audience: women over 40.

      • MrSitco

        I like the cover. Part of the sell on this story is “never before seen photos”. That photo is one I have not seen before. Should the cover have been a photo we’ve seen a billion times over? Why not a new one?

      • D’s Advocate

        Completely agree with MrSitco. I don’t need to see the same pictures of Yoda, Boba Fett and so on.

      • Q

        Crispy, I am way under 40. But to your point, I wish you stupid fan boys could appreciate that one of the reasons star wars is such an enduring cultural phenomenon is that it appeals to both genders. Yeah, adorable and funny ARE words I associate with ESB. You have what you think is cool, others have their own feelings on the subject.

        But Ewoks are still lame-o.

      • the l

        Q I’m a guy who is a fan of Star Wars and it’s 100% adorable and funny in parts. That’s the way Lucas created it…people take it way too seriously.

      • crispy

        Fine, “Scruffy-looking nerf herder” and “Laugh it up, fuzzbull” are sorta funny. But overall, Empire is the tragic chapter of the Star Wars saga. I just don’t think an adorable looking B&W picture represents it. At all.

      • Sue1

        I love the pic. This is a behind-the-scenes never seen shot, and that’s what the cover and the issue are promoting, not the overall tragedy of the film.

      • Lala

        I like the cover! The issue has behind-the-scenes stuff. If I wanted to see stills that promoted the plotline, I would rather just watch the film itself.

      • crispy

        Like I said, Sue and Lala, women over 40. Enjoy the issue.

      • Sue1

        I will, crispy. Enjoy your intolerance and superiority.

      • Lala

        I’m 25, but whatever. I can be a nerd sometimes.

      • Frank

        You couldn’t have been alive when the movies originally came out… I seem to recall a Rolling Stone cover for Jedi that had Leia as a beach babe in her slave costume with a bunch of aliens in costume from the movie.

  • Sean

    It’s difficult to make a truly great film, but making a sequel to what was then the most popular science fiction film of all time has to be even more daunting. The Empire Strikes back struck gold on both accounts, and while I think merely saying its a great sequel does it a disservice, we have to realize that it had a huge task to fulfill in being the sequel to Star Wars.

  • Danno

    It’s great and all they are releasing books and such but I’d really rather they release the films on Blu Ray already. By the time they released them on DVD the medium was already on it’s way out. I WANT THESE MOVIES ON BLU RAY!!!!!

  • DoC Hackenbush

    I am s-o-o-o tired of Star Wars nerds… GET A LIFE!

    • NUNYA

      Head stuck in ass have you, hmmm?

      • Mina

        I’ve thought the X-wing Squadron famort would be perfect for television, and have been saying so for a while. I think it could work around and through the books series. It’s got the best shot at diversity. It’s funny. It would have dog fights.With that said I think the NJO would be fantastic as well. Jaina, Jacen and Anakin, Jag, Tahiri, Zekk, Lowie, the Yuuzhan Vong, plus the Big Three. Plenty of shows/movies follow book series, and the conceit is everyone knows what’s going to happen. They still have enormous followings. The opportunity to bring more people into those books would be fantastic.

    • Scott

      Awww, you’re missing the Twilight covers already?

      • Anne

        I stand and applaud you, Scott.

      • Lala

        I applaud as well.

    • Sarah D

      Here’s the obvious statement. Why read the comments on a Star Wars story if you don’t want to know what the “nerds” think?

    • dirtguy

      i concur!

  • CindyC.

    I can’t wait to get my issue! This is the kind of thing I want from a cover story of EW. Classic.

  • DT

    Like the life you have as a troll on discussion boards for subjects you supposedly have no interest in, DoC Hackenbush? Hmmm?

  • Belle

    Empire Strikes Back is the Best of the Trilogy. Sorry people, but I do not count the stupid prequels at all. To me there will only be Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Sigh, I fell in love with Hans in Star Wars but Empire Strikes back, I so wanted to marry him. Harrison Ford could do no wrong in my book. He was my hero. I loved the rapture between Hans & Princess Leia. It was very Tracey & Hepburn. I remember sitting in the movie theatre with my cousin and when we first heard the voice of Yoda we looked at each other puzzled. We knew we had heard this voice before. She said Groover and I said Miss Piggy.

    • llevinso

      I don’t count the prequels either.

      • Joni

        u must all be joking, this potser is great, look at the potser of kill bill and see that he uses the same technicque of postitive and negative space there and it is a great potser, it is not to busy and works amazingly!!!

    • Anne

      In my twisted Star Wars world, there are no prequels. Just like there is no Rocky 5.

      • Liz

        Rocky 5 was one of the best ones until the released 6. Rocky five was all about a man dealing with his age and having to learn that he couldn’t be what he was when he was younger. I love all of hte Rocky films equally and i would argue that 3 was the worst.

      • Danno

        Liz you are either high or completely out of your mind. Rocky 5 is the worst piece of trash ever to be made. It is so horrible that When they made Rocky 6 they intentionally left any reference to 5 out so as to deny it’s existence. In fact that is why the 6th Rocky film is called “Rocky Balboa” and NOT Rocky 6. And BTW Rocky 3 runs a close second to Rocky 4.

    • Danno

      Seriously? You’re going to make me go all geek on you? His name is *Han* not Hans. He is a smuggler from Corellia not a body builder from Austria.

      • Danno

        Sorry for the vitriol. I’ll settle down now.

  • Sean

    Forget best sequel. Best Movie ever made (and yes I am a true cinephile).

    • Fer

      Wow!! That’s quite a statement.

      I love ESB also. I could pass on ROTJ. Star Wars would be fine to me if there only existed ANH & ESB.

  • Frank

    I’ll agree that Empire was an awesome movie, but to call it the best sequel ever made? Not IMHO. For me, the best sequel is The Godfather II. Supurb acting and no need of CGI.

    • crispy

      Are you saying there’s CGI in Empire Strikes Back?

      • Sean

        Yeah Frank, Empire was completely CGI-less till ’97.

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