Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

Trivia: When Billy Dee Williams (Lando) picked up his daughter from elementary school after the film's release, kids would run up to Williams and say "You betrayed Han Solo!"

Trivia: This was the only movie in the Star Wars series until Episode VII in 2015 without a scene on the planet Tattooine.


Trivia: The Special Edition covers of Return of the Jedi and Empire Strikes Back are wrong. The picture of the Emperor on ESB cover is from 'ROTJ', and the lightsaber duel between Luke and Vader on the cover of ROTJ is taken from 'ESB' (notice Luke is in his fighter pilot suit, and Vader is fighting him one-handed)

Trivia: Although credited to Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan, most of the script was actually written by George Lucas himself. He felt Brackett's draft got the tone and feel of the movie all wrong, and he rewrote the second draft from scratch. Kasdan's main contribution was to redo all the dialogue (admittedly a crucial element especially since Lucas is famously bad with dialogue), but otherwise nearly the entire screenplay was Lucas' work.

TonyPH Premium member

Trivia: The sound of an AT-AT Walker's footstep is a shearing machine used to cut sheet metal.

Trivia: Mark Hamill did all his own stunts in this film, except in the scene in Cloud City where he is sucked out of a window.

Trivia: The role of Lando Calrissian was originally offered to Yaphet Kotto, but he turned it down because he feared the character would be killed off and he would be typecast as a result.

Trivia: Frank Oz's performance as Yoda impressed George Lucas so much, Lucas spent thousands of dollars on a campaign to nominate Oz for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. However, the Academy shot this down, feeling that puppeteers are not "actors."

Cubs Fan

Trivia: The scene in which Luke uses the Force to get his lightsaber back in the Wampa cave was filmed by having Mark Hamill throw the saber prop into the snow, and then running the film backwards.

Trivia: There was a false page in the original script in order to fool all of the people working on the film. This was to keep it secret that Darth Vader was Luke's father. Only George Lucas, the producers and James Earl Jones knew the truth. Mark Hamill was told just moments before filming this scene so his reaction would be right, while David Prowse read the lines from the original script "Obi-Wan killed your father."

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Suggested correction: Mark Hamill stated multiple times that he knew for over a year about the twist. It was a secret for the remaining cast though.


Trivia: When Lando orders the evacuation of Cloud City, a bunch of civilians run past the camera as our heroes go down the corridor. The very last guy in this group can be clearly seen carrying an ice cream maker.

Trivia: Originally, Boba Fett was supposed to be sort of an Imperial Super-Stormtrooper (in their trademark white armor). This idea was - in a way - reused in 'Attack of the Clones', with his father Jango Fett being the genetic father of the Stormtrooper clones.

Trivia: C-3PO's interruption of the kiss between Han and Leia was an ad-lib during filming.

Trivia: In the first take of Darth Vader and his troops entering the Rebel base, the lead troopers tripped, a stuntman stepped on the cape of David Prowse (Darth Vader), the cape tore free and Prowse fell on the troopers.

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Suggested correction: How is something from the blooper reel considered trivia?

ctown28 Premium member

Well I for one didn't know about it, so it's interesting to know it happened. Behind the scenes stuff is generally valid trivia.

Jon Sandys Premium member

Trivia: During the chase in the asteroid field, a TIE fighter is hit by a little one. If you watch in slow-motion, you can see the pilot ejected from the explosion.

Dr Wilson

Trivia: The scenes where R2-D2 is submerged in the mud pool were shot in George Lucas's unfinished swimming pool. Most of the crew were hidden under the water and the entire sequence was shot by Lucas himself.

Trivia: This is in the Special Edition of The Empire Strikes Back. Darth Vader returns to his Star Destroyer (just after the Millennium Falcon retrieves Luke from underneath Cloud City). The shot that is used to show Vader walking down the shuttle ramp and into the Shuttle Bay is from Return of the Jedi (different angle) when he enters the Death Star at the beginning. You can see Moff Jerjerod just before the end of the shot.

Trivia: In the movie, Jeremy Bulloch, who plays Boba Fett, is also seen out of his mask; namely as the Imperial officer who brings Lando, Leia, Chewie, and C-3PO to Vader's shuttle.

Visible crew/equipment: When C-3PO is on the conveyor belt, if you look in the reflection in his head you can see the camera crew. (01:26:40)

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Answer: The short, short answer to this is "Yes... from a certain point of view." The long answer is complicated and depends completely on what timeframe you mean by "always." If you're going back all the way to the early rough drafts of the early-mid 70s (which actually resemble Episode I more than they do the Star Wars of 1977), you'll find there's a cyborg father figure protagonist that makes a heroic sacrifice, and then another character that is a "black knight" villain that eventually turns to the side of good near the end. Just to make things more complicated, there is yet another character, a villain by the name of "Darth Vader" that is a human Imperial officer like Grand Moff Tarkin. It may be a stretch to count all that as "Darth Vader was always the father" but the pieces were all there, at least.

TonyPH Premium member

(1) Now the earliest explicit mention on any documented material that Darth Vader is Luke's father comes from notes Lucas made outlining the general story of the trilogy and its place in the larger Star Wars saga. These were found in the archives for The Empire Strikes Back, but they are undated and we don't know if they were written before Star Wars (1977) and carried forward, or if they were written afterward. These were found fairly recently (made public in 2010) and as far as I know Lucas has never commented publicly about them.

TonyPH Premium member

(3) One thing we know, at least, is that Lucas had come up with the idea of Darth Vader the father before starting work on The Empire Strikes Back. Something incredibly odd, though, is that the first draft written by Leigh Brackett does not feature the twist (and in fact introduces Anakin himself as a ghost); for a long time many fans took this as proof that Lucas hadn't thought of the idea at all by then, but after the series outline was discovered it was made apparent that Lucas simply hadn't told Brackett for some reason. Perhaps he wasn't sure yet that he wanted to go through with it, or maybe at that point he was thinking of revealing it in the third film. Either way, Lucas would write the second draft himself, and that's where the twist first appears in script form.

TonyPH Premium member

(2) Something that must be understood about Star Wars (1977) is that it was an ALTERNATIVE to his original plans of a saga. By then he didn't think it was realistic that he would be able to make a long series of many movies, so he came up with a "Plan B": he crammed the general story of the trilogy into one movie. So we know that when Star Wars (1977) was filming, Darth Vader was NOT Luke's father, because this one movie was IT, that was the whole story. But what we DON'T know, is whether that means Lucas had abandoned the idea of Vader being the father in order to simplify the story, or if Lucas simply hadn't thought of that at all just yet.

TonyPH Premium member

(2, cont.) On a side note, you can tell by watching Star Wars (1977) how it has condensed the story of the trilogy. The middle portion has the characters trying to escape capture from the Empire while one of them loses a duel with Darth Vader (like The Empire Strikes Back) and the third act is a final battle against the Death Star above a forest moon (like Return of the Jedi). The first act features a member of royalty on the run while a couple of protagonists find the main hero on a desert planet, resembling the original drafts and by extension Star Wars: Episode I. Because of this we've arguably never actually had a "pure" first chapter to the original trilogy, even though Lucas eventually had the film serve this purpose anyway.

TonyPH Premium member

Answer: Yes, however, he didn't want anyone to KNOW about it. In fact, the original script said "'Obi Wan never told you what happened to your father.' 'He told me enough... he told me YOU killed him!' 'No, Obi-Wan killed your father'" Even Hamill was only told the real line just before shooting, so his reaction is somewhat natural.


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