CELEBRATING FORTY GLORIOUS YEARS OF 'THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK' AT STARWARS.COM

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: "I AM YOUR FATHER!"

The moment, as rendered in art for the Marvel Comics adaptation of the film, and a revelation that was published a short time before the film was actually in cinemas.

Marked as 'Scene 400' in one of the shooting scripts, the now legendary moment where Darth Vader reveals the truth about his family lineage to Luke would be a milestone for both the Star Wars saga and film pop culture. 

Mark Hamill recalled in a 1980 European press interview: 

"Harrison (Ford) and I saw the film for the first time together and he leaned over to me and said (Mark does a perfect imitation of Harrison's low, slow speech), 'I didn't know that, kid. I only read my part.'”

I had to know in order to react in the proper way. I memorized everything they put in the script, then transposed it to what was really going to be. I felt that the emotional impact the revelation at the end of the picture had on me would serve as a climax. It never really hit me until I saw the finished movie how much of a cliffhanger it really is, mostly because it's such a stalemate between Vader and myself.”

Lucas recalled the Vader revelation controversy to Leonard Maltlin in a 1995 interview for the release of The Empire Strikes Back on VHS:

“People were curious about whether it was true or not, and I purposefully left it so it would be ambiguous, so that you wouldn't really know and people would sort of debate it for the next two years or more...”

Deliberately not told of the revelation by Lucas, Kershner and Kurtz, who were less trusting of him with such an important secret, Dave Prowse was ultimately stunned and shocked when he saw one of the film's early screenings. Though upset at not being trusted, he would jokingly tap director Kershner on the head in mock anger for keeping such an important secret about the character to himself...

Audience reaction to an original 1980 70mm US theatrical screening:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMGnKhxhTWg

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