The dark cliffhanger ending of the Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is one of the biggest twists in all of cinema, forever changing the way that sequels (especially second chapters of trilogy stories) were constructed. However, as you can see above, in an era where there was no Internet or social media platforms, it was apparently a lot easier and less "controversial" for stars to casually drop major spoilers.
In this video interview with The Today Show from 1980, Empire Strikes Back star (and now Star Wars icon) Billy Dee Williams totally gives away the movie's ending twist with Han Solo being captured by Boba Fett!
Even though he doesn't go into specifics, Billy Dee reveals that some big things about Episode V's ending, in just a few casual words:
- That Han Solo (Harrison Ford) ends up in peril.
- That the movie doesn't end with the standard heroic victory.
- That Lando survives, and what his role in the next film, Return of the Jedi will be.
- The interviewer even gets in on the spoilage, when she states that Lando is revealed as a bad guy (of sorts) in the film!
By today's triggered-fan standards, these kinds of spoiler drops would be considered an egregious crime; however, you have to separate yourself from current times, and consider the context of when this interview took place.
Star Wars was certainly a bonafide phenomenon by the time 1980 arrived; however, the sequel was just coming out, and movie fans hadn't seen anything like the dark chapter that director Irvin Kershner added to the franchise. Because it was 1980, there was also a limited amount of damage Williams' interview could do; if you didn't watch The Today Show, then you would likely never suffer the spoilage. There was no social media to amplify the reach of the offending news; no YouTube to preserve it where fans could see it first-hand; and no Internet fan sites where it could be reported in mass, creating a trending topic.
Still, for the percentage of people who were spoiled by this interview - they were robbed of one of the most satisfyingly surprising turns in blockbuster movie history. Of course it could have been worse: Imagine if Williams had spoiled the big Luke/Vader reveal! Even in the '80s, that would have gotten massive pushback from furious fans...
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (aka Episode VIII) will be in theaters on December 15th. Get the latest photos by visiting our database page below - and let us know how excited you are for the movie. You can also view the latest photos in the gallery above!