Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back landed in theaters 40 years ago today, with the series celebrating the first sequel in the franchise with a video "time capsule" that compiles behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the film's cast and crew about how the adventure was brought to life. While the footage itself has been released as part of various other documentaries about the franchise and this specific entry, it still offers an exciting look back at what would go on to become a seminal film not only for the franchise, but for all of science fiction. Check out the video time capsule above.
Given the acclaim that the film has earned in the years since its release, it almost feels redundant to cite it as a favorite among fans, but even the stars of the films themselves have pointed it out as their favorite entry. Earlier this month, C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels revealed that, while he used to consider the debut film his favorite, he has recently had a change of heart.
“For reasons that may or may not become clear, I just watched [The Empire Strikes Back]," Daniels tweeted. "I always said [Star Wars: A New Hope] was my fave ep (nightmare to film but a simple-to-follow story - not political – no worries about the colour of your lightsaber etc). I've had a revelation. Ep V is the BEST! Thanks to [George Lucas] and [Irvin Kershner].”
Daniels isn't the only star who loves Empire Strikes Back, as Hamill echoed that opinion last year, but admitted that it wasn't a decision he arrived at easily.
"It's like, pick your favorite child. You like them all for different reasons," Hamill shared with The Hollywood Reporter when asked about his favorite entry. "I guess I'd have to go with Empire, only because it was so unexpected to have the protagonist be so soundly defeated. Losing the hand and the dad Vader, all of it was pretty unexpected. And it was much more cerebral. Yoda is such an important addition to the mythology and I thought it was so clever of George, the concept of the Force, so you can talk about religion and spirituality without making everyone uncomfortable. So, for that alone."
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and the rest of the Skywalker Saga are currently available on Disney+.