the empire strikes back outtakes

It’s been 40 years since the release of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and it’s still a stone-cold classic, one that feels more miraculous the further we get away from it. And it felt miraculous during the making-of, per newly released The Empire Strikes Back outtakes, which feature never-before-seen footage of the cast and crew goofing around on set of the 1980 Star Wars film.

Featuring both familiar and rare footage, the newly released Empire Strikes Back outtakes showcase musings from the stars as they look back on the making of the film, and even after the success of Star Wars, they didn’t anticipate the impact that the sequel would have. Watch the Empire Strikes Back outtakes below.

The Empire Strikes Back Outtakes

The 40th anniversary has been good to fans of The Empire Strikes Back, even if an ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has prevented many from seeing the special theatrical re-releases. But fans were able to enjoy the sci-fi classic just as much at home, with the debut of the 4K edition on Disney+, the sale of special Empire Strikes Back art prints, and now, the debut of all-new Empire Strikes Back outtakes, released by Good Morning America.

While some of this footage is familiar — Harrison Ford playing with Carrie Fisher’s hair, Fisher being dwarfed by all the very tall men on set — this new footage is like a treasure trove of lost moments and faces, many of whom are sadly no longer with us. There’s a wistful quality to the footage, especially whenever Fisher is onscreen, but also an excitement of something new starting: Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and others reflect on the change that was in the air on set of Empire Strikes Back, as the cast and crew reunited to shoot a sequel that bucked the trend for follow-ups.

“Coming back for the second film, I think the audience, they were so surprised that it wasn’t just a carbon copy of Star Wars. I think that’s what made it distinctive,” Hamill said.

Hamill later added, “When I read the script, it was so unexpected. Usually when they do a sequel, they want to just repeat the experience. And that would mean that the second film would end with exhilaration and triumph. It was so daring, I don’t think we were ever able to be that surprising again. Because it was deeper, it was more cerebral, it was more spiritual. The fact that we faced defeat at the end!”

Not to continue to beat the drum for The Last Jedi, but what Hamill says about Empire Strikes Back, considered by many to be the best Star Wars film, could be extended to Rian Johnson’s divisive 2017 Star Wars sequel: a film that surprises, bucks expectations, and ends in defeat. But Empire Strikes Back remains an all-time beloved classic, and these outtakes are a wonderful addition to the year-long celebration of the Star Wars film.

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