Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary

Lucasfilm is making one final push to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back with a series of videos looking back at the making of the Star Wars sequel that changed everything. Earlier this week, a batch of outtakes and unused footage from the film arrived online, and now a new featurette has the filmmakers from The Mandalorian and other upcoming Star Wars TV shows reminiscing about the legacy of the sequel, from favorite moments to the most influential scenes.

The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary Video

Complete with a bookend from Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, this Empire Strikes Back 40th anniversary featurette is chock-full of rarely seen footage from the Star Wars sequel. There are alternate line readings, deleted scenes, outtakes, and more behind-the-scenes footage that gives us a new perspective on the movie that we’ve seen dozens of times. In particular, I was surprised by the alternate line from Han Solo after C-3PO tells him about the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field.

Adding to this nostalgic look back The Empire Strikes Back is commentary from The Mandaloriain executive producer Dave Filoni and the show’s directors like Taika Waititi, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Deborah Chow. Series lead Pedro Pascal also chimes in along with Rogue One and Andor series star/executive producer Diego Luna. Plus, Leslye Headland, executive producer of the recently announced Star Wars series The Acolyte pops in a few times as well.

Honestly, I could watch an entire documentary featuring the various cast and crew members from the long history and future eras of Star Wars talking about each of the films in the original trilogy like this. Obviously plenty has been said about Star Wars over the years, but it’s always fascinating to hear what means the most inside the minds of the folks who have brought their own filmmaking sensibilities into the saga.

There are likely more videos about The Empire Strikes Back on the way, as we wrap up 2020. This should have been a year were we really celebrated the anniversary of one of the greatest sequels of all time in a grand fashion, complete with convention panels, theatrical screenings, and more. But the coronavirus pandemic ruined all those plans. Maybe next year we can make up for it and pretend it’s just the 40th anniversary all over again. After all, we likely won’t be getting any new Star Wars programming until the third season of The Mandalorian arrives at Christmas next year (though Star Wars: The High Republic is on the way), so we’ve got plenty of time to fill.

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