There is arguably no film franchise quite as big as Star Wars. George Lucas' colorful world has entranced audiences for decades, as each new installment in the epic space opera results in massive box office numbers. And with Disney in charge of Lucasfilm, new and challenging installments have been brought to theaters every single year. The Skywalker Saga started back with A New Hope, and will conclude with J.J. Abrams still untitled Episode IX later this year.
With so many installments in the galaxy far, far away, the rabid fandom has plenty of options regarding which Star Wars movie is their favorite. This includes those intimately involved in the property, like franchise hero Mark Hamill. Hamill recently revealed his favorite Star Wars flick, saying:
It's like pick your favorite child. You like them all for different reasons. I guess I'd probably have to go with Empire [Strikes Back], 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 [Lucas], the concept of the Force, so that you could talk about religion and spirituality without making people uncomfortable. So for that alone.
Mark Hamill's comments to THR echo the general feelings of the Star Wars fandom. Empire Strikes back may be fifth in the franchise's timeline, but it was actually the second Star Wars movie to ever hit theaters back in 1980. The movie is decidedly darker than its predecessor, and contains some mind blowing twits thanks to Luke's parentage. Plus, it introduces Frank Oz's beloved Jedi Master Yoda on Dagobah.
Empire Strikes Back is such a great movie that it's often considered one of the best sequels in the film world. As such, plenty of filmmakers have compared their sequels with Empire. George Lucas built upon the galaxy he created with A New Hope, and brought all the leading characters to new places, further developing their characters. Add in the twists and dark ending, and there's a recipe that has resonated with cinephiles for decades.
It should be fascinating to see where Luke Skywalker's story ultimately ends with J.J. Abrams' mysterious Episode IX. While Luke seemingly perished in The Last Jedi after using Force Projection, Mark Hamill is set to return in some capacity with the next movie. Smart money says he'll be a Force Ghost, but we'll just have to wait and see how it all shakes up.
Episode IX will arrive in theaters on December 20th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.