Today Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is widely viewed as being the best of the Star Wars films from fans. Considering it's been 40 years since the film completely changed the way that people saw Star Wars, one would think that we've seen everything there is to see about the movie and learned everything there is to learn. And yet, a collection of rare and never-before-seen footage from behind the scenes of the production was recently released giving us a fresh look at a very young Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and especially Carrie Fisher.
The footage comes courtesy of ABC's Clayton Sandell and it's got just about everything a Star Wars fan could want. It's got hilarious outtakes of Harrison Ford flubbing his lines, it's got Mark Hamill practicing his lightsaber dueling, and it's got Carrie Fisher's smile. While there are some parts of this you've probably seen before, the vast majority is almost certainly new, even if you are a serious Star Wars fan. Check it out.
A good porting of the seven minute video is dedicated to Carrie Fisher. We see her both on and off camera, including hanging out in the snow during the filming of scenes that her character wasn't even part of. She apparently just enjoyed hanging out on the set. George Lucas talks about how important she was to the film, including how she had to show her dominance in the film since Princess Leia had to be the one in charge. This was potentially hampered by the fact that she wasn't as tall as her co-stars, but honestly, I'd never even noticed that Leia was that short, which would seem to show just how good Carrie Fisher was in her performance.
There's also a lot of discussion about just unusual and surprising Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back really was. While the film is seen as the best of the franchise by many today, that opinion wasn't as widely held at the time. Empire takes Star Wars in an entirely fresh direction doing unexpected things, rather than simply recycling itself and being more of the first movie over again. Mark Hamill himself has also seen the new footage and it brought back a lot of memories for him.
In addition to being seen as the best of Star Wars, it's probably also the most important film in the franchise. The first movie, as successful as it was, could have been a singular event. If the sequel hadn't been embraced the whole thing could have ended right there. The Empire Strikes Back helped ensure that Star Wars as a franchise would continue. And it's come a long way since then