5 Things You Didn't Know About "The Empire Strikes Back"

On May 21, 1980, The Empire Strikes Back was released in theaters. This was the second film in the Star Wars series although it was technically the fifth film in the planned saga. Here are 5 things you didn't know about The Empire Strikes Back...


Cliff Clavin Was a Member of the Rebel Force Two years before John Ratzenberger played mail carrier Cliff Clavin on the sitcom Cheers, he appeared in The Empire Strikes Back as Major Bren Derlin, part of the Rebel Force.  What he remembers most about that time is how “I somehow got a parking space next to Kermit the Frog. It was Jim Henson’s space, with this Kermit the Frog sign. So I took a photo of it and sent it to my mom with a caption that read, ‘Look, Mom. I made it. I got a parking space next to Kermit the Frog.’”

Its Most Memorable Line Is Also Its Most Misquoted The most well-known line in the film is one of the most often misquoted in cinema history, and usually repeated as “Luke, I am your father.”  This line has actually been misquoted for decades. The real quote from The Empire Strikes Back is "No, I am your father." Either way, the news that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's father remains one of the most devastating moments in the entire saga. 


Jim Henson Turned Down The Voice Of Yoda To create Yoda, George Lucas knew it would require some innovative techniques. He consulted with Jim Henson, who’s Muppets had become cultural icons. Lucas and Henson became fast friends, and Lucas asked Henson to play the role of Yoda. Henson declined his offer to direct "The Great Muppet Caper." Henson did, however, suggest his frequent collaborator Frank Oz for the part. Oz accepted, performing Yoda's voice.

Alec Guinness Was Paid Millions In Royalties For His Cameo Much has been written about the enormous riches Alec Guinness earned - and his estate continues to earn, even - for his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars. So when Guinness was approached to reprise the role for a brief cameo in The Empire Strikes Back, Guinness decided to drive a hard bargain, now being fully aware of the series' popularity. And so, despite being on set for less than five hours on a single day, Guinness negotiated to receive 0.25% of the film's box office gross, which going by the film's $550.9 million box office gross amounts to a windfall of over $1 million for a day's work. Incredible.

Han Solo Was Frozen In Carbonite Because.... The ending of The Empire Strikes Back has Han Solo frozen in carbonite and passed off to Boba Fett. But there is a very particular reason that George Lucas decided to leave Han in limbo between movies. As it turns out, Harrison Ford wasn't sure if he would be returning for the third film - even asking Lucas to kill him off in Empire - so to cover his hide in case Ford decided not to come back, his fate was left up in the air between movies. Unlike Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, Ford never agreed to sign a three-picture deal, which in retrospect seems like a huge gamble on Lucas' part. Thankfully, of course, it all worked out in the end.