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 a planned saga. Here are 5 things you didn't know about The Empire Strikes Back...


It Has One of the Best-Known Misquoted Movie Lines. The most well-known line in the film is often the commonly quoted plot twist, in which Darth Vader says, "Luke, I am your father." However, the 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.

Yoda Almost Had A Very Different Name It's not unusual for scripts to undergo major changes in each draft, and names usually get rearranged and changed, too. In an early draft of the film, Luke was going to travel to the planet of Bog (instead of Dagobah), and receive training from a frog-like Jedi named Minch. In later drafts, Minch was renamed to Yoda. The name "Minch" however did end up making an appearance in Star Wars comics and was used by another member of Yoda's species. He was much older, with his story taking place seven hundred years before the events in the Skywalker Saga.


George Lucas Self-Funded The Whole Movie Swimming in cash thanks to the success of the original Star Wars, George Lucas opted to fund all subsequent sequels out of his own pocket. If his strategy seems impressive today, it seemed very radical way back in 1979 when Empire rolled into production. Lucas also retained sequel rights from Fox, who saw no future in the series. We’d imagine someone lost his job over that one…Lucas had fought to maintain sequel rights as a way of guaranteeing himself total creative freedom with the Star Wars universe. By paying for everything himself, it would be easier for him to keep all the rights, as well as all the profits.

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.

Lucas Tried To Get Oz An Oscar Nomination Yoda has become one of the best-loved characters in the Star Wars franchise. His performance was so important to the film's success that George Lucas spent thousands of dollars campaigning to get Frank Oz a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the Oscars. Unfortunately, the Academy declared that puppeteers were not actors, and ineligible for the award. Lucas made the snub up to Oz by bringing him back for the next four Star Wars films.