Star Wars: 20 Things You Didn't Know About The Empire Strikes Back

Just how exactly did the Darth Vader "I am your father" reveal come about?

Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back Darth Vader

If you ask the vast majority of Star Wars fans to name their favourite entry into the entire movie franchise, most will quickly name one film - 1980's follow-up to A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back.

In the 40 (!) years since its release, the iconic sequel has lost none of its lustre as a daring, visually stunning sequel that improves upon its predecessor and served up the schematic for the "bigger, darker sequel" that still endures today.

But the film's production was such a colossal undertaking amid impossibly high expectations that there's probably plenty you still don't know, even today, about the movie's creation.

From nixed original ideas to the high fee a certain actor received for their short screen time, arguments over the opening title crawl, and everything in-between, these are the 20 facts about The Empire Strikes Back you absolutely need to know.

You won't look at the film quite the same way ever again, but should have an even greater appreciation for the blood, sweat, and tears that went into bringing the endlessly ambitious sequel together...

20. The Film's Budget Almost Doubled During Production

Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back Darth Vader

After the success of A New Hope, George Lucas wanted to avoid seeking financing from a major studio for the sequel in order to secure creative freedom for himself.

As a result, he acquired the original $18 million production budget without any studio help, between profits from A New Hope and a bank loan he was able to secure off the back of A New Hope's incredible commercial performance.

Though the move of course paid off for Lucas in the end, The Empire Strikes Back's budget ultimately ballooned to $33 million by the end of production.

This caused the nervous bank to consider calling to collect on Lucas' loan, at which point he decided to make a deal with Fox to secure the loan in exchange for a greater cut of the profits. However, Lucas got to keep his much-cherished franchise and merchandise rights.

The generosity of the deal, spearheaded by the president of Fox's film division Alan Ladd, Jr. - who was an early supporter of Lucas and Star Wars - left many within Fox angry, causing Ladd to eventually quit the company.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.