Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is celebrating 40 years since it’s release in 1980. Good Morning America featured new footage from behind the scenes of the sci-fi classic with comments from George Lucas, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams and others. The footage also includes a “heart-warming” look at Carrie Fisher on set and in charge. 

In the seven minute feature, Hamill makes it clear that The Empire Strikes Back was a surprise to him because it did not follow the usual formula of a sequel. He says sequels used to repeat what happened in the first film. Hamill says, “it was so daring. I don’t think we were able to be that surprising again. Because it was deeper, it was more cerebral, it was more spiritual in the fact that we face defeat in the end.” 

When it comes to Fisher, Lucas said, “Carrie was very funny and kept everyone entertained. She [as Princess Leia] was able to boss those guys around without looking silly. That was an important part of her character, that she was the boss. And she was also shorter than everybody else, but she handled that great.”  There’s plenty of footage of Fisher smiling and laughing on set. 

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This is my favorite of the entire Star Wars saga. Carrie Fisher exudes confidence, wisdom, courage and tenacity. All the things I wanted to be growing up. It’s so wonderful to see her behind the scenes being the same brave person she’s always been. You can tell the cast had so much fun making this film. And it did change the formula for sequels. These days, sequels rarely outshine the first film. And I don’t think there are many sequels that do better than the first film. Empire is one of them and gave us the most shocking moment in cinema history. 

Happy 40th anniversary Empire! You can watch the feature on the GMA website or watch below. 





Noetta Harjo
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