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The Empire Strikes Back (Screenplay)

George Lucas

The screenplay to The Empire Strikes Back, George Lucas’s unprecedentedly popular film, is essential reading for fans of Star Wars, sci-fi, or simply cinema of any kind.

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Widely considered the darkest and most intriguing of the central Star Wars trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back deepens the exploration of mythic themes first essayed in A New Hope.

From its opening amid a besieged Rebel stronghold on the ice planet Hoth to its finale on Bespin, the floating city run by gambler Lando Calrissian, Empire charts Luke Skywalker’s travails on the arduous path to becoming a Jedi Knight – a journey that culminates in a punishing face-off with Imperial warlord Darth Vader, and Luke’s realisation of the dreadful truth about the fate which befell his father Anakin.

Derived from George Lucas’s original story, the screenplay was composed by Leigh Brackett (veteran writer for Howard Hawks and Robert Altman) and Lawrence Kasdan (who soon afterwards established himself as a director with Body Heat and The Big Chill). Together, they produced a psychologically complex piece of epic storytelling, treasurably enhanced by the verbal jousting – and the affecting romance – between Han Solo and Princess Leia.