Movie sequels have a tenuous reputation. Some live up to the expectations setup by their predecessor. Others fail miserably. But there are a handful that more than succeed. On that list is The Empire Strikes Back.
From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back was published last fall. 40 writers tell the stories of background characters whose perspectives and histories were not seen on film. They are from all across the galaxy and creatures, both human and non-human, of every sort. Through their eyes, the world that this beloved film exists on expands in new and unexpected ways.
I loved this book. It was a Star Wars fan and fanfiction lover’s dream. The authors clearly know and love the franchise. There is no detail that is missed, it is a complete and wonderful deep dive into what I believe to be the best movie in the entire saga. I will warn however, that this book is not for newbie or virgin members of the fanbase. To truly understand and enjoy the book, the preferable reader is one who is well versed in the overall narrative and mythology.
*A New Hope will be referred to as ANH and Empire Strikes Back will be referred to as ESB.
Logically speaking, we know that a film (unless it is a documentary) is a work of fiction. It is the cumulative work of many who come together to create a final product that seems real. But a good film has a way of touching the audience in a way that lasts well beyond the final credits.
Thursday was the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. The second of three films in the first Star Wars trilogy, it is widely ranked as one of the best films in the overall series. While it’s predecessor, A New Hope, is the simple story of how a farm boy, a princess and a pirate destroy an evil empire, ESB takes that basic concept and expands it tenfold.
From a writing perspective, ESB is everything one would want in a sequel. The characters have grown and are facing new challenges. The world that the story takes place in is wider. The stakes are higher as the Empire has rebounded and is eager to take back the ground that they lost in ANH.
From a fan perspective, there are two major narratives that will forever hold a place in my heart. I love the will they or won’t they between Han (Harrison Ford) and Leia (the late Carrie Fisher). The tension between them is absolutely perfect. I think that it goes without saying that the exchange between Han and Leia just before he is frozen in Carbonite is simple, sexy and utterly romantic.
And then, there is the most jaw dropping revelation in film history. To this day, new fans watch this scene and their minds are still blown that Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) father is no other than Darth Vader.
Here is to the 40th anniversary of the Empire Strikes Back. May this film live on for another 40 years and beyond.
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”-Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
One of the more common signs of depression is how easy it is to stay home and do nothing.
The weather in New York City for the past few days has been frigid. Walking outside is akin to walking into an icebox. No amount of layers can protect against the freezing temperature.
I could have stayed in today after completing some minor errands. It would have been easy to say that the weather makes for an excuse for staying in.
But I knew I couldn’t stay home. I couldn’t let the depression win. Not today at least.
It took a lot for me to get out after completing my errands. More than I expected. But I did it. I know that my depression will never go away. But if I have the courage and strength to fight against it, then maybe one day, it will not have the stranglehold it does on my life.
Writer, actress, mental health activist, mother, daughter, sister, feminist, Fisher was an icon to many for many reasons. Playing Leia Organa in the Star Wars film franchise, Fisher helped to change the way women are portrayed in film, especially in science fiction and fantasy films. Leia was not just the heart and the brains of the rebellion, she was whip smart and in charge.
Leia grabbing the blaster from Luke’s hands and shooting at the storm troopers was a small moment in A New Hope, but a big moment in the history of women on-screen.
After Star Wars and in between her other roles, Fisher became one hell of a writer, publishing her own work in addition to gaining the envious title of one of the most in demand script doctors in Hollywood. She was not afraid to speak openly about her addiction and mental illness issues when others were still in the closet about their addiction and mental illness issues.
The thing that will always stand out for me, is that she was herself, warts and all. Unapologetic, unafraid and upfront. We should all be so brave to be ourselves and not give a sh*t what someone else thinks of us.