Maybe the greatest middle-movie ever made. (Not only is it the middle movie in the original Star Wars trilogy, it’s the middle movie in a proposed trilogy of trilogies, as George Lucas’ plan was to make nine installments, a plan that is only now coming to fruition with the upcoming production of Episode VII.) After all, the first Star Wars (a.k.a. Episode IV – A New Hope) seemed to present a complete story arc. Still, it had left some loose ends, with the Empire still in power and Darth Vader still alive.
Empire managed to advance the plot, making it clear that Luke Skywalker’s victory in A New Hope was just the first battle in a longer war, and that his evolution from farmboy to hero still had a long way to go. With Lucas handing over the director’s chair to Irvin Kershner, Empire managed to bring all the thrills Star Wars fans had expected, but also to provide one of the greatest, most shocking plot twists in movie history. That twist, along with the movie’s darker tone, helped elevate the Star Wars saga from just a movie series about lightsaber duels into a deep, full-fledged modern mythology.
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