The Empire Strikes Back Turns 30

banner1 560x236We here at Gunaxin (especially me) are huge Star Wars fans. Well, let’s just say we’re huge fans of the original, far-superior, not-written-by-George-Lucas trilogy. And anyone who knows anything about any part of Star Wars knows that The Empire Strikes Back is, without a single doubt, the greatest space opera ever put to celluloid. Why?

Because it’s such a low for the Rebellion! It’s dark, it’s emotional, it’s chock full of revelations, and it’s directed to pristine perfection by Irvin Kirshner. And as of tomorrow, it’s 30 years old. Man, that just aged me ridiculously. See, I saw Empire in the theater with my dad, and two of my best friends for my 6th birthday. Yeah, the original release right here at our fru-fru chic theater, the long gone but not forgotten, Plaza 2.

I remember it being the most amazing thing I had ever seen: the vast wasteland of Hoth, the dank immensity of Dagobah, the evil bastard that is Darth Vader… it was absolute magic. Wow, Empire turning 30… it just boggles the mind.

So, Entertainment Weekly managed to get a hold of some rare production stills in celebration of this momentous event, and I’ve gathered a couple to whet your appetite. Check ’em out!

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Why doesn't Leia look cold? Cuz she was a frigid bitch anyway! Rim-shot.

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"Direct future sequels, you mustn't! Destroy reputation, they will!"

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The real reason T.E.S.B. was a huge success... and I'm not talking about Boba Fett.

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Wait, you mean there's people inside those dang robots? The hell!?

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"According to this Horoscope, one of you sitting here has a future career. The rest, not so much."

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Moments before the first and only 'cut' bestiality scene. It was unpleasant.

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Capturing Solo's 'O' face.

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This scene was hysterical to everyone on the set especially the boom-mic guy, since they all knew how wrong this was soon going to be.

And here we have the original trailer for Empire from 1980. Boy, that voice-over sounds like the guy’s trying to sell cleaning products, doesn’t it?

And how about the entire movie done in LEGO taken from the Traveler’s Tales video games!

And since this film marked the first appearance of everyone’s favorite soon-to-be-devoured galactic Bounty Hunter Boba Fett (check out our tribute here), why not a little piece of nostalgia from the toy line! This was the intended version of Fett to ship to stores but as you can see, this was a liability waiting to happen.

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Here we have some 30th Anniversary playing cards cuz when I think of Empire I think: cards.

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Ever since Disney began hosting the Star Tours attractions, they’ve done a bang up job of celebrating whatever birthday or anniversary they can conceivably make money off of. So it comes as no surprise to see this:

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Yes. That's Stitch as the Emperor's hologram. Wow. Words escape...

Yep. Just like this. Somehow, I think we’ve all really wanted to see this.

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What do ya suppose the over/under is on Mickey?

Darth Vader was a sick prick in Empire who put up with zero shit from either the Rebellion, Lando, or even Fett. He spells out his intentions to a wounded Luke in no uncertain terms while simultaneously explaining his F’d-up kinship. So why not get a 30th Anniversary Vader figure to commemorate his level of asshole-ness!

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Any Star Wars fan worth a damn knows that the visions of artist and story-board designe, Ralph McQuarrie were the basis for many of the character designs. And just as with any created character or costume, many changes go into the final piece. Now you can own a bit of history with the McQuarrie-inspired figures of Yoda and Obi Wan!

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And finally (at least for this list… there’s hundreds more collectibles out there) we have the most accurate, most elaborate, and most strikingly gorgeous piece of Empire goodness ever: The AT-AT walker. You could fit a small child in here!

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"Honey! I'm driving the AT-AT to work today!"