Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
US Theatrical: May 21, 1980

Popularity: 588th All Time, 1,360th This Week

Franchise: Star Wars
Characters on BTVA: 5
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
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Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Cast


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said at 12:14 PM on Mon Jan 2 2017
 2 Shout Outs!
Unlike most sequels, "The Empire Strikes Back" did what many thought impossible. It was not only a great movie that stood on its own, but it even improved on the first "Star Wars" movie. It's darker and more menacing in tone, and unlike its predecessor, closes on a bittersweet, uncertain note. Even today it's still considered the zenith of the "Star Wars" movies.

"The Empire Strikes Back" also marks the first appearances of Yoda and Emperor Palpatine. The former, in particular, was done the old-fashioned way; a Muppet-style character operated and voiced by Frank Oz, with just as much spirit and life as the co-stars. His irascible, funny, but always mystical personality made audiences laugh and today he's still a beloved character. Acting-wise, too, Hamill, Fisher, and Ford all mature into their roles and give actually better performances. Newcomers such as Billy Dee Williams as the charismatic Lando Calrissian also shine.

This is also one of the few "Special Edition" entries which doesn't totally compromise the original. The best addition is in the more recent DVD/BluRay rerelease, in which the formerly holographic Clive Revill-voiced Emperor is replaced with Ian McDiarmid. Not only does this provide consistency with "Return of the Jedi", but the one added-in dialogue also some hidden depth between Vader and the Emperor. The enhanced Cloud City effects look spectacular as well. The extended Ice Wampa scene was probably the only unnecessary addition (it would have been better off not showing the monster as they did in the original), but even then it's not anywhere nearly as off-putting as some of the more grating alterations in the "Star Wars" trilogy.

All in all, "The Empire Strikes Back" remains as much a classic as it was in 1980, and still entertains in spite of whichever version you see. And of course the climactic showdown between Luke and Vader remains as engrossing as the first time.
Faved by 106 BTVA Members
5th Annual BTVA Anime Dub Awards 2016
Fave Character
Who's your favorite character?
Darth Vader
46.2% (6 votes)
30.8% (4 votes)
Boba Fett
7.7% (1 vote)
Emperor Palpatine / Darth Sidious
7.7% (1 vote)
7.7% (1 vote)
13 Total Votes
Listen to all the actors who have voiced the following Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back characters.
Boba Fett
Boba Fett
Emperor Palpatine / Darth Sidious
Emperor Palpatine / Darth Sidious