Happy 30th Birthday, Empire Strikes Back

Today, three decades ago, the world was introduced to Lando, The Imperial March, Yoda, Lobat, and more.

I remember the lines for this movie (before the era of the multiplex) literally circling city blocks.

Yes, we’re all getting very old.

I wasn’t even born yet.

I regret that I was never able to see this in the theaters when it was brand new. That must have been -awesome-.

I was 6, my parents took me to see it at a drive-in. I vaguely remember being a little freaked out when Han was getting dropped into the carbonite.

I was 15…

I was 9. My parents were in the throws of their divorce. I have no recollection of seeing this movie the first time.

I was nine. I remember how completely shocking the ending was to me and all my classmates.

I was 4, I guess. Was I that young? I don’t remember much about it other than we went to a theatre we normally didn’t go to that was in the same strip mall as a Gold Circle and we brought a garbage bag full of homeade popcorn in with us. I guess they were less strict about that stuff back then.

I was 10 and I remember seeing it at the drive through as well. Sadly, I have to admit that I didn’t really care about it at the time and I found it kind of boring. It was only in later years that I grew to like it.

I don’t remember seeing it for the first time either, although I’m told I was taken to the drive-in. I watched it many times as a kid though, and I remember loving the Hoth sequences, but being bored by the Yoda sequences.

But what I did have was this album:

The Empire Strikes Back: The Adventures of Luke Skywalker.

Which I listened to incessantly. It had a narrator, but also lots of music and sound effects and dialog from the actual film. I probably listened to it more than the film itself, and I blame it for my memory of the one-liners.

Exactly the same situation here, only I do remember seeing it (several times) in theaters because it was one of the only things that helped me escape from what was happening to my life at the time.

A couple of years later when everything was done and my dad decided to get remarried (to a complete bitch) it was TRON that got me through another rough patch.

Happy places…happy places.

I was 11. I didn’t get to see it for a couple of weeks after it opened but I had some “official” magazine that had a lot of different pictures from the movie and I remember reading that thing over and over.

My mom covered my eyes when the Wampa attacked.

I was nine. My friends and I had a bit of a competition going about who could see it the most times. We all hit double digits, but my best friend trumped us all when he hit 20.

I was four. I saw Empire before I saw Star Wars. It didn’t matter.

On a related note, I went to the 30th anniversary screening of ESB at the Arclight on Wednesday. It was a big charity thing for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and Harrison Ford was there to do a Q&A after the show. So yes, I got to watch Empire in the theatre with Harrison Ford, Billy Dee Williams, Peter Mayhew and Ewan McGregor. Jon Favreau and Christopher Nolan were there too, but just as fans.

I hate you, Matt (in a jealous fanboy way).

I wasn’t to be born for another five years when Empire hit the theaters, and I think when I first saw it I was five or six, at a sleepover birthday party. Which is actually amazing to me. It’s not often that you can get a bunch of five-year-olds excited about a movie that came out 10 years before they were born.

I’m also kind of ashamed to admit I paid $5 yesterday to dress my Xbox Live avatar like Boba Fett.


30 years ago today, I was 13 and in Seattle on a trip with my parents. I waited in in the rain for over three hours to see the first showing at a downtown theater (I forget the name). Good times.

I almost picked up Han Solo’s Hoth gear for my avatar, but they made his coat brown! I mean come on, in the movie it’s obviously blue! I played with that action figure and saw the movie enough to know, man. That’s just not cool.

You should be. You… should… be.