Mark Hamill reveals how the famous Empire Strikes Back plot twist was kept a secret during production. The Star Wars saga has introduced us to a myriad of new things like stormtroopers, lightsabers, and droids which have all become pop culture symbols of their own. But it also provided us with a great narrative with pockets of storytelling brilliance. Arguably the most memorable of them all is the reveal that the big bad, Darth Vader, is indeed Luke Skywalker's father.
The scene obviously had a tremendous impact on the whole Star Wars franchise, setting the stage for Vader's redemption arc in Return of the Jedi and becoming the jumping off point for the prequel trilogy. It was a moment designed to shock the audience, which meant great care had to be put into keeping the truth under lock and key. Hamill once again reminisced about his experience filming the sequence and how George Lucas ensured the surprise would be intact.
Speaking with the official Star Wars website in celebration of his birthday, the 66-year-old actor shared how Lucas kept the plot twist on the down-low to minimize the possibility of any unwanted leaks before Empire even hit theaters. We know that at this point in time that the series has already gained a legion of followers thanks to its groundbreaking debut film, A New Hope, and the filmmaker wanted to offer something new to its audience:
"They kept that line secret: 'I am your father.'” What was in the script was already a fantastic twist. Vader says [in Darth Vader voice], 'You don’t know the truth. Obi-Wan killed your father.' And I played it just as you see it. 'No!' and all that. But [prior to shooting] they pulled me aside and [Irvin] Kershner, the director, said, 'Look, I’m going to tell you something. George knows, I know, and when I tell you, you’ll be the third person that knows. So if it leaks, we’ll know it’s you.'”
Hamill has talked about this particular story a few times in the last couple of years but it is interesting to ponder on it especially at this time where leaks and spoilers have been much easier to stumble upon on the internet. Even the actor is curious how well they would have been able to keep that huge plot twist well kept had they have to do it right now. "With people equipped with cell phones, every time you’re out in public…who knows what could have happened in those days," he said.
Although admittedly it is now hard to top that "I am your father" reveal given that our brains are wired to expect any kind of plot twist from a Star Wars film, this year's episodic offering, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, seemingly has some narrative secrets up its sleeves. There is, of course, the ongoing mystery of Luke's self-inflicted exile, as well as, the unknown histories of Rey and Supreme Leader Snoke. But more than just knowing the answers to these questions, we're excited on h0w these plot points will have a ripple effect on the overall canon of the storied franchise just like how The Empire Strikes Back's surprise had and still has.
Source: Official Star Wars Website
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- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019