It is a universally acknowledged truth that Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back remains the best film in George Lucas’ Star Wars franchise. The events of the film ensured that it was one of the darkest installments of the series. Still, the ending was initially planned to be comprehensively more depressing than what fans saw.
So many things occurred at the end of the movie. From the Rebel Alliance fleeing from the Empire to Luke Skywalker discovering his real father, a lot of the scenes were as depressing as they could get, but somehow, the movie ended on a hopeful note. That was not the original intention.
Mark Hamill Responds To Fans Query About Reshoots
“Filmed 4 months after we wrapped principal photography on #ESB, it wasn’t a “re-shoot”, it was an added scene. Concerned about the downbeat ending & thorough defeat of the protagonists, they wanted to add an uplifting moment of hope & rejuvenation to reassure the audience.”
It seems that, as per Hamill’s response, the ending should have been darker. But, because they wanted to appease the viewers, they altered the tone of the finale possibly for commercial reasons. Still, many fans claim the dreadful ending was more suitable for the movie’s overall vibe.
Interestingly, the new ending was shot a few weeks before its worldwide release. George Lucas wanted to address the issues that were unclear to him, so he hired a small group of artists and cameramen to design new shots. These required newly constructed models, preexisting materials, and some modifications to the original dialogue and score.
It would have been the most stressful time for the Star Wars team trying to finish all the scenes while beating the deadline. Lucas showed fans his pursuit of clear storytelling, and he was willing to go through rigorous shoots to make sure he got the desired outcome.
George Lucas On Fans’ Love For Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
In his interview with Empire, George Lucas shares why he thinks a lot of people are fond of The Empire Strikes Back, noting that its darkness made it more special for the viewers. He shared:
“The fans like The Empire Strikes Back the best, partly because it is so dark. It’s an overall story, and as it happens in the second act, things get dark. I never really planned it to be three separate films, but when it became three separate films, it had an interesting effect of each film having its own personality, caused by the plot.”
There may have been a change in the tone of The Empire Strikes Back ending, but Lucas’ revision helped align the movie with the rest of the installments. While many still believe that the darker tone fits better with the movie, there is still something special about the more uplifting ending.