The Empire Strikes Back is most often cited as the best of the original Star Wars Trilogy by fans of the series. One of the main reasons fans like it so much is that it has darker themes than the first movie, and has a really downbeat final act – with Han Solo being frozen in carbonite and the whole “I am your father” moment. But, it could have ended on an even bigger downer.
The science fiction sequel was originally set to end with Luke having his new robotic hand tended to in a medical bay, with wires and prosthetic goo on full display. This was deemed a step too far however, and months after filming was finished, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher were brought back to film an additional scene.
The finished movie ends on a more hopeful note, with the medical bay scene scaled down and Luke, Leia, C3PO and R2-D2 watching Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca blast off in search of Han. Hamill has now taken to Twitter to clear up the rumour that the ending of The Empire Strikes Back had been reshot.
Hamill said; “Filmed 4 months after we wrapped principal photography on Empire Strikes Back, it wasn’t a ‘re-shoot’, it was an added scene. Concerned about the downbeat ending and thorough defeat of the protagonists, they wanted to add an uplifting moment of hope and rejuvenation to reassure the audience.”
Reshoots are, to this day, seen as a sign to panic that a movie isn’t good or hasn’t tested well. However, it is extremely common for additional photography to be needed. Doctor Strange 2 has just been through a lengthy period of reshoots, for example, and it’s a normal part of the movie-making process.
Find out where The Empire Strikes Back fits into our Star Wars movie ranking.