The Empire Strikes Back


The Empire Strikes Back is arguably the finest entry in the entire Star Wars saga, building perfectly upon the promise set by its groundbreaking and captivating predecessor. There’s virtually nothing we’d change about that movie. This is probably also true for lifelong fan and New York School of Visual Arts student Kurt Rauffer, but that hasn’t stopped him from re-imagining the opening titles of the film in the style of another enduring film franchise with a number of wonky entries – Ian Fleming’s James Bond.

Set to the Radiohead song “Spectre” – a song considered for the theme to the most recent Bond outing, but ultimately rejected – it’s a beautiful take on meshing the Star Wars universe with the aesthetic of a Bond title sequence.

“I really wanted to play on the concept of Luke trying to find himself and true purpose,” writes Rauffer, “so the music and inspiration felt fitting.”

You can watch the entire video in the player below.

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Jason Reitman is staging a one-night-only live-read of The Empire Strikes Back as part of an ongoing monthly series which has included The Princess Bride, Ghostbusters, American Beauty and more.

Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul will be taking on the role of nascent Jedi Luke Skywalker, while (one of my fave actors ever) J.K Simmons (Spider-Man‘s J. Jonah Jameson) will play Darth Vader.

Currently, Reitman also has his cast for Yoda (Kevin Pollak), Lando Calrissian (Dennis Haysbert), and C-3PO (Stephen Merchant). No word yet on casting for Han Solo and Leia.

The show is being held tonight, December 18th, at the Ace Hotel Theater in LA. Tickets, as you might expect, have already sold out.

(via EW)

esb trailer today

Movie trailers have changed quite a bit since the original trailer was released for The Empire Strikes Back, so it’s pretty interesting to compare and contrast this version by Cameron Arrigioni. It imagines what a trailer for ESB would look like if it were made today.

My thoughts: I think it gives away too much of the plot and Han and Leia sure do look super in love. Hunh, I guess it really is like a movie trailer these days.

Watch it after the break.

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Casey Pugh put together a fan made version of Star Wars: A New Hope in 2009 which was made up of hundreds of different snippets of individual scenes. They were filmed with people, puppets, and all manner of props with the idea that they’d be spliced together to create the complete film. The finished product was so good that it actually won an Emmy in 2010 for Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media.

Now, to follow-up, The Empire Strikes Back has been fan made in the same format, and with the same incredible results. It runs just over 2 hours and contains footage from 480 different Star Wars fans. Sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the ride.

See the video after the break.

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eric tan star wars 1

Though I’ve seen hundreds of pieces of Star Wars art over the years, every one is slightly different. Artists constantly show me different ways to see the saga, and Eric Tan’s posters for the original trilogy definitely have that effect. While I wouldn’t necessarily call his posters minimalist, they have that simple but effective vibe. I love how Darth Vader figures prominently in the layout of the first two but takes a backseat in the Return of the Jedi art.

Tan, a designer for Disney, said he’s never had more fun on a project. It shows.

See more pictures of the art after the break.

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Star Wars Uncut is one of my favorite fan film projects ever. Developed by Casey Pugh, the movies are a scene-by-scene recreation of the Star Wars films starring anyone who signs up on the site and provides the footage. Participants claim a scene and go from there.

They still need people to fill in the gaps for The Empire Strikes Back – you have until May 1st to sign up!

The saga continues with over 1,500 participants re-imagining the classic ‘Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.’ This teaser is full of awesome Empire Uncut scenes from far and wide, ready for your previewing pleasure. We are continuously blown away by the creativity and craft we’ve seen from every user – now it’s time to spread the word to the rest of the galaxy! You can still claim a scene to remake until May 1, 2013.

Check out the teaser after the break while you consider participating.

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It’s been confirmed that Michael Arndt will be writing the script for the first movie in the new Star Wars series, and now we have some interesting news about who may be working on the next two films. Reports are that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg have both been approached by Disney to do the job.

This would be Kinberg’s first outing with the franchise after writing X-Men and Sherlock Holmes movies, but Kasdan has a little Star Wars experience already. He worked on The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi as well as Raiders of the Lost Ark. Yeah, those credentials are pretty impressive. It’s still a rumor at this point, but it’s a darn good one.

(Deadline via Kotaku)

If you enjoyed the the battle that took place on Hoth in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, you’ll enjoy this look at never before seen storyboards that outlined the battle for filming based on the fifth draft of the script. The work appearing here was done by Captain America director Joe Johnston, who was also responsible for the Boba Fett suit. Storyboard art from Nilo Rodis-Jamero is also included. Check out additional examples after the break.

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In this long lost series of promotional interviews shot around the 1980 release of The Empire Strikes Back, the cast makes some comments about the prequels that are funny in hindsight (not to mention hint at plans that appear to be different from the prequels we ended up with). For example, Mark Hamill suggests that his newborn son could eventually play “an 8-year old luke running around playing in the background” of Episode III.

Plus, interviewer Bobbie Wygant notes that if Lucas makes all nine Star Wars episodes “the force could be around until 2001”.

Check out the interviews after the break.

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The book Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back from J.W. Rinzler is now available, and Vanity Fair got an inside look at some of the pics from the set, including this one.

Is it just me or does seeing mattresses and cardboard boxes in this shot really mess with your head? I may never see the movie the same way again.

(Vanity Fair via Daring Fireball)