StarWars.com Interviews George Lucas on 40th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back

Lucasfilm’s Kristin Baver scores THE interview of all interviews as she recently spent time speaking with The Maker himself, Mr. George Lucas, about developing The Empire Strikes Back in celebration of the film’s 40th anniversary. Check out the intro to her interview segment copied below and then take the supplied source link for the full read.

There is a note of hope in George Lucas’s voice as he considers whether or not Darth Vader’s surprising reveal in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back could have been kept under wraps in the age of the internet.

“I think it might have!” he says. “Because the thing about it is I didn’t tell anybody — anybody — about it. And it wasn’t in any of the scripts. It wasn’t even in the story treatments. I kept that aspect of it secret and I was the only one that knew about it. And it really wasn’t until the day we shot that we told Mark [Hamill] so he could react appropriately.”

As Hamill tells it, the actor who played Luke Skywalker was only the third person to carry the secret, after director Irvin Kershner pulled him aside and said: “’I know it. George knows it. And when I tell you, you’ll know it.,’” Hamill recalls. “’But that means, that’s only three people. So if it leaks, we’ll know it’s you.’”

Weeks later, as Lucas sat outside a recording booth with James Earl Jones reciting the line, “No, I am your father,” the circle widened to include sound designer Ben Burtt and the sound mixers. “The mixers, those guys were all dedicated to being quiet. …They weren’t going to tell anybody,” Lucas says confidently. “But there were very, very few people who knew about it until it was shown for the first time….By the end, with the actors, about 12 people knew what that line was.” Then Lucas reconsiders his initial optimism. Even with just a dozen people, it would be hard to keep such a thing contained in today’s world, he says. “I think, in this era now with the internet the way it is, it’s very hard to have surprises in a movie. And I don’t think you could do it today.”

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, which made its debut on May 21, 1980, Lucas recently sat down for an exclusive interview with StarWars.com to reflect on the financial and creative gamble that he made all those years ago to bring the second part of his original trilogy to the screen.