10 / VADER’S BIG REV­E­LA­TION

THE EM­PIRE STRIKES BACK (1980)

Empire (UK) - - CINEMAS -

The im­pact of this twist can­not be un­der­stated. No-one saw it com­ing. Not even Ge­orge Lu­cas, ini­tially, who didn’t have the fam­ily con­nec­tion in the first draft of the script. Of­ten mis­quoted (it’s ac­tu­ally, “No. I am your fa­ther”), it was the mo­ment Star Wars grad­u­ated from fun space fan­tasy to com­plex saga of Shake­spear­ian lev­els (well, some­thing vaguely sim­i­lar hap­pens in

Cym­be­line). In fact, it dic­tated the path the sub­se­quent films took (for good or ill), mean­ing that Re­turn Of The

Jedi had to have a sim­i­lar fa­mil­ial twist (now, sep­a­rated twins are very Shake­spear­ian), that three pre­quel films dealt with Anakin’s fall, and that The Force Awak­ens’ an­tag­o­nist was re­lated to the good guys. Just imag­ine if Lu­cas had stuck with his orig­i­nal idea — that Anakin’s ghost would ap­pear to Luke on Dagobah. The Star Wars fran­chise would be com­pletely dif­fer­ent. And, let’s be hon­est, nowhere near as world-con­quer­ing.

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