The Empire Strikes Back, also known as Star Wars is an American epic space-opera media franchise created by George Lucas, which began with the eponymous 1977 film and quickly became a worldwide pop-culture phenomenon. The franchise has been expanded into various films and...: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, is a 1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner and written by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan, based on a story by George Walton Lucas Jr. (born May 14, 1944) is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, and entrepreneur. Lucas is best known for creating the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises and founding Lucasfilm, LucasArts, and Industrial.... Produced by Lucasfilm, it is the second film in the Star Wars film series (albeit the fifth chronologically) and the sequel to Star Wars (1977). Set three years after the events of the first film, the Galactic Empire, under the leadership of Darth Vader is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise. Born Anakin Skywalker, the character is a primary antagonist in the original trilogy and a primary protagonist in the prequel trilogy. Star Wars creator George... and the Emperor, pursues Luke Skywalker is a fictional character and the main protagonist of the original film trilogy of the Star Wars franchise created by George Lucas. Portrayed by Mark Hamill, Luke first appeared in Star Wars (1977), and... and the rest of the Rebel Alliance. While Vader relentlessly pursues Luke’s friends—Han Solo, Princess Leia Organa is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise, portrayed in films by Carrie Fisher. Introduced in the original Star Wars film in 1977, Leia is princess of the planet Alderaan, a member..., Chewbacca (/tʃuːˈbɑːkə/), nicknamed "Chewie", is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise. He is a Wookiee, a tall, hirsute, bipedal, intelligent species originating from the fictional planet of Kashyyyk. Chewbacca is the loyal friend and..., and C-3PO—Luke studies the Force under Jedi Master Yoda. The ensemble cast includes Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, and Frank Oz.
Following the success of Star Wars, Lucas hired Brackett to write the sequel; after her death in 1978, he outlined the Star Wars saga as a whole and wrote the next draft himself, before hiring Kasdan. Lucas chose not to direct due to his obligations at Industrial Light & Magic and handling the financing, and passed the duty to Kershner, his former professor. Filmed from March to September 1979, The Empire Strikes Back faced a difficult production that included actor injuries, a set fire, and fines from the Writers and Directors Guilds of America. The initial budget was $18 million, but ballooned to $33 million by the time production concluded, making it one of the most expensive films ever made at the time.
The Empire Strikes Back premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on May 17, 1980, and was released in the United States on May 21, 1980. The film became the highest-grossing film of 1980. Though it was met with divided reviews, it is now regarded as the best film in the Star Wars saga and one of the greatest films ever made. The film has grossed over $548 million worldwide from its original run and several rereleases. Adjusted for inflation, it is the second-highest-grossing sequel of all time and the thirteenth highest-grossing film of all time in North America. In 2010, the film was selected for preservation in the United States’ National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
The Empire Strikes Back had a significant impact on filmmaking and popular culture, being regarded as a rare example of a sequel that transcends the original. The climax, in which Vader reveals to Luke that he is his father, is often cited as one of the greatest plot twists in cinematic history. The Empire Strikes Back was followed by Return of the Jedi (also known as Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi) is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand. The screenplay is by Lawrence Kasdan and George... in 1983. The two films, alongside the original Star Wars, comprise the original Star Wars trilogy.