Sorry, Disney. The Empire Strikes Back Will Always Be The Best Star Wars Movie.

Four decades ago, the sequel to Star Wars arrived in theaters. We had no idea how the story would continue after the destruction of the Death Star. This chapter of the ultimately 9 film Skywalker saga remains the best. Rather than battling new versions of the Death Star (seriously, 5 movies centered on either the actual Death Star, its Version 2, or another planet-killing weapon), the central characters embarked on epic journeys that later converged in a cloud city against their shared nemesis, Darth Vader. It introduced the now canonical characters Yoda, Lando Calrissian, and Boba Fett. It showed us the real Force powers (moving objects– yes; super speed– yes; blaster-proof shield– yes; teleportation– nope; healing–nope). But the reason ESB is unsurpassed by any other Star Wars film is its ending. For the first time, the heroes of a franchise movie fought to a stalemate at great personal cost. Our favorite anti-hero frozen and kidnapped by the coolest bounty hunter ever; Luke survives his fight against Darth Vader but loses a hand. And, of course, there is the reveal of all reveals. The shocking confession that no one saw coming because no one suspected that Obi-Wan lied to young Luke. Darth Vader is Luke’s father, former Jedi master Anakin Skywalker. Those two unsettling and unprecedented cliffhangers (can Han be rescued, and can Luke face and defeat his own father) hung in the air for 3 years until the next film arrived. 

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