Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back Trivia
George Lucas was so determined to keep the end twist a secret. In fact, only a handful of people knew about the twist prior to the films release. These people are director Irvin Kershner, writers Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan, Mark Hamil, and James Earl Jones. Not even the physical actor who played Vader, David Prowse, knew about the twist.
The shots where Luke uses his Jedi powers to retrieve his lightsaber from a distance were captured by having Mark Hamill throw the lightsaber away and then running the film in reverse.
Han is the only non-Jedi/Sith to use a lightsaber.
In the asteroid scene, one of the asteroids is actually a shoe.
First film to have 5.1 surround sound mix.
The name of Vader's super star destroyer is "Executor".
Mark Hamil did all of his own stunts.
There were a total of 64 sets constructed for the film.
Mark Hamil's wife gave birth during the production.
This is the highest grossing film of the 1980s.
The line that Han says to Princess Leia after she says she loves him is improvised. ("I love you." "I know.")
Lighting for SFX was so strong that several models melted.
The blasters used by the stormtroopers were constructed from Sterling L2A3 Mk 4 submachine guns.
For the chase scene inside the asteroid belt ILM used potatoes for some of the asteroids.
Lucas had a confrontation with the Writers Guild of America over the film's credits. Wanting to preserve the stylistic integrity of the film, Lucas insisted that all the credits come at the end of the film. While the WGA had accepted this decision for the original Star Wars--presuming that the film would be a flop--they were reluctant to grant the request a second time. Lucas was fined heavily by the WGA, who also attempted to fine Kershner. Lucas payed all the fines himself, totaling around $250,000, and subsequently resigned from the WGA, the Directors Guild of America and the Motion Picture Association of America.
The concept for the AT-AT walkers came from the original "War of the Worlds" novel by H.G. Wells, where the Martians utilize gigantic, three-legged tripods.
Harrison Ford wasn't originally scheduled to shoot in Norway, but changes in the production schedule necessitated his arrival. Unable to travel by train, Ford arrived in Finse in the engine compartment of a snow clearance vehicle. Furthermore, his costume--which appears heavy in the film--was originally created only for stage shooting. As a result, the outfit provided very little protection from the elements, adding further difficulty to the scenes.
Swordmaster Bob Anderson doubled Darth Vader during the lightsaber duel, as David Prowse had a tendency to break the fragile blades.
The role of Yoda was initially offered to Jim Henson, who turned it down and recommended Frank Oz instead.
Harrison Ford actually ad-libbed the line "I know" at the end of the film because he felt it was more in character. Cinematic history was made.
The final twist at the end was kept a very guarded secret, with only Lucas, James Earl Jones and a few others knowing it. Even Mark Hammil barely found out before the scene.
The production budget of Empire Strikes Back was $18,000,000. This is three times larger than the budget for Star Wars: A New Hope
The novel based on the film was released on April 12, 1980
On set, David Prowse (the physical actor who played Darth Vader) said "Obi-Wan killed your father" instead of the iconic line.