Defining George Lucas a perfectionist would be an understatement, since the director has always been known to constantly modify his works, changing some details even after the release to adapt the films to his vision as much as possible. This is also the case for Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, which today celebrates the first 40 years.
To celebrate the anniversary StarWars.com recalled an anecdote related to the release of the film to the cinema. The fifth (and second in chronological order) chapter of the saga of Star Wars debuted in a hundred selected rooms on May 21, 1980, in 70 mm, to then be presented on June 18 in 35 mm format. Watching the final scene, where Luke Skywalker, Leia, C-3PO, and R2-D2 are in the medical frigate while Lando and Chewbacca are on Millennium Falcon, George Lucas had the impression that there was a bit of confusion on the actual disposition of all the characters.
So he contacted the editor and the visual effects team, explaining that some were needed additional shots to make perfectly clear the ending of The Empire strikes again. On the same site StarWars.com you can see the slight differences between the 70mm and 35mm versions.
As we know, the habit of rearranging the films of Star Wars has continued over the years, for example with the release of the various episodes in the home video version or, more recently, with the arrival of the saga on Disney +.
For further insights, find out how the sensational twist was born in The Empire Strikes Back, which provoked the audience’s emotional reactions.