The Best Star Wars Movie Originally Had A Much Darker Ending

Mark Hamill revealed the Empire Strikes Back scene of Luke, Leia, R2D2, and C3PO staring into the stars was originally not in the script.

By Britta DeVore | Published

star wars empire strikes back

With the Star Wars universe being packed with prequels, sequels, and spinoffs, you’re bound to get a different answer on which movie was the best. But perhaps because of its darker plot and heavier tone, many fans will say that 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back takes the cake when it comes to Star Wars features. And while it was the most hopeless of all for the Rebel Alliance, Mark Hamill recently revealed in a Twitter post that you can see below, that it was initially meant to end on a much more somber note with Luke Skywalker (Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) never having that hopeful moment aboard the Millennium Falcon. 

For those who may not remember, at the end of A New Hope’s sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, although the main crew has lost their companion Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) is hot on the track to reclaim his old friend from the bounty hunter Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch). Meanwhile, Luke has been safely collected by the rest of the gang who’ve managed to make it out of harm’s way, dodging both TIE Fighters and the Super Star Destroyer. In a moment of light at the end of the franchise’s darkest film, the four good guys take a moment to stare out into open space as an uplifting John Williams tune plays in the background before the credits roll.

According to Mark Hamill’s behind-the-scenes reveal, this final shot was added a whopping four months after cameras had stopped rolling on The Empire Strikes Back. According to the Star Wars legend, those behind the production were worried that without the more hopeful ending, theatergoers would be left with a touch of sadness as they filed out of the cinema. Hamill said that the idea behind adding the scene was to toss in “an uplifting moment of hope & rejuvenation to reassure the audience” that the Rebel Alliance was still going strong. 

star wars empire strikes back
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Directed by Irvin Kershner Shown from left: David Prowse (as Darth Vader; voice: James Earl Jones), Mark Hamill (as Luke Skywalker)

The Empire Strikes Back picks up three years after the events of A New Hope with the Empire seething with anger and ready to strike down the Rebel Alliance. The feature was responsible for bringing us some of the biggest moments in Star Wars history including that iconic Luke Skywalker takedown of the AT-AT, the freezing of Han Solo in carbonite, and the introduction of Master Yoda. Another box office hit, initial reviews of the film were mixed, which one can expect from any highly anticipated sequel. 

While the critics may have been split over three decades ago when The Empire Strikes Back first arrived in cinemas, views on the film have majorly swayed towards the positive with the feature currently sitting on Rotten Tomatoes with a 94% critics score. With Mark Hamill’s latest insight into how the story was initially told, we’re wondering how that may have changed the opinion of both the public and the critics all those years ago. After films like Avengers: Infinity War closed on a downer note, we think audiences would’ve been able to handle an even darker twist to the conclusion of The Empire Strikes Back.