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The film thrilled me to no end, but the ending was not what I could have ever expected. As the rebel medical frigate carrying Luke, Leia and the droids cruised away into the distance and John Williams’ compelling score performed by the London Symphony Orchestra blasted from the speakers, I remember my sister telling me that this was the end. The film was over.

I thought, “How can it end this way? Darth Vader is Luke’s father? Huh? Han Solo is frozen in carbonite and on his way to Jabba the Hutt via the hands of Boba Fett! Luke has a mechanical hand thanks to Vader! There are too many loose ends. This cannot be the end of the film! It’s impossible! Noooooooo!”

I didn’t want to leave the theater when the credits began to roll. I was ready to stay glued to my seat for another two hours…or more if necessary.

“Sorry, Brad, but you’ll have to wait another three years to find out!” said Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox.

Of course I love Star Wars and Return of the Jedi (Episodes I & III respectively), but The Empire Strikes Back will always be my favorite Star Wars film. It introduced us to such indelible characters as the wise Yoda, the evil Emperor (Palpatine), the charming but betraying Lando Calrissian and the notorious bounty hunter Boba Fett, arguably one of the most legendary and popular characters in the Star Wars franchise.

The film showed us new starships, vehicles, weapons and locales that we could only dream of before then. Hoth (freezing cold but cool and cozy, especially inside the rebel base), Dagobah (Yoda’s home), and Cloud City (Lando’s place where most of the pivotal action takes place in the film’s later half) are some of my favorite planets and systems from the entire saga; including the prequel films and the newer films over the past few years. And we get to spend a lot more time with Han, Leia, Chewbacca and C-3PO in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon than ever before.