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The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back

(by George Lucas)

George Lucas's epic film saga Star Wars (Episodes I - VI) has become a cult classic and its characters cultural icons. One such character who made his film debux in "The Empire Strikes Back", was Yoda. Wendy (Midener) Froud was hired to sculpt Yoda and is credited as Yoda Fabricator. Yoda (performed by Frank Oz) became a central figure throughout the Star War series, becoming Wendy's most widely known creation. 

"We had no idea that he was going to turn into such an icon. Those of us who worked on him had no idea; he was just another character in the story. Also, he was an experiment because until that point no one had really mixed puppets and people in that way and used puppets so extensively. This was before we did Dark Crystal." ~ Wendy Froud's thoughts about working on Yoda

The middle film in George Lucas's enormously popular Star Wars science fiction trilogy is a darker, more somber entry, considered by many fans as the best in the series. Gone is the jaunty swashbuckling of the first film; the rebellion led by Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) suffers before the superior forces of the Empire, young hero Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) faces his first defeats as he attempts to harness the Force under the tutelage of Jedi master Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz), and cocky Han Solo (Harrison Ford) is betrayed by former ally Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams). In the tradition of the great serials, this film is left with a hefty cliffhanger. The leap in special effects technology in the three years since Star Wars results in an amazing array of effects, including a breathtaking chase through an asteroid field and a dazzling, utopian Cloud City, where Luke faces the black-clad villain Darth Vader (David Prowse, voice of James Earl Jones) in a futuristic sword fight and learns the secret of his Jedi father. Veteran director Irvin Kershner (The Eyes of Laura Mars, Never Say Never Again) took the directorial reins from creator and producer Lucas and invested the light-speed adventure with deeper characters and a more emphatic sense of danger. The special edition expands Luke's encounter with the Abominable Snowman-esque wampa and establishes the creature as a tangibly more terrifying beast, in addition to refining many of the existing effects. The trilogy is concluded in The Return of the Jedi. --Sean Axmaker

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