Skip to main content

Behind The Scenes - Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. The Cloud City Gantry Shot

empire strikes back behind the scenes gantry shot

Iconic Moment From The Empire Strikes Back - The Gantry Shot. 

Okay, it might not be the bottomless pit of the movie but that's still a bit of a jump!  Let's hope those boxes and mattresses are soft enough to take a young Mark Hamill.  
empire strikes back behind the scenes gantry shot
Of course, this shot is the dramatic climax to The Empire Strikes Back where (spoiler) we find out that Darth Vader is Luke's father.  Often misquoted as "Luke, I am your father" the actual line in the movie is  "No, I am your father."  

This big reveal was kept secret especially to Darth Vader actor, David Prowse who had a reputation of spilling the beans about the plot to media.  To prevent the actor knowing and others, they replaced the actual lines with placeholder dialogue.   Mark Hamill Tweeted what the original line was on set and the agony of not being able to tell anyone:

"The cast & crew first learned of it when they saw the finished film. When we shot it, Vader's line was "You don't know the truth, Obi-Wan killed your father." Only Irvin Kershner, George Lucas & I knew what would be dubbed in later. Agony keeping that secret for over a year!"

It wouldn't be until moments before the shot that Mark Hamill would be told the actual plot twist.

"Irvin Kershner pulled me aside and, and said, ‘Look, I’m going to tell you something, and I know it and George knows it, so if it leaks, we’ll know it was you.… We’re going to dub in 'I am your father.' I thought, ‘Oh my God, I was as shocked as the audience would later be. This is so primal, nothing could top Darth Vader being your father." Hamill recalls.
empire strikes back behind the scenes gantry shot
Screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan told EW the importance of this scene from The Empire Strikes Back and how the whole movie led to this one point:

“All this energy and all this storytelling that proceeded it was aimed at this tiny spot,” Kasdan says of the scene. “It’s like if you were trying to get to Mars and you were one degree off, you wouldn’t get there. That’s what the scene was like for all of us. How do we get there at the perfect time, the perfect place, and have it just absolutely blow people’s minds? It was just extraordinary the size of the picture and the expectations people had for it. The filmmakers are focused the entire time on this one revelation, which we not only want to pull off in the best way possible, but we want to keep it hidden from the world to the release.”
empire strikes back behind the scenes gantry shot
The actual scene was a bit of a challenge for Mark Hamill as there were huge wind machines placed around the set causing the actor to struggle to hear David Prowse say his (all-be-it fake) lines.

And it was a good thing that the fake lines were used as it turned out the actual fake plot was leaked to a tabloid newspaper.  The newspapers were so desperate for Star Wars news that they were offering thousands of pounds in rewards.  I wonder who leaked that fake plot?

Thankfully, these were the days before the Internet and social media so the secret was kept until opening day.  Even Harrison Ford was surprised.   Hamill recalls Ford turning to him at the premiere and saying "Hey, you didn’t f—ing tell me that."
empire strikes back behind the scenes gantry shot

The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.


Popular posts from this blog

Did Paul Freeman Accidentally Eat A Fly In Raiders of the Lost Ark?

The Famous Indiana Jones Fly In Belloq's Mouth Scene.  Did It Really Happen? I've always wondered if Paul Freeman unintentionally consumed a fly in this scene in  Raiders of the Lost Ark ?  It's the scene where Indiana Jones shouts down to Bellosh...I mean Belloq and threatens to blow up the ark.  Did a fly go in his mouth? I remember watching this scene back in the early eighties and my ten year old mind thought he definitely had a snack while filming.  I recall talking about 'flygate' in my school playground at the time and the general consensus with my friends was that Freeman definitely had a sneaky snack. Paul Freeman talks about the famous 'fly' scene in an interview with  and settled 'flygate:' This is a bit of a dicey question so don’t get too upset. (Laughs) A movie’s always got bloopers in it, some have a lot, and some only have three or four. And the most remarkable blooper was right before the opening of th

Star Wars VII Movie Poster - Every End Is A New Beginning

Star Wars VII Movie Poster Just saw this Star Wars VII movie poster on Kyle Newman's Facebook fee d.  The poster is by  Lyndon Berresford and Paul Bateman.  I am loving this.  Who do you think the two characters are?  Lando and Leia?  Han and Leia's children? Have you seen other Star Wars VII movie posters?  Let me know. Rob Wainfur @welshslider

Pinewood Studios To Expand To The Usa

BBC News have reported that Pinewood Studios are to expand to the USA.  This is great news for the famous studio that is rich in movie history. UK film studio Pinewood Shepperton has announced plans to build its first sound stages in the United States. The Pinewood Atlanta complex will be built on 288 acres of land south of Atlanta, Georgia, as a joint venture with a US investment company. Georgia has been among the US states drawing film-making away from Hollywood with tax incentives in recent years. The deal is the latest sign of expansion at Pinewood, the home of the James Bond franchise. Earlier this month it announced a joint venture with a Chinese media group, potentially giving it access to the fast-growing Chinese market. Read the full article here. THE BEARDED TRIO ON FACEBOOK THE BEARDED TRIO ON TWITTER THE BEARDED TRIO ON GOOGLE+