You might know that today marks the 30 anniversary of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK’s release. Gee… what more is there to be said about one of the highest-grossing blockbusters of all-time (even when adjusted for inflation)? I could write about it how it took the series in a darker direction, how it’s often regarded as one of the few sequels that surpasses the original, how rad Boba Fett was… but that’s all been covered. At length.
What fascinates me the most about ESB is what it represents in regard to the individual artist’s vision. A lot of people forget that George Lucas is an independent filmmaker (the most successful in the world, to be sure) and ESB was his first foray into independent production. He financed it through loans and his own earnings from A NEW HOPE - - which anybody in entertainment will tell you is an absurd risk to take. It paid off, of course, solidifying possibly the only blockbuster, multi-media empire that’s directed by an individual artist - - the original creator, no less.
== TEASER ==
What I love about indy comics is how personal the creations are, how closely you can associate the work with the artist. HELLBOY is Mike Mignola, SIN CITY is Frank Miller, MADMAN is Mike Allred, for example. You can see them in their work, and watch as they change with time. The decisions behind most all blockbuster-size movie you see, however, are made by a corporate committees and they’re notorious for nixing ideas. I’m sure if EMPIRE STRIKES BACK had been produced in such a fashion, it probably wouldn’t have the “downer” ending, for example, that it’s so famous for.
Believe it or not, ESB's production has similarities to KICK-ASS's, too. Millar and Vaughn went the indy route and raised their own funding (and let’s always emphasize how risky that is) because no studio was going to approve of, well… Hit Girl. That was their vision, not a committee’s. And that’s what I’ve always found so appealing about the STAR WARS “empire” that followed the success of ESB. Whether fans love or hate where the series has gone since, all the decisions were Lucas’ alone. The whole thing’s as personal to him as KICK-ASS is to Millar, as HELLBOY is to Mignola, as SIN CITY is to Miller.