The Making of "The Empire Strikes Back" is a 1980 documentary on the making of Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back created by Michel Parbot for Sygma Television. It saw very limited viewings and was considered mostly lost to the general public for several decades until released by a fan on Youtube in 2018.[1]

Legacy[edit | edit source]

TV listings for the Sci-Fi Channel referenced a documetary titled The Making of the Empire Strikes Back diffused on November 22, 1994[2], and later dates[3], but it was identified as being another similar documentary, SPFX: The Empire Strikes Back.[4]

The documentary was cited on a blog post from Daniel Wallace published on June 22, 2005.[5]

The elusive documentary came under scrutiny as Star Wars fan Darth Neo reached to other fans on the originaltrilogy.com forum in February 2007. Darth Neo claimed to own a "third generation copy" (with supporting screenshots) of Gary Kurtz's own copy, but would not released it to public because of a promise not to do so. His intent was to gather information about it, and to publish it on a website dedicated to Star Wars rare artefacts.[6] According to Jamie Benning (aka Jambe Davdar on originaltrilogy.com), creator of fan-documentaries Star Wars Begins, Building Empire and Returning to Jedi, Stephen J. Sansweet (Lucasfilm Head of Fan Relations at the time) acknowledged the existence of the documentary, and provided further details: it was a production from the United Kingdom, mostly made with a French crew, and probably only aired once; Lucasfilm only had one low-quality copy that was shown at an Australian convention.[7]

Footage from Parbot's documentary was used in European promotional material, according to Darth Neo. This included Telebingo, a Dutch show presented by Mies Bouwman,[8][9][10] and Temps X, a French show.[11][12] It also seems to share some footage with SPFX: The Empire Strikes Back, as Michel Parbot was credited on the other documentary as a cameraman.[13][14]

On January 5, 2012, the French fan website Mintinbox.net published a full dossier, the result of two years of research. The staff was able to obtain a copy of the documentary, and had also promised to their source not to release it, but provided a great number of screenshots nonetheless.[15] More than a year later, Mintinbox announced that they had restored the documentary with the help of Kevin Sempé. They were able to present and show the documentary on Celebration Europe II's Collector Stage, on July 27, 2013.[16][17]

On September 29, 2018, Adywan, a member of the originaltrilogy.com forum, announced he acquired a copy of the documentary.[18] He then published the video on Youtube for everyone to see on October 1.[1]

Some of the footage from the documentary was reused in 2020 in a behind the scenes video celebrating the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back.[19]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

Micherl Parbot (right) interviewing Carrie Fisher

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 YouTube.png The "Lost" Empire Strikes Back Documentary by Michel Parbot (1980) on the Adywan revisited YouTube channel (backup link)
  2. Lansing, Max. "The Sci-Fi Channel celebrates the holidays with a banquet of special events and exclusive presentations". Sci-Fi Entertainment. Vol. 1 #4, Sovereign Media, December 1994. ISSN 1075-8860. (web archive)
  3. U.S. Syfy Channel schedule for July 1995. innermind.com. Archived from the original on January 17, 2020. Retrieved on March 13, 2021.
  4. ReverendBeastly (2007-02-14). Info: The Making of The Empire Strikes Back (Michel Parbot) — Page 4. originaltrilogy.com. Archived from the original on March 15, 2021. Retrieved on March 15, 2021.
  5. StarWarsDotComBlogsLogoStacked.png "Star Wars: Sci-Fi or Space Fantasy?" – Continuity, Criticisms, and Captain Panaka, Daniel Wallace's StarWars.com Blog (content now obsolete; archived from the original) cite a line spoken by Irvin Kershner at 18:45.
  6. Darth Neo (2007-02-13). Info: The Making of The Empire Strikes Back (Michel Parbot) — Page 1. originaltrilogy.com. Archived from the original on March 13, 2021. Retrieved on March 13, 2021.
  7. Jambe Davdar (2007-02-18). Info: The Making of The Empire Strikes Back (Michel Parbot) — Page 6. originaltrilogy.com. Archived from the original on March 17, 2021. Retrieved on March 15, 2021. "Just got this word from Steve Sansweet via another contact:
    "It was actually a UK production with mostly French film crew. It probably aired only in the UK and only once. It was mostly about “Hoth.” LFL (Lucasfilm Ltd) has a copy which was taped from the screen once many years ago and played at an Australian convention. The quality truly sucked. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen bootleg copies around.""
  8. Darth Neo (2007-04-06). Info: The Making of The Empire Strikes Back (Michel Parbot) — Page 11. originaltrilogy.com. Archived from the original on March 26, 2021. Retrieved on March 26, 2021.
  9. YouTube.png Making Empire (dutch) 01 on the AgraphaFX YouTube channel (backup link)
  10. YouTube.png Making Empire (dutch) 02 on the AgraphaFX YouTube channel (backup link)
  11. Reportage – Interview Stephane Faucourt & Antoine Bardet – La French Touch (French). mintinbox.net (2015-11-03). Archived from the original on October 13, 2017. Retrieved on March 31, 2021.
  12. Dossier sf : L' empire contre attaque (French). INA. Archived from the original on March 31, 2021. Retrieved on March 31, 2021.
  13. SPFX: The Empire Strikes Back
  14. Darth Neo (2007-04-07). Info: The Making of The Empire Strikes Back (Michel Parbot) — Page 12. originaltrilogy.com. Archived from the original on March 26, 2021. Retrieved on March 26, 2021.
  15. Pierre (2012-01-05). “The Making of The Empire Strikes Back” par Michel Parbot (French/English). mintinbox.net. Archived from the original on January 22, 2021. Retrieved on March 31, 2021.
  16. Paul (2013-06-28). Celebration Europe II : Michel Parbot - The lost Documentary Restored (French). mintinbox.net. Archived from the original on October 31, 2015. Retrieved on March 31, 2021.
  17. Star Wars Celebration Europe II – On Stage & Panels (French/English). mintinbox.net. Archived from the original on March 31, 2021. Retrieved on March 31, 2021.
  18. Adywan (2018-09-29). Info: The Making of The Empire Strikes Back (Michel Parbot) — Page 22. originaltrilogy.com. Archived from the original on March 31, 2021. Retrieved on March 31, 2021. "Yes, i now have it. The quality, as i said, isn’t great. Not as clear as the clips that were posted by starwarsarchives but, as far as i can tell, it is the full documentary. I got it as an NTSC DVD VIDEO_TS folder and is only around 2.5gb in total. The original disc will be uploaded in the next few days. I have only skimmed through it at the moment so i’ll do a test burn to see if the DVD authoring has been done right and fix any problems with that first"
  19. SWYTlogo.png Celebrating 40 Years of Empire: Behind the Scenes on the official Star Wars YouTube channel (backup link)

External links[edit | edit source]

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