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Empire's 50 Greatest Movie Sequels | The follow-ups that achieve greatness in their own right

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Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
DIRECTED BY IRVIN KERSHNER
RELEASED: 1980

Why's it so good? The best sequels open out the original - or turn it on its head and change the rules. By that measure, Empire is one of the greats. This is the point where Star Wars went from being popcorn fun to something mythical and able to inspire 30 years (and counting) of utter devotion. And it had the courage to give us that dark, unresolved ending - pretty bold for a summer blockbuster.

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
How does it stack up to the original? Many prefer it to Star Wars; but that's a question of taste. What's certain is that it gives us more great lines, introduces some fantastic characters - say hello, Yoda and Lando - and signals that this Rebellion is serious with the showstopping battle on Hoth.

Glaring error: Irvin Kershner originally turned down the chance to direct, not relishing the job of making a sequel to the most popular film ever. Thankfully, he reconsidered.


GAP BETWEEN SEQUEL AND ORIGINAL: 36 MONTHS


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