‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and Harrison Ford at the ArcLight on May 19

April 16, 2010 | 2:25 p.m.


A yearlong Lucasfilm charity campaign called “The Empire Gives Back” begins with the ArcLight event, where Ford will be interviewed on stage by Hero Complex blogger Geoff Boucher. 

Carrie Fisher Peter Mayhew and Harrison Ford on set of Empire Strikes Back

This is a longer version of my article in Friday’s Los Angeles Times…

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of “The Empire Strikes Back,Lucasfilm is planning a yearlong charity campaign that kicks off in the U.S. on May 19 with the hottest fanboy ticket of the year: A one-night-only digital screening of the 1980 “Star Wars” sequel at the ArcLight Hollywood and an on-stage Q&A with Harrison Ford.

Empire 30

The ArcLight screening will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a cause that persuaded the 67-year-old Hollywood icon to participate despite his long-standing reluctance to revisit the “Star Wars” universe and his role as rakish interstellar smuggler Han Solo.

Although almost every other cast member from the George Lucas films has worked the convention circuit or made appearances at themed film festivals and fan celebrations, Ford has shown little interest in revisiting his cinematic adventures with Jedi knights, wookiees and droids.

Earlier this year, while doing press for the medical drama “Extraordinary Measures,” he practically groaned when asked if he would return to the role as a voice actor in an animated or motion-capture project. “Han Solo was very good to me at a certain point in my career, but I’m done with him,” he told a television crew.

That’s not to suggest that Ford isn’t proud of his work in “Star Wars” or unaware of its massive impact on his Hollywood trajectory. The space-opera and the Indiana Jones films established Ford as a movie star of the highest order; at one point, the list of the five highest-grossing movies of all time included four films starring Ford. 

“Empire Strikes Back” is viewed by many fans as the most compelling of the six “Star Wars” live-action feature films. It introduced Yoda, Boba Fett and Lando Calrissian and was visually striking, with settings on an ice planet, a swamp world and a floating cloud metropolis. It also revealed that Darth Vader was the father of Luke Skywalker, the signature moment in the family melodrama the sits at the very heart of the intergalactic epic.

Ticket for the ArcLight screening are $100 or $175 for “premiere seating” and on sale now at the St. Jude’s website.

[For fun, here’s the original trailer for the film…]

The ArcLight event, which is sponsored by Junk Food Clothing, is the beginning of “The Empire Gives Back” campaign, which will raise money for a number of charities. The schedule of events includes “Empire” screenings May 7-8 at the Field Museum’s Ernst & Young Theater in Chicago and auctions and other events that tie thematically into the 1980 film. Information on the programs can be found on the “Star Wars” website.

“’Star Wars’ has received such an amazing show of love and support throughout the years, from fans all over the world,” said Mich Chau, president and chief operating officer of Lucasfilm. “This anniversary gives us a wonderful opportunity to give back to our fans, and to work with some truly worthy organizations in a combined effort to support those in need.”

— Geoff Boucher


George Lucas 2006

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J.J. Abrams: “Trek” still in the shadow of Lucas

“Star Wars,” “Trek” and “Galactica”: What’s next?

John Dykstra’s favorite “Star Wars” scene

Top photo: Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and Harrison Ford (Han Solo) during a casual moment while shooting “The Empire Strikes Back.” (Lucasfilm) Bottom: George Lucas (Lucasfilm)


9 Responses to ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and Harrison Ford at the ArcLight on May 19

  1. JoJo says:

    The link in your article to purchase tickets doesn't work. Could you please provide us with another one? Thanks!

  2. utzworld says:

    $100? In the midst of recession? It ain't that serious!

  3. Geoff Boucher says:

    Utzworld, yes it is a steep ticket BUT considering the fact that it is a one-time, one-of-a-kind event and a very, very good cause, it's a price quite a few people will be willing to pay.

  4. Ellen says:

    Ridiculously cool. :) And for such a wonderful cause… couldn't be better! :D

  5. Matt Milkovich says:

    Harrison Ford might be "reluctant" to revisit his Han Solo days, but I've seen him interviewed in several Star Wars retrospectives. He still seems fond of the franchise.

  6. cinnamon barks says:

    Are you sure that's the real trailer? Why does it have Harrison Ford's voice?

  7. Shin Ra says:

    Lucas needs to release all six movies on blueray already…

  8. Tab Cocovillea says:

    Sounds like this should be a wonderful screening, although regrettably not the original 1980 cut but the tinkered with computer graphics version Lucas foisted upon the world after he started fretting about little technical inconsistencies between the films and new scenes that added characters for no reason except to sell more toys.

  9. bill999 says:

    That's totally Harrison Ford's voice! Awesome. Guess Lucas figured he could save a couple bucks as long as he had someone who could read out loud on the payroll.
    Also, what's that little glimpse of Threepio ripping that paper off the wall. I don't remember that at all…

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