Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back is the 179th episode in Screen Junkies comedy series Honest Trailers. It was written by Spencer Gilbert, Joe Starr, Dan Murrell and Andy Signore. It was narrated by Jon Bailey as Epic Voice Guy. It parodies the second film in the original Star Wars trilogy, Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980). It was published on December 13, 2016, to coincide with the theatrical release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It is 6 minutes 4 seconds long. It has been viewed over 4.0 million times. It is notable for being one of the few Honest Trailers to be wholly positive towards the film it satirizes.
"In a world where sequels and reboots coast by on nostalgia alone, enjoy a sequel that takes everything you love about Star Wars and actually builds on it." ~ Honest Trailers - Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
The greatest film of the original trilogy, one of the best sequels ever made, and the movie Star Wars fans love the most just so happens to be the one where George Lucas was involved the least. Hmmm.
The Empire Strikes Back
You loved the fun-filled space adventure where evil is vanquished and everyone gets a medal (Star Wars). Yay! Now, watch the Rebellion get crushed, the comic relief (Han Solo) get frozen, and the ultimate evil tell the hero who's your daddy (Darth Vader: I am your father.), in a sequel so dark, it's become the lazy shorthand for anytime a franchise turns even slightly to the dark side (shows article headlines comparing various movie sequels to The Empire Strikes Back). Yeah, well, this is actually the Empire Strikes Back of Honest Trailers, so there! Nyah!
Witness a movie full of excellent directing, great acting, brilliant dialogue, gorgeous music, and iconic moments that will stay with you for a lifetime, but, uh...let's see, what to nitpick here, uh...sometimes they pronounce Han Solo's name different (shows clips of Leia pronouncing Han's name in different ways). Ha ha! You suck, perfect movie! Ahhh, this is gonna be a tough one, isn't it?
Revisit all of your favorite characters three years after they shot their balls into the egg hole (shows Luke firing two blasters into the Death Star's exhaust port in the first Star Wars film), like Princess Leia, who's proof that Lucas either didn't have these movies planned out as much as he claims, or he was into some pretty weird stuff (shows clips of Leia kissing Luke); Han Solo, a charming smuggler who's not afraid to make a point with his hands (shows clips of Han pointing his finger); and Luke Skywalker, the magical moisture farmer who's no longer a whiny brat. Now he's just dumb, whether he's crashing his X-Wing into a swamp, getting tricked into a hole, running out of a warm cave to freeze to death, losing a fight to slow-moving pieces of furniture, or ignoring the advice of the last living Jedi.
Yoda: Luke, you must complete the training.
Luke: (sighs) I can't keep the vision out of my head. They're my friends; I gotta help them.
Well, at least they have a spare (Leia).
In a world where sequels and reboots coast by on nostalgia alone, enjoy a sequel that takes everything you love about Star Wars and actually builds on it, adding all new worlds like Hoth, a planet made of ice; Dagobah, a planet made of snakes; and Bespin, a planet made of matte paintings -- each one of them full of amazing all-new characters, like Lando Calrissian, a gambler who won a mining company in a card game, I think...?...Boba Fett, the biggest movie badass with the least amount of screen time; and of course, Yoda, the Jedi master who trains Luke in the ancient art of, uhhh, entering spooky caves, not trying anything (Yoda: There is no try.), and flipping for no reason. Wait a second, these pointless gymnastics remind me of someone. (shows Yoda flipping around during a lightsaber battle with Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones) That's where the prequels got all the dumb flipping around from? Whoa, mind blown.
So strap in for the Star Wars movie that's so good, they barely touched it in the special editions, representing the absolute peak of the franchise, when the prequels could still be good...
Mark Hamill: Then we go back twenty years and we do the story of young Darth Vader and young, the young Alec Guinness character (Obi-Wan); and in the third film, which precedes Star Wars, y'see...
Sarah Greene: Like a prequel?
Mark Hamill: That's right.
...they had an actual end date in sight (shows a clip from an interview setting an end date of 2001 for the Star Wars series), and people didn't take these make-believe characters so frickin' seriously.
Billy Dee Williams: Han Solo, and Princess Leia, and, uh, and, uh, the Wookie, and, uh, and, uh, Cee...
Jane Pauley: 3-CPO.
Billy Dee Williams: 3-CPO.
Starring The Wookie (Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca); Three Seepio (Anthony Daniels as C-3PO); Cool Hand, Luke (Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker); Rey's Mom or Aunt or Something (Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa); Hand Pointo (Harrison Ford as Han Solo); Worst. Kinder Egg. Ever (David Prowse and James Earl Jones as Darth Vader); Adultish Gambino (Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian); The Dude from the Holiday Special (Jeremy Bulloch and Jason Wingreen as Boba Fett); The Hardest Level in the Rogue Squadron N64 Game (shows Wedge Antilles wrapping a cable around an AT-AT's legs); and Run, Run, Run, Jump, I Can Be Your Backpack While You Run (Frank Oz as Yoda).
The Empire Strikes Back...of Star Wars
Like father, like son, I guess.
Darth Vader (in Revenge of the Sith): NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
- Screen Junkies has been completely positive to only a few other films, including Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Die Hard. However, they have been largely positive to dozens.
- Screen Junkies have produced Honest Trailer for every film in the Star Wars film series: A New Hope, Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens, Rogue One, The Last Jedi, Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Spinoffs.
- An Honest Trailer Commentary for this episode was recorded and was available on the Screen Junkies Plus until the website/app was discontinued. Screen Junkies don't currently have any way of releasing the video.
Honest Trailers - Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back has a 97.8% approval rating from YouTube viewers. Reviews of this Honest Trailer largely focused on Screen Junkies highly positive take on the film. Outer Place observed that "the best nitpicks they can come up with are that the characters don't always pronounce Han Solo's name the same way, Han likes to point at stuff, and Luke 'loses a fight against slow-moving furniture.'" Uproxx also remarked on the tone of the Honest Trailer, noting that the "reliable snark generators behind Honest Trailers" had ditched "their usual brand of sarcasm for what’s essentially a gushing love letter to Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back." Uproxx questioned if the Honest Trailer was actually 'honest,' noting that Screen Junkies' "evaluation of the perpetually gushed over space opera still pokes fun at the subject matter at hand, but maybe our video guide is not being as 100% “honest” about this particularly movie as say Finding Dory." However, Uproxx also noted this approach "doesn't hurt the entertainment value" of the video.
Movieweb wrote "it is usually a little more fun to watch an Honest Trailer when they take on a terrible, or at least divisive movie. But it is pretty fantastic to see Star Wars: The Empire Strikes back holds up after all of these years, even under one of the most intense forms of modern movie criticism that exists." The Hollywood Reporter highlighted Screen Junkies' use of "archival footage of news coverage and old interviews showing a world where people didn't take these imaginary characters quite so seriously" and suggested it revealed how much "fandom has changed in the intervening years."
Screen Rant observed that because the film itself is difficult to mock, Screen Junkies had produced a video that included more sophisticated criticisms. Screen Rant lauded Screen Junkies for focusing their comedic critique on the cultural impact of the film, writing:
By focusing their humor on the impact of the movie rather than the movie itself, Honest Trailers does manage to put Empire into perspective. The hits begin immediately with pointing out—as so many have done before them—that creator George Lucas had the least amount of involvement in the making of this film. They then lampoon the fact that The Empire Strikes Back is so good that it has become a code used to indicate when a franchise takes even a slight dark turn.... For the most part, however, even when they’re doing their best to lampoon the film, Honest Trailers gives Empire its due reverence, pointing out multiple times how amazing it is and even admitting that some of their jokes are a bit of a reach. The effect is pure Honest Trailers gold, however, and shows just how funny these guys can be. (James Roberts, December 13, 2016, Screen Rant).
== Production Credits ==
Voiceover Narration by Jon Bailey
Title design by Robert Holtby
Executive Producer - Andy Signore
Edited by Bruce Guido and TJ Nordaker.
- Are You Prepared To Get ‘Honest’ About Darth Vader And ‘The Empire Strikes Back?’ - Uproxx article
- The Empire Strikes Back Gets an Honest Trailer - Screen Rant article
- EVEN HONEST TRAILERS CAN’T FIND FAULT WITH THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK - Nerdist article
- Empire Strikes Back Honest Trailer Goes Soft on Star Wars Classic - MovieWeb article
- 'Empire Strikes Back' Honest Trailer: Best 'Star Wars' Movie Involved George Lucas the Least - The Hollywood Reporter article
- 'Empire Strikes Back' Finally Gets an Honest Trailer - Outer Places article