The Empire Strikes Back is celebrating its 40th anniversary today. To honor the occasion, Lucasfilm has debuted a brand new poster for what many still consider to be the greatest Star Wars movie ever made. The image fits right alongside the legacy of iconic posters from throughout the history of the franchise.
The poster sees Darth Vader at its center emerging from his chamber. He is flanked by Tie Fighters and AT-ATs on either side. Below him at the center is a preview of what’s to come later in the movie, as he crosses lightsabers with Luke Skywalker, who is unaware that he’s duking it out with his father. The poster was shared by the official Star Wars social media accounts with the following message.
“Impressive. Most impressive. Happy 40th anniversary, #TheEmpireStrikesBack! We’re celebrating with this incredible new poster art by artist @Cakes_Comics. What’s your favorite ESB moment? #ESB40.”
For now, it doesn’t seem that the poster is available for purchase anywhere. But that could easily change in the future. However, Matt Ferguson, taking to Twitter, revealed that Hot Topic is selling shirts with his poster design featured on them. In a post sharing his one-sheet for the movie, Ferguson expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to make his mark on Episode V.
“Happy 40th birthday #TheEmpireStrikesBack! Here’s my new official one sheet poster for the film. It was SUCH a pleasure & an honour making this #StarWars art for Lucasfilm and Disney. I should be able to share more next week as well #ESB40.”
The Empire Strikes Back had the unenviable task of having to follow up the original Star Wars, which had been released three years earlier in 1977. Defying all expectations, George Lucas’ legendary sci-fi blockbuster became the biggest movie of all time up to that point. Lucas took a step back for the sequel, bringing in Irvin Kershner to direct. The result was the stuff of legend. The sequel upped the action, injected a ton of character development and world building, as well as giving us one of the most iconic lines in cinematic history with “I am your father.” Not to mention the introduction of Yoda. It also delivered an all-timer of a cliffhanger, paving the way for Return of the Jedi.
It proved to be a tremendous critical and commercial success. The Empire Strikes Back earned $547 million at the box office against a reported budget of $18 million. While other movies in the series have grossed more, they also cost an awful lot more to produce. After all these years, two more trilogies, a couple of spin-offs, several animated shows and even a live-action series with The Mandalorian, in the eyes of a great many fans, this still remains the crown jewel of the Star Wars galaxy. Be sure to check out the brand new poster from the official Star Wars Twitter account for yourself.