To this day, I can’t remember what I did. Left my bike out and the garage door unlocked? Could be. But I don’t know for sure. What I do remember was the punishment, handed down from my dad. I could not see The Empire Strikes Back.
This was devastating, as you can imagine. Everyone I knew was looking forward to this and couldn’t wait. We’d been talking about “Star Wars 2” for years. We all had the Boba Fett action figure and were dying to see what this cool looking guy did. We saw the article in Time magazine with the sneak photos including Han Solo looking like he was trapped in metal. I had to see this movie, but I couldn’t.
Instead, I had this comic adaptation (as well as any magazine that had photos in it). So I knew the movie backwards and forwards anyway, with one major exception: in the comic, Darth Vader’s revelation is treated more ambivalently. There’s a hint that it’s not necessarily the truth. I tried to argue this, but my friends said, “No, it’s pretty clear in the movie.”
It’s worth pointing out here that this was the first Star Wars comic I’d gotten in some time. I had bought the original Marvel version of the first movie, and an issue or two of the stories beyond the movie, but they just didn’t grab me. And after I got this one, I still didn’t continue buying them. I was crazy about Star Wars, but the comics just weren’t the real thing to me.
One day, before my punishment was up, my dad said to get my shoes on because we were going to the mall. I didn’t particularly want to go to the mall, but he insisted. We ended up seeing the movie. I don’t know why he had relented; perhaps he figured out that my cousin Trey and I had already seen it about four times while I was visiting relatives and was left with Trey to roam around the Natchez Mall at will.
Empire is regarded as the “best” of the movies, but I don’t agree and even as a kid I felt disappointed by it. The opening battle on Hoth is incredible, but after that, nothing much happens. You have the asteroid field and the lightsaber battle but also a lot of standing around and talking. All that “dark” and “mature” stuff is incredibly boring when you’re 12. And it bugged me that it didn’t have an end. I’d already had to wait three years (plus) for this movie, and they left it hanging? What the hell kind of cruel trick was that?
Nevertheless, it made for some cool action figures and toys, and I took to Yoda and Lando Calrissian, even though my t-shirt of the latter got me some pointed remarks from my Southern peers. Even disappointing Star Wars was better than none.
When did I get it? As soon as it was available in 1980..
Do I still have it? No. I’m not sure when I got rid of it.