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Audience reaction to the reveal?

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Just curious, being of the wrong generation, I wanted to ask those of you who saw The Empire Strikes Back in the theaters back in 1980: what was audience reaction like for the Vader/Luke reveal?

I can only wonder what people would have said, done or felt back in the day before it became common knowledge.

Oh, if only I could go back and experience the trilogy on their respective opening days. I'm downloading the famous bootleg of Star Wars from 1977, Pre-ANH. Quality's supposed to be terrible, but I'm curious about audience reaction. That, to me, helps a theatrical film experience if it's a tentpole movie like a SW flick or Batman, Superman, etc...

I can live with 80% of the SE additions. I even like the PT (overall). But not releasing the OOT in respectable condition? That's unacceptable.

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I saw it in 1982, so by then, everybody knew already- including me (reminds me of that episode of the Simpsons....LOL!) But, I hear that jaws dropped when they first found out in 1980.

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Honestly, I didn't know when I first saw it in 1995. I guess I was lucky... except that my stupid mother kept telling me while I was watching the movie, "I'm pretty sure that Darth Vader is Luke's father." Thankfully, I was so young and so not trusting about my mom's knowledge of anything that I flat out rejected it as being true. And so when I saw it, it was still a shock. I was about to eat crow, but I told myself that it's possible that it could have been a lie.

There is no lingerie in space…

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don’t exist… then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks… and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming… Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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It was? BLAST!

I can live with 80% of the SE additions. I even like the PT (overall). But not releasing the OOT in respectable condition? That's unacceptable.

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I think the ANH 1977 bootleg is actually a telecine. But there are plenty of audio recordings of audience reaction (lots of cheering when death star blows).

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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I was there in 1980. It was one of the most exciting "events" of my life so far, and it was pretty amazing to be watching a new film with all of the characters from Star Wars.

Back then, sequels weren't formulaic, so to see the heroes losing, especially after such a triumphic victory in Star Wars, was far out.

Then, towards the end of the film, was this big reveal. I was only 6 years old, but I clearly remember the audience gasping, and there was silence - in a Star Wars sequel. Amazing.

I remember thinking, "Vader is the bad guy, he's a liar and just trying to trick Luke into following him." Made sense at the time.

See, back then we didn't read too much into the film(s). They were simple, enjoyable stories, not dissected in minutae on the internet...I seriously believe that if the Prequels came out before the age of mass communication, they'd be a lot more enjoyable. People's perceptions tend to influence our own - so much so that our opinion becomes that of the masses.

It was a simpler time, and man oh man was it fun...
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I was 10 in 1980 when Empire came out. I remember a kid coming to school after seeing it and telling everybody that Darth Vader was Luke's father. I wasn't sure I believed him. After I read the novel, I knew it was true.

--SKot

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Oh man does this bring back memories. I have two distinct memories of my first time seeing ESB in theaters in 1980. Firstly, I remember how people in the theater were so taken with Yoda. To this day I can still hear the audience reaction to his first appearance on screen,
(awwww, he's so cute) and their reaction at learning that he was in fact YODA...the man, not just a cute little creature. Because, back then, when SW was good, important story elements like that were surprises...as they were meant to be.

The, "I am your Father" moment was a dramatic and shocking moment in the theater..a real socker of a moment. But, as we all walked out of the theater, I don't think we all believed it. As an eight year old I was ecstatic with the whole movie, but I remember explaining it to my parents, who were waiting outside the theater to pick us up, that Vader was probably lying to Luke to get him to turn to the dark side. I was totally unsure of it all until Jedi came out. It was a topic of much heated debate at school I can tell you. Ahhh, memories!
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Amazing having to wait three years to get confirmation.

I only grew up with the prequel trilogy in theatres, and I knew what was coming, so we didn't really have the same kind of cliffhanger experience that the older fans had.

There is no lingerie in space…

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don’t exist… then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks… and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming… Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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My parents are great. When they first showed me the tapes of Star Wars, they refused to give stuff away. I remember being shocked, but I don't remember if I thought he was lying. My dad's reaction when HE saw it in theaters was what most people though: Vader is a stinking liar.

Like GafferTape, the only Star Wars movies I got to see in theaters was the prequels...I don't care about theater sized jar jar, I want to hear Vader breathe in the kind of sound only a theater can provide.
Watch DarthEvil's Who Framed Darth Vader? video on YouTube!

You can also access the entire Horriffic Violence Theater Series from my Channel Page.
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Well, I did get to see the *coughspecialcough* editions in theatres, but they (thankfully) weren't my introduction to Star Wars.

There is no lingerie in space…

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don’t exist… then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks… and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming… Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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I can't remember specifics. The whole third act was like child abuse and I was punchdrunk. "I am your father" was part of it, but also Luke got his ass kicked and his hand cut off, and I think I thought Han was dead. Luke and Han were my heroes and they were practically invincible in the first movie, and this was all really shocking. And then it was over! "Come back in 3 YEARS kid!"
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So I take it it wasn't a very positive experience for you?

There is no lingerie in space…

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don’t exist… then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks… and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming… Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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I'm glad. After all, it's an awesome movie!

I don't know. I find so many people who say that Empire's their favorite now, but as kids it was just too dark and too much heroes losing for them at the time, but it was always my favorite. I like the heroes having to struggle. I like it a bit darker. I like some bittersweet endings. When I was a kid, and I'd make up stories to play out on the playground when no one was around, I had plenty of scenarios where me and my other heroes ended up battered and bleeding and getting by by the skin of our teeth. I guess I'm just weird like that.

There is no lingerie in space…

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don’t exist… then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks… and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming… Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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Originally posted by: MagnoliaFan
A lot of people argued that it was BS, a lie or a trick by Vader.



Indeed, that’s what I remember as well or at least after the film that’s what I remember people talking about. During the movie the sound of the film was pretty over-powering, but I do remember a few gasps and a couple of people exclaiming, “what did he say?”

The reveal was the item of debate at recess for a long time. After Jedi it was an even bigger issue on the playground with lots of “I told you so” and “no you didn’t.” I can remember one of those discussions devolving into fisticuffs. Well there were deeper reasons, but ROTJ was the catalyst for the fight.


"Look, going good against bashers/gushers is one thing. Going good against the living? That's something else."
- Darth-Adroit

“I also thought George could be turned back to the good side. It couldn't be done. He is more CGI now than story. Twisted and evil.”
- Darth-Adroit
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A Big Shock and silance ... what the hell ?? darth vader is lukes father ?????????? :
May the force be wth you .........
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My parents were also nice in not giving anything away when fisrt sat down one boring summer day with these rather old looking tapes. It was around 1994 or 1995 when I was in maybe 2nd grade. When the reveal came, I had no clue about it. I never heard much about Star Wars in my life before that to really care. I was totally screwed up because I'd never been presented such a downer movie ending in my short life. I never actually thought he was lying about it because it just seemed to work for the story (which probably comes from first watching all of them on the same day with ANH still very fresh in my mind).

But now a whole new generation will have these movies shown to them I-VI and unless they are totally unable to pay attention for the PT (thanks to it being too complicated and disjointed for the average 6-7 year old) then the Vader reveal won't strike them as anything special, just another thing that you know but Luke doesn't (because it's not about Luke right........).

Hey look, a bear!

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If I have kids, they will see the movies IV-VI and then I-III. I refuse to ruin the experience by showing them I-VI.


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Same here. I don't know why anybody would want to introduce them I-VI. Oh, wait, because George said so, and he's the man we all adore and worship, according to Rick McCallum.

But, geez, you guys all had such nice parents who don't ruin movies for you. Why the hell did I get the short end of the stick?

There is no lingerie in space…

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don’t exist… then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks… and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming… Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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Originally posted by: Marvolo
If I have kids, they will see the movies IV-VI and then I-III. I refuse to ruin the experience by showing them I-VI.
If I have kids they will see the movies IV-VI. The end. Obviously I can't stop them watching I-III at some point in their lives, but it won't be me showing them.

War does not make one great.

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Same here YIYF. I won't even have those films in the house. All the kids I see think the original trilogy is all flawed because of things the prequels say, and they won't accept the fact that the prequels came out last. They also think the prequels are better because they have more "action." I patiently tell them that two guys waving lightsabers around and doing things phisically impossible even in the Star Wars universe isn't action. No kid of mine will be introduced to Star Wars with the prequels.
Watch DarthEvil's Who Framed Darth Vader? video on YouTube!

You can also access the entire Horriffic Violence Theater Series from my Channel Page.
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Actually, my nephew is 7 and his favorite of all the movies by far is Return of the Jedi.
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Originally posted by: Darth_Evil
Same here YIYF. I won't even have those films in the house. All the kids I see think the original trilogy is all flawed because of things the prequels say, and they won't accept the fact that the prequels came out last. They also think the prequels are better because they have more "action." I patiently tell them that two guys waving lightsabers around and doing things phisically impossible even in the Star Wars universe isn't action. No kid of mine will be introduced to Star Wars with the prequels.


Ugh, that makes me nauseous to think that people actually think that.

There is no lingerie in space…

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don’t exist… then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks… and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming… Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.