UPDATE 5/26/20: Industrial Light & Magic has added legendary visual effects artist Phil Tippett to the roster for this special live-stream event. Tippett was instrumental in bringing the groundbreaking effects of the original Star Wars trilogy to the big screen. He helped develop go-motion animation for the Tauntaun creatures and Imperial AT-AT Walkers in The Empire Strikes Back.


The 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back (which was first released into theaters on May 21, 1980) has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop celebrating the iconic Star Wars follow-up, long considered one of the best sequels ever made.

Today Lucasfilm’s in-house visual effects department Industrial Light & Magic announced a live-stream event to take place next week on Thursday, May 28 “in celebration of the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back.”

What’s happening:

  • On Thursday, May 28, Industrial Light & Magic (AKA ILM) will host a live-stream celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back.
  • The first guest announced for this live stream is Joe Johnston, who began his career as a visual effects artist on the first Star Wars film, designed the armor for Boba Fett in Empire, and went on to direct a long list of popular movies such as Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, The Rocketeer, Jumanji, and Captain America: The First Avenger.
  • It is assumed more guests will be announced for the event over the coming week. As that happens, we’ll continue to update this post with new information.

What they’re saying:

  • Joe Johnston: “George [Lucas] wanted a new trooper. The original idea behind Boba Fett was that he was going to be an army of super troopers. There was going to be 40,000 of these guys. The outfit came back from the UK [production office] and George said, ‘Instead of an army of super troopers, this is going to be a bounty hunter. He’s sort of a bad guy but he’s not on the Empire’s side and he’s not on the rebels’ side. He’s like a free agent, and he goes around the galaxy arresting people and bringing them back to justice or bringing them back to Jabba the Hutt or whoever. He’s a mercenary. He’ll do anything for money, and his outfit, the way he looks, should reflect that.’”

To tune in to ILM’s “unforgettable” The Empire Strikes Back 40th anniversary live-stream event, be sure to visit the company’s official YouTube channel at 4:00 PM Pacific time on Thursday, May 28.