There has been an unprecedented amount of leaks available for the latest Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, including spoilers for all the twists and plot points. This made me think of The Empire Strikes Back, with the famous twist that

Darth Vader is Luke's father

I'm aware that there was a lot of secrecy during production about this twist with only a handful of people knowing about it. But once the film was finalized and especially when it was available for reviewers screenings, the secret would be more wildly known.

In an age before the internet, was The Empire Strikes Back's major twist leaked to the public in any way?

  • 1
    Leaks You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.
    – cde
    Dec 18, 2015 at 3:31
  • 2
    @cde Is there a better word to use? Dec 18, 2015 at 4:30
  • Flagging this to be closed since it is mainly opinion-based, but as someone who was 12 years old when I saw the film a few days after it was released in New York City (key point: media city), few people in the media talked about the “secret” in any way. There was no video, no Internet and the main way that plot point “leaked” was via casual word of mouth between friends and such. In contrast, I have friends on Facebook chiding me for predicting who was related to who and who might die based on my theories from trailers, but honestly these “twists” seems childish compared to when ESB came out. Dec 18, 2015 at 6:31
  • 2
    This question on SFF:SE might interest you; Exactly how secret was the reveal in The Empire Strikes Back?
    – user7812
    Dec 18, 2015 at 8:25
  • 1
    One further point to tack onto @JakeGould's comments: I was 10 when it came out, but despite there being some indication of its usage in the early 70s, the very word "spoiler" was not really A Thing like it is today.
    – Yorik
    Dec 18, 2015 at 21:40

1 Answer 1


No. Until the first screening, no one knew what was coming other than George Lucas, Mark Hamil, James Earl Jones, and Irving Kirschner. My father told me that when they saw it in theaters, you could hear the wind sucked out of the room. In the bonus disc for the original trilogy, James Earl Jones said that Lucas had pulled him and Hamil into a room, told them that they would know this secret, and that only Irvin (director) knew of what was going on. Jones said "He's lying" (referring to the line), not understanding how they were going to make the story work. He said the line-"Obi Wan killed your father" while on set, then added the real line later.

Star Wars has had very few leaks-thankfully, those on set seem to understand the joy of movies and not knowing what is coming is a big part of the thrill of watching a film.

  • 1
    This answer would be better if you could find a video of the James Earl Jones interview on YouTube or write out a transcript of the conversation. Nov 28, 2016 at 16:16
  • Jame Earl Jones didn't say any line on set - David Prowse, the man in the suit, spoke the lines on set. I heard that he was given the line "Obi Wan killed your father" (I thought it was "was your father" but "killed" makes more sense for Lukes reaction) because Prowse was suspected of leaking secrets to the press.
    – Mr_Thyroid
    Nov 28, 2016 at 18:41
  • JEJ never was on the set, if I'm not mistaken. He knew what the line was because he was told to say that in confidence. Nov 30, 2016 at 14:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .