Why does The Empire Strikes Back matter? In BFI Classics Series's The Empire Strikes Back (Bloomsbury, 2020), Rebecca Harrison, a lecturer in Film and Television Studies at the University of Glasgow, tells the story of the film’s production and reception, and analyses the film’s on-screen representations. The book is framed through the idea of disruption, with The Empire Strikes Back discussed as a film that disrupted the industry, genre and cinematic conventions, and critical expectation. Moreover, the book disrupts conventional narratives of both the film and the Star Wars franchise more generally, for example centring the role of women in the history of Empire’s production. The book is essential reading as both a scholarly text, across and beyond humanities and media studies, and for any general reader interested in cinema and Star Wars.
Dave O'Brien is Chancellor's Fellow, Cultural and Creative Industries, at the University of Edinburgh's College of Art.