Today is the 40th anniversary of my favorite movie of all time, The Empire Strikes Back. Funny thing, I’ve written about this movie so much since its 30th anniversary, I honestly don’t have a whole lot to add today. Even back on May 4th, I wrote a whole thing about the magical book Once Upon a Galaxy, which is a day by day diary about the making of The Empire Strikes Back that is (a) long out of print and (b) I can’t believe it exists.
(Though, if I had to recommend something else from the past, for The Empire Strikes Back 30th anniversary I interviewed the film’s director, Irvin Kershner. This wound up being his last interview before he passed away later that year. He made my favorite movie and to this day I can’t believe I got to do this.)
So, for the 40th anniversary, let’s keep it simple. One of my favorite tidbits about The Empire Strikes Back that not a lot people seem to realize is that in one of the film’s original main trailers, that was released in the fall of 1979, the upbeat, peppy, over-the-top voiceover is done by … Harrison Ford. Yes, I’m being serious.
What I love about this voiceover is that Ford is really going for it. Keep in mind, Ford is not really known for his wide-ranging animated vocal talents. His voiceover in Blade Runner is known for being one of the worst voiceovers in film history – though, that’s not entirely on Ford as he was pretty much tanking it on purpose in an attempt to sabotage the voiceover altogether since he and director Ridley Scott were forced to do it by the studio. It’s not a surprise the Blade Runner voiceover is pretty much lost to history today as it doesn’t appear on most home releases.
And proof of that is in this trailer for The Empire Strikes Back, because I don’t think I’ve ever heard Ford so … jubilant. He sounds like a really excited person who has no idea what the movie is about, even though he played a main character. And the way it ends, where his voice all of a sudden gets really deep as he says the title of the movie is just … great. Followed by, “Coming to your galaxy next summer.”
(Over the years I’ve probably watched this trailer for The Empire Strikes back at least 100 times and it never gets old.)
You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.