'The Empire Strikes Back': 40 Years Later, Fans Are Still Laughing at 'That' Iconic Kiss

There’s no question that A New Hope is a classic film that launched one of the most successful film franchises in history: Star Wars.

But many fans feel as though the sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, was the superior film. That movie has it all: several dramatic subplots, thrilling chase scenes, and a conflicted ending where the hero barely makes it out alive. The film also features quite a bit of romance. 

There’s one “romantic” scene early in the film that 40 years later, still makes fans laugh. Let’s take a look back at “that” iconic kiss that still has Star Wars fans talking. 

The chemistry between the main characters of ‘Star Wars’

One of the reasons Star Wars has endured as a film series people love is because they loved the characters from the original trilogy. Yes, it had groundbreaking special effects for its time. The story also holds up as being simple yet effective.

There’s a reason Joseph Conrad’s “hero’s journey” (on which George Lucas modeled Star Wars) is repeated over and over. Luke Skywalker is a young man who wants more out of life, to pursue adventure and conquer evil. What moviegoer can’t relate to that? 

The chemistry of the main characters is why fans fell in love with the film. They loved how the three interacted throughout the trilogy, but most of all in the initial film.

Han, Luke, and Leia bicker, they work together, and they eventually celebrate. Their mutual relationship runs the gamut of emotions, and fans of the film are more than happy to go along for the ride. 

Of course, each character within that trio has a different relationship. Han and Luke are best friends. Han and Leia are love interests. And Luke and Leia are brother and sister. But as the films developed, that wasn’t always the case. 

The development of Luke and Leia’s relationship

While Luke and Leia are famously siblings, the original draft of The Empire Strikes Back deviated from this. Huffington Post reported that in the script’s earlier draft, it was made clear that Luke and Leia were not brother and sister. 

That’s not to say Luke doesn’t have a sister. In the original script, writer Leigh Brackett penned a scene where the ghost of Anakin Skywalker visits Luke (this was also before Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker were the same person).

He tells Luke of a sister but refuses to reveal her identity. One of the film’s producers, Gary Kurtz, also bluntly stated that the two originally weren’t related: 

“She’s not his sister. That dropped in to wrap up everything neatly. His sister was someone else way over on the other side of the galaxy and she wasn’t going to show up until the next episode.”

This makes it all the more humorous when fans look back on one iconic scene that left many scratching their heads. 

Why ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ fans still laugh about ‘that’ iconic kiss, 40 years later

Because Luke and Leia weren’t related at that point, Empire features a scene in the first act where Leia kisses Luke. On the lips. In a decidedly romantic way. The scene is hilarious in retrospect for a few reasons. One is that it’s clearly done to get under Han’s skin. There’s clear romantic tension between Leia and him, so she’s antagonizing him. 

Another reason is C-3P0’s reaction. One fan on Reddit pointed out that he turns to look at Han to see how he reacted: 

“Good acting and directing by Daniels and Kershner. How 3P0 looks back at Solo for his reaction is the icing on the cake.”

Most fans understand that the kiss was a product of the story’s direction not really being decided yet, but that doesn’t make it any less funny in retrospect. 

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