Behind the Scenes: The Shining, Goodfellas, Edward Scissorhands, Empire Strikes Back & Indiana Jones

Behind the scenes photos from The Shining, Goodfellas, Edward Scissorhands, Empire Strikes Back, The Great Gatsby & Indiana Jones. Jack Nicholson goofing around on the set of “The Shining” Robert DeNiro & Joe Pesci filming the Billy Batts bar beating scene from “Goodfellas” Tim Burton filming Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder on the set of […]

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Great Scene: “Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back”

Luke confronts a phantasm of Darth Vader… and his own Shadow.

I would argue the best Star Wars movie is The Empire Strikes Back (1980). And one of the reasons is because it trafficked in the some of the most interesting ideas in the SW saga, in particular the relationship of Luke Skywalker to the “dark side” of the Force.

This scene occurs on Dagobah, where Luke has been in training with aged Jedi master Yoda, learning the ways of the Force, and signifies a major turning point for young Luke — as he is forced to confront his own shadow self. It’s a scene thick with metaphorical and symbolic import, and I feel confident in saying that Carl Jung himself would have been proud of it.


With Yoda strapped to his back, Luke climbs up one of the many thick
vines that grow in the swamp. Panting heavily, he continues his course
– climbing, flipping through the air, jumping over roots, and racing in
and out of the heavy ground fog.

Run! Yes. A Jedi’s strength
flows from the Force. But beware
of the dark side. Anger… fear…
aggression. The dark side of
the Force are they.
Easily they flow, quick to join
you in a fight. If once you
start down the dark path, forever
will it dominate your destiny,
consume you it will, as it did
Obi-Wan’s apprentice.

Vader. Is the dark side stronger?

No… no… no. Quicker, easier,
more seductive.

But how am I to know the good side
from the bad?

You will know. When you are calm,
at peace. Passive. A Jedi uses
the Force for knowledge and
defense, never for attack.

But tell me why I can’t…

No, no, there is no why. Nothing
more will I teach you today.
Clear your mind of questions.
Mmm. Mmmmmmmm.

Artoo beeps in the distance as Luke lets Yoda down to the ground.
Breathing heavily, he takes his shirt from a nearby tree branch and
pulls it on.

He turns to see a huge, dead, black tree, its base surrounded by a few
feet of water. Giant, twisted roots form a dark and sinister cave on
one side. Luke stares at the tree, trembling.

There’s something not right here.

Yoda sits on a large root, poking his Gimer Stick into the dirt.

I feel cold, death.

That place… is strong with the
dark side of the Force. A domain
of evil it is. In you must go.

What’s in there?

Only what you take with you.

Luke looks warily between the tree and Yoda. He starts to strap on his
weapon belt.

Your weapons… you will not
need them.

Luke gives the tree a long look, than shakes his head “no.” Yoda
shrugs. Luke reaches up to brush aside some hanging vines and enters
the tree.


Luke moves into the almost total darkness of the wet and slimy cave.
The youth can barely make out the edge of the passage. Holding his lit
saber before him, he sees a lizard crawling up the side of the cave and
a snake wrapped around the branches of a tree. Luke draws a deep
breath, then pushes deeper into the cave.

The space widens around him, but he feels that rather than sees it.
His sword casts the only light as he peers into the darkness. It is
very quiet here.

Then, a loud HISS! Darth Vader appears across the blackness,
illuminated by his own just-ignited laser sword. Immediately, he
charges Luke, saber held high. He is upon the youth in seconds, but
Luke sidesteps perfectly and slashes at Vader with his sword.

Vader is decapitated. His helmet-encased head flies from his shoulders
as his body disappears into the darkness. The metallic banging of the
helmet fills the cave as Vader’s head spins and bounces, smashes on the
floor, and finally stops. For an instant it rests on the floor, then it
cracks vertically. The black helmet and breath mask fall away to
reveal… Luke’s head.

Across the space, the standing Luke gasps at the sight, wide-eyed in

The decapitated head fades away, as in a vision.

Here is the scene from the movie:

A great scene from a great movie.

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Great Scene: “Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back” was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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