George Lucas explained the concept of the Star Wars films as a saga. He described a nine-part epic across a 40-year timeline, for which Lucas already had ideas. “It’s a history,” he said. “Luke [Skywalker] is a pawn in an adventure that has been going on for longer than his span of years.” It was among the first times Lucas explained his larger vision.
On June 1st 1979, The Tredoulat family of Paris, France were welcomed to the Empire set for a special tour and lunch with Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford. The year before, they were lucky enough to have been the one millionth viewers to purchase tickets to see Star Wars: A New Hope during its original Paris run. Eight-year-old Emmanuel Tredoulat said the visit was “a trip into Wonderland.”
Cameras stopped rolling temporarily on June 11th, when many crew members attended the funeral of production designer John Barry (winner of an Academy Award for his work on A New Hope), who’d died suddenly over a week earlier. Barry was serving as second unit director on Empire, having left another production to join the team. “I’m happy to be with the Star Wars company again,” he had told Arnold. “It’s like coming home.”
On Monday morning, June 25th, Arnold wrote an internal memo to Lucasfilm staff back in the United States with new information “available to any media that may enquire.” In the early-morning hours “a son was born to Mark and Marilou Hamill” at a London hospital. Nathan Elias Hamill was their first child, and both mother and child were reported to be “doing fine.”
“Eight sound stages at the EMI-Elstree Studios were haunted by the ghosts of a distant galaxy,” Arnold wrote on September 7th, 1979, “as The Empire Strikes Back completed principal photography…Now the stages are dark, the crew is dispersing and there is a feel of yesterday in this place of make-believe. But there is also the promise of tomorrow…”