As all Star Wars fans know, The Empire Strikes Back is set three years after the original film. The Galactic Empire, under the leadership of the villainous Darth Vader, is in pursuit of Luke Skywalker and the rest of the Rebel Alliance. In 2010, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant.” Continue reading to see rare behind-the-scenes images.

Following a difficult production, The Empire Strikes Back was released on May 21, 1980, and initially received mixed reviews from critics, although it has since grown in esteem, becoming the most critically acclaimed chapter in the Star Wars saga and one of the most highly-rated films in history. It earned more than $538 million worldwide over the original run and several re-releases, making it 1980’s highest-grossing film. When adjusted for inflation, it is the twelfth-highest-grossing film in the U.S. and Canada as of 2012.

[Sources 1 | 2]