'The Empire Strikes Back' Gets Star-Studded 30th Birthday Party

Harrison Ford, Mark Hoppus, Ewan McGregor and others celebrate the 'Star Wars' sequel.

A long time ago, in the galaxy that we still live in, "Star Wars" creator George Lucas rocked Hollywood to its foundations when he achieved the unthinkable: "The Empire Strikes Back" became the rare sequel to surpass its predecessor, "Star Wars," in terms of quality. Friday marks the 30th anniversary of the release of "Empire" (which now carries "Star Wars: Episode V" in its title), and famous fans descended on L.A.'s ArcLight Theater for a special screening followed by a Q&A with Han Solo himself, star Harrison Ford.

As "Star Wars" heroes and other celebrities walked the event's red carpet, they spoke to MTV News about the enduring legacy of Lucas' classic sci-fi series. "[Lucas] introduced us to that world with the first movie, and then when it came time for us to see 'Empire,' we were so ... invested in that world that it worked," said Ewan McGregor, who starred as a young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the more recent Prequel Trilogy.

Ford echoed McGregor's comments, noting how audience familiarity helped bolster the sequel's reception. "We were able to ... deepen the relationships between the characters and make a film that was probably more emotional," he said. Without the need to explain the universe, a cast of colorful characters became the movie's sole focus.

"It has a really amazing second-act feel to it," said Blink-182 frontman Mark Hoppus. "It's really dark. It's moody. It's not just an action-adventure; there are all these different elements that come into it. ... It's a really great movie."

Even MTV vet Paul Scheer, co-creator of "Human Giant," was there to share his excitement about the series and "Empire" in particular ... in his typically entertaining way, of course. " 'Empire' ... one of the best sequels of all time, right?" he said, going into fanboy enthusiasm. "The original cast? All kick ass. Mark Hamill gets hit in the face by a wampa, right? Then they sleep in taun-tauns, people getting their hands cut off, Yoda's out there talking some crazy stuff — we never met Yoda before. It's awesome. Light, dark, it ends on a great cliffhanger. Amazing."

Which "Star Wars" movie is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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