Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

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Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Star wars-empire poster.jpg
Directed by Irvin Kershner
Produced by George Lucas
Gary Kurtz
Written by George Lucas
Leigh Brackett
Lawrence Kasdan
Starring Mark Hamill
Harrison Ford
Carrie Fisher
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Peter Suschitzky
Editing by Paul Hirsch
Marcia Lucas
George Lucas
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) May 21, 1980
Running time 124 min
Country USA
Language English
Preceded by Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Followed by Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is a 1980[1] science fiction film. It is the second film in the Star Wars saga, but the fifth in terms of internal chronology. It takes place three years after Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, and is darker than the first film.


  • Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker
  • Harrison Ford as Han Solo
  • Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa
  • Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca
  • Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian
  • Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
  • Kenny Baker as R2-D2
  • Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Frank Oz as Yoda
  • David Prowse as Darth Vader
  • Jeremy Bulloch as Boba Fett
  • James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vader


In the movie's opening scene, an Imperial Star Destroyer is launching numerous probes into space to discover Luke Skywalker and the hidden Rebel base. One of these falls on the ice planet Hoth. A probe droid emerges and begins to search for signs of life.

Luke Skywalker, on patrol near the Rebel base, deviates from his patrol route to investigate a "meteor" and is attacked by a Wampa snow monster. He escapes the monster's cave with his slight knowledge of the Force. While floundering in the snow, the spirit of Obi-wan appears to Luke and tells him that he must go to Dagobah to train with Jedi master Yoda. Han Solo locates the nearly-frozen Luke and builds him a snow shelter for the night.

The probe droid locates the Rebel base and sends an image of it to the Imperial fleet, although Han and Chewbacca immediately destroy it. Vader orders the fleet to set a course for Hoth. The Rebel officers prepare for the evacuation. They activate an energy shield to defend from orbital bombardment.

The Imperials land walkers outside the energy field, which immediately attack the power generators. Luke leads his snowspeeder squadron to attack the walkers; the Rebels trip several walkers with tow cables but the walkers blast the generators anyway. As Imperial Snowtroopers penetrate the Rebel base, Han Solo, Leia, C3-PO, and Chewbacca escape in the Millennium Falcon. Luke escapes in his X-wing fighter, headed for Dagobah.

AT-AT walkers attack the base.

The Falcon is hit by Imperial fire and its hyperdrive is destroyed, so that it cannot escape into hyperspace. Han Solo brings the ship into the Hoth asteroid field, the Imperial blockade fleet in chase.

To escape the Imperials, Han pilots the Falcon down a canyon and into a cave on a large asteroid, where he intends to repair the hyperdrive. Before they can repair that (a quarrel over a problem leads to Han and Leia kissing—the first hint of their romantic relationship) Han realizes that they have accidentally entered the mouth of a space slug. He immediately pilots the Falcon out and escapes just in time, encountering several Star Destroyers immediately. The Falcon avoids them by landing on the back of the lead Star Destroyer, unbeknownst to all but bounty hunter Boba Fett, one of several bounty hunters to whom Vader had promised a reward if they captured the Falcon. Fett follows Han's ship to Cloud City on Bespin, where Han's friend Lando Calrissian lives, and summons the Imperial forces, including Darth Vader, there.

On Dagobah, Luke meets Yoda after crashing his X-wing in the swamp. He undergoes intense training in the Force, eventually mastering it to the point where he has a vision of his friends in Cloud City in pain; he determines to go help them. Yoda tells him that if he leaves to help his friends all would fail—he requires more training. Luke sets out anyway.

On Bespin, stormtroopers capture C3-PO, Chewbacca, Han, and Leia. They are the bait in a trap set for Luke. Han is frozen in carbonite as a test, as Vader intends to similarly freeze Luke for transport to the Emperor. When Luke arrives, he confronts Vader and a lightsaber duel begins. Eventually Luke, who is inferior to Vader in skill, is trapped on a girder and his right hand severed. Vader tells him that he is Luke's father, and tells him that to turn to the dark side is "his destiny." Luke refuses, diving off the girder to (he believes) his death. Instead however, he ends up hanging from a weathervane on the bottom of Cloud City.

The duel begins: Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader.

The carbon-frozen Han is taken away to Jabba the Hutt by Boba Fett. Leia, C3-PO, R2-D2, Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian escape Cloud City in the repaired Falcon (the hyperdrive has been deactivated at Vader's order, unknown to all). Using his telepathic powers, Luke communicates with Leia, who tells Lando to turn back for Luke. The Falcon, with Luke aboard, leaves Bespin, only to encounter several Star Destroyers, where Darth Vader is. Lando attempts to jump to hyperspace, but it fails. Just before the Falcon is about to be captured by Vader's Star Destroyer, R2 reactivates the hyperdrive and they escape.

On a Rebel cruiser, Luke is fitted with a mechanical right hand. Lando and Chewbacca take the Falcon and head out to discover where Han is.


Several critics believe this to be the most profound, if not the best, of the entire series. At the box office, it netted $290,271,960 in the U.S.[2] The film is also best known for the revelation of Darth Vader being Luke Skywalker's father. During production, a false line was inserted, "You don't know the truth, Obi-Wan killed your father." Moments before the scene was filmed, director Irvin Kirshner told Mark Hamill that Darth Vader would tell Luke he is his father. He would go on to say that David Prowse would use the false line, and that Hamill essentially ignore it, and pretend he had said the line intended. The line, "No, I am your father," would later be placed in the film during post-production, being said by James Earl Jones.