Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back: Wikis


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Star Wars Episode V:
The Empire Strikes Back

Theatrical poster by Roger Kastel[1]
Directed by Irvin Kershner
Produced by Gary Kurtz
George Lucas
Rick McCallum
(Special Edition)
Written by Screenplay:
Leigh Brackett
Lawrence Kasdan
George Lucas
Starring Mark Hamill
Harrison Ford
Carrie Fisher
Billy Dee Williams
Kenny Baker
Anthony Daniels
Frank Oz
Sir Alec Guinness
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Peter Suschitzky, BSC
Editing by Paul Hirsch
Studio Lucasfilm
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) May 21, 1980
Running time Theatrical cut:
124 minutes
Special edition:
127 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $18,000,000
Gross revenue Worldwide:
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 American space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner. The screenplay, based on a story by George Lucas, was written by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan. It was the second film released in the Star Wars saga, and the fifth in terms of internal chronology.

The film is set three years after the destruction of the Death Star. The villainous Darth Vader and the elite forces of the Galactic Empire are in pursuit of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia Organa, and the Rebel Alliance. While Vader chases Han and Leia across the galaxy, Luke studies the Force under Jedi Master Yoda. Vader uses Luke's friends to set a trap for him, leading to a fierce confrontation between the black-armored Sith and the young Jedi which ends with a shocking revelation.

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 one of the most popular chapters in the saga and one of the most highly rated films in history.[3][4][5] It earned more than US$538 million worldwide over the original run and several re-releases, making it the highest grossing film of 1980. When adjusted for inflation, it is the 12th highest grossing film of all time.



Despite their victory over the Galactic Empire with the destruction of the Death Star, the Empire's forces have driven the Rebel Alliance into hiding, forcing the fleet to establish a hidden base on the remote ice planet Hoth. Darth Vader, having become obsessed with finding Luke Skywalker, has multiple probe droids dispatched throughout the galaxy, one of which lands on Hoth. While patrolling near the base, Luke is attacked and knocked unconscious by a Wampa. Back at the base, Han Solo announces his intentions to leave the Rebellion to pay off a debt to Jabba the Hutt (much to Princess Leia's displeasure). But when Luke doesn't return that evening, Han braves the deadly Hoth night to find his lost friend. Escaping from the creature's lair, Luke nearly succumbs to the cold and has a vision of his late mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, who instructs him to go to the planet Dagobah to train under grand Master Yoda.

Han finds Luke and provides shelter before they are rescued the following morning. Meanwhile, the Imperial probe droid locates the Rebel base on Hoth, and Vader orders an attack while the Rebels prepare to evacuate and disperse. The Imperial forces eventually overpower the Rebels and capture the base. Han and Leia escape on the Millennium Falcon with C-3PO and Chewbacca, but are unable to enter hyperspace due to technical difficulties. They evade pursuit in an asteroid field, where Han and Leia begin to grow closer to each other. Vader turns to several notorious bounty hunters, including Boba Fett, to assist in locating the Falcon. Meanwhile, Luke escapes from Hoth with R2-D2 and crash lands on Dagobah, where he meets Yoda. While undergoing intensive training, Luke has a premonition of Han and Leia in pain and, against Yoda's wishes, leaves to save his friends, promising to return to complete his training.

After losing the Imperial forces, and unaware that they have been tracked by Fett, Han's party sets a course for Cloud City, a floating gas mining colony in the skies of the planet Bespin, which is run by Han's old friend, Lando Calrissian. Shortly after they arrive at Cloud City, Lando turns them over to Vader to be used as bait in a trap for Luke. Lando insists to Han and Leia that he was forced to betray them to prevent the occupation of his city by the Empire. Vader straps Han to a torture machine and, while not permanently harmed, he is tormented to the point that he can barely stand. Luke sees these premonitions of his friends in pain and abandons his training to help them.

Vader intends to hold Luke in suspended animation via carbon freezing, and selects Han as a test subject for the process. Before Han is frozen in the carbonite freezing chamber, Leia professes her love for him. Vader gives Han's hibernating form to Fett, who plans to present this "prize" to Jabba the Hutt. Lando repents and helps Leia and the others escape, insisting that there is still a chance to save Han. Unfortunately, Fett makes off with his quarry just seconds before they get a chance to confront him, forcing them to make an escape on the Millennium Falcon.

Meanwhile, Luke arrives at Cloud City and falls right into Vader's trap. Within the carbon-freezing facilities, Luke and Vader engage in a lightsaber duel, which leads them over the city's central air shaft. Gaining an advantage, Vader cuts off Luke's dueling hand along with his lightsaber. With Luke cornered and defenseless, Vader goads Luke to rule the galaxy alongside him, making the revelation that he is in fact Luke's father. Horrified, Luke casts himself into the air shaft, plummeting until he reaches a tube system that spills him out onto an antenna attached to the underbelly of the city. He makes a desperate call to Leia, who senses Luke's distress aboard the Millennium Falcon and gets him to safety. Its hyperdrive finally functional (thanks to timely repairs by R2-D2), the Falcon escapes. Aboard a Rebel medical frigate, a medical droid fits Luke with an artificial hand. Lando and Chewbacca set out on the Falcon to locate Han.


  • Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker: A lieutenant commander in the Rebel Alliance, leader of Rogue Group, and Jedi-in-training, Luke is a young farm-boy-turned-hero with the rebels at Echo Base on Hoth. After having a vision of his old master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke, along with his droid, R2-D2, set out to find Yoda on Dagobah.
  • Harrison Ford as Han Solo: A smuggler who aided the Rebellion in exchange for money, Han is in debt to Jabba the Hutt, intending to pay off Jabba, Solo is trapped on Hoth by the Imperial blockade.
  • Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa is a high ranking official in the Rebellion chain of command.
  • David Prowse as Darth Vader: Vader, a Sith Lord and apprentice to Emperor Palpatine, is obsessed with finding Luke Skywalker, the young rebel who destroyed the Death Star. His search brings him to Hoth, where he orders the blockade of the ice planet. It is also revealed later in the film that he is actually Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker. James Earl Jones provided the voice of Darth Vader.
  • Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian: Calrissian is the Baron Administrator of Bespin's Cloud City. He is a long-time friend of Han Solo and former captain of the Millennium Falcon.
  • Anthony Daniels as C-3PO: C-3PO is Princess Leia Organa's protocol droid.
  • Kenny Baker as R2-D2: R2-D2 is Luke Skywalker's astromech droid.
  • Frank Oz as Yoda: Yoda is a self-exiled Jedi Master, who lives on Dagobah.
  • Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca: Chewbacca is Han Solo's Wookiee copilot and close friend.
  • Jeremy Bulloch as Boba Fett: A bounty hunter, Fett has gained infamy throughout the galaxy and is hired by Darth Vader to hunt down the Millennium Falcon. Jason Wingreen provided Fett's voice in the original theatrical cut and the 1997 Special Edition of the film. Bulloch also makes a cameo appearance as the Imperial officer who grabs Leia when she tells Luke to avoid Vader's trap. In the 2004 special edition, Temuera Morrison, who played Jango Fett in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones replaced Wingreen as Fett's voice to create better continuity between the original and prequel trilogy.
  • Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi: Kenobi was killed by Darth Vader on the Death Star in A New Hope. However, moments before his death, he released himself into the netherworld of the Force, giving him the ability to appear as a spirit, and allowing him to give guidance to his former student, Luke Skywalker.
  • Denis Lawson as Wedge Antilles: Wedge is a pilot in the Rebel Alliance, who flew with Luke Skywalker at the Battle of Yavin. In the end credits, as with A New Hope, Denis Lawson's name is misspelled "Dennis."
  • Clive Revill voices Emperor Palpatine: Palpatine, the ruler of the Galactic Empire, is displeased with the loss of the Death Star; consequently, he lists the Rebel Alliance as a top priority for his military forces. Revill was later replaced with Ian McDiarmid for the 2004 DVD release.

In addition to Clive Revill as the voice of the Emperor, an unknown actress played the part in the original theatrical cut and the 1997 Special Edition of the film with superimposed chimpanzee eyes.[6][7] McDiarmid, who portrayed Palpatine in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi as well as the prequel trilogy films, replaced both the actress and Revill as Palpatine in the 2004 DVD version, with filming taking place during the principal photography of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.[6][8]

Actor John Ratzenberger, best known as Cliff Clavin from the TV series Cheers and the voices of many characters from Pixar's animated films, has a small part as deck officer Major Bren Derlin. Character actor Treat Williams portrayed several background characters, including a trooper in the Hoth rebel base and a trooper in Cloud City.


George Lucas' 1977 film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope exceeded all expectations — in terms of profit, its revolutionary effect on the movie industry, and its unexpected resonance as a cultural phenomenon.[9] Lucas saw a chance to become independent from the Hollywood film industry by financing The Empire Strikes Back himself through loans and the previous film's earnings, going against the principles of many Hollywood producers.[9] Now fully in command of his Star Wars enterprise, Lucas chose not to direct The Empire Strikes Back because of his other production roles, including oversight of his special effects company Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and handling of the financing. Lucas offered the role of director to Irvin Kershner, one of his former professors at the USC School of Cinema-Television.[10] Kershner initially refused, citing that a sequel would never meet the quality or originality of the first Star Wars. Kershner later called his agent, who immediately demanded that he take the job.[9] In addition, Lucas hired Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett to write the screenplay based on his original story.[9][11] Brackett completed her draft in February 1978 before dying of cancer, and Lucas wrote the second before hiring Kasdan, who impressed him with his draft for Raiders of the Lost Ark.[12]

The Imperial AT-AT Walkers at the Battle of Hoth were created by using stop motion photography.

After the release of Star Wars, ILM grew from being a struggling company and moved to Marin County, California.[9] The Empire Strikes Back provided the company with new challenges. Star Wars mostly featured space sequences, but The Empire Strikes Back featured not only space dogfights, but also an ice planet battle sequence and elements of cities that floated among the clouds. For the battle scenes on the ice planet of Hoth, the initial intent was to use bluescreen to composite the Imperial walkers into still-shots from the original set. Instead, an artist was hired to paint landscapes, resulting in the Imperial walkers being shot using stop-motion animation in front of the landscape paintings.[9] The original designs for the AT-ATs were, according to Phil Tippett, "big armored vehicles with wheels". Many believe the finished design was inspired by the Port of Oakland container cranes, but Lucas denied this.[13]

In designing the Jedi Master Yoda, Stuart Freeborn used his own face as a model and added the wrinkles of Albert Einstein for the appearance of exceptional intelligence.[14] Sets for Dagobah were built five feet above the stage floor, allowing puppeteers to crawl underneath and hold up the Yoda puppet. The setup presented Frank Oz, who portrayed Yoda, with communication problems as he was underneath the stage and was unable to hear the crew and Mark Hamill above.[15] Hamill later expressed his dismay for being the only human character on set for months; he felt like a trivial element on a set of animals, machines, and moving props. Kershner commended Hamill for his performance with the puppet.[9][16]

Filming began in Norway, at the Hardangerjøkulen glacier near the town of Finse, on March 5, 1979. Like the filming of A New Hope, where the production in Tunisia coincided with the area's first major rainstorm in 50 years, the weather was against the film crew. While filming in Norway, they encountered the worst winter storm in fifty years. Temperatures dropped to −20 °F (−28.9 °C), and 18 feet (5.5 m) of snow fell.[9] On one occasion, the crew were unable to exit their hotel. They achieved a shot involving Luke's exit of the Wampa cave by opening the hotel's doors and filming Mark Hamill running out into the snow while the crew remained warm inside.[9] Despite reports, the scene in which Luke gets knocked out by the Wampa was not added specifically to explain the change to Hamill's face after a motor accident that occurred between filming of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Lucas admitted that the scene "helped" the situation, though he felt that Luke's time fighting in the rebellion was sufficient explanation.[16] The production then moved to Elstree Studios in London on March 13,[12] where over 60 sets were built, more than double the number used in the previous film.[9] A fire in January on Stage 3 (during filming of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining) caused the budget to spiral from $18.5 million to $22 million, and by July the budget spiraled $3 million more. Filming finished by mid-September.[12]

One memorable exchange of dialogue was partially ad-libbed. Originally, Lucas wrote a scene in which Princess Leia professed her love to Han Solo, with Han replying "I love you too." Harrison Ford felt the characterization was not being used effectively, and Kershner agreed. After several takes, Kershner told Ford to improvise on the spot. Consequently, Ford changed Solo's line to "I know."[9]

During production, great secrecy surrounded the fact that Darth Vader was Luke's father. Like the rest of the crew, David Prowse, who spoke all of Vader's lines during filming, was given a false page that contained dialogue with the revelatory line being "Obi-Wan killed your father."[17][18] Until the film premiered, only George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Mark Hamill, and James Earl Jones knew what would really be said. Jones later reported that his initial reaction to the line was, "Oh, he's lying!"[9] The film includes a brief image of Vader with his mask off, facing away from the camera. For the original viewers of the film, this scene made it clear that Vader is not a robot.[16]

To preserve the dramatic opening sequences of his films, Lucas wanted the screen credits to come at the end of the films. Though more common now, this was a highly unusual choice at the time. The Writers Guild and the Directors Guild had allowed it for the first Star Wars, but when Lucas did the same thing for the sequel, they fined him over $250,000 and attempted to pull Empire out of theaters. The DGA also went after Kershner. To protect his director, Lucas paid all the fines to the guilds. The resulting feelings of frustration and persecution caused him to drop out of the Directors Guild, Writers Guild, and the Motion Picture Association.[9]

The Empire Strikes Back finished production with a budget of $33,000,000,[19] making it one of the most expensive movies of its day with a budget three times more than that of the original. After the bank threatened to pull his loan, Lucas was forced to approach 20th Century Fox. Lucas made a deal with the studio to secure the loan in exchange for paying the studio more money, but without the loss of his sequel and merchandising rights.[9]


The film premiered on May 21, 1980, as simply The Empire Strikes Back in the publicity, but the titles scrolled stating "Episode V.." leaving much confusion at the time. Like A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back was rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for "sci-fi/action violence".[20] This 1980 version was released on VHS and Laserdisc several times during the 1980s and 1990s.


Special edition

As part of Star Wars' 20th anniversary celebration in 1997, The Empire Strikes Back was digitally remastered and re-released with A New Hope and Return of the Jedi under the campaign title The Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition. Lucas took this opportunity to make several minor changes to the film. These included explicitly showing the Wampa creature on Hoth in full form, creating more details for the Falcon's approach to Cloud City, digitally inserting windows with vistas of Bespin into the original white interior walls of Cloud City, and replacing certain lines of dialogue. A short sequence was also added depicting Vader's return to his flagship after duelling with Luke, using alternate angles of a scene from Return of the Jedi. Most of the changes were small and aesthetic; however, some fans believe that they detract from the film.[6]

DVD release

The Empire Strikes Back was released on DVD in September 2004. It was bundled in a box set with A New Hope, Return of the Jedi, and a bonus disc. The films were digitally restored and remastered, with more changes made by George Lucas.[6] The bonus features include a commentary by George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher, as well as an extensive documentary called Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy. Also included are featurettes, teasers, trailers, TV spots, still galleries, video game demos, and a preview of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

For the DVD release, Lucas and his team made changes that were mostly implemented to ensure continuity between The Empire Strikes Back and the recently released prequel trilogy films. The most noticable of these changes was replacing the stand-in used in the holographic image of the Emperor (with Clive Revill providing the voice) with actor Ian McDiarmid providing some slightly altered dialogue. With this release, Lucas also supervised the creation of a high-definition digital print of The Empire Strikes Back and the other films of the original trilogy. It was reissued in December 2005 as part of a three-disc "limited edition" boxed set that did not feature the bonus disc.[21]

The film was reissued again on a separate two-disc Limited Edition DVD in September 12, 2006 to December 31, 2006, this time with the original, unaltered versions of the film as bonus material. It was also re-released in a trilogy box set on November 4, 2008.[22] There was controversy surrounding the initial release, because the DVDs featured non-anamorphic versions of the original films based on Laserdisc releases from 1993 (as opposed to newly-remastered, film-based high definition transfers). Since non-anamorphic transfers fail to make full use of the resolution available on widescreen sets, many fans were disappointed with this choice.[23]


Although many now consider it the best film in the saga,[24] The Empire Strikes Back initially received mixed reviews.[16] Financially, the film surpassed industry expectations; within three months of the film's release, Lucas had recovered his budget—a $30 million investment.[9] Opening weekend in the United States generated $10,840,307. When it was re-released in 1997, its opening weekend in the USA made $21,975,993. In the USA, as of 2007, the gross revenue is $290,475,751 and worldwide gross revenue is $538,375,067.[25]

Some critics had problems with the story but admitted the film was a technical achievement. For instance, Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote a largely negative review.[26] Judith Martin of The Washington Post complained of the film's "middle-of-the-story" plot, which featured no particular beginning or end,[27] a concept that Lucas actually intended.[16] However, Bob Stephens of the San Francisco Examiner later described the film as "the greatest episode of the Star Wars Trilogy."[28] Empire is now considered the most morally and emotionally complex of the Star Wars trilogy.[29] Roger Ebert, in his 1997 review, called the film the strongest and "the most thought-provoking" of the original trilogy.[30] On Rotten Tomatoes, The Empire Strikes Back has a 97% "certified fresh" rating, making it the highest Star Wars rated film episode on the site.[29] Chuck Klosterman suggests that while "movies like Easy Rider and Saturday Night Fever painted living portraits for generations they represented in the present tense, The Empire Strikes Back might be the only example of a movie that set the social aesthetic for a generation coming in the future".[31] Darth Vader was ranked as the third greatest film villain of all time on the American Film Institute's 2003 list of the 100 greatest heroes and villains for his role in this film,[32] while Wizard magazine named the film's ending as the greatest cliffhanger of all time.[33] The film's most famous line "No, I am your father" is often misquoted as "Luke, I am your father."[34]

At the 1981 Academy Awards, The Empire Strikes Back won for Best Sound, given to Bill Varney, Steve Maslow, Greg Landaker, and Peter Sutton; in addition the film received the Academy Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects that went to Brian Johnson, Richard Edlund, Dennis Muren, and Bruce Nicholson. It was also nominated for Best Music, Original Score, to John Williams, and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, to Norman Reynolds, Leslie Dilley, Harry Lange, Alan Tomkins, and Michael Ford.[35] It won the BAFTA Film Award for "Best Original Film Music" by John Williams, as well as being nominated for "Best Sound" and "Best Production Design." Williams' score also received the Grammy Award and the Golden Globe.[35] The Empire Strikes Back received four Saturn Awards, including Mark Hamill for "Best Actor," Irvin Kershner for "Best Director," "Best Special Effects" to Brian Johnson and Richard Edlund, and it was awarded "Best Science Fiction Film." The film was awarded with the Golden Screen Award as well as the Hugo Award for "Best Dramatic Presentation." It was nominated for the WGA Award (Screen) for "Best Comedy Adapted from Another Medium."[36]

For many, The Empire Strikes Back has become the prime example of a superior sequel. Director Bryan Singer and producer Tom DeSanto emulated the film for X2, the sequel to X-Men, in that the characters are "all split apart, and then dissected, and revelations that occur that are significant... the romance comes to fruition and a lot of things happen."[37]

Cinematic and literary allusions

Like its predecessor, The Empire Strikes Back draws from several mythological stories and world religions. It also includes elements of 1930s film serials such as Flash Gordon, a childhood favorite of Lucas', that also featured a city in the sky.[38][39]


The film's musical score was composed and conducted by John Williams and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra at a cost of $250,000.[40] In 1980, the disco label RSO Records released the film's original soundtrack on a double LP and 8-track format in the United States. The front cover artwork featured the mask of Darth Vader against the backdrop of outer space.[41] In 1985, the first Compact Disc (CD) release of the soundtrack was issued by Polydor Records, which had absorbed RSO Records and its music catalog; they used a shorter, single-disc edition of the soundtrack as the master. In 1993, 20th Century Fox Film Scores released a special four-Compact Disc box set: Star Wars Trilogy: The Original Soundtrack Anthology. This anthology included the soundtracks to all three of the original Star Wars films in separate discs.[42]

In 1997, RCA Victor released a definitive two-disc set coinciding with the Special Edition releases of the three movies of the original trilogy. This original limited-edition set featured a 32-page black booklet that was encased inside a protective outer slipcase. The covers of the booklet and the slipcase had the Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition poster art. All the tracks were digitally remastered for superior clarity of sound (although many fans claim the sound on the complete editions is muffled and lifeless as compared to the box set version). RCA Victor re-packaged the Special Edition set later in 1997, offering it in slimline jewel case packaging as an unlimited edition, but without packaging that the original "black booklet" version offered.[43]

In 2004, Sony Classical acquired the rights to the original trilogy scores since it already had the rights to release the prequel trilogy soundtracks (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge Of The Sith). And so, in 2004, Sony Classical re-pressed the 1997 RCA Victor release, including The Empire Strikes Back. The set was released with the new artwork mirroring the first DVD release of the film. Despite the Sony digital re-mastering, this 2004 release is essentially the same as the 1997 RCA Victor release.[44]



A novelization of the film was released on April 12, 1980 and published by Del Rey. The novel was written by Donald F. Glut and based on the screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett.[45]

The novel was originally published as Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back; however, later editions were renamed Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back to conform with the change in the saga's film titles. Like the other novelizations of the Star Wars films, background information is added to expand the story beyond what is depicted onscreen.

However, some of the novel's details now contradict with the prequel trilogy as does the novel of Return of the Jedi; for example, in The Empire Strikes Back, the vague background of Boba Fett and his suit are attributed to his past as one of a group of warriors wearing the "mandalorian" armor. This is contradicted by the on-screen explanation of Fett's origin later given in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

Marvel Comics released a comic book adaptation written by Archie Goodwin and illustrated by Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon. Coinciding with the film's release, it was simultaneously published in magazine, serialized comic book, and pocket book format.

Video games

Video games based on the film have been released on several consoles. Additionally, several Star Wars video games feature or mention key events seen in the film, but are not entirely based upon the film. In 1982 Parker Brothers released Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back for the Atari 2600 games console, which featured the speeder attack on the AT-ATs on Hoth.[46] The arcade game Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back followed in 1985. The game features familiar battle sequences and characters played from a first-person perspective. Specific battles include the Battle of Hoth and the subsequent escape of the Millennium Falcon through an asteroid field.[47] A conversion was released in 1988 for the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, BBC Micro, Atari ST and Commodore Amiga.[48]

In 1992, JVC released the LucasArts-developed video game also titled Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console.[49] The player assumes the role of Luke Skywalker and maneuvers through Skywalker's story as seen in the film. In 1992, Ubisoft released a version for the Game Boy. Like its previous incarnation, it follows the story of Luke Skywalker.[50] Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was developed for the console Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) by LucasArts and was released by JVC in 1993. The SNES game is similar in spots to the 1991 NES release, and is on an 12-megabit cartridge.[51] LucasArts's Shadows of the Empire game was one of the first games made available for Nintendo's 3rd generation console, the Nintendo 64 and Windows. The most commercial product in the Shadows of the Empire line, the game was first released as an exclusive N64 title four months after the console's launch in December 1996. The PC version came nearly a year later in September 1997. In the game, players control mercenary Dash Rendar in his efforts to help Luke Skywalker and rescue Princess Leia from Prince Xizor's hands. It is divided into four parts (or chapters), the first of which chronicles Rendar's involvement in the Battle of Hoth.

In the years since Shadows, several games have dropped players into the action of Empire:

  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (Nintendo 64): The Battle of Hoth is an unlockable level.
  • Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (Nintendo GameCube): The Battle of Hoth is a playable level.
  • Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike (GameCube): The Battle of Hoth is reimagined in the single-player campaign, and the Rogue Leader level is available in the two-player cooperative campaign.
  • Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (Nintendo 64): The Battle of Hoth is the first level.
  • Star Wars Trilogy Arcade (Arcade only): Players must complete a campaign based on each of the three original trilogy films. For Empire, players fly a speeder on Hoth before making their way through Echo Base on foot.
  • Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy/Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, GCN, Nintendo DS, Wii, PlayStation Portable, PC): Contains six missions from Empire, including both vehicular and foot missions on Hoth; the asteroid flight of the Millennium Falcon; Luke's Jedi training on Dagobah; and missions on Cloud City featuring Luke's battle with Vader, as well as Leia and Lando's escape.
  • Star Wars Battlefront II (PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox, PC): The battle of Hoth is playable by the Empire in the Campaign Mode. Also, battles on Hoth, Dagobah, and Bespin (Xbox download content only), are playable on the Galactic Conquest Mode, as well as Instant Action mode.
  • Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (PC): The Battle of Hoth is a map in the gametype "Siege" and the most popular of the three available maps for the gametype.

In strategy games, such as Star Wars: Rebellion, action often takes place during the timeline of Empire but only infrequently drops players directly into the action from the film.

Radio drama

A radio drama adaptation of the film was written by Brian Daley and produced for and broadcast on National Public Radio in 1983. It was based on characters and situations created by George Lucas, and on the screenplay by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan; it was directed by John Madden, with Sound Mixing & Post Production by Tom Voegeli. John Williams' score was kept in addition to Sound Design from Ben Burtt. Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams, and Anthony Daniels reprised their roles as Luke Skywalker, Lando Calrissian and C-3PO respectively. John Lithgow was also recruited to voice Yoda. It had a five hour running time.[52] 750,000 people tuned in to listen to the series on February 14, 1983.[53] In terms of Star Wars canon, the radio drama is given the highest designation, G-canon.[54][55]

See also



  1. ^ The Empire Strikes Back « « the movie poster weblog
  2. ^ Box Office Mojo for The Empire Strikes Back
  3. ^ Nathan, Ian. "The 500 greatest movies of all time, #3: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)". Empire. Retrieved September 14, 2009.  
  4. ^ "100 Greatest Movies Of All Time". October 17, 2006. Retrieved January 18, 2009.  
  5. ^ "The 100 Greatest Films". Channel 4. Retrieved January 18, 2009.  
  6. ^ a b c d "Star Wars: The Changes". dvdactive. Retrieved January 13, 2007.  
  7. ^ "Lucasfilm Defends DVD Changes". Sci-Fi Wire. Retrieved February 18, 2007.  
  8. ^ "Star Wars Trilogy - 2004 DVD Changes". Digital Bits. Retrieved February 16, 2007.  
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy Star Wars Trilogy Box Set DVD documentary, [2004]
  10. ^ "Behind the Scenes: The Empire Strikes Back". American Cinematographer. Retrieved 2007-03-02.  
  11. ^ "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)". Internet Movie Database. 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-18.  
  12. ^ a b c Marcus Hearn (2005). "Cliffhanging". The Cinema of George Lucas. New York City: Harry N. Abrams Inc. pp. 122–7. ISBN 0-8109-4968-7.  
  13. ^ Peter Hartlaub (2008-06-27). "Nah, dude, they weren't cranes, they were garbage trucks". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-06-27.  
  14. ^ Nick Maley. "A tribute to Stuart Freeborn". Retrieved 2007-02-16.  
  15. ^ "Star Wars Trilogy DVD Super-Feature". Underground Online. Retrieved 2007-02-16.  
  16. ^ a b c d e Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back DVD commentary featuring George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren and Carrie Fisher, [2004]
  17. ^ Chris Chiarella (2004). "Mark Hamill Interview". Home Theater. Retrieved 2007-02-13.  
  18. ^ Dalton Ross. "Secrets and Jedis".,,698013,00.html. Retrieved 2007-02-16.  
  19. ^ "Business Data for Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)". Internet Movie Database. 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-18.  
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Arnold, Alan. Once Upon a Galaxy: A Journal of Making the Empire Strikes Back. Sphere Books, London. 1980. ISBN 978-0345290755

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film
Succeeded by
Superman II


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

For other uses of "Star Wars", see Star Wars.

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is a 1980 space film. It is the second film of the original Star Wars trilogy. The film is set three years after the destruction of the Death Star. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa are being pursued by the evil Darth Vader and the elite forces of the Galactic Empire. While Han and Leia are chased across the galaxy by the Empire, Luke studies the Force under the training of Jedi Master Yoda. Meanwhile, Vader secretly plots a trap for Luke that will lead to a vicious confrontation and a shocking revelation.

Directed by Irvin Kershner. Written by George Lucas, Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan.
The Adventure Continues... Taglines


Opening crawl

It is a dark time for the
Rebellion. Although the Death
Star has been destroyed,
Imperial troops have driven the
Rebel forces from their hidden
base and pursued them across
the galaxy.

Evading the dreaded Imperial
Starfleet, a group of freedom
fighters led by Luke Skywalker
have established a new secret
base on the remote ice world
of Hoth.

The evil lord Darth Vader,
obsessed with finding young
Skywalker, has dispatched
thousands of remote probes into
the far reaches of space....


[Luke is stranded out in a harsh snowstorm.]
Obi-Wan Kenobi: [voice comes out of nowhere] Luke. Luke!
Luke Skywalker: [weakly] Ben?
Obi-Wan Kenobi: [spirit appears in front of Luke] You will go to the Dagobah system.
Luke Skywalker: [delirious] Dagobah system?
Obi-Wan Kenobi: There you will learn from Yoda, the Jedi Master who instructed me.

[Darth Vader emerges from an egg-like meditation chamber to receive a report from General Maximilian Veers.]
Darth Vader: What is it, General?
General Veers: My lord, the fleet has moved out of lightspeed. Com-Scan has detected an energy field protecting an area of the sixth planet of the Hoth system. The field is strong enough to deflect any bombardment.
Darth Vader: [Angrily] The Rebels are alerted to our presence. Admiral Ozzel came out of lightspeed too soon.
General Veers: He felt surprise was wiser—
Darth Vader: He is as clumsy as he is stupid. General, prepare your troops for a surface attack.
General Veers: Yes, my lord. [bows and leaves quickly]
[Vader turns to a nearby screen and calls up Admiral Kendal Ozzel and Captain Firmus Piett.]
Admiral Ozzel: Lord Vader, the fleet has moved out of lightspeed and we're preparing to— [begins choking]
Darth Vader: You have failed me for the last time, Admiral. Captain Piett.
Captain Piett: [nervously] Yes, my lord.
Darth Vader: Make ready to land our troops beyond the energy shield and deploy the fleet so that nothing gets off the system. You are in command now, Admiral Piett.
[Ozzel collapses, dead]
Admiral Piett: Thank you, Lord Vader.

C-3PO: Sir, the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to one!
Han Solo: Never tell me the odds.

Darth Vader: [kneeling before Emperor Palpatine's hologram] What is thy bidding, my master?
Emperor Palpatine (Hologram): There is a great disturbance in the Force.
Vader: I have felt it.
Emperor: We have a new enemy, the young Rebel who destroyed the Death Star. I have no doubt that this boy is the offspring of Anakin Skywalker.
Vader: How is that possible?
Emperor: Search your feelings, Lord Vader. You know it to be true. [pauses] He could destroy us.
Vader: He's just a boy. Obi-Wan can no longer help him.
Emperor: The Force is strong with him. The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi.
Vader: If he could be turned, he would become a powerful ally.
Emperor: [intrigued] Yes... He would be a great asset. Can it be done?
Vader: He will join us or die, master.

Yoda: Luke! You must complete the training.
Luke Skywalker: I can't keep the vision out of my head. They're my friends. I've gotta help them.
Yoda: You must not go!
Luke: But Han and Leia will die if I don't.
Obi-Wan: You don't know that. [appears in spirit] Even Yoda cannot see their fate.
Luke: But I can help them! I feel the Force!
Obi-Wan: But you cannot control it! This is a dangerous time for you, when you will be tempted by the Dark Side of the Force.
Yoda: Yes, yes! To Obi-Wan you listen. The cave! Remember your failure at the cave!
Luke: But I've learned so much since then. Master Yoda, I promise to return and finish what I've begun. You have my word.
Obi-Wan: It is you and your abilities the Emperor wants. That is why your friends are made to suffer.
Luke: That's why I have to go.
Obi-Wan: Luke, I don't want to lose you to the Emperor the way I lost Vader.
Luke: You won't.
Yoda: Stopped they must be. On this all depends. Only a fully trained Jedi Knight with the Force as his ally will conquer Vader and his Emperor. If you end your training now, if you choose the quick and easy path as Vader did, you will become an agent of evil.
Obi-Wan: Patience!
Luke: And sacrifice Han and Leia?
Yoda: If you honor what they fight for, yes!
Obi-Wan: If you choose to face Vader, you will do it alone. I cannot interfere.
Luke: I understand. R2, fire up the converters.
Obi-Wan: Luke. Don't give in to hate. That leads to the Dark Side.
Yoda: Strong is Vader. Mind what you have learned. Save you it can.
Luke: I will, and I'll return. I promise. [flies off with X-Wing]
Yoda: Told you I did. Reckless is he. Now matters are worse.
Obi-Wan: That boy is our last hope.
Yoda: No. There is another.

Darth Vader: You may take Captain Solo to Jabba the Hutt after I have Skywalker.
Boba Fett: He's no good to me dead.
Darth Vader: He will not be permanently damaged.
Lando Calrissian: Lord Vader, what about Leia and the Wookiee?
Darth Vader: They must never again leave this city.
Lando Calrissian: [angry] That was never a condition of our agreement, nor was giving Han to this bounty hunter!
Darth Vader: Perhaps you think you're being treated unfairly?
Lando Calrissian: [pauses] No.
Darth Vader: Good. It would be unfortunate if I have to leave a garrison here.
Lando Calrissian: [under his breath] This deal is getting worse all the time.

[Han kisses Leia and is taken by stormtroopers to the carbon-freezing chamber.]
Princess Leia Organa: I love you.
Han Solo: I know.

[Vader has just cut off Luke's right hand, which has his lightsaber]
Darth Vader: There is no escape! Don't make me destroy you. Luke, you do not yet realize your importance. You've only begun to discover your power! Join me, and I will complete your training! With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict, and bring order to the galaxy.
Luke Skywalker: [angrily] I'll never join you!
Darth Vader: If only you knew the power of the Dark Side. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
Luke Skywalker: He told me enough! He told me you killed him!
Darth Vader: No, I am your father.
Luke Skywalker: [shocked] No. No! That's not true! That's impossible!
Darth Vader: Search your feelings, you know it to be true!
Luke Skywalker: NOOOOOOO! NOOOOOOOO!!!
Darth Vader: Luke, you can destroy the Emperor. He has foreseen this. It is your destiny! Join me, and together, we can rule the galaxy as father and son! Come with me. It is the only way.
[Luke lets go of the projection and falls into the shaft]

Darth Vader: [speaking through the Force] Luke.
Luke Skywalker: [on the Falcon] Father?
Darth Vader: Son, come with me.
Luke Skywalker: Ben... why didn't you tell me?

Lando Calrissian: Luke, we're ready for take off.
Luke Skywalker: Good luck, Lando.
Lando Calrissian: When we find Jabba the Hutt and that bounty hunter, we'll contact you.
Luke Skywalker: I'll meet you at the rendezvous point on Tatooine.
Lando Calrissian: [to Leia] Princess, we'll find Han. I promise.
Luke Skywalker: Chewie, I'll be looking for your signal. Take care you two and may the Force be with you.


  • The Adventure Continues...


See also

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Simple English

Star Wars Episode V:
The Empire Strikes Back
Directed by Irvin Kershner
Produced by Gary Kurtz
George Lucas
Rick McCallum
(Special Edition)
Written by Story:
George Lucas
Leigh Brackett
Lawrence Kasdan
Starring Mark Hamill
Harrison Ford
Carrie Fisher
Billy Dee Williams
Anthony Daniels
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Peter Suschitzky, BSC
Editing by Paul Hirsch
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) May 21, 1980 (USA)
Running time 124 min. (original)
127 min. (Special Edition)
Language English
Budget $33,000,000
Preceded by Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Followed by Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Official website
Allmovie profile
IMDb profile

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back was the second Star Wars movie made. The movie was released in 1980 and is a mix of science fiction, fantasy, action, and drama.



The Rebels hide from the Empire on the icy planet Hoth. The Empire finds the Rebels and they have to leave the planet after a battle. Luke Skywalker finds Yoda, a 900-year-old Jedi Master and begins the training to become a Jedi. Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia and C-3P0 are caught by the Empire and Solo is frozen in carbonite. In his Jedi training, Luke gets a vision that his friends are in danger and tries to help them. He has to confront Darth Vader, and the two of them fight. When Luke fights Vader, he cuts off Luke's hand and Luke also learns that Vader is his father. His hand is replaced with a prosthetic one, including nerves, muscles, and many more.

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