Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back is the sequel to Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. The original title was shortened after the hyphen as The Empire Strikes Back. George Lucas’s story was adapted into a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett. Irvin Kershner was the director. Big Irvin directed RoboCop 2 too. Sequels were his forte and foreplay. The Empire Strikes Back is the fifth chronological chapter in the saga and begins three years after the events of A New Hope.
The Rebel Alliance has relocated to the ice planet Hoth after fleeing their base on Yavin 4. Darth Vader is on the hunt for Luke Skywalker and launches probe droids across the galaxy. The droids probe. Luke is on patrol and notices one probing. He probes it thinking it is a meteorite. The probe probes back. Skywalker probes Han Solo. A wampa probes him and knocks the young man unconscious. Skywalker is not walking and fails to report into Echo base.
Han Solo searches for his friend solo. Luke wakes up upside down in a cave. A storm builds outside. The wampa eats his tauntaun. Skywalker uses the force and grabs his lightsaber. He slices the ice holding him and the arm off of the wampa and escapes into the barren Hoth icescape. It is cold. He collapses in the ongoing blizzard. The ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi appears and tells him he must go to Dagobah and train under Yoda. Han arrives while Luke mutters to himself about Jedis and Yodas.
Fall of Hoth
Solo’s tauntaun collapses. He cuts it open to create a shelter. The two best friends spend the night in the animal away from the elements with nothing but their companionship. The Rebel pilots dispatch their snowspeeders in search of their comrades. Zev Senesca spots them and they are saved. Luke is thrown into a bacta tank under the care of the medical droid 2-1B to heal. He heals. Princess Leia and Han squabble. Sexual tension builds. The probe droid keeps on probing and finds the base. Chewbacca and Han shoot it down. Darth Vader senses the Rebels and orders the fleet to Hoth. The Rebels do some sensing of their own and prepare to evacuate.
Solo and Chewbacca leave the Alliance to settle their debt with Jabba the Hutt. Luke recovers and says his goodbyes. The Imperial ground forces land and move to destroy the power generator supporting the Rebel shields. The good guys lower the shield as their transports begin to escape. Imperial AT-STs and AT-ATs get close and attack. Luke leads the Rogue Squadron to fight the incoming threat. They are outmatched. Creative thinking allows them to level the playing field.
The Rebel base falls. Han, Leia, C-3PO and Chewbacca escape together on the Millennium Falcon and avoid Darth Vader. Luke and R2-D2 flee towards Dagobah on an X-wing starfighter. The Falcon’s hyperdrive system is damaged. The group hides in an asteroid field to escape pursuing TIE fighters. Repairs begin. Luke lands in the Dagobah marshes. His ship sinks in a quagmire. Han and Leia kiss during the repairs. It is a solid kiss. Solo is good at kissing. Vader stops his pursuit to communicate with Emperor Sheev Palpatine.
The Sith pair talk and decide that Luke is their biggest threat. Vader says he can turn Luke and that he will join their forces or die. The Empire strikes back. Luke follows a small creature to his hut and says he needs to find Yoda. The little guy says Yoda is not far. Obi-Wan and Yoda talk. Luke realizes that the creature is Yoda. The Millennium Falcon escapes the grasp of a titanic space slug. Skywalker trains with Yoda. Darth Vader enlists some elite bounty hunters that include Boba Fett to find Han Solo. Yoda tasks Luke with lifting his X-wing out of the bog. Luke cannot. Yoda can. Luke is impressed. Yoda is concerned.
The Millennium Falcon lands on Cloud City to get the parts to repair its hyperdrive. Han’s old friend Lando Calrissian is in charge of the city. Luke has a lurid vision of his friends in peril and decides to leave before his training is complete. Lando betrays the good guys and hands them over to Darth Vader. The Sith Lord tortures Han to provoke Luke. Solo is frozen in a carbon freezing chamber. He kisses Leia after saying goodbye. Boba Fett takes the frozen man to Jabba the Hutt. Luke arrives and stalks the hallways of Cloud City. Lando and Chewbacca square off and so do Vader and Skywalker. Clarissian and the Wookie put away their differences. Skywalker is outmatched.
The two continue to duel throughout the city and Luke is cornered. Vader cuts off his right hand and tells him that he is his father. Skywalker is incredulous and realizes the truth. He jumps to his death instead of confronting his emotions. He tumbles into an air vent that leads beneath Cloud City. Leia senses the trauma and redirects the Falcon towards Luke. The Imperial ships get close as the hyperdrive fails again. R2-D2 finishes the repairs and they jump to hyperspace and escape into the stars.
Luke is settled on a EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate within the Rebel fleet. 2-1B takes care of Skywalker again and gives him a prosthetic hand. Lando and Chewbacca begin to plan Han’s rescue mission. Clarissian promises Leia that they will save her lover. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes ends with Luke and Leia looking outwards as the Millennium Falcon zooms towards the unknown.