The Empire Strikes Back

1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner

The Empire Strikes Back (also known as Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back) is a 1980 space fantasy 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 pursued 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.

Do... or do not. There is no try. —Yoda
I am your father.
Leia: I love you. Han: I know.
Directed by Irvin Kershner. Written by George Lucas, Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan, based on a story by George Lucas.
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....

Han Solo

  • [after cutting open a tauntaun to form a makeshift sleeping bag for Luke] And I thought they smelled bad... on the outside!
  • [to Princess Leia] You like me because I'm a scoundrel. There aren't enough scoundrels in your life.


[Luke is stranded out in a harsh snowstorm.]
Obi-Wan Kenobi: [voice comes out of nowhere] Luke. Luke!
Luke Skywalker: [weakly] Ben?
Obi-Wan: You will go to the Dagobah system.
Luke : Dagobah system?
Obi-Wan: There you will learn from Yoda, the Jedi master who instructed me.
Who's scruffy-looking?

C-3PO: Master Luke, sir, it's so good to see you fully functional again.
Luke: Thanks, Threepio.
C-3PO: [referring to R2-D2] Artoo expresses his relief, also.
Han Solo: How are you feeling, kid? You don't look so bad to me. In fact, you look strong enough to pull the ears off a Gundark.
Luke: Thanks to you.
Han: That's two you owe me, junior. [turns to Princess Leia] Well, your worship, looks like you've managed to keep me around for a little while longer.
Princess Leia Organa: I had nothing to do with it. General Rieekan thinks it's dangerous for any ships to leave the system until we've activated the energy field.
Han: That's a good story. I think you just can't bear to let a gorgeous guy like me out of your sight.
Leia: I don't know where you get your delusions, laser brain.
Han: [to Chewie] Laugh it up, fuzzball! But you didn't see us alone in the south passage. She expressed her true feelings for me.
Leia: My– [feels surprised at hearing Han say that] Why you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking… nerf-herder!!
Han: [turns back to Leia] Who's scruffy-looking? [to Luke Skywalker] Well, I must've hit pretty close to the mark to get her all riled up like that, huh, kid?
Leia: Why, I guess you don't know everything about women yet. [kisses Luke on the lips in front of Han and Chewie]

[Aboard the Executor-class Star Dreadnought Executor, Captain Firmus Piett reports to Admiral Kendal Ozzel.]
Capt. Firmus Piett: Admiral?
Adm. Kendel Ozzel: Yes, Captain?
Piett: I think we've got something, sir. The report is only a fragment, from a probe droid in the Hoth system, but it's the best lead we have.
Ozzel: [growing impatient] We have thousands of probe droids searching the galaxy. I want proof, not leads.
Piett: The visuals indicate life readings.
Ozzel: It could mean anything. If we followed up every lead...
Piett: But sir, the Hoth system is supposed to be devoid of human forms.
Darth Vader: [approaching the two officers after hearing their conversation] You've found something?
Piett: Yes, my Lord. [shows Vader the location of the power generator on Hoth]
Vader: That's it. The Rebels are there.
Ozzel: My Lord, there are so many uncharted settlements. It could be smugglers. It could be...
Vader: That is the system. And I am sure Skywalker is with them. Set your course for the Hoth system. [turns to General Maximilian Veers] General Veers, prepare your men.

[Darth Vader emerges from an egg-like meditation chamber to receive a report from General Maximilian Veers.]
Vader: What is it, General?
Gen. Maximilian 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.
Vader: The Rebels are alerted to our presence. Admiral Ozzel came out of lightspeed too close to the system.
Veers: He felt surprise was wiser–
Vader: [angrily] He is as clumsy as he is stupid. General, prepare your troops for a surface attack.
Veers: Yes, my Lord. [bows and leaves quickly]
[Darth Vader turns to a nearby screen and calls up Admiral Kendel Ozzel and Captain Firmus Piett.]
Ozzel: Lord Vader, the fleet has moved out of lightspeed and we're preparing to– [begins choking]
Vader: You have failed me for the last time, Admiral. Captain Piett.
Piett: [nervously] Yes, my Lord?
Vader: Make ready to land our troops beyond their energy field, then deploy the fleet so that nothing gets off the system. You are in command now, Admiral Piett.
Piett: [sees a dead Ozzel collapse] Thank you, Lord Vader.

Vader: [kneeling before the Emperor's hologram] What is thy bidding, my master?
The Emperor: There is a great disturbance in the Force.
Vader: I have felt it.
The Emperor: We have a new enemy. The young Rebel who destroyed the Death Star. I have no doubt this boy is the offspring of Anakin Skywalker.
Vader: How is that possible?
The Emperor: Search your feelings, Lord Vader. You will know it to be true. He could destroy us.
Vader: He's just a boy. Obi-Wan can no longer help him.
The 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.
The Emperor: [intrigued] Yes... He would be a great asset. Can it be done?
Vader: He will join us or die, Master.

Leia: You can't make the jump to light-speed in this asteroid field!
Han: Sit down, sweetheart; we're taking off!
C-3PO: Look!!
Han: I see it, I see it!
C-3PO: We're doomed!
Leia: The cave is collapsing!
Han: [suddenly realizing that the Millennium Falcon has flown into the mouth of a giant space creature] This is no cave!
Leia: What?!

[Aboard the Executor-class Star Dreadnought Executor, Darth Vader is giving the bounty hunters instructions on tracking down the Millennium Falcon]
Vader: There will be a substantial reward for the one who finds the Millennium Falcon. You are free to use any methods necessary, but I want them alive. [turns to Boba Fett] No disintegrations.
Boba Fett: As you wish.
Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere.

[Luke sees his X-wing is about to sink into the bog]
Luke: Oh, no! We'll never get it out now!
Yoda: So certain, are you? Always with you, it cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say?
Luke: Master, moving stones around is one thing, but this is... totally different!
Yoda: No! No different! Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.
Luke: All right, I'll give it a try.
Yoda: No! Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try.
[Luke tries to use the Force to levitate his X-wing out of the bog, but fails in his attempt.]
Luke: I can't. It's too big.
Yoda: Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere. Yes. Even between the land and the ship.
Luke: You want the impossible. [sees Yoda use the Force to levitate the X-wing out of the bog and gets flustered when he does it] I don't... I don't believe it!
Yoda: That is why you fail.

Yoda: Luke! You must complete the training.
Luke: 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.

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

[Lando has just arrived with two security guards to talk privately with Han, Chewbacca and Leia; Chewbacca growls at him in a fit of rage]
Han: Get out of here, Lando.
Lando: Shut up and listen! Now Vader has agreed to turn Leia and Chewie over to me.
Han: Over to you?
Lando: They'll have to stay here, but at least they'll be safe.
Leia: What about Han?
Lando: Vader's giving him to the bounty hunter.
Leia: Vader wants us all dead!
Lando: No. He doesn't want you at all! He's after somebody called, uh... Skywalker!
Han: [realizing who Lando is talking about] Luke!
Lando: Lord Vader has set a trap for him!
Leia: And we're the bait!
Lando: Yeah. Well, he's on his way.
Han: [getting very angry at Lando] Perfect. You've fixed us all real good, didn't you? My friend. [punches Lando in the face; the two security guards come up behind Han and hit him with their clubs, causing him to fall down on the floor. The guards prepare to hit him again]
Lando: [signals his guards to stop the fight] Stop! [the guards back down while Lando talks to Han, Chewie and Leia] I've done all I can. I'm sorry I couldn't do better, but I've got my own problems.
Han: Yeah. You're a real hero. [Lando glares at Han, then leaves the room with his two security guards]
Leia: [tending to Han's injuries while she talks to him] Boy, you certainly have a way with people.

Vader: [referring to the carbon freezing chamber] This facility is crude, but it should be adequate to freeze Skywalker for his journey to the Emperor.
Imperial officer: Lord Vader! Ship approaching, X-wing class.
Vader: Good. Monitor Skywalker and allow him to land.
Lando: [referring to Luke Skywalker] Lord Vader, we only use this facility for carbon freezing. You put him in there, it might kill him!
Vader: I do not want the Emperor's prize damaged. We will test it… on Captain Solo.

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

Vader: You are beaten. It is useless to resist. Don't let yourself be destroyed as Obi-Wan did.
[They continue dueling. Luke hits Vader on the shoulder with his lightsaber. Vader returns the favor by cutting Luke's hand with his lightsaber. Luke screams in pain.]
Vader: There is no escape. Don't make me destroy you. [deactivates his lightsaber] 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: [wincing] I'll never join you!
Vader: If only you knew the power of the dark side. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
Luke: He told me enough. He told me you killed him.
Vader: No. I am your father.
Luke: [shocked] No. No. That's not true! That's impossible!
Vader: Search your feelings. You know it to be true.
Luke: NO!!! NO!!!
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. [Luke looks down the shaft and then back at Vader] Come with me. It is the only way. [Luke lets go of the projection and falls into the shaft]

[Admiral Piett is making his report to Darth Vader about the Rebels]
Piett: They'll be in range of our tractor beam in moments, my Lord.
Vader: Did your men deactivate the hyperdrive on the Millennium Falcon?
Piett: Yes, my Lord.
Vader: Good. Prepare the boarding party and set your weapons for stun.
Piett: Yes, my Lord.

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


  • The Adventure Continues…
  • The Star Wars Saga Continues





Quotes about The Empire Strikes Back

  • The geek world, the scholars of Stars Wars, can tell you what scripts exist. I do not know. I’ve heard that. But what I know is when I came in to Empire and when I actually started to work, George said, “You know, Darth is Luke’s father.” And I said, “No shit?” So it was a total surprise to me and I thought wonderful. That to me was when the whole thing got really interesting and I thought, This thing’s going to be so much more complicated than I thought. It’s going to speak to things that I relate to very strongly and everybody who’s had to deal with their issues with their father, and this is really a mythic presentation of those things. And we’ve seen since then endless world catastrophes based on father problems. That’s why I think the saga is always going to be so interesting.
  • I think the critics felt that they were going to see an extension of Star Wars. In other words, they wanted another Star Wars. I decided that the potential was much greater than a rerun of Star Wars. When I finally accepted the assignment, I knew that it was going to be a dark film, with more depth to the characters than in the first film. It took a few years for the critics to catch up with the film and to see it as a fairy tale rather than a comic book.
  • Fans have written over the last 30 years telling me how eagerly they awaited the second film of the trilogy. I hadn’t realized how many young children would be seeing the film, and how it would affect them. I think the kids responded to the movement, the characters, and the fairy tale quality of the film. The humor helped make the film appealing to more mature audiences as well.
  • I knew in the making of Empire that this was to be the second of a trilogy. Therefore I considered it the second act, the second movement—but it wouldn’t have the same climax that an ordinary film would have, where it sets up a premise, moves along, there is a payoff with a grand climax of some kind of action. The action in this film came at the beginning because it is a continuation of the first film.

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