Study Guide

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Friendship

Friendship

REBEL SOLDIER: Sir, the temperature's dropping too rapidly.
HAN: That's right. And my friend's out in it.
REBEL SOLDIER: Your Tauntaun'll freeze before you reach the first marker.
HAN: Then I'll see you in Hell.

Ah, Han Solo, we'd expect nothing less from you. This is a great place to start because it shows how tight Han and Luke have gotten since the events of the first film. Although Han originally pegged Luke as a chump he could milk for cash, he now sees him as a friend worth risking his life for.

HAN: 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.

The first time Han saved Luke, by the way, is when he swooped in at the end of A New Hope to protect Luke while he took down the Death Star. Context aside, this passage further highlights the close bond between Han and Luke, which in many ways mirrors a typical big bro/little bro relationship. It's kind of adorable.

C-3PO: R-2, you take good care of Master Luke now, understand? And do take good care of yourself. Oh, dear, oh, dear.

Although we're going to focus on humans for most of this section (sorry, Chewie), we would be remiss if we didn't mention the bond between C-3PO and R2-D2. Because this pair of droids served as the audience's gateway into the Star Wars universe in A New Hope, their separation emphasizes how scattered our heroes have become.

HAN: We go back a long way, Lando and me.
LEIA: Can you trust him?
HAN: No. But he has no love for the Empire, I can tell you that.

Han and Lando are old pals, so Han assumes that his buddy will have his back. Of course, we all know what ends up going down, but Han probably should've seen this one coming—once a scoundrel, always a scoundrel.

LUKE: I saw a city in the clouds.
YODA: Friends you have there.
LUKE: They were in pain.

Luke cuts his Jedi training short after having a premonition of his friends in danger. Interestingly, Yoda sees this as a bad thing—it shows that Luke still has an emotional attachment to other people, which is against the Jedi code.

LUKE: I can't keep the vision out of my head. They're my friends. I've got to help them.
YODA: You must not go!
LUKE: But Han and Leia will die if I don't.

The Jedi are more like monks than warriors, so it's no surprise that Yoda opposes Luke's decision to leave. More than that, he argues that Luke's attachment to his friends leaves him susceptible to the dark side of the Force, as his love for them could easily lead to fear, which could lead to anger—and we all know where that ends up.

OBI-WAN: It is you and your abilities the Emperor wants. That is why your friends are made to suffer.
LUKE: And that is why I have to go.

Although Luke can sense that his friends' capture is a trap set by Vader, he doesn't hesitate one second to put his life at risk for them. That might go against his Jedi training, but he could never live with himself if he let them die.

OBI-WAN: Patience.
LUKE: And sacrifice Han and Leia?
YODA: If you honor what they fight for, yes!

That's cold-hearted, man—where's the warm-and-cuddly Yoda we all know and love? Although we tend to think of the Jedi as representing pure goodness, they often lack empathy towards the plights of individuals.

LEIA: Do you think that after what you did to Han we're going to trust you?
LANDO: I had no choice.

After betraying our heroes, Lando double-double-crosses the Empire and joins the good guys once again. Of course, he'll need to prove his friendship to Leia and Chewie before he can even hope to make things right.

LANDO: When we find Jabba the Hut and that bounty hunter, we'll contact you.
LUKE: I'll meet you at the rendezvous point on Tatooine.
LANDO: Princess, we'll find Han. I promise.

Although the protagonists were scattered for most of the film, The Empire Strikes Back closes with the whole crew reunited, with Lando serving as a well-mustachioed replacement for Han. In addition, this scene establishes that Han's rescue will be a focal point in Return of the Jedi, again showing the importance of friendship in the Star Wars series.

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