Study Guide

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Summary

After destroying the Death Star, the Rebel Alliance is forced to hole up on the freezing planet of Hoth while the Empire desperately tries to locate their secret base. In fact, the movie starts off with an Imperial probe crash-landing onto Hoth's surface.

We knew it was gonna be good.

The whole thing is witnessed by Luke Skywalker, who's performing recon. Before he can investigate further, however, he's attacked by a space yeti (a.k.a., a wampa) and dragged to its cave. Luckily, Luke manages to break free using his telekinetic Force powers and shiny lightsaber. In a daze, he has a strange vision of his now-dead mentor Obi-Wan telling him to go to the planet of Dagobah to learn from his former Jedi master, Yoda

Meanwhile, Luke's pal Han Solo is getting worried. Not just about Luke, either; he has a price on his head from the crime-lord Jabba the Hutt and needs to leave to make things right. He also desperately wants Leia to admit her feelings for him, but she continually refuses. (Apparently she didn't realize he's Harrison freakin' Ford.)

Regardless, Han goes out to rescue his friend, and they make it back to base safely the next morning.

That doesn't last long: the Empire is currently preparing an assault on Hoth. Luke jumps into a ship to fight the Imperial ground forces and buy time for the evacuation before escaping himself: Luke heads to Dagobah, while Leia joins Han & Co. on the Millennium Falcon. Oh, and the Empire's nipping at their heels the whole time.

From here, our heroes diverge. Luke makes it to Dagobah and meets Yoda, who agrees to teach Luke despite his better judgment. At one point, Luke enters a cave to find a hallucinatory Darth Vader, whom he decapitates only to reveal Luke's own face underneath the helmet. 

In other words, Jedi training is pretty psychologically taxing.

Han and Leia, on the other hand, hole up in an asteroid cave to evade the Imperials. There they grow a little closer and even kiss briefly—awww—but after the cave turns out to be the belly of a giant space worm (yes, really), they decide to go to Cloud City, a small mining community on the planet Bespin. The boss there is a guy named Lando Calrissian, an old buddy of Han.

Everything seems swell at first: Lando has a great mustache and he's a charming fellow. Then, after inviting them to dinner one night, he reveals that they'll have an additional guest.

Yep. Darth Vader. It's a trap! Not for Han and Leia, though; it's a trap meant to snag Luke.

It works like a charm. 

Luke has a premonition of his friends in danger and decides to end his training early to rescue them. Yoda vehemently opposes this, saying that Luke risks falling prey to the dark side, much like Vader, who was once Obi-Wan's apprentice. Still, Luke is too concerned with his friends to even consider staying.

Meanwhile, Han's body is frozen in carbonite so a bounty hunter named Boba Fett can bring him to Jabba the Hutt. Luckily, Leia and Han share some "I love yous" (well, kind of) before it goes down. Vader then breaks his promise to Lando that Leia will be free to go and orders her instead to be brought to his ship.

Now this is where things get juicy. 

Lando abruptly switches sides once again, turning the people of Cloud City against the Imperials and freeing Leia. They manage to get to the Falcon safely. Meanwhile, Luke has arrived in Cloud City and is approaching the red-lit carbonation chamber where Han was frozen. Suddenly, Vader appears and—bam—we've got a lightsaber duel.

Vader handily wins the fight, slicing off Luke's lightsaber-swinging hand and pushing him to the end of a balcony. Then he drops a mega-bombshell—he's Luke's father. Cue a melodramatic "No!" and Luke throwing himself off the balcony. Luckily, he manages to grab hold of an antenna hanging from the bottom of the city and telepathically contacts Leia (wait, what?) to pick him up in the Falcon.

After escaping the Imperial forces, our heroes reunite with the rest of the Rebels. Luke even gets a brand new hand. Meanwhile, Lando has been preparing the Falcon for a rescue mission for Han, which will kick off the next and final film in the original Star Wars trilogy: Return of the Jedi.

  • Scene 1

    Scene 1

    • We start off with some blue text in the middle of the screen reading, "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…." (The Empire Strikes Back). Oh, so it's a period piece then?
    • Boom—and here comes that music. It's getting us hyped already.
    • Next comes Star Wars' trademark opening text crawl, which gives us the current state of the universe.
    • In A New Hope (the first film) we saw the Rebellion, led by Luke Skywalker, destroy a mega-weapon created by the evil Empire called the Death Star.
    • Things haven't gotten much better in the three years since, however, forcing the Rebels to hole up on the remote planet Hoth.
    • Meanwhile, Darth Vader, our Big Bad, has recently begun launching probes in hopes of finding this secret base.
    • Easy enough, right? Well get ready, because this thing is about to go down.
  • Scene 2

    Scene 2

    • We open on a static shot of the stars before the camera pans down to reveal a massive spaceship (Nerd alert: This monster is fittingly called a Star Destroyer). A section of its underside opens and a bunch of tiny, shiny orbs shoot out into space.
    • We follow one of these space balls (see what we did there?) as it approaches a large, white planet. It falls through the clouds and lands smack dab in the middle of an icy wasteland.
    • Oh, weird—a strange, bug-looking robot emerges from the wreckage. It floats and has a bunch of little arms hanging from the bottom, kind of like a flying, robot jellyfish.
    • As it flies away, our perspective shifts to an overhead shot. We can't see the weird robot anymore, but do we see some sort of creature running along the icy plain.
    • As the camera moves closer, we see that it's a dude riding some sort of animal, a weird cross between a horse, goat, kangaroo, and camel, or something like that. (Nerd Alert: These guys are called Tauntauns).
    • The rider pulls off his mask (it's cold, ya'll) to reveal himself as none other than Luke Skywalker. You would know this already because you saw the previous film, but if not, a brief soaring musical cue lets us know that this dude is The Hero.
    • As he's sitting there, looking all heroic-like, he spots another robo-jellyfish crashing into the surface. Uh-oh!
    • He peers through his binoculars before contacting his buddy Han on the radio. He tells Han to return to base because they didn't find any life readings (it's a desolate planet), but that he wants to check out this meteorite before heading back.
    • Luke's Tauntaun starts freaking out, but before he can calm it, Luke is smacked clean in the face by some sort of alien Yeti. Ouch. It kills Luke's Tauntaun and starts dragging his unconscious body away.
    • Meanwhile, Han (that's Mr. Solo, to you, buddy) has just arrived at the Rebel's secret HQ. There's a bustle of activity: robots scurrying around, pilots working on their ships, etc.
    • Han approaches his buddy Chewie (a.k.a. Chewbacca, a.k.a. the Hairy Hunk) who's sitting on top of their ship, the Millennium Falcon, and performing maintenance. Chewie grunts incomprehensibly at Han, who seems to be able to understand him perfectly.
    • After passing through the hangar, Han enters what looks like the command center of this whole operation. He's immediately eyed by a pretty lady with a braided hairdo.
    • Han approaches a general and gives him the report—nothing new. La dee da. Skywalker's still not back yet, but Han doesn't think that it's a big deal.
    • There's a problem, though—Han has to leave. Apparently some dude named Jabba placed a bounty on his head, so he needs to go make things right ASAP.
    • The unnamed general gives Han a firm handshake and a few kind words, while braided-hair lady looks at him with annoyance. By the way, if you never saw the first movie, this is Princess Leia.
    • This is confirmed when Han refers to her as "Your Highness." She seems annoyed that he's leaving, which prompts Han to storm out of the room.
    • She rushes after him. Leia tells him that he should stay because the Rebellion needs him, which only makes Han more annoyed—he wants her to admit that she needs him. Leia just acts confused.
    • He storms off again and she follows... again. We're starting to think that Han is on to something. She again claims that she respects him as a leader and a fighter, but that's it, which isn't a good enough answer for our boy.
    • Han then suggests that she's following him because she wants a goodbye kiss, which Leia scoffs at. Get a room already, you too!
    • This time when Han storms off, however, Leia doesn't follow.
  • Scene 3

    Scene 3

    • We now shift to another hallway in the secret base (with a groovy, trademark Star Wars screen wipe) where two robots are strolling. These two are from the first film—the tall, gold humanoid is C-3PO, while the blue-and-white trashcan on wheels is R2-D2.
    • They're having a silly conversation—C-3PO talks in English, while R2-D2 speaks in clicks and beeps. They approach the Falcon, where Han and Chewie are still performing repairs and arguing,
    • C-3PO worriedly tells Han that Princess Leia has been trying to reach him. Han isn't surprised—he deactivated his communicator after their little tiff.
    • There's a serious problem: Luke isn't back yet, and no one knows where he is. Han is concerned and asks a random passerby to confirm the news for him.
    • Han is notified by Mr. Random Passerby that Luke is indeed missing, which prompts him to jump on a Tauntaun and start the search. This is super dangerous, Mr. Random Passerby notes, because it's almost night, which is deadly cold on Hoth.
  • Scene 4

    Scene 4

    • We cut to a cave in the middle of the frozen wasteland. There are several picked-clean skeletons littered around the floor and—oh hey—there's Luke hanging by his feet from the roof. We found him, guys!
    • Luke slowly returns to consciousness and sees the Space Yeti (they're actually called wampas) making a tasty meal out of his Tauntaun.
    • Luke tries to struggle free but his feet are frozen solid. His lightsaber (read: laser sword) is conveniently sitting on the ground nearby, but it's just out of reach.
    • He tries again, but no luck. Then, he closes his eyes, makes a weird pose, and starts reaching for it again. Oddly, it starts to shake…
    • Unfortunately, the Wampa has noticed and is coming over. At the last second, the lightsaber flies into Luke's hands, and he uses it to free himself and helpfully remove one of the wampa's arms from its body.
    • Luke runs out of the cave but is still in trouble—it's mad windy and snowy. Meanwhile, Han is out in the same freezing weather, continuing his search.
    • Back at the home base, C-3PO and R2 are standing by the open hangar door, discussing Han and Luke's chances. Based on C-3PO's reaction, R2 is being quite pessimistic.
    • We return to the wasteland just in time to see Luke collapse into the snow. This isn't looking good, folks. He tries to keep moving, but ends up falling flat on his face.
    • At Rebel HQ, two soldiers are discussing the situation when they notice Leia creeping behind them and suddenly shut up. Man—things must be getting pretty hairy.
    • That's when C-3PO approaches, which apparently gives the two soldiers enough courage to talk to Leia directly. They tell her that they have no choice but to close the gate and put up the shield.
    • Leia nods sadly. C-3PO, apparently having no sense of decorum, decides that this is the proper moment to inform her that her boys have a 725-to-1 chance of surviving. Chewie, meanwhile, is banging his head against the ship and wailing loudly.
    • We return to the icy wasteland and see Luke still lying face down. Guess he's taking a nap? As he lies there unconscious, a distant voice starts saying his name.
    • It's…. some old dude, in ghostly transparent form. This is Obi-Wan Kenobi, also known as Ben, who served as Luke's mentor in the first film but was killed by the evil Darth Vader.
    • Ghosty-Wan Kenobi tells Luke to go to the Dagobah system, where he will learn from his former mentor, the Jedi master Yoda. The Jedi, BTW, are a mystical force of warriors who wield the aforementioned lightsabers and have telekinetic powers through something called the Force.
    • Suddenly, the ghostly presence disappears and is replaced by... Han. (!) Luke collapses before Han can reach him and then, as if on cue, Han's Tauntaun falls over and dies.
    • This is bad, but Han seems to have a plan. Luke, on the other hand, is still rambling about Ben and Dagobah.
    • Oh, that's gross—Han uses Luke's lightsaber to cut a hole in the Tauntaun's belly, presumably so he can use its body warmth to keep Luke alive while he builds a shelter.
  • Scene 5

    Scene 5

    • It's now morning and a gaggle of ships are cruising along Hoth's surface.
    • We see some sweet first-person shots from the cockpit while a pilot desperately tries to make contact with our two heroes. Suddenly, his pleas are responded to with a cocky quip—it's Han.
    • Back at the base, Han, Leia, and C-3PO are standing in front of a large, cylindrical tank, where Luke is floating in a blue liquid. Seems like a medical device. Suddenly, Luke wakes up and is shot through the top of the tank like it was a pneumatic tube.
    • It seems like everything went fine because the next shot is a close-up on Luke's grinning face, which is a little scarred, but no worse for the wear.
    • Han engages in some playful ribbing of Luke before turning his attention to Leia. She tells him that he can't leave the system now until the General activates the "energy field," which Han takes as an invitation for shameless flirting.
    • What follows is a series of playful insults that includes the word "nerf-herder." It's not really an important plot point or anything, but it must be noted.
    • Han claims that he must be hitting the mark if she's getting upset, which Leia slyly responds to by kissing Luke. This, of course, is pretty hilarious in hindsight.
    • The whole crew (sans Skywalker) meets with the General at HQ. The Rebels have been picking up a strange code being transmitted from the surface, which C-3PO suggests might be Imperial in origin. Han and Chewie run off to check it out.
    • We cut to one of the robo-jellyfish (Nerd alert: Our robo-jellyfish are actually called Imperial probes) sitting within spitting distance of the Rebel base. Uh-oh.
    • Chewie and Han pull off some diversionary tactics and manage to shoot it down, which causes a huge explosion. This surprises Han—he suspects that it was programmed to self-destruct.
    • That's bad news—the Empire is now here. The General informs everyone that it's time to evacuate.
  • Scene 6

    Scene 6

    • The camera cuts to a bunch of Imperial Star Destroyers floating around in space. There's one that looks especially sleek (Nerd alert: This sucker is called the Super Star Destroyer).
    • We enter this ship and are shown the back of someone's shiny, black, metallic head—this is Darth Vader, kiddos.
    • Nearby, a group of British-sounding military officers discuss their recent probe reports from Hoth, which they seem ready to dismiss as meaningless noise.
    • Darth Vader strolls up and tells them to go to Hoth, despite the officers' hesitations. He seems ticked off, too.
    • At the Rebel base, Han and Chewie are still working on their ship. Luke, who has recovered from his ordeal, has just suited up into his flight gear.
    • Meanwhile, the general has just learned that the Star Destroyers have entered the system. That will force them to stage a ground battle in order to buy time for the evacuation.
    • This is confirmed when we return to space to see Darth Vader being informed of their arrival in Hoth's space. Vader is annoyed at the officer (from before) for allowing the Rebels to become aware of their assault: He wanted to avoid a ground battle.
    • Vader pulls up the officer (an admiral) on the telescreen and straight up chokes him out using his telekinetic powers. It would be cool if it weren't so evil.
    • At the Rebel base, Leia is giving the pilots their mission. They'll be escorting civilian carriers out of the system—protected by massive ion cannons located on the planet's surface—after which they'll meet up at a rendezvous point.
    • It works! As the Rebels celebrate the first carrier's successful departure, Luke loads into his ship with his co-pilot and prepares to enter the ground battle.
    • Meanwhile, the Rebel ground troops stationed outside the base have just spotted the first of the Imperial forces, and it's a scary sight. They spot three massive Imperial walkers, which are basically massive tanks with four skyscraper-sized legs.
    • Boy do these things wreak havoc. Luke and his fellow pilots have just entered the fray, but we don't see how they're going to have a chance.
    • Realizing this, Luke suggests that they use their tow cables to trip up the Walkers' legs. Before he can do this, however, his co-pilot is killed, which means that there's no one to control the cable.
    • Luckily, another ship in Luke's squad (piloted by his old bud Wedge Antilles) manages to take down one of the Walkers using the tow cable method. Score one for the good guys.
    • At Rebel HQ, Leia tells the general that they're going to need to evacuate earlier than planned. Han and Chewie, meanwhile, are still struggling to fix the Falcon.
    • Back on the battlefield, Luke is attempting another attack run when he gets shot down. Luckily, he manages to get out of the ship before it's stomped by one of the walker's giant feet.
    • Things are looking bad: The base is now in shambles and Han is desperately trying to convince Leia to leave. Finally, she gives in and tells the troops to begin their retreat.
    • Luke, on the other hand, isn't done fighting. After using a grappling hook to climb up to the belly of the walker, he slices it open with his lightsaber and brings it down with a single grenade.
    • That's not enough, however, and the Imperial troops finally manage to destroy the power generator, which is fueling the Rebel's shields. It's all over.
    • The Imperials have reached the base, so Han brings Leia and C-3PO to the Falcon. It's good timing too, especially because a certain helmet-clad villain has just entered the scene.
    • It's still in pretty rough shape, but the Falcon manages to escape.
    • This escape is witnessed by Luke, who is loading into an X-Wing (his trademark ship) to make his own escape. R2-D2 is already loaded in to provide navigational assistance and the like.
    • To R2's surprise, Luke announces that they're not going to meet at the rendezvous point—they're going to the Dagobah system. Oh, this is getting juicy.
  • Scene 7

    Scene 7

    • Although Luke gets away scot-free, the Millennium Falcon is pursued by a bunch of Imperial ships. Even worse, there are two Star Destroyers within spitting distance.
    • Han shows off some fancy flying skills, but when he tries to go into Hyperspace (read: really fast speeds) he's met with an error message. Guess they didn't do all of the repairs, huh?
    • They try to fix it up, but no luck. With no other options, Han enters an asteroid field to shake their pursuers—and it works. They decide to lay low inside a large asteroid while they work on repairs.
    • Meanwhile, Luke is nearing Dagobah. As he tries to land, however, he loses control of the ship and crash-lands in a swamp. Whoops.
    • Luke and R2 exit the ship to look around, and a swamp creature tries to eat our robotic buddy. It doesn't seem to like the taste of metal, though.
    • We're now taken back to the Imperial fleet, where an admiral is entering Vader's office. Vader is sitting in a large black pod, as he was when we met him, but this time we see his exposed, human head as his helmet descends from above and clicks into place.
    • The admiral tells him about the whole Millennium Falcon/asteroid field deal, to which Vader responds by basically saying, "Put up or shut up."
    • Han and C-3PO are preparing for repairs when the asteroid abruptly shifts. That can't be good. Then it happens again, this time landing Leia right in Han's arms, which is just charming.
    • Back in Dagobah's swampy wonderland, Luke is setting up a temporary shelter. Just as he's commenting about how familiar everything seems, he hears a voice from behind him...
    • He pulls out his blaster and swings around. It's not what he expected, though: a tiny green creature wearing a robe and carrying a cane. He asks Luke why he's here.
    • The creature talks in silly, backwards English and acts like a loony, which causes Luke to not take him seriously. Still, the creature insists that it can help him find Yoda. Before he can do that, however, it's time for some grub.
    • On the Falcon, Han approaches Leia as she performs repairs. They flirt/fight as usual, but then Leia calls Han a scoundrel, which is apparently a huge turn-on for him. Then—drum roll please—they finally kiss, though it's rudely interrupted by C-3PO.
    • Despite his subordinates' claims, Vader is convinced that the Falcon is still in the asteroid field. He doesn't have too much time to deal with that right now, however, because he has a call with his BFF, the love of his life: the Emperor.
    • A hologram of the Emperor appears—dude wears a creepy robe and is uglier than all get-up. According to him, there's been a "disturbance in the Force" with the arrival of their enemy, Luke Skywalker. Even worse, he's the son of some schmuck named Anakin.
    • For some reason, Vader seems hesitant to kill the kid. Instead, he suggests turning him to the Dark Side. Dum dum dummm.
    • Back on Dagobah (so many scene shifts!), Luke is waiting in the creature's hobbit-sized home as he finishes making dinner.
    • The creature asks Luke why he wants to become a Jedi. Luke says that it's because of his dad, who was a major Jedi back in the day. Oddly, the creature acts like he knows Luke's dad, which causes Luke to throw a hissy fit.
    • Suddenly, the creature sighs and starts speaking into thin air, calling Luke "impatient" and "angry" like his father. What the what?
    • In an even more confusing turn, the voice of Ghosty-Wan Kenobi starts defending Luke, saying that he himself was just like Luke when the creature trained him.
    • Oh wait—this is Yoda.
    • Luke defends himself, but Yoda guffaws—dude's been training Jedi for eight hundred years, so he knows what's up. Despite his resistance, however, Yoda finally agrees to train Luke.
  • Scene 8

    Scene 8

    • We cut to a bunch of Imperial forces blowing the crud out of an asteroid field. The Falcon seems safe and sound in its hideaway, but Leia (who's chilling in the cockpit) freaks out when a strange creature latches itself to the ship.
    • Han, Chewie, and Leia rush outside to take on the intruder, but they quickly realize that there's something... strange about this asteroid. It's so... moist.
    • They manage to kill one creature, but a bunch of others start popping up. During this attack, Han accidentally shoots the surface, which makes the entire asteroid shudder uncontrollably. Huh?
    • Everyone rushes inside the ship and Han starts the Falcon. That's when we realize that that they weren't hiding out in a cave at all—they were hiding in the belly of a giant worm. That's insane. They narrowly avoid its chomping teeth and make it out unscathed.
    • On Dagobah, Luke is performing Jedi CrossFit with Yoda, who spits a constant string of platitudes. Mostly, however, he just warns Luke to stay away from Vader and the Dark Side.
    • They finish training for the day, but Luke suddenly starts acting strangely. Yoda points to a nearby cave and says that it holds a great concentration of the Dark Side—and that Luke must go inside.
    • When Luke asks him what's in there, however, he replies simply: "only what you take with you." He also tells Luke to leave his weapons, but Luke refuses,
    • Luke crawls into the cave and ominous music swells. Suddenly, he hears a splash and an imposing figure starts walking towards him—it's Darth Vader.
    • They start dueling. It's actually a quick little fight, with Luke decapitating Vader like he was chopping broccoli.
    • Then something even weirder happens—Vader's decapitated head explodes to reveals Luke's face underneath. What in the name of Qui-Gon Jinn is going on here?
    • We return to the real Vader to find him hiring a group of bounty hunters to find the Millennium Falcon. He carefully tells one with a funny helmet that he is not to disintegrate the crew.
    • Meanwhile, the Millennium Falcon is still being chased by a Star Destroyer (so why did Vader need to hire those dudes?). With their hyperdrive still malfunctioning, Han decides to make a suicide run on the gigantic Star Destroyer.
    • The Falcon makes a close pass and suddenly disappears. The chief Imperial officer is baffled, but promises to take full responsibility for the failure. Vader's a forgiving dude, right?
    • We pop back to Dagobah to find Luke performing a one-handed handstand while balancing Yoda on one of his feet. That's not all, folks: He's also stacking stones with his mind.
    • Unfortunately, he loses focus when his X-Wing sinks deeper into the swamp, killing his chances of leaving the planet.
    • Yoda commands him to lift up the ship like he did the stones, and when Luke says that he'll "try," Yoda responds by saying "there is no try."
    • It actually works for a second, although Luke isn't able to free the ship from the muck. He's bummed, but Yoda gives him a pick-me-up by extolling the beauty of the Force—it connects everyone and everything.
    • Luke is still frustrated, calling the task impossible and sulking in the corner. Then, just like that, Yoda puts out his hand and magically moves the X-Wing to the planet's surface.
    • Like a boss. Our little padawan (Nerd alert: That's a Jedi-in-training) is suitably awed.
    • We cut back to the Empire as Vader chokes out the admiral from the previous scene. Angrily, he tells the crew to hunt down the Falcon by tracing its light-speed pattern,
    • Then we pull out to the exterior of the Star Destroyer to make a shocking discovery—the Falcon is clinging to the side of the ship, rendering it completely undetectable.
    • Inside, Han and Leia are discussing their plan. They can escape from the fleet by blending in with one of their garbage dumps, but they'll still need to figure out somewhere to go.
    • Han has an idea—his old buddy (and fellow scoundrel) Lando Calrissian is now a big-wig on the mining planet Bespin. Lando definitely doesn't like the Empire, so everyone agrees to go.
    • With that, the Star Destroyer releases its garbage and jumps to hyperspace, leaving the Falcon to get away scot-free.
    • As they fly away, however, we see a ship piloted by the helmet-wearing bounty hunter following from a distance. That's bad news, kiddos.
  • Scene 9

    Scene 9

    • Back to Dagobah and back to handstands and levitation. Suddenly, Luke's concentration breaks and everything falls—he had some sort of vision of Han and Leia in danger in "the city in the clouds."
    • Yoda claims that Luke is seeing the future, which makes Luke want to leave immediately and save his friends. Yoda strongly warns against this, saying that it will undo everything that they've worked for.
    • We cut to the Falcon flying through the clouds. They're being escorted to a landing site with a great deal of hostility, which makes everyone nervous.
    • They land on a small platform on top of a giant floating city. It's actually pretty awesome. When they emerge, however, there's no one outside waiting for them.
    • Suddenly, a door opens and a group of men emerge—the one in the front angrily calls Han a "swindler" before grabbing him in a warm embrace.
    • This, of course, is Lando. He has a great mustache and even greater clothes and we hope that we're like him when we grow up.
    • They chat like old friends and Han explains that he needs repairs. That's when Lando reveals that the Falcon used to be his ship, and that Han won it in a card game.
    • As they enter the facilities, Han laughs about how a smuggler like Lando is now a political leader.
    • Meanwhile, C-3PO is lured away by a droid that sounds like R2 and ends up.... getting blasted to bits, so we guess C-3PO is dead now?
    • On Dagobah, Luke is loading up his X-Wing despite Yoda's vehement protestations. Even Ghosty-Wan Kenobi joins the game, saying that he doesn't want the same thing to happen to Luke that happened to Vader (Nerd alert: Vader used to be Obi-Wan's Jedi apprentice but turned to the Dark Side of the Force at some point in the past).
    • However, Luke is determined. The two Jedi Masters give him their well-wishes and Luke promises to return after he's taken care of business.
    • After Luke leaves, Obi-Wan says that he is their "last hope," to which Yoda mysteriously responds by saying, "No, there is another."
  • Scene 10

    Scene 10

    • Meanwhile, Leia is freaking out in Cloud City—she doesn't trust Lando and is worried about C-3PO. Plus, there's no telling when Han is just going to up and leave her again.
    • Luckily, Chewbacca finds C-3PO (or pieces of him, at least) in a scrap room. As soon as he shows this to Han and Leia, Lando bursts in and offers the group refreshments.
    • Lando explains that he runs his mining operation on the down-low to evade both the mining guild and the Empire. Even better, he's just made a deal that will ensure that this will continue.
    • With that, Lando opens a door to reveal Vader sitting at a dinner table. Han tries to shoot him, which goes as terribly as you can imagine.
    • A host of stormtroopers (along with that bounty hunter) pop in for backup, and Lando reveals that they arrived just before the Falcon did.
    • We briefly cut to space to see Luke closing in on his friends.
    • Back in Cloud City, Chewie is beating against a prison wall. With nothing else to do, he starts rebuilding C-3PO, though he accidentally puts on his head backwards.
    • After coming to, C-3PO makes it clear that he was blasted by stormtroopers after stumbling across them.
    • Meanwhile, Han is being strapped to a crazy apparatus by Vader & Co. There's some serious torture stuff going down, which ticks Lando off—he'd been promised that Han would be spared.
    • Chewbacca is finishing up C-3PO's torso when Han is brought into the room. Leia is dropped off a few moments later.
    • Suddenly, Lando appears. He explains that Leia and Chewie will be free to go, but Han will be turned over to the bounty hunter (Nerd alert: This unnamed bounty hunter is known as Boba Fett) to pay off Jabba.
    • In fact, this whole operation isn't about any of them—it's a trap to snag Luke.
    • Han, finally fed up, socks Lando in the jaw. Yeah, buddy! Luckily, Lando tells his men to hold back and they leave the room.
    • We cut to Vader and his posse hanging out beside an ominous, red machine. Vader claims that it will be used to freeze Luke before he's taken to the Emperor.
    • Lando says that the machine could kill Luke, but Vader has already thought of that—he's going to test it first on Han Solo.
    • We see a quick shot of Luke pulling up to Cloud City before we return to the freezing machine, where our captured heroes have just arrived.
    • Chewie tries to defend his friend, but Han tells him to save his strength. Then—to a lovely musical cue—Han and Leia share one final kiss.
    • Even better, Leia tells Han that she loves him. Even better than that, however, is Han's response, which might be the greatest line in cinema history: "I know."
    • With that, Han is lowered into a chamber, which emits a burst of steam. When it clears, Han's body is raised up, now frozen into a giant slab of metal.
    • He's alive, at least. After turning Han's body over to Boba Fett, Vader once again changes his deal with Lando, demanding that Leia and Chewie be brought to his ship.
    • Finally, we see Luke and R2-D2 creeping through Cloud City's halls. Luke actually spots Boba Fett bringing Han's frozen body to his ship. Fett fires a few shots towards Luke before escaping.
    • Meanwhile, Lando presses a few buttons on his watch that seemingly sends a message to his assistants. Luke runs into their group (which includes Leia and Chewie), though they get pulled away before he can save them.
    • Luke creeps away from the manicured white hallways and finds himself in that crazy machine room where Han was frozen. It's dead quiet.
    • Suddenly, the light turns on and Vader appears. He says that the Force is strong with Luke, but that he's not a Jedi yet. With that, both men pull out their lightsabers and begin fighting.
    • The rest of the heroes are being escorted out when suddenly the Cloud City personnel pull out their guns and point them at the Imperials. Lando just pulled off the rare double-double-cross!
    • Leia and Chewie are none too eager to take his help, but they know that he's their only chance to save Han. Unfortunately, they're not able to stop Boba Fett before he escapes, although they do manage to find R2, who'd been left behind by Luke.
    • As this happens, Luke and Vader's battle continues. Vader manages to disarm Luke and push him into the freezing chamber, but Luke leaps to safety and use the Force to grab his lightsaber.
    • Vader compliments Luke's skills, but says that he must unleash his anger and hatred to defeat him. Luke suddenly starts attacking in flurries and knocks Vader off the main platform.
    • He follows and finds Vader in a long, windowed hallway. Vader uses his Force powers to launch projectiles, striking Luke until he falls through a window and is left hanging on the side above a steep drop.
    • Meanwhile, our other heroes are being pursued by stormtroopers as Cloud City begins its evacuation. Thanks to R2's skills, they manage to unlock the passageway that leads to the Falcon and make a narrow escape.
    • Over in lightsaber land, Luke has just pulled himself up and is standing on the high-set walkway when Vader emerges. The battle rages on.
    • Luke is fighting valiantly, but it's clear that he's outmatched. Suddenly, Vader swings and slices off Luke's lightsaber-wielding hand, sending it falling down into the abyss
    • Vader pushes Luke out onto a narrow overhang, and it looks like all is lost. He informs Luke that his only hope is to join the Dark Side, which Luke angrily refuses.
    • Luke shouts at Vader for killing his dad (which Obi-Wan had told him in the previous film), which Vader responds to by dropping one of the biggest bombshells in movie history—he, Darth Vader, is Luke's father.
    • Luke straight-up trips when he hears this. Vader, on a roll, suggests that they could kill the Emperor, ruling the galaxy together as father and son.
    • Suddenly, Luke lets go of the platform and falls down. Instead of dying in a gross splat, however, he neatly slides into a little tube.
    • Unfortunately, a door opens below him, leaving him hanging from an antenna at the bottom of the city. With nothing else to do, he closes his eyes and starts saying Leia's name...
    • Somehow, Leia talks back to him from inside the Falcon. Whoah, what? She tells Chewie to turn back and pick him up.
    • Big Boy Vader, on the other hand, is done with business and leaves the city.
  • Scene 11

    Scene 11

    • The Falcon is still being pursued by Imperial ships. Unfortunately, the hyperdrive system once again fails when they try to escape, because of course. Lando swears that he fixed it.
    • Meanwhile, Darth Vader reveals that he ordered his troops to deactivate the Falcon's hyperdrive after Lando repaired it. Clever Sith!
    • As he watches the Falcon fly away, Vader tries to convince Luke to join the Dark Side once again through a telepathic conversation. For his part, Luke seems really ticked that Obi-Wan lied to him.
    • Suddenly, R2 (who had apparently heard about Vader's hyperdrive-deactivation from a computer in Cloud City) fixes the system and the Falcon jumps into Hyperspace. Success!
    • We cut to the Millennium Falcon docked to a ship that seems to belong to the Rebel Alliance. Phew. Lando, who's on the Falcon with Chewie, tells Luke that they'll notify him when they find Han.
    • Oh, neat—Luke has a shiny, new robotic hand, though it looks exactly like a human hand.
    • We then cut to Luke, Leia, C-3PO, and R2-D2 looking through the ship's window as the Millennium Falcon passes by.
    • With that, we cut to one final shot of the fleet flying through space and the movie ends.