Three years after the destruction of the Death Star, the Rebel Alliance has been driven from their former base on Yavin IV by the Galactic Empire. Princess Leia leads a contingent, which includes Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, in a new base on the icy planet Hoth. The Imperial Fleet, led by Darth Vader, continues to hunt for Rebels’ new base by dispatching numerous probe droids across the galaxy.
While investigating a potential meteor strike, Luke is ambushed by a monstrous, furry wampa, and manages to escape from the wampa’s cave with his lightsaber, but soon suffers from the sheer-cold temperatures of the snowy wasteland. The spirit of his late mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, appears before him and instructs him to go to the Dagobah system to train under Jedi Master Yoda. He is then found by Han, who uses the warmth of his dead tauntaun for shelter, and brought back to base to recover.
On patrol a short time later, Han and Chewbacca discover the asteroid is in fact a probe droid which alerts the Imperial Fleet to the Rebels’ location. A large-scale attack is launched by the Empire, using gigantic AT-AT Walkers to capture the base. Han and Leia escape on the Millennium Falcon with C-3PO and Chewbacca, but their hyperspace drive malfunctions. They hide in an asteroid field, where Han and Leia grow closer. Vader summons several bounty hunters including the notorious Boba Fett to assist in finding the Falcon. Luke, meanwhile, escapes with R2-D2 in his X-wing fighter and crash lands on Dagobah. He meets a diminutive creature who is revealed to be Yoda and, although reluctant, after conferring with Obi-Wan’s spirit he accepts Luke as his pupil.
After evading the Imperial Fleet, Han sets a course for Cloud City, a floating gas mining colony in the skies of the planet Bespin run by Han’s old friend, Lando Calrissian. Unknowingly, the Millennium Falcon has been tracked by Boba Fett and, shortly after they arrive at Cloud City, Lando leads the group into trap where they are handed over to Darth Vader. It is revealed that Vader is trying to lure out Luke with the intent of capturing him alive and presenting him to his master, the Emperor, and is using the group as bait. During his intensive training on Dagobah, Luke sees a premonition of Han and Leia in pain and, against Yoda’s wishes, leaves in an attempt to save them.
Vader reneges on his agreement with Lando and takes Leia into custody, and hands Han over to Boba Fett. As part of his trap, Vader intends to hold Luke in suspended animation via carbon freezing and selects Han as a test subject for the process. Frozen in a block of carbonite, he survives the freezing and Vader hands him over to Fett, who intends to leave for Tatooine to deliver him to Jabba the Hutt, the gangster to whom Han is heavily indebted. Lando, who is unable to deal with the guilt of what is happening, initiates an escape and frees Leia and the others. They desperately try to save Han but are unable to, and flee Cloud City in the Millennium Falcon.
Meanwhile, Luke arrives at Cloud City and falls into Vader’s trap. The two engage in a lightsaber duel that leads them over the city’s central air shaft and Luke, vastly outmatched, has his hand cut off and is disarmed. Vader attempts to coerce Luke into joining forces to destroy the Emperor and when this fails, reveals himself as Luke’s father. Horrified by the revelation, Luke throws himself down the air shaft. He is ejected beneath the floating city and makes a desperate telepathic plea to Leia, who senses it and persuades Lando to return for him. R2-D2 repairs the Falcon ’s hyperdrive, allowing them to finally escape the Imperial Fleet and a now-despondent Darth Vader.
Aboard a medical frigate, Luke is fitted with a robotic artificial hand as Lando and Chewbacca set off in the Falcon to find Jabba the Hutt and save Han. As the Falcon flies off, Luke, Leia, R2-D2, and C-3PO look on and await their contact.
While Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was a great movie, I personally think that Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is the best of the original trilogy. Like it’s predecessor, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back continues to raise the bar for sci-fi movies and special effects.
The special effects are clean and well done, and they still hold up all these yeas later. The effects show refinement over those in A New Hope.
The story is inviting and immense,. it really draws the audience in.
Like all 3 of the original Star Wars movies, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is worth the watch.