Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

New this month Question: When this movie was filmed, had George Lucas already decided that Luke and Leia would be brother and sister? If so, has he commented on the scene with their kiss?

New this month Answer: It is unknown whether or not Lucas planned for Luke and Leia to be brother and sister when Empire Strikes Back was filmed. Early drafts of the screenplay make it clear that not only are Luke and Leia not brother and sister, but Darth Vader is not Luke's father. Luke does have a sister in these drafts but it isn't Leia, she is an unseen character named Nillith. At some point, obviously the script was changed to make Vader Luke's father and references to Luke's sister were completely removed. George Lucas has never commented on the kiss.

BaconIsMyBFF

Question: Is there any reason why Luke believes what Darth Vader says when he tells him that he is his father?

Casual Person

Chosen answer: He "searched his feelings" as Vader instructed; he reached out with the Force and felt the truth of the statement.

Phixius

Question: During the Battle of Hoth, why is the AT-AT walker suddenly easy to blow up after it has crashed? I thought their "armor was too strong for blasters."

taylordan90

Chosen answer: The weak point of an AT-AT is its neck, which is the point the snowspeeder fires upon when the AT-AT explodes.

Darius Angel

Question: Was there any reason why Vader had Han "tortured" with a machine? Han later tells Leia and Chewbacca that he wasn't even asked any questions. I know that Vader is scary, but would he want to waste time by just toying with Han and not even questioning him?

Chosen answer: Vader is not interested in extracting information from Han Solo, nor is he wasting time; he is using Han as bait to lure Luke Skywalker into his trap. Vader knows that Luke will sense Han's agony through the Force and will try to rescue Han and the others.

raywest

Question: Why does Darth Vader stop Boba Fett from shooting Chewbacca when he's attacking stormtroopers when Hans been put into carbon freeze? Vader kill his own people at will, so why save the enemy?

Chosen answer: Vader's goal is to lure Luke to Bespin by capturing his friends. With Boba Fett taking Han away, that leaves Vader with two hostages. Killing Chewbacca means losing half of his bait. He also thinks he can convince Luke to join the Dark Side and rule the galaxy with him, an easier proposition to pitch if he hasn't killed two of Luke's friends. (Sure, he gave one to a bounty hunter, but then he's got "We can get Han back" as a backup bargaining chip).

Captain Defenestrator

Question: On Dagobah, when Luke goes into the cave he finds Darth Vader and kills him, his helmet explodes and turns out Darth Vader is Luke. How does this make any sense?

Casual Person

Chosen answer: Luke is seeing visions relating to possible futures. In this case, it's effectively a warning that, if he embraces the path of violence, which he has at this point by keeping his weapons with him when Yoda told him to leave them behind, then he risks falling to the Dark Side and becoming just as bad as Vader.

Tailkinker

Question: When Han and Lando meet for the first time after a while in the Cloud City, Han gets a rude welcome from Lando. Was Lando's rudeness a veiled warning to Han to leave, since Darth and the troopers were waiting for him?

Allister Cooper, 2011

Chosen answer: The rude welcome was just a way for Lando to "mess" with his old friend. It would have been suicide for Lando to get Han to leave knowing Vader and Company were waiting for all of them.

dablues7

Question: Han wants to leave the Rebel base on Hoth so he can pay Jabba and not have to worry anymore about all the bounty hunters that are after him. Seems like a reasonable thing to want to do. But why does everyone act like he's quitting the rebellion all together? What's to keep him from coming back after he gives Jabba the money? Even if they have to leave Hoth before he could make it back they could have told him where he could find them.

Chosen answer: Well the rebelion was in a pretty shaky situation at the time. They needed Han to be there full time, which is why he stayed with them so long even with bounty hunters coming after him. When he decides to leave, it's assumed they all feel they may never see him again, because the rebelion may be wiped out, or Han could be meet some terrible fate at the hands of Jabba the Hutt, or even the empire without the rebelion to look after him.

RJR99SS

Question: What is the celestial object seen at the end of The Empire Strikes Back? Is it the galaxy? Or something else?

Socks1000

Chosen answer: It's a galaxy. Given the distance that the fleet would have to be away from it in order to see the whole thing like that, it seem unlikely that it's intended to be the galaxy that the saga takes place in, but another one that's relatively close to it.

Tailkinker

Question: Is there supposed to be some kind of trivia when C3P0 says the odds of surviving are 725 to 1, 3720 to 1?

Mister Ed

Chosen answer: No, they're just numbers.

Tailkinker

Question: So after the Falcon floats off with the garbage they look for a place to go and find Cloud City. They take off and Boba Fett follows. Later Lando says that the Empire arrived before them. How did they get there before the Falcon if Boba Fett was following the Falcon and it appears he told the Empire where they went?

swamphawk

Chosen answer: The Empire guessed where the Falcon would be headed next, and so Vader and his forces arrived at Bespin before them. Boba Fett would have had time to meet Vader in that dining room before Han and the others walked in on them.

Question: Is it true that Yoda wanted to train Leia instead of Luke, and if so, why?

Darth Crucible

Answer: Yes, it has been revealed in a new book. Yoda thought Luke was impatient and prone to anger, making him not unlike Anakin.

Question: Why did Luke take his weapons into the cave right after Yoda told him not to?

THE GAMER NEXT DOOR

Answer: Out of his fear of possible danger and facing the unknown. He didn't yet fully trust everything Yoda told him.

raywest

Question: Why does the Emperor contact Darth Vader and tell him about Luke Skywalker, when Vader has already been searching for Luke since the beginning of the movie?

Answer: The Emperor knows that Vader is aware of Luke. He contacts Vader to tell him to kill Luke when he is found. Vader, however suggests he be captured instead and turned to the dark side. The Emperor questions whether turning Luke is even possible to which Vader states "He will join us or die.", meaning if he fails he fully intends to go through with the Emperors plan of killing Luke.

BaconIsMyBFF

Question: General Veers was a badass and did not screw up at all on the assault on Hoth. Why promote Piett to Admiral and not Veers?

Answer: General Veers was part of the Imperial Army, hence his command of the ground troops. Piett and Ozzel were members of the Imperial Navy, hence their command of the ships.

Greg Dwyer

Question: If Obi Wan is so powerful now that he is one with the force, how come he couldn't help Luke in his fight against Vader?

THE GAMER NEXT DOOR

Chosen answer: It's not known how or in what way Obi Wan is powerful or if that power can be physically extended to the living world. Also, for various reasons, Luke, to fulfill his destiny to be a Jedi, must be the one to confront and defeat Vader, though Obi Wan can still guide him.

raywest

Question: When the Rebels are evacuating from Hoth, Luke says goodbye to Han. Then we don't see him until he's running to his Snowspeeder. In that time, Vader has found out that Ozzel has messed up and promoted Piett, General Rieekan sends the transports out and one gets past. What was Luke doing in all that time?

Declan Murphy

Chosen answer: It's unknown what Luke was doing because nothing is shown. Any answer is speculation. Also, you are viewing the scene as a linear timeline, with events happening one after the other. In movies, the action often jumps back-and-forth and is unfolding simultaneously. The on-screen timeline can be more compressed than it appears.

raywest

Question: About 20 minutes into the movie Darth Vader says "I am sure Skywalker is with them" but later the emperor says to him "I have no doubt this boy is the offspring of Anakin Skywalker" and then Vader says "How is that possible" so I am just wondering 2 things: 1) is that part of Vader's plan to overthrow the Emperor? and 2) if the emperor is more powerful than him and Luke, how does he expect Luke to help him overthrow the Emperor? Surely the Emperor could destroy him since the Emperor is more powerful than both Luke and Vader.

THE GAMER NEXT DOOR

Answer: At the time Vader new Luke was his son but did not tell the Emperor this. He was faking his reaction to make the Emperor feel like he was one step ahead of him.

Chosen answer: For the special editions George Lucas changed the scene to feature the same actor (Ian McDiarmid) as played the emperor in RotJ and the prequels. He also changed the dialog. In the original version, there is no comment from the emperor about Luke being Anakin's offspring. Instead it is left more vague and he is simply referred to as "the son of Skywalker", as at this point it is not known that Vader is in fact Anakin Skywalker. The change was made to tie the original film to the prequels, but as you point out, it only served to create a plot hole.

Jason Hoffman

Question: When Lando goes to check on Han after being encased in carbonite, he touches a panel on the side. What did he do to Han's "carbon case" after handling the panel?

Chosen answer: He was checking the control panel readings that indicates whether or not Han survived the process.

raywest

Question: Why did Vader cut off Luke's hand? It seems like a strange thing to do right before you request that someone join you.

Chosen answer: The intent was to disarm Luke and end the fight and prevent Luke from gaining the upper hand (no pun intended). As seen at the end of the film, Luke received a new prosthetic hand that was nearly as proficient as his real one. There is also a bit of symbolism here. Vader had been severely mutilated by Obi Wan many years before, resulting him becoming more machine than man. As Palpatine later attempts to sway Luke to the Dark Side, Luke's lost hand serves to remind him that he could easily become a monster like his father.

raywest

Question: If I am correct, this movie takes place three years after "A New Hope." Why does Obi-Wan just now appear to Luke and tell him to begin training with Yoda? Why not send him to Yoda right after the Death Star was destroyed?

Chosen answer: With all the running from and attacking the Empire that Luke has been doing the past three years, near-dying in a snowstorm might be the first time Luke's been alone and at peace enough for Obi-Wan's spirit to reach him.

Captain Defenestrator

Question: How did Darth Vader know about Luke Skywalker? In episode III the Emperor told him Padme died which would lead Vader to assume that her child also died.

Chosen answer: In the Special Edition, when Vader makes contact with Emperor Palpatine after bringing the ship out of the asteroid belt, It is Palpatine that informs Vader that Luke is the son of Anakin Skywalker, to which Vader replies, "How is that possible?"

Question: Darth Vader doesn't know he has a daughter (until the end of ROTJ). How did he know that he had a son? One may think that when Obi Wan hid Luke with his uncle, they'd have changed his last name from "Skywalker" to something else so that Anakin couldn't find him. Or did Vader just realize it when he was chasing him in SW (when he says "the force is strong with this one..."). This has always confused me.

Chosen answer: Vader initially became interested in Luke after seeing him both in the Death Star after Vader killed Obi-Wan, and during the Death Star's destruction. After discovering him to be a powerful force user, he went to great lengths and used many Imperial Intelligence resources to identify him, eventually learning his surname of Skywalker, and realising that Luke was his son. He later learned the name Luke, but at that point it was redundant.

Question: This question also applies to a similar scene from Episode I. When the Rebel Forces are fleeing Hoth, why do they have to fly right in the path of the blockade? There didn't appear to be any resistance on the planet's northern and southern poles, and the lack of gravity in space shouldn't preclude them from flying their planes at a ninety degree angle once they escape the planet's gravitational pull, instead of having to fly in a path parallel to the blockade's position.

Serious B

Chosen answer: The Empire's ships are faster and more maneuverable and don't suffer speed restrictions from the atmosphere of the planet. They could easily outrun/pick off the Rebel ships as they left the protection of the planetary shield. By going directly at the Star Destroyers, they give themselves the best chance in two ways. First, they present a smaller target coming head-on. Second, by going between the ships, the Imperials risk hitting their own ships if they fire. It would also take more time to set the courses for hyperspace because of all the maneuvering.

Question: As far as I know, there were no plans for another trilogy after the first one released over 30 years ago. My question is, did Episode V always appear during the opening credits or was that added later in the special addition? If it was always apart of the credits, didn't people wonder why it was called episode V when it was the second movie? Would seem confusing.

Carl Missouri

Chosen answer: "Episode V" was in place right from the beginning, and the "Episode IV" tag was added to Star Wars in a re-release the following year. By this point, Lucas was already talking about doing a prequel trilogy covering the rise of the Empire at some future point, with allusions to a possible sequel trilogy consisting of Episodes VII though IX to follow.

Tailkinker

Question: Is it true that George Lucas will not let any Star Wars books/media reveal Yoda's species, last name, etc.?

Chosen answer: Yes, it's quite true - for reasons that he's never explained, Lucas has always maintained a strict policy of not allowing any information about Yoda's species to be included in any publications. While he has allowed some details of Yoda's personal history to be revealed, details about the species as a whole, what they call themselves, where their homeworld is, their history and so forth, have been kept under wraps.

Tailkinker

Question: I used to have a VHS version of this movie - I don't remember if it was the original or restored version. On the VHS, when Vader mentally speaks to Luke after the fight on Bespin, Luke calls him "Father" (before trying to talk to Obi-wan). Am I just remembering wrong, or did he really say that? If so, does anyone know why it was removed on the DVD?

Chosen answer: Yes. When he "hears" Vader's voice, he responds, "Father." As I recall it, Vader says, "Son" and Luke responds, "Father," before saying, "Ben, why didn't you tell me."

raywest

Question: Why did Obi-wan say to Luke "You will go to the Dagobah system" as opposed to "You must go"? Was he simply giving him an order? Seems strange considering Luke was very close to freezing to death when he said it.

Gavin Jackson

Chosen answer: Obi-wan's one with the Force at this point, so, given that the Force has been shown to grant precognitive visions, he may simply have seen that Luke survives and does go to Dagobah and is telling Luke that he will go there as a statement of fact. Or it could just be a bit poorly worded.

Tailkinker

Question: After one of the Imperial officers told Vader that the Millenium Falcon's hyperdrive had been deactivated, and then Luke and the others escaped anyway, why didn't Vader get angry? He killed a couple of officers earlier for losing track of the Falcon.

Chosen answer: Well, he killed *one* officer (Captain Needa) for losing track of the Falcon. But all we can do is speculate... Perhaps it was the final failure, since his plan to turn Luke to the dark side didn't work. Perhaps he had second thoughts after meeting his son face to face. Perhaps Vader was concerned that if he was too aggressive, he might tip his hand that he had tempted Luke by suggesting the murder of the Emperor. Whatever the reason, Admiral Piett seems just as surprised as the audience that he wasn't executed.

JC Fernandez

Question: During the Battle of Hoth, why do the AT-AT Walkers have to land so far away? Couldn't a big ship just come right down close and destroy the base?

taylordan90

Chosen answer: They specifically had to come in under the deflector shield and destroy the generator before any ships could come in. That's why Vader doesn't show up until after the generator is taken out.

Garlonuss

Question: Could someone please explain to me exactly how the Millennium Falcon is being flown. It appears to swoop in such a way like someone is steering it, but no one on board seems to be doing much more than pressing the odd button here or there. And it can't be autopilot because it seems to be doing exactly what those on board want. So does anyone know?

Gavin Jackson

Chosen answer: Han has the control board in front of him - he has everything he needs to fly the ship to hand. We never get a particularly good look at the console, so we don't know precisely what format the controls are presented in, but that's what he's using.

Tailkinker

Question: Why was Darth Vader so intent on finding the Millennium Falcon if Luke wasn't even on it? Not only that, how could he even sense it at all, if it was only Luke's presence he could feel through the Force? Was he actually sensing Leia but mistaking her for Luke?

Chosen answer: There are two options with regard to the Falcon; either Luke's on-board, in which case Vader needs to track it down to capture him, or he isn't, in which case the people who are on-board will be excellent bait to draw Luke into his trap. Either way, he needs to find the ship. Jedi can sense the presence of living beings, not just other Force sensitives, so there's no particular reason why he shouldn't be able to sense the Falcon's crew. There's no particular indication that he's mistaking Leia's force sense for Luke's - if he was, then he'd immediately realise his mistake and, in all likelihood, that she's his daughter when he met up with her later in the film. Which he doesn't.

Tailkinker

Question: Why does Boba Fett have a braid of blonde hair on one of his shoulders?

Chosen answer: Those are Wookiee scalps he has collected in his years as a bounty hunter. He wears them as a "badge of honor", to prove that he is capable of taking down even very dangerous opponents in single combat.

Twotall

Question: Approximately how long does Luke train with Yoda on Dagobah?

Chosen answer: It's never made clear. The only rough indication of time is that, when discussing which system to hide out in, Han comments that Bespin is a long way but that he thinks they can make it, which suggests a flight of considerable duration. Given that we're talking about two different star systems (Anoat and Bespin), even if those stars are unusually close together, without the hyperdrive operational, the flight must be reckoned of the order of some months. This would also tie in with Yoda apparently having taught Luke a considerable amount despite considering him too old and too set in his ways to learn properly.

Tailkinker

Question: Does anyone know a website that details all the changes made in the special editions?

Chosen answer: There's a fairly complete list located at Wikipedia. Here's the link.

Cubs Fan

Question: How come it takes such a long time for the Super Star destroyer to be able to catch the Millennium Falcon in the tractor beam? In episode 4 when Millennium Falcon is captured by the Death Star, it is caught in the tractor beam immediately, and from a much greater distance. I understand the plot requires the Millennium Falcon to escape, but this seems a bit illogical.

killin_kellit

Chosen answer: The sheer size of the Death Star and its colossal power generators would allow it to have a much more powerful tractor beam than any capital ship would be capable of supporting, giving it much greater range. The Millenium Falcon was caught quickly because they were unaware of what they were approaching - by the time they realised, they were already captured. With the Star Destroyer, they're aware of its presence and can take steps to avoid a tractor beam lock-on.

Tailkinker

Question: Why does Yoda seem so "childish" when Luke first meets him in the swamp? I mean in comparison to Episode III when he seemed much wiser. Is there any reason for this?

James Ollier

Chosen answer: Yoda was testing Luke. Luke was looking for a great Jedi warrior and expected to find this great man or creature, not a short, little, funny, "weak", creature. Yoda knew Luke must get past preconcieved ideas and conceptions of what it takes to be and become a Jedi. Luke failed this initial test.

Mark English

Question: In this movie we see a shot of a mechanical arm placing Darth Vader's helmet onto his head. But in ROTJ, removing Vader's helmet & mask made him die according to Luke. Is this because in ROTJ it was his helmet *and* his mask being removed, while in ESB it was just his helmet?

Matty Blast

Chosen answer: Removing the mask alone would not make Darth Vader die. He stil had breathing help built into his suit. Vader was already dying when Luke took his mask and helment off in ROTJ, due to injuries sustained by Luke and the Emperor's force lightning. Anakin (Vader) just wanted to see his son Luke with his own eyes, before he died.

Mark English

Question: In the battle of Hoth, when Han and Leia are at the command center, we hear a voice saying "Imperial troops have entered the base" but this happens before General Veers has destroyed the power generator. How is it possible for them to enter when the shield is still up?

killin_kellit

Chosen answer: The shield prevents ship from landing close to the base and stops any orbital bombardment; it's not designed to prevent actual entry to the base. As such, the Imperial Walkers were landed a long way out, then they simply walked in under the shield, much as the probe droid did earlier. The ground troops simply came in with the walkers, disembarked and entered the base - the shield wasn't in their way.

Tailkinker

Question: Why didn't Luke just stay in the cave and wait until the next morning to contact the Rebel base? Isn't the cave just as adequate a shelter as what Han dug for him?

Matty Blast

Chosen answer: There's still a very large and annoyed Wampa in there, and there could easily be others in the depths of the cave. Running out into the cold may not be the most sensible move in the world, but it's reasonably understandable.

Tailkinker

Question: If George Lucas had a false page in the script to fool everyone into thinking that Obi-Wan killed Luke's father, then how did he get round the scene between Luke and Vader later (where Luke actually calls Vader 'Father')?

Chosen answer: Everything after the false ending page was hidden from Mark Hamill and the rest of the cast. The scene where Luke calls Vader "father" was filmed after Hamill had already found out the real truth that Vader is Luke's father.

Mark English

Question: When Luke is about to take off in his X-Wing while training on Dagobah to save Leia and Han, Obi-Wan says "That boy was our only hope," but Yoda says "No. There is another." Who is this "other" Yoda is talking about?

Chosen answer: As we find out in Return of the Jedi, Luke's twin sister, Leia.

Tailkinker

Question: Since its mentioned in most of the other Star Wars films, where is the number 1138 mentioned in this one?

Chosen answer: When the snowspeeders are searching for Han and Luke, the leader says for Rogues 10 and 11 to search sector 38. A bit of a stretch, but there it is. Also, during the duel between Luke and Vader the fight sequence begins with one exchange of strikes, then one more, then three, then eight.

Xofer

Question: Yoda always makes a huge deal about Anakin's age in Episode 2, being too old to start training as a Jedi. Yet in Episode 5, he barely hesitates before training Luke, a full grown man. We are made to think that even a young boy is a lost cause, so wouldn't a man be impossible to train? Unlike Anakin, Luke had never displayed any Force characteristics (except for piloting in the Battle of Yavin).

Chosen answer: In Episode 1, he's clearly reluctant to train Anakin at all, obviously sensing something that troubles him. The age issue may have been something of a smokescreen, but it is clear that Jedi training starts at a very early age - Anakin is well past that age already. With training Luke in Episode 5, what other choice does Yoda have? If the Emperor and Vader are to be brought down, it's pretty much Luke, Leia (who obviously has the same age issues) or nobody.

Tailkinker

Question: Was it always Lucas' original plan to have Darth Vader be Luke's father?

Chosen answer: Yes, however, he didn't want anyone to KNOW about it. In fact, the original script said "'Obi Wan never told you what happened to your father.' 'He told me enough... he told me YOU killed him!' 'No, Obi-Wan killed your father'" Even Hamill was only told the real line just before shooting, so his reaction is somewhat natural.

SexyIrishLeprechaun

Question: In the 2004 DVD of Empire Strikes Back, they re-dubbed Boba Fett's voice. Does anyone know why and who they replaced his old voice with?

Chosen answer: Jeremy Bulloch's voice was dubbed over by Temuera Morrison, who played Jango Fett (Boba's father) in Attack of the Clones. This was probably done because, as revealed in Episode II, Boba is actually a clone of Jango, rather than a biological son.

Question: When Luke ventures into the cave on Dagobah the camera, for whatever reason, holds on a lizard of some kind hissing at him. Anyone know what species it is?

Chosen answer: Kimodo Dragon (Varanus komodensis) The Komodo dragon is the world's largest lizard species. It is found mainly on the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rintja, Padar, and Flores. There are only an estimated 1,000 to 5,000 of these monitor lizards living today. Reaching lengths of up to 3 m or more, and weighing up to 126 kg, these reptiles are swift runners and climbers with great appetites for deer and wild boar. The best website to find about this is at www.isidore-of-seville.com/komodo/.

iceverything776

Question: I've always been a little confused by Luke's "failure in the cave." What exactly should Luke have done to actually pass this test? And why did his face appear inside the mask of the image of Darth Vader?

Matty Blast

Chosen answer: Luke failed the test before he even entered the cave - Yoda tells him to leave his weapons behind, but Luke takes them anyway. Seeing his face within Vader's mask is a warning that, if he embraces the path of violence (as he has by taking his weapons into the cave with him) then he could end up falling to the Dark Side as Vader did.

Tailkinker

Question: If the rebels have an ion cannon that can disable a Star Destroyer in orbit, why not use it on the AT-ATs instead of sending pilots to their death? I know it wouldn't be as cool without the ground combat with the snowspeeders, but it is a good question, I think.

Charles Fraser

Chosen answer: The ion cannon is designed for taking out large capital ships in orbit. It's not precise enough for use in ground combat situations. It's also highly likely that the Imperial forces would have detected the ion cannon from orbit, and would send in their ground troops from a direction where the ion cannon couldn't target them, just in case the Rebels were nuts enough to try it anyway.

Tailkinker

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Quotes

Luke: All right, I'll give it a try.
Yoda: No. Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.

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Mistakes

When the Falcon leaves Hoth and is being chased by the Empire, there is a scene where the ship gets rocked about. During the 'impact', C-3PO's arm becomes dislodged, and you can clearly see human skin underneath.

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Trivia

The Special Edition covers of Return of the Jedi and Empire Strikes Back are wrong. The picture of the Emperor on ESB cover is from 'ROTJ', and the lightsaber duel between Luke and Vader on the cover of ROTJ is taken from 'ESB' (notice Luke is in his fighter pilot suit, and Vader is fighting him one-handed)

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