The Empire Strikes Back movie poster

The Empire Strikes Back, retitled Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back , is a 1980 American science-fiction adventure directed by Irvin Kershner. It is a sequel to 1977's Star Wars, and was produced by Lucasfilms and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It was released on May 21, 1980.


Following the destruction of the Death Star, the Rebel Alliance, led by Princess Leia, have set up a new base on the ice planet Hoth. The Empire, in pursuit of the rebels, dispatch probe droids across the galaxy to locate the rebels.

While investigating a potential meteor strike, rebel commander Luke Skywalker is captured by a wampa and imprisoned in its ice cave. After escaping the cave, Luke meets the ghost of his late mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, who instructs him to go to the Dagobah system to be trained by Jedi Master Yoda. After being rescued by Han Solo, Luke is returned to the rebel base while Han and Chewbacca investigate the meteor and discover it is a probe droid, which alerts the Empire to the rebels' location. Imperial forces under the command of Darth Vader launch an attack on the rebel base, forcing the rebels to retreat. In the midst of the battle, Han and Leia flee in the Millenium Falcon with Chewbacca and C-3PO while Luke and R2-D2 fly to the swamp planet Dagobah in search of Yoda.

While Darth Vader pursues the Falcon through an asteroid field, Luke meets Yoda on Dagobah. Yoda, after conferring with Kenobi's spirit, agrees to train Luke in the ways of the Jedi. Meanwhile, Darth Vader seeks the assistance of several bounty hunters, including Boba Fett, to assist in finding the Falcon. Fett manages to locate the Falcon amidst the asteroid field and secretly pursues it through the galaxy. The crew of the Falcon arrives at Cloud City on the planet Bespin, run by Hans' old friend, Lando Calrissian. However, Lando betrays the group and leads them into a trap, where they are captured by Imperial forces. Darth Vader plans to use the group as bait to lure Luke out of hiding. Luke, during his training with Yoda, has a premonition of Han and Leia in danger and disembarks to Bespin to rescue them.

Darth Vader has Han frozen in carbonite and hands him over to Fett, who intends to deliver him to crime lord Jabba the Hutt on Tatooine to collect his bounty. Lando, meanwhile, frees Leia and the others and assists them in escaping Vader's troops in the Millenium Falcon. At the same time, Luke arrives at Cloud City and battles Darth Vader in a duel that leads them over the city's central air shaft. Vader defeats Luke, severing his hand in the process, and demands that Luke join him. When Luke refuses, Vader reveals that he is Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker. Horrified, Luke throws himself off the bridge and is sucked into an air shaft, where he is ejected beneath the city, but is able to grab onto an antennae. The crew of the Falcon rescue Luke and they jump into hyperspace, escaping the Imperial fleet.

Meeting with the rebel fleet, Luke's severed hand is replaced with a prosthetic. Lando and Chewbacca set off in the Falcon to locate Han. As they depart, Luke, Leia, R2-D2 and C-3PO gaze out into the galaxy, awaiting word from Lando.