In the wake of their destruction of the Death Star, the Rebels are forced even further into hiding by the Empire’s relentless pursuit, especially now that Darth Vader has learned the identity of the Rebel pilot who toppled the Empire’s mighty space station. Luke Skywalker, while investigating a meteorite which has just crashed near the new Rebel base on the ice planet of Hoth, is attacked by one of the indigenous predators. Luke uses his budding skill with the Force to escape from the creature, but is too badly injured to return to base on his own. The image of Obi-Wan Kenobi appears, urging Luke to go to Dagobah, where he will find the last of the Jedi Masters, Yoda. But before Luke can ask any questions, Han Solo rescues him just in the nick of time.
What Luke doesn’t realize until it is too late is that the “meteorite” he sighted was an Imperial probe droid landing on Hoth. Darth Vader and his task force follow the probe droid’s lead to Hoth and launch a devastating ground attack, killing many of the Rebels and forcing the rest to retreat even further – but Vader’s real quarry, Luke, evades him yet again. Luke and Artoo slip away to Dagobah, while Han, Leia, Chewbacca and C-3PO escape aboard the Millennium Falcon. The Imperial forces pursue the Falcon through a treacherous asteroid field, while Luke crash-lands in the swamps of Dagobah and reluctantly befriends a small green creature who promises to take him to meet Yoda. During the pursuit of the Falcon, the Emperor contacts Vader with a new agenda – Luke Skywalker is to be turned to the dark side of the Force, not killed.
The creature who is helping Luke soon reveals that he is Yoda himself, and despite reservations about Luke’s lack of patience and his anger, both Skywalker pedigrees that led his father to a dark fate, the last living Jedi Master begins Luke’s training. Halfway across the galaxy, Han decides to find a safe haven for the Falcon and its beleaguered crew after too many close calls, ultimately choosing Bespin’s Cloud City, which is run by an old friend of his (and the original owner of the Falcon), Lando Calrissian. But shortly after arriving at Cloud City, C-3PO is blasted to bits, and Lando delivers Han and the others into the hands of Darth Vader and bounty hunter Boba Fett. Worse yet, as a test of a carbon-freezing process which he hopes to use to capture Luke as a gift for the Emperor, Darth Vader has Han frozen in carbonite before handing him over to Boba Fett. Lando, growing worried that the Imperial presence on Cloud City will become permanent, switches sides to join with Leia and Chewie, who are suspicious of his motives, but they trust him when he tells them where to find Fett’s ship.
In the meantime, Luke has experienced a vision of a future in which his friends are being killed by the Empire, and he hastily postpones his Jedi training to go to Bespin to help them, much to the dismay of Yoda and Obi-Wan. Luke arrives just in time to see Han’s frozen body being taken to Boba Fett’s ship, but he is unable to help his friends. Luke has just stepped into a trap carefully orchestrated by Darth Vader, who reveals, after a lightsaber duel with Luke, that he is actually Anakin Skywalker, Luke’s father.
Boba Fett escapes Cloud City with Han in custody, taking him back to Jabba the Hutt. Leia and Lando are unable to stop the bounty hunter, and Luke now faces the prospect that his destiny, like that of his father, may lead him to become a servant to the dark side of the Force.
story by George Lucas
screenplay by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kadsan
directed by Irvin Kershner
music by John Williams
Cast: Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), David Prowse (Darth Vader), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Frank Oz (Yoda), Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett), John Hollis (Lando’s Aide), Peter Purvis (Chief Ugnaught), Des Web (Snow Creature), Clive Revill (Emperor Palpatine), Kenneth Colley (Admiral Piett), Julian Glover (General Veers), Michael Sheard (Admiral Ozzel), Michael Culver (Captain Needa), John Dicks (Imperial officer), Milton Johns (Imperial officer), Mark Jones (Imperial officer), Oliver Maguire (Imperial officer), Robin Scobey (Imperial officer), Bruce Boa (General Rieekan), Christopher Malcolm (Zev – Rogue 2), Denis Lawson (Wedge – Rogue 3), Richard Oldfield (Hobbie – Rogue 4), John Morton (Dak – Luke’s gunner), Ian Liston (Janson – Wedge’s gunner), John Ratzenberger (Major Derlin), Jack McKenzie (Deck lieutenant), Jerry Harte (Head controller), Norman Chancer (Rebel officer), Norwich Duff (Rebel officer), Ray Hassett (Rebel officer), Brigitte Kahn (Rebel officer), Burnell Tucker (Rebel officer)
LogBook entry by Earl Green