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. The rebels, led by Princess Leia, have set up a new base on the ice planet Hoth. The Imperial fleet, led by Darth Vader, continues to hunt for the Rebels’ new base by dispatching probe droids across the galaxy. Luke Skywalker is captured by a wampa while investigating one such probe, but he manages to escape from the wampa’s cave with his lightsaber. Before Luke succumbs to the freezing temperatures, the Force ghost of his late mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, instructs him to go to the Dagobah system to train under Jedi Master Yoda. Luke is found by Han Solo, who cuts open a Tauntaun (that Han rode on) to help keep Luke warm, and the duo is eventually rescued by a search party.
Meanwhile, the probe alerts the Imperial fleet to the rebels’ location. The Empire launches a large-scale attack, using AT-AT Walkers to capture the base, which forces the rebels to retreat. Han and Leia escape on the Millennium Falcon with C-3PO and Chewbacca, but the ship’s hyperdrive malfunctions. They hide in an asteroid field, where Han and Leia grow closer and eventually kiss. Vader summons bounty hunters to assist in finding the Falcon. Luke, meanwhile, escapes with R2-D2 in his X-wing fighter and crash-lands on the swamp planet Dagobah. He meets a diminutive creature who reveals himself to be Yoda; after conferring with Obi-Wan’s spirit, Yoda reluctantly accepts Luke as his student.
After evading the Imperial fleet, Han’s group travel to the floating Cloud City on the planet of Bespin, which is run by Han’s old friend, Lando Calrissian. Unbeknownst to the group, the bounty hunter Boba Fett tracks the Falcon; shortly after their arrival, Lando leads the group into a trap and they are handed over to Darth Vader and Boba Fett. Vader plans to use the group as bait to lure out Luke, intending to capture him alive and take him to Emperor Palpatine. Luke sees a premonition of Han and Leia in pain and, against the wishes of Yoda and Obi-Wan, abandons his training to rescue them.
Vader intends to hold Luke in suspended animation via carbon freezing and selects Han to be frozen as a test subject. Han survives the process and is given to Fett, who intends to deliver Han to Jabba the Hutt. Lando initiates an escape and frees Leia and the others, but they are too late to stop Fett from departing with Han. They fight their way back to the Falcon and flee Cloud City. Meanwhile, Luke arrives at Cloud City and engages with Vader in a lightsaber duel that leads them over the city’s central air shaft. Vader severs Luke’s right hand, disarming him, and tempts him to join forces. Luke accuses Vader of murdering his father, who reveals that he, in fact, is his father. Horrified by the truth, Luke intentionally falls into the air shaft and is ejected beneath the floating city, where he grabs onto an antenna. He makes a telepathic plea to Leia, who senses it and persuades Lando to return for him in the Falcon. After Luke is brought on board, they are chased by TIE fighters and Vader on his star destroyer, but R2-D2 reactivates the Falcon’s hyperdrive, allowing them to escape.
Aboard a medical frigate in the Rebel fleet, Luke’s severed hand is replaced with a robotic hand. Lando and Chewbacca set off for Tatooine in the Falcon in order to find Jabba the Hutt and save Han. As the Falcon departs, Luke, Leia, R2-D2, and C-3PO gaze out on the galaxy and await word from Lando.
The Empire Strikes Back (also known as Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back) is a 1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner. Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan wrote the screenplay, with George Lucas writing the film’s story and serving as executive producer. The second installment in the original Star Wars trilogy, it was produced by Gary Kurtz for Lucasfilm and stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, and Frank Oz.
The film is set three years after Star Wars. The Galactic Empire, under the leadership of the villainous Darth Vader and the mysterious Emperor, is in pursuit of Luke Skywalker and the rest of the Rebel Alliance. While Vader relentlessly pursues the small band of Luke’s friends—Han Solo, Princess Leia Organa, and others—across the galaxy, Luke studies the Force under Jedi Master Yoda. When Vader captures Luke’s friends, Luke must decide whether to complete his training and become a full Jedi Knight or to confront Vader and save them.
Following a difficult production, The Empire Strikes Back was released on May 21, 1980. It received mixed reviews from critics initially but has since grown in esteem, becoming the most critically acclaimed chapter in the Star Wars saga; it is now widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time. The film ranked at #3 on Empire’s 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time. It became the highest-grossing film of 1980 and, to date, has earned more than $538 million worldwide from its original run and several re-releases. When adjusted for inflation, it is the second-highest-grossing sequel of all time and the 13th-highest-grossing film in North America. The film was followed by Return of the Jedi, which was released in 1983.