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   Constructed in 1980, The Empire Strikes Back is my personal favorite of the original 3. Clocking in at approximately 128 minutes it is the second longest of all four Star Wars movies. It, like all the other SW movies are rated PG, and is written and produced by the Wizard George Lucas- not to mention the masterful soundtrack provided by John Williams.
   The rebels set up a headquarters on Hoth, an secluded icy planet. Darth Vader, obsessed with finding his son sends probes into the deep reaches of space. One of these sensor units lands on Hoth, and transmits holos of the rebel shield generator to the Empire. Soon the Imperial ships depart, ready to destroy the Rebellions remote HQ.
   Discovering detection upon arrival the Imperials must make a land attack because of a planetary shield, as opposed to aerial bombardment. The Empire deploys AT-AT and AT- ST walkers to capture the base. The rebels prepare a defense, to hold the opposing force at bay until an evacuation is complete.
   Imperials invade the base just as the last transport is preparing for departure. Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leah Organa (Carrie Fisher) are almost trapped inside the base, but manage to escape, along with See-Threepio, Artoo-Detoo, and Solo's Wookie, Chewbacca, in Han's ship, the Millennium Falcon. Luke, having seen a vision from Ben Kenobe heads to the Degobah system to search for the Jedi Master Yoda.
   Having the Millennium Falcon badly damaged in the chase from Hoth, Han Solo decides to revisit an old friend on 'Cloud City'. Essentially everything seems all right, but then the group of Rebels is tricked into walking into a room containing the galaxy's most dangerous being's right-hand man. The small group is captured, and used as bait for Luke Skywalker.
   Meanwhile on Degobah, having found Yoda, Luke senses that his friends are in trouble. Yoda discourages his decision to leave, but in the end Luke departs for Cloud City. Arriving there, Luke is directed towards a trap, a showdown with Darth Vader. After exchanging lightsaber blows Luke is almost tricked into falling in a chamber which would trap him in carbonite, the fate which was bestowed on Han Solo, after capture. Luke manages to escape, but his father uses the force to bring Luke to his knees, and then reveals his true identity.
   When Luke refuses to join his father and the evil empire, he must let him self fall into a network of tunnels underneath Cloud City, or risk being decapitated by his father. He falls through an assortment of passageways before being jetted into the abyss beneath Cloud City, and is barely able to grab an antenna to preserve his life. Having lost his real hand in the lightsaber battle with Vader, he is not able to re-open the access hatch above him, for the risk of falling.
   Luckily Lando Callrisian, the administrator of Cloud City, has his guards re-capture the floating town, and manages to escape with the remaining members of the Rebel group. Han Solo, still captured in carbonite, is carted onto the ship of Boba Fett, the most notorious bounty hunter in the galaxy. Boba plans to take Solo to Jabba the Hutt, a king pin Han owes money.
   Callrisian and the small group take the Millennium Falcon and prepare to escape. However Luke manages to contact Princess Leah using the Force. They manage to hover underneath the marooned Jedi, and save him through a upper access hatch in the 'Falcon. The ship zooms into hyper-space, leaving Han to be rescued.
   The Empire Strikes Back finishes with Luke in hospital upon a capital ship in the Rebel fleet, having an electronic implant placed upon his arm. Lando, Chewbacca the Wookie who owed Han a life-debt, an important custom in Wookie culture, and Leah depart on a rescue mission for Han Solo.


-Stephen-