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Previous

Battle of Hypori

Concurrent
Next

Battle of the Rebel stronghold

Duel on Cloud City
Conflict

Galactic Civil War[1]

Date

3 ABY

Place

Cloud City[1]

Outcome

Luke Skywalker loses right hand to Darth Vader, learns Vader is his father[1]

Combatants

Alliance to Restore the Republic[1]

Order of the Sith Lords[1]

Strength

Luke Skywalker[1]

Darth Vader[1]

Casualties

none[1]

none[1]

"The Force is with you, young Skywalker… but you are not a Jedi yet."
―Darth Vader to Luke Skywalker

The Duel on Cloud City was a fight between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader during the Galactic Civil War and one of most pivotal battles in galactic history. It was during this time that Darth Vader revealed to Luke Skywalker that he was his father. Luke also had his hand severed during the battle and was wounded, barely escaping alive.

Contents

Prelude

"I've got to go to them."
"Decide, you must, how to serve them best. If you leave now, help them, you could, but...you would destroy all for which they have fought and suffered."
―Luke Skywalker and Yoda

After Han Solo, Leia Organa, Chewbacca, and C-3PO were captured by the Galactic Empire after trying to seek refuge in Lando Calrissian's Cloud City, Luke disobeyed Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi and set off to rescue them. Vader was tracking Luke once he entered Cloud City. As Luke entered, he was looking around with R2-D2 when all of a sudden, Boba Fett fired around a corner to hold him off.

Luke fired back and advanced a little but soon he saw Leia stick her head out from around a corner, desperately trying to hold off Lieutenant Sheckil of the Imperial Army in an attempt to warn Luke that it was all a trap.

Luke ignored her and continued following. As he passed through the door, it slammed shut behind him, cutting off R2-D2. Making his way through the catwalks and elevators of the Cloud City core, he eventually reached the darkened Carbon-Freezing Chamber.

Suddenly the chamber lit up, revealing Darth Vader, standing atop the flight of steps to the walkway above. Walking up to the Sith Lord, Luke ignited his lightsaber and challenged. Vader calmly activated his own weapon and the battle was on.

The duel

"You have learned much, young one."
"You'll find I'm full of surprises!"
―Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker
The duel in the Carbon-Freezing Chamber

Luke attacked first, managing to drive Vader back, surprising the Sith with his skill.[2] However, Vader quickly counter-attacked, forcing Luke back to the head of the stairs. Luke attempted his own counter-attack, only for Vader to deprive him of his lightsaber with a quick flourish. Vader slashed at Luke, forcing the Jedi to retreat and causing him to lose his balance and fall down the stairs to the chambers main platform. Vader leapt after him, backing Luke up to the edge of the freezing pit, all the while affirming that Luke's destiny lay with him. As Luke denied this, Vader lunged forward, causing the youth to lose balance and fall into the pit. As Vader activated the chamber with the Force, he failed to notice that Luke had leapt onto the overhanging pipes above the pit. Walking up to the pit, musing about how easily Luke had been defeated, Vader suddenly noticed Luke trying to climb up the pipes and hoses above the pit.[3]

Complimenting Luke's agility,[4] Vader quickly bisected one of the hoses in an attempt to dislodge Skywalker. Luke then jumped down and sprayed tibanna gas through the severed hose, stunning Vader momentarily. Luke quickly recovered his lightsaber and slashed at Vader, only for the Sith Lord to block his blow. As the two bladelocked, Vader taunted Luke, complimenting him on having controlled his fear, but advising him to draw on his anger as well.[3]

Vader promptly broke the bladelock and pressed the attack, but Luke managed to fend him off, overleaping an attack at his legs and flipping above Vader. Landing behind the Sith Lord, Luke unleashed his own offense and drove Vader back, towards the edge of the platform, before locking their blades and savagely kicking the Sith Lord. Unable to effectively counter against this assault, Vader lost his balance on the edge of the platform and toppled off the side. Luke leapt down and followed, searching for Vader.[3]

Advancing down a passage into the processing vane, Luke encountered Vader. The Sith Lord calmly raised his lightsaber and stood his ground as Luke quietly advanced.[3]

Vader utilizing Dun Möch against his son

Suddenly, one of the wall fixtures was ripped out of the wall and hurled at Luke. As Luke cut the fixture in half, Vader quickly lunged, engaging the youth in a brief bout of fencing. The swordplay was quickly cut short when another object smashed into Luke's back. Vader pulled away, relying on the Dun Möch technique of psychological warfare, telekinetically hurling objects at Luke.[5] As Luke tried and failed to hold off the onslaught of Force-propelled equipment, a misguided piece of piping hit an observation port. Gale-force winds from the air shaft outside filled the chamber, and Vader hugged the wall for safety while Luke was sucked out into the air shaft. As the winds subsided, Vader went to the shattered observation port and saw that Luke had managed to cling onto a catwalk along the exterior of the vane several floors below.[3]

As Luke tried to get out of the air shaft, entering a small corridor, he was suddenly ambushed by the Dark Lord. Vader unleashed a vicious offense, hacking at his opponent with a series of heavy, overhand chops and driving Luke back. Luke attempted to escape along the side catwalk, but Vader quickly cut him off. Thrown off balance by a failed bladelock, Luke was forced to retreat along the main maintenance catwalk. Vader continued his relentless offense, blocking and shunting aside all of Luke's counters, eventually shoving the young Jedi down during a bladelock.

Luke loses his hand.

Bringing his blade to Luke's throat, Vader taunted him, declaring him beaten, and stating that further resistance would result with his death. Luke defiantly drove Vader's blade aside and regained his feet. As their bout continued, Luke, in desperation, managed to slightly wound a taunting Vader's shoulder. Enraged, the Sith Lord continued his assault, his barrage driving Luke onto a small extension at the end of the catwalk. Vader ended the duel by slicing off a piece of equipment there, and when Luke involuntarily glanced at it[6], Vader took advantage of the opening, catching Luke's blade in a bind and slicing off Luke's lightsaber hand with a swift undercut.

Defeat and revelation

Vader reveals his son's heritage and implores Luke to join him.
"If you only knew the power of the dark side. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father."
"He told me enough! He told me you killed him!"
"No. I am your father."
Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker

As Luke recoiled in pain, retreating along the extension, Vader tried to sway Luke to the dark side, and revealed the fact that he was indeed Luke's father. Initially, Luke was in denial, but ultimately felt it to be true. In the end, he chose death rather than joining Vader and gained the moral courage to throw himself off the maintenance catwalk into the air shaft below.

As he fell, Luke was sucked into a gas port, and ended up clinging to a weather vane on the underside of Cloud City. He reached out to Leia through the Force, and was rescued by her, Calrissian, and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon.

Though Vader made another attempt to capture Luke, as the Falcon departed Bespin, using the Executor, the astromech R2-D2 was able to reactivate the ship's hyperdrive and allow the heroes to escape.

Aftermath

"Ben... Why didn't you tell me?"
―Luke Skywalker

This revelation haunted Luke, yet motivated him, and helped turn him into a true Jedi, one who did not stray to the dark. A year later, Luke was finally able to come to terms with this, when he met his father above Endor on the Second Death Star, where they dueled again, this time to the death. Cloud City was captured by the Galactic Empire, which turned the gas mines into Ugnaught slaving camps. It is known that Vader recovered Luke's hand and took it to the Mount Tantiss storehouse, where it was used to grow a clone of Luke Skywalker.

The duel was witnessed by Allania Jakien, an eleven-year-old girl lost in the underbelly of Cloud City during the chaos of the Imperial takeover.[7]

Though annexed by the Empire, holos of the duel between the two Skywalkers later found their way into the market. Though they only captured the first twenty seconds of the duel, they sold for 15 credits each in Port Town.[8]

Concept art by Ralph McQuarrie

Behind the scenes

The duel between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker is remembered by many Star Wars fans as the most memorable lightsaber duel in Star Wars history.

As Lucas wanted the lightsaber fights to gradually become "faster and more intense" as Luke was becoming more adept at using a lightsaber, a shift in fighting style began to show itself, with some one-handed forms making their first appearance—a precursor to what lightsaber fights of old would be revealed to look like.

The revelation of Luke Skywalker's parentage was kept so secret that even David Prowse, the actor playing the body of Darth Vader and speaking the lines on set did not know. Instead, he spoke the line "Obi-Wan killed your father" which was what had been printed on a substituted page of the screenplay. Meanwhile, the overdubbed voice of James Earl Jones spoke the genuine line. Mark Hamill himself was only told moments before going on to shoot the scene and no one else on the cast other than Jones and Hamill found out until the premiere.

Appearances

The duel's conclusion concept art by Ralph McQuarrie
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Non-canon appearances

  • LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
  • The Lost Lightsaber (Appears in flashback(s))
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (PS2, PSP, Wii versions' historic mission)

Sources

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  2. The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  4. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (novel)
  5. Fightsaber: Jedi Lightsaber Combat
  6. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (novelization)
  7. Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back
  8. InQuest Gamer 26

This article uses material from the "Duel on Cloud City" article on the Starwars wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Star Wars Fanon

Up to date as of February 04, 2010

The Star Wars wiki of fan invention.

Previous

Duel on Ord Mantell

Next

Duel on Felucia

Duel on Bespin
Conflict

Great Jedi Purge

Date

3 BBY

Place

Bespin

Outcome

Sith victory, death of Jaria Sholman

Combatants

Order of the Sith Lords

Jedi Order

Strength
Casualties

None

  • Jaria Sholman
  • Many Bespin cops

The Duel on Bespin was a lightsaber duel between Darth Vader's secret apprentice, Starkiller, and Jedi Knight Jaria Sholman.

Arrival on Bespin

As the Rogue Shadow flew underneath a platform, Starkiller jumped out and force pushed a cloud car out of his way. As he made it to Cloud City, many Bespin guards showed up and ordered Starkiller to surrender, but they were shocked and killed by Starkiller's force lightning. The apprentice searched for Jaria in every part of Cloud City, as well as cantinas.

The Duel

As Starkiller got into Jaria's hideout, he immediately force pushed her out of a window and onto a platform. Jaria got up, and blocked the apprentice's saber killing attack. She knocked Starkiller off the edge of the plaform, but he climbed back up, and knocked her lightsaber out of her hands. Even though Jaria lost her lightsaber, she pushed Starkiller off the edge again. However, he landed on a cloud car, lifted it, and threw it at the platform, nearly destroying it. As the platform was exploding, Jaria was distracted and Starkiller shocked her with force lightning. Dying, she asked the apprentice why he is serving Vader. Starkiller didn't answer, and pushed her off the nearly destroyed platform, letting her fall to her death. The only ones that didn't notice the duel were Rahm Kota, who is now blind, and every citizen of Bespin who survived Starkiller's assault.


This article uses material from the "Duel on Bespin" article on the Star Wars Fanon wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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