Three Weeks From The Force Awakens. Three Scenes from The Empire Strikes Back and Results of Last Week’s Contest.

empireendshotThe countdown continues as that number continues to diminish.  Only 3 short weeks left until The Force Awakens hits theaters. If only we could speed it along. For those of us in the states coming of Thanksgiving, keep eating that turkey and ride out that tryptophan induced food coma for a few days and before you know it we’ll be down to two weeks. For those who aren’t partaking in the bird slaughtering festivities be it for moral or geographic reasons, maybe you’ll try to get in on those Black Friday sales and pick up some of the deluge of new Star Wars products. Toys, and clothes, and coffee creamers…oh my! But whatever you do to kill the time between now and the 18th, I hope it works.  Before you know it, the movie will be here and the countdown to Rogue One will begin.


But to do our part for today, we will do our best to distract you with more Star Wars discussion and some more of that free stuff.  Up today, we’ll be examining some of the best action sequences from The Empire Strikes Back.  But first the results of last week’s contest


– The Illustrated Star Wars Universe

– Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy

– T-shirt from Design by Humans


Now as promised, our countdown of best Star Wars action sequences has reached Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back.  As one of the conventional picks for best film of the saga, it is no wonder that there was high demand from the staff on this one.  Today,m we bring you three options.  Head Honcho, Viral Hide discusses the Battle of Hoth, TIDMADT chimes in on the duel between Vader and son, and yours truly praises the Millennium Falcon’s chase through an asteroid field.   Let us know what your favorite action sequence from ESB is in the comments for you chance to win free stuff!


Viral Hide- Battle of Hoth

Probe DroidI was born in 1980, the same year when The Empire Strikes Back was released. As I like to joke, I consider myself an “Empire” child. The Empire assault on Hoth is probably one of my favorite action sequence from all movies, and there are multiple reasons for that.AT-ATWe have to admit that the opening of TESB is very unique and unexpected for the general audience. At the end of ANH our heroes are celebrating their crucial win over the Empire and you would expect to see the Rebels on the rise in the next chapter of the trilogy. Director Irvine Kershner does quite the opposite though. Not only the Rebels are not the victors, but they are put on the run by the Empire and Darth Vader himself!VaderThe assault on Hoth gives us multiple memorable and important additions to the galaxy far, far away. It drastically changes the scenery from the desert world of Tatooine to the snow covered planet of Hoth. It shows us the new might of the Empire from the memorable sounds of the probe droid, through the new Snowtrooper soldiers, to the pride of the Empire – the AT-ATs (which are no match to a simple harpoon, or a Jedi with a lightsaber)! It also shows us that Luke is much more capable in the force, and that Han Solo can actually wield a lightsaber! All in all, an unforgettable sequence that marks the start of an all time classic episode…



TIDMADT- Carbon-Freeze Chamber Lightsaber Duel

LukevaderesbIt’s what we were waiting for. Luke confronts Vader. The mood was dark, the lighting subdued. Our hero was going to confront the ultimate evil in the galaxy and avenge his mentor’s death… this was it…

Only, what we got was our hero getting his ass kicked, and finding out that there was more to evil than he had thought… that he had come from evil, and that everything we thought may be totally wrong. Was Vader lying? Was he telling the truth, and perhaps the bad guys were really the good guys, and Obi Wan had mislead Luke from the beginning…

In the end, as TFA is showing us, it all comes down to what happened there…



Rebo- Asteroid Field Chase

Asteroid FieldThe asteroid field chase from Empire is a perfect combination of frenetic energy and hopelessness that just gives it a different feeling than any other sequence in the Star Wars saga. We come to it right out of the loss for the Rebels on Hoth. The battle on Hoth feels a bit like a loss, but the evacuation and Luke’s triumph over the AT-AT leave it an undertone of success that gives the audience hope that the Rebels are still on top of things. So, it is a somber feeling as Luke flies off to Dagobah, but a hopeful one. But then we jump cut to the Falcon and all hell is breaking loose. From there it’s just under four minutes of an expertly edited mix of dread and comedy as Solo and crew try to maneuver their way out of an impossible situation.PunyFalconRunsAway-ESBHDWe are thrown into the chaos with the pounding of the Imperial march showing us just how hopeless the situation is, but as Han makes his way into the asteroid field, the music switches to one of my favorite pieces of John Williams music. The excitement and energy of the score has a tragic undertone as we know even if they make it to safety, our heroes end up in a bad place either way. So the tension of imminent doom is palpable even though the camera very rarely leaves the cockpit of the Falcon and focuses primarily on the banter within the cockpit. C3P0 is at his peak comic relief state here hurling out classic lines left and right and Han’s efforts to get to light speed are equal parts hilarious and frightening. In the end you get your “pump your fist” moment as the Tie Fighters explode in the asteroid’s trench but we immediately are brought back to reality as the Falcon descends into the mysterious dark cave. A sign that although they may have momentarily escaped things are only going to get worse from here. To me, no other sequence in all of star wars so expertly mixes both the spirit of adventure and the emotional melodrama that are the defining aspects of Star Wars.



Let us know what’s your favorite action sequence from The Empire Strikes Back in the comments below and you might win one of the best Star Wars books ever written – The Making of The Empire Strikes Back!


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50 thoughts on “Three Weeks From The Force Awakens. Three Scenes from The Empire Strikes Back and Results of Last Week’s Contest.

  • November 27, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    My favorite scene is at the end of Vader and Luke’s duel as they are out on the pier. The ferocity of which Vader uses while fighting is absolutely frightening and isn’t pulling any punches!
    But more than that, the dialogue and the revealing that he is Luke’s father. It’s incredibly emotional seeing the hero loose, and on top of that finding out his nemesis is his dad!
    Pure cinematic history.

  • November 27, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    Agree with you on the saying of this movie had the best action scenes. My favourite has to be the Battle of Hoth. It was the battle that changed Star Wars for me.
    Empire has those big, spectacular battle monsters; Rebels are losing, like almost their base is falling above them. Luke Skywalker, trying to find a way to destroy AT-ATs as a normal soldier.
    Oh and the music. I can literally sing it with my mouth, and I know instrumentals can’t be sang, but hell, it’s Star Wars and no one can tell me what to do. 😀

    • November 27, 2015 at 11:30 pm

      John William’s themes have haunted my mind for decades. I still really love the pre-fight and during fight of Return of the Jedi. Every time they went back to the fight in space… that whole score… man. I still get hyped. I want that playing in like all dog fights lol.

      • November 28, 2015 at 12:28 pm

        Same! It’s such a great visual experience and also like a gift to your ears. 🙂

  • November 27, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    Mind blowing when you think about it. 3 weeks. I’ve said it before but it seems like only yesterday Disney acquired them in a stunning 4 billion dollar move.

    Then announced not one but six movies! JJ said no… JJ said yes!? Practical alien is teased! New X-wing Teased! Teaser comes out… Well that looks promising… FALCON! Harrison’s hurt! OMG. Harrison is expected to recover filming rescheduled. BB8 roles out on stage at celebration… cementing his awesomeness. Cool new teaser… WE’RE HOME? Dry spell… final trailer released. It’s true, all of it. World melts. Japanese version releases… world melts more. 7 TV spots give us seconds more and…

    Wow. I think I need to use Verizon to order me a Duracell battery to keep going from all this hype.

  • November 27, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    I think you’ve nailed all the action scenes, Rebo! But here’s two of my favorites:
    #1. The snow speeder rescue of Han and Luke. Right after Han stuffs Luke in the Tauntaun to keep him warm, it fades to white with the snow, and then you see the morning rescue from the speeders. I love this because it’s a perfect combination of Williams music score (optimistic, yet urgent) and camera work restraint. I say restraint because the camera lets the speeders drift into the yonder for several beats, as if to chew up the scenery, something almost unheard of in today’s quick-cutting world of moviemaking. And when you hear Solo utter “Good morning, nice of you guys to drop by” it reinforces the wonderful Star Wars universe you are in.
    #2. The rebel transport escape from Hoth. As a kid in the theater, I remember watching this scene with a bit uncertainty, but that was fine because you could feel it was important to the CHARACTERS. It has such a serious tone — the idea of getting that first ship away and free from the clutches of the empire — that when the ION cannon fires and the transport gets away, you feel just as relieved as the rebels. Yet another example of great camera work and restraint. It truly conveys why Empire is such a masterpiece of cinema.

  • November 27, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    No way! This is awesome. Just wondering, how do I collect “The Illustrated Star Wars Universe”?

    Thanks so much guys, this is by far my favorite website. I check here every half hour!

      • November 28, 2015 at 12:42 am

        Sweet! Thanks so much for all that you guys do.

  • November 27, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    def Luke Vader duel, the one from ESB is breathtaking as it doesn’t have the gravity of the one from ROTJ and back then seemed like the very first encounter between our hero and its arch nemesis. it’s very balanced, a lot of talking in between the havoc that Vader unleashes and the finale when its revealed that what was for Luke fight for life, for Vader, was merely a game he decided to play to break Luke and unveil the truth that would turn him to the dark side.

    and I just love how in the aftermath they sense each other while the Millennium Falcon tries to flee SSD and it feels like a continuation of the battle from before, just on a different, purely emotional level for both of them

  • November 27, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    From the line “The Force is with you, young Skywalker, but you are not a Jedi yet.” until Luke jumps presumably to his death, thus refusing the Dark Side for the first time is ALL my favorite scene, not just in TESB but in the entire Saga.

    Filmed without music with only sounds of lightsabers, Vader’s breathing and environmental sounds, it’s powerful and emotional and I can watch and re-watch it hundreds of times and it never gets boring.

    It’s almost a conversation between Vader and Luke – Vader tests Luke,
    plays with him until Luke (pun intended) strikes back, reveals the
    terrible secret and gets rejected. In retrospect, it’s one of the most important scenes in the Saga from both film-making and story points. Luke faces his fear and even defeated rejects the dark side – it’s one of his first steps to becoming a Jedi.

    Let’s hope that in short 20 days, we will get a few scenes just as half memorable as this one. 20 DAYS, PEOPLE! 😀

  • November 28, 2015 at 1:28 am

    Battle of Hoth. I remember a documentary of Empire somewhere in 81-83 when I didn’ t know what Star Wars is, until I’ve seen Jedi that fall (Madrid, Spain). Only few minutes and I remember only images of AT AT and a voice telling in spanish something like- some of these machines of 20 meters were just 12 cm tall….I didn’t see Empire until 85 when we got a vhs player… is the most powerful moment to me. Not the father moment. I’ve seen Jedi first and already knew…

  • November 28, 2015 at 1:40 am

    I absolutely agree with this list. Hoth, lightsaber duel, asteroid chase.

  • November 28, 2015 at 1:52 am

    Such a good movie… it’s so hard to pick the best action sequence. The battle between Vader and Luke carries the most weight to the series/story for sure, and is so expertly crafted. Vader is a master, and Luke is just a kid. But it’s cut with the escape from Cloud City/trying to rescue Han sequence which is also fantastic…

  • November 28, 2015 at 2:17 am

    Enjoy this time. Before we consume, judge and discard, enjoy it. For it is precious.

    • November 28, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      You are the real life yoda. I so agree because it will never come again.

      • November 29, 2015 at 2:39 am

        Well, it will if they decide to do another trilogy, but the sense of new beginnings is something unique. / Maybe with the anthology films as well, since we’ve never experienced that before.

  • November 28, 2015 at 2:44 am

    I was 8 years old when TESB was released. It was the defining moment that altered the course of my life ever since. From the wisdom of Yoda, to the near suicidal bravery of Luke in confronting Vader. From the reality of the good guys don’t always win, to the revelation that Luke was not only confronting Vader, but was the son of the epitome of the evil he was facing. The brilliant comedy. The romance. The betrayal. From the heavenly cloud city approach scenes, to the UNFORGETTABLE eerie score of the legendary John Williams. This is the movie that define’s me as a hard core star wars fan and I to like Viral Hide, an am “empire” child for life.

    • November 29, 2015 at 4:47 am

      I was three when Empire was in theaters and I remember sitting/standing on my Grampas lap in the theater. I have vague memories of the experience as a whole but remember Vaders conversation with the Emperor clearly as the Emperor scared the shit out of me…

  • November 28, 2015 at 3:19 am

    The two moments in ESB that get me are Han’s frantic search for Luke inside the Hoth base and out in the snowy dusk AND hearing Obi-Wans voice in Yoda’s house.

    He goes from “I’m in it for the money” in ANH to looking around for the “deck officer” (working within the structure of the base, and addressing the man in the proper way) and literally proving he would die to save Luke.

    He’s still Han, but you can see that he’s become part of the Rebellion and very close to Luke. He’s not the same selfish SOB anymore.

    The moment you hear Obi-Wan speak in that hut, you realize that Luke was being tested ever since he landed. You can see it in his face too. He realizes he’s failed.

    Say what you want about the PT, especially how awful the “hero” Anakin is, but the one part where all of Anakin’s whiny BS resonates is in Luke being so prissy and short with Yoda when they meet.

    It also shows that Obi-Wan and Yoda have been in touch at least since Obi-Wan’s “death” and Yoda is seeing the same story play out with another Skywalker, at least potentially.

    It showed me how big the stakes really were.

  • November 28, 2015 at 4:13 am

    There’s no competition, the Lightsaber duel that leads up to the biggest plot-twist in movie history is unbeatable. The iconic quotes and imagery that came out of the scene are incredible. The whole movie led up to that moment, making it that much more impactful.

  • November 28, 2015 at 4:15 am

    My favourite action scene isn’t really an action scene. It is the scene where Yoda uses the force to levitate Luke’s x-wing out of the swamp. The music conveyed Yoda’s legendary force powers, as well as making the audience finally understand how powerful and useful the force is. Yoda criticizing Luke for his lack of faith and perseverance, making Luke realise that he must rely on the force, made it the best scene in Empire strikes back IMHO.

    • November 28, 2015 at 6:06 am


    • November 29, 2015 at 2:39 am

      Mine too. I nearly looked up “action” to see if it would fit in the definition. Best Force power reveal ever.

  • November 28, 2015 at 5:09 am

    A new behind-the-scenes TV spot aired on Disney Channel sometime after 8:30 PM during “Friends Whenever”. We get some cool news hots of the escape from Jakku as well as an interview with Daisy Ridley.

    • November 28, 2015 at 6:43 am

      BB8 Rox!

  • November 28, 2015 at 6:07 am

    The movie is so damn good George Lucas couldn’t even change it when he tried.

    • November 28, 2015 at 6:10 am

      “This whole shot is so genius that I have a feeling that George Lucas had nothing to do with it and fought to get it taken out of the movie.” – Harry Plinkett

      • November 28, 2015 at 6:12 am


        That part of that review is so bittersweet its insane, because you almost believe Plinkett. Its scary to think so.

        • November 28, 2015 at 6:23 am

          “This shot should be more dense, every image should have something going on. And where’s C-3PO? He’s the key to all this.” – George Lucas (probably)

          • November 28, 2015 at 6:29 am

            “Why isn’t there a miniature of R2D2 deflecting every laser blast from the Star Destroyer? More droids running around the hull! What kind of movie do you think we’re making!”

          • November 28, 2015 at 6:33 am

            “Where’s the Gunga riding a dewback to block the frame? The image needs to be more dense! And where are the puppeteers to rig the flying Swarm Droids? Do I have to do everything? Hopefully it’ll work.”

  • November 28, 2015 at 7:37 am

    I was four years old or so, a couple of years before the release of The Phantom Menace. My family owned the 1995 VHS release of the original trilogy and I had decided to watch all three as a marathon. I sat down in my room and proceeded to do just that. I don’t have any memory of A New Hope from that viewing and only the barest of recollections of watching Jedi (though I know I did marathon them), but the clearest memory is watching Empire. That memory is the Lightsaber duel between Luke and Vader. I remember sitting there, fixated on the screen, waiting to see what happened after the duel ended with Luke being disarmed (literally). What happened next was something I never expected. “No, I am your father.” I actually gasped. I was stunned. That is my first Star Wars memory and was what made me love Star Wars, a love that has never wavered in almost two decades. So, not surprisingly, my vote goes to the Duel on Cloud City.

    Opinions on the other battle scenes:
    The Battle of Hoth is great. It shows that heroes don’t win every battle, but they survive to fight another day.
    The Asteroid Field (as well as the chase in general) is an amazing visual and technical feat which still looks good today. Seeing the Falcon move like that after the “listing lazily to the left” moment in A New Hope is fantastic and my second favorite shot in the entire saga* is when the Falcon is diving and spinning while TIEs are attacking and we see three Star Destroyers in the back. It just feels so amazing and real. Plus, we get great dialogue, great music (par for the course for Star Wars), and my favorite Star Wars creature: the Space Slug.
    The escape from Cloud City is, again, really good. The music throughout is fantastic (I love “Han and the Princess”). And once they get to the Falcon, it really gets exciting, with the return to get Luke, the TIEs going after them, they get into space, they try to go to lightspeed, but they can’t, Chewie tries to fix it, they fly by Vader’s Star Destroyer, Luke is trying to absorb the shocking revelation, and right before the tractor beam locks on, R2 fixes the hyperdrive and they escape! [passes out from lack of breath, which is what Admiral Piett thought was about to happen to him after that scene]

    *Even as a little kid, I thought that the Binary Sunset shot was amazing and is my favorite shot of the saga.

  • November 28, 2015 at 11:33 am

    The AT-AT fight sticks out as my earliest memory of Star Wars ANYTHING. i think i was 3? perhaps 4?

  • November 28, 2015 at 11:40 am

    My favorite part in ESB is the scene in which Han leads the Empire on a chase into the asteroid field. Not only was it exciting and edge-of-the-seat stuff, but we got to see that not only can’t stormtroopers shoot accurately (I think kenobi’s ‘only imperial troopers are this accurate’ was sarcasm), but their STD pilots are so bad that in the vast expanse of space they can only just manage to avoid crashing into another huge STD.

    It is no wonder Vader has to choke out his staff periodically. He’s probably fed up with clutzy stuff happening all the time.

    • November 28, 2015 at 11:41 am

      wait is STD the correct abbreviation? :p looks somehow wrong :p if the Empire has STD’s it’s no wonder their concentration isn’t on the shooting/piloting.

      • November 28, 2015 at 11:46 am

        Now it makes sense, the Empire was going blind from the STD’s…

        • November 28, 2015 at 4:22 pm


        • November 28, 2015 at 5:22 pm

          I find your lack of protection disturbing.

      • November 28, 2015 at 8:21 pm

        I think he meant Star Destroyer? That is a funny way to abbreviate it though.

  • November 28, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Cloud City, Bespin. A world never before seen since Flash Gordon…

  • November 28, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    I was 12 when Empire came out, so I saw it in an old classic movie theater with a balcony. The movie still shines and is definitely the high point of the movies. I just watched it again last night and there is one scene that really struck me that I never paid that much attention to before. It’s where Boba Fett is flying away in Slave 1 and Leia is left on the platform forlornly looking upwards as he flies away. Carrie Fisher really nailed that scene, you can almost feel her heartbreaking.

  • November 28, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    Triptophan urban legend. Turtkey doesn’t make you sleepy anymore than chicken or anything else.

    • November 28, 2015 at 7:03 pm

      Triptophan urban legend, just like midichlorians.

  • November 28, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    Yoda. The best version of him in any of the existing films, I agree with Lucas that Oz should have gotten a nomination for his performance in the film however brief it was because it’s still the most realistic version of a puppet I ever seen in a film. You see sadness, regret, humor, and hope in him which is why it’s still the most three dimensional performance that the character has ever had, They also nailed the look of him as well.

  • November 29, 2015 at 2:35 am

    Favorite ESB action scene is Scoundrel vs Sith Lord:
    We see Han’s lightening fast draw, that blasters are indeed no match for ancient weapons/hokey religions, and that Vader seems to have a penchant for theatrics.

  • November 29, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Luke vs. Vader.

    Knowing that Luke left Dagobah before he was ready. The building fear for Luke, leading up to the reveal from Vader that is now the center of the entire saga story.

  • November 30, 2015 at 2:51 am

    It has to be Luke and Vader’s duel. It was the first real lightsaber battle we ever saw. It showed that our hero was seriously outmatched and still had so much to learn. It ended with the greatest reveal of all time. And it set up everything to come in Return of the Jedi. It’s one of the best action scenes in any movie, not just in Star Wars.

  • November 30, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    Well, as much as I absolutely love the Yoda & Luke encounter and training, the top notch sequence is by far the lightsaber duel. It even has that cliffhanger ending, and revelation, which is in fact one of the most memorable twists in CINEMA HISTORY, period.

  • November 30, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    Probably one of he best scenes in movie history is when Luke confronts Vader in episode 5. Now with all the new comics and short stories, this confrontation has a many different implications. You can feel the tension in the air between the two, and the lighhtsaber battle between the two of them is much more primitive and aggressive than we’ve seen in the prequels, and apparently we’ll be getting more fights like these in the force awakens!!

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