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The Force is with you, young Skywalker… but you are not a Jedi yet.—Darth Vader to Luke Skywalker, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
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.
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, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
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's head stick from around a corner desperately trying to hold off an Imperial soldier to warn him. She claimed 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.
You have learned much, young one."
"You'll find I'm full of surprises!—Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Luke attacked first, managing to drive Vader back, surprising the Sith with his skill. 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.
He sliced through 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.
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. 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.
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 approached. 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. 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 the vane several floors below.
As Luke tried to get out of the air shaft, entering a small corridor, he was suddenly ambushed by the Dark Lord. As Luke was viciously driven back, he attempted to escape along a side catwalk, but Vader quickly cut him off, driving him along the main mantainance catwalk. Thrown off balance by a failed bladelock, Luke was taunted by Vader, who declared him beaten, and stated 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, 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 revelationEdit
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.
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.
Ben... Why didn't you tell me?—Luke Skywalker, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
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.
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.
Behind the scenesEdit
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.
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (First appearance)
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back novel
- Star Wars 44: The Empire Strikes Back: Duel a Dark Lord
- The Emperor's Trophy (Mentioned only)
- Shadows of the Empire comic (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike
- LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (Non-canonical appearance)
- LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Non-canonical appearance)
- Tales from Jabba's Palace (Mentioned only)
- The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader (Appears in flashback(s))
- Tatooine Ghost (Mentioned only)
- Heir to the Empire (Mentioned only)
- The Last Command (Mentioned only)
- The Lost Lightsaber (Non-canonical appearance) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (Non-canonical appearance)
- Star Wars: The Power of the Force (1995)
- Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back
- The Secrets of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
- InQuest Gamer 26 (Ambiguously canonical source)