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"This is Echo Station Three-Eight. Unidentified object is in our scope. It's just over the ridge. We should have visual contact in about— What the—? Oh, no!"
―Station 3-8 trooper, upon sighting an Imperial probe droid[1]

Echo Station 3-8, or Advance Station 3-8, was an isolated Rebel facility located near Zone Twelve on the ice planet Hoth. It served as an outpost for Echo Base, the Alliance's primary headquarters on Hoth. In 3 ABY, a Rebel trooper at Station 3-8 spotted an unidentified object moving toward the outpost and reported its presence to Echo Base. The object, which turned out to be an Imperial Viper probe droid searching for the Rebels' headquarters, destroyed the outpost before it could complete its transmission.


Advance Station 3-8[2] was one of the isolated outposts, bearing the comm designation "Echo Station," that served as a sentry post[3] for the Rebel Alliance's headquarters of Echo Base. The station was located near Zone Twelve on the ice planet of Hoth,[1] to the east of Echo Base and the Clabburn Range.[4] Echo Stations were staffed by Rebel troopers and defended with artillery emplacements for use in the event of an Imperial attack.[5]


"Send Rogues Ten and Eleven to Station Three-Eight."
―General Carlist Rieekan[6]

Station 3-8, destroyed by the Imperial probe droid

Established by the Rebel Alliance during its time on Hoth, Station 3-8 served as an outpost on the frozen world,[1] one of many Rebel stations tasked with monitoring meteor activity and searching for any Imperial intruders.[7] In 3 ABY, the Galactic Empire, continuously searching for the Alliance's primary headquarters, dispatched probe droids across the galaxy to aid in locating the Rebels' main base. One such probe droid was sent to the Hoth system; after landing on Hoth, it eventually discovered evidence of a Rebel base. The Alliance, likewise, became aware of the droid's presence but was unable to determine its identity.[6] While personnel at Echo Base speculated on what it could be, a Rebel trooper stationed at Advance Station 3-8 radioed Echo Base to inform them that the station had the object on its scope.[1]

The droid came into Station 3-8's visual range, but before the trooper could announce its identity, the probe droid destroyed the outpost with its blaster cannon.[2] Cut off, the trooper's message ended in static.[8] As the probe droid transmitted news of the Alliance's presence on the world to the Empire, Echo Base commander General Carlist Rieekan dispatched Rogues Ten and Eleven[6]pilots Tarrin Datch and Tenk Lenso, respectively[9]—to Station 3-8. Rieekan instructed the pilots to fly a low-altitude holding pattern over the station and to be alert for trouble.[10] Datch and Lenso transported Captain Han Solo and the Wookiee Chewbacca to the probe droid's location;[5] Solo succeeded in destroying the droid, but its data successfully reached the Empire and was utilized to great effect in the subsequent Imperial attack on Hoth.[6]

Behind the scenes[]

"This is Three-Eight, Echo Command! We have visual contact! It looks like— N-no…!"
―Station 3-8 trooper[2]

The destruction of Station 3-8 varies from adaptation to adaptation of Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. The novelization of the film, the movie storybook, and the Marvel comic issue that includes the outpost's destruction provide different quotes detailing the final moments of the unidentified trooper stationed there. Additionally, the novelization has the trooper contacting Echo Base with news of the probe droid, while in the comic adaptation, Echo Base contacts Station 3-8 first. The film itself does not include a quote from the trooper or confirm the station's destruction; the outpost is only mentioned when General Rieekan dispatches Rogues Ten and Eleven to Station 3-8—a reference to George Lucas's first film, THX 1138.[11] The screenplay, however, does mention "the smoldering ruins of station three-eight" immediately after this line.[12]

A map of the Battle of Hoth included in the second edition of Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back (and, later, the Star Wars Trilogy Sourcebook, Special Edition) places Station 3-8 among the numerous trenches north of Echo Base, directly in the path of the main Imperial assault. Inside the Worlds of Star Wars Trilogy contradicts this map almost completely; the reference book indicates that the Alliance detected the Imperial probe east of Echo Base. According to both the novel and comic adaptations of the movie, Station 3-8 was destroyed around this time, thus placing it east of the base and away from the Empire's general advance. The outpost's location is not the only difference between the maps; the placements of the shield generator and ion cannon were also changed.



Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back novelization
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Star Wars (1977) 39
  3. A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Third Edition, Revised and Expanded
  4. Inside the Worlds of Star Wars Trilogy shows that the probe droid transmitted its data to the Imperial fleet at a point east of the Clabburn Range and Echo Base. According to the film, this is its location when Echo Base learns of the droid's existence. Additionally, according to the novel and comic adaptations of the film, Station 3-8 was destroyed in this period of time, indicating its location is near the probe droid's location when it transmits its data.
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
  7. The Illustrated Star Wars Universe
  8. The Empire Strikes Back Storybook
  9. Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back, Second Edition
  10. The Empire Strikes Back: The National Public Radio Dramatization
  11. SWInsider.png "The Empire Strikes Fact!" – Star Wars Insider 119
  12. The Empire Strikes Back Notebook