Used as part of the Tibanna gas mining operation of the airborne metropolis, Cloud City on the gas giant, Bespin, reactor shafts deep in the center of the city stored gas mined from the planet's atmosphere. Tractor beams forced gas from Bespin's lower atmosphere through an opening at the bottom of the city's reactor bulb, where it traveled up through the reactor stalk, and finally into one of several reactor shafts. The gas was held there at low-pressure before being purified by a processing vane suspended inside the shaft.
Sometime after the Rebel Alliance's defeat on Hoth, Luke Skywalker encountered and engaged Sith Lord Darth Vader in a lightsaber duel inside one of Cloud Ciy's processing vanes. Their fight eventually led them out onto the vane's sensor balcony, exposed to the low pressure gas of the reactor shaft, where Vader dismembered Skywalker and revealed to him that he was his father. Choosing to die rather than join the dark side of the Force, Skywalker let go of the end of the balcony and fell into the depths of the shaft. Within moments, he was sucked up by an exhaust pipe and was left hanging onto a weather scanner vane on the outside of the city.
Behind the scenes
A reactor shaft first appeared unnamed in the second Star Wars film, Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, released in 1980. The location was first identified as a reactor shaft in the Legends reference book Inside the Worlds of Star Wars Trilogy, released in 2004, with the name being made canon in the 2016 reference book Star Wars: Complete Locations, the re-issue of 2005's Star Wars: Complete Locations.
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back (First appearance)
- The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to Be a Jedi?
- Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back junior novelization
- "The Witness"—From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars: Complete Locations (First identified as reactor shaft)
- Star Wars: Legion – Legion Core Set (Card: ) (Reissued in Clone Wars Core Set, Upgrade Card Pack) (Picture only)