"Groups seven and ten will stay behind to fly the speeders. As soon as each transport is loaded, evacuation control will give clearance for immediate launch."
―Shawn Valdez[src]

Shawn Valdez was a Human male captain of the Alliance to Restore the Republic and an evacuation officer of the Alliance Special Forces during the height of the Galactic Civil War. Expertly trained to evacuate Rebel bases with maximum efficiency, Valdez oversaw the evacuation of the Alliance High Command's Echo Base during the Battle of Hoth in 3 ABY, ensuring the safe evacuation of more than 86 percent of the base personnel and surviving SpecForce soldiers.


"It's a good bet the Empire knows we're here."
"We better start the evacuation."
Han Solo and General Carlist Rieekan, regarding the evacuation of Echo Base[src]

Valdez at Echo Base

Shawn Valdez was a captain serving with the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War. Because evacuation was routine for Rebel bases, Alliance High Command began providing specialized training in evacuation procedures to chosen Alliance Special Forces officers following the Battle of Yavin. The Alliance then assigned these specially trained officers to high-priority bases. One of these SpecForce evacuation officers was Valdez, who earned a position at the Alliance's headquarters of Echo Base on the ice planet Hoth.[2] During his time on Hoth, Valdez owned the astromech droid R5-M2, who was specially programmed to plan sublight tactical courses through space.[3][4]

When the Galactic Empire discovered Echo Base's existence in[2] 3 ABY,[5] the responsibility fell to Valdez to oversee the ice facility's rushed evacuation in the face of the imminent Imperial attack on Hoth.[2] Present in Echo Base's central hangar, Valdez issued orders to his subordinates, explaining the base's evacuation plan: two snowspeeder groups, including Rogue Group, would stay behind to meet the Imperial invasion force while the base's fleet of thirty GR-75 medium transports would depart from the planet as soon as they were loaded, carrying vital personnel and supplies.[1]

Valdez played a major role in helping Echo Base evacuate during the ensuing Battle of Hoth,[6] with assistance from R5-M2, who provided tactical support to Valdez and planned evacuation routes from the base.[4] As a testament to his efficiency and training, Valdez was able to ensure the safe evacuation of more than 86 percent of Echo Base personnel and surviving SpecForce soldiers.[2]

Personality and traits[]

Valdez was a popular and charismatic leader of Echo Base's troopers. Well-trained to evacuate Rebel installations with maximum efficiency, Valdez's expertise and experience as an evacuation officer greatly served the Rebel Alliance during the Battle of Hoth. Valdez was also a poet and a musician.[6] A Human[1] male,[2] he had light skin.[1]


During his tenure on Hoth, Valdez wore the Rebellion's standard Echo Base cold-weather armor. His suit included headgear, anti-glare goggles, a scarf, padded vest, padded tunic, gloves, and leggings.[1]

Behind the scenes[]

"It's okay. I really just wanted to play."
―The real Shawn Valdez[src]

The real Shawn Valdez

Shawn Valdez first appeared in the 1980 film Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, portrayed by uncredited[1] Star Wars visual effects art director Joe Johnston. Each of the Echo Base extras in the brief scene in which Valdez appears are, in fact, Star Wars matte artists, including conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie, Harrison Ellenshaw, and Michael Pangrazio.[7] Johnston, who also has a cameo as a Death Star trooper in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope,[8] has gone on to direct such feature films as Jumanji, Jurassic Park III, and Captain America: The First Avenger.[9]

The character was first provided a name on the "Shawn Valdez" card as part of the November 1996 Hoth Limited expansion set of Decipher's Star Wars Customizable Card Game,[10] with the name synonymously used on a card for R5-M2 released in the same set.[3] The character was named for Shawn Valdez, a Jacksonville, Florida, boy who died from leukemia at the age of thirteen after a near eight-year struggle. Valdez was an avid fan of the Star Wars franchise and the trading card game. Dreaming of having his own SWCCG tournament rating on the Decipher website, Valdez died a day after attending a SWCCG tournament from which he had to leave early due to weariness brought on by his condition. Due to the efforts of Gregg Keefer, who ran the tournament, and with Lucasfilm's permission, Decipher agreed to name a Star Wars character in Valdez's memory. The card's text, which describes the Shawn Valdez character as a "leader" and a "poetic musician," is a direct tribute to Valdez for his courage and for poetry he contributed to a book titled I Will Sing Life, compiled by children with life-threatening illnesses.[11]

A discrepancy exists over the character's rank with the Rebel Alliance. The article Who's Who in Echo Base from Star Wars Insider 74 identifies Valdez as a major in the character's biographical section heading, but the biographical entry itself describes the character as a captain.[2] Given that all other sources, including the original The Empire Strikes Back film script, identify Valdez as a captain,[12][13][14][15] this article treats the captaincy rank as canonical.


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Notes and references[]

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