- "Star Destroyers, two of 'em coming right at us."
- ―Han Solo, upon sighting the Tyrant and Stalker
The Stalker was an Imperial II-class Star Destroyer in the Imperial Navy. As a part of the Galactic Empire's Death Squadron, the Stalker was present in the Juris sector alongside other starships of the unit when a probe droid released as part of Project Swarm reported the discovery of a Rebel Alliance base on Hoth. In the aftermath of the Battle of Hoth, the Stalker assisted in the pursuit of the rebel freighter Millennium Falcon, and was one of three Star Destroyers which nearly collided with each other in the process: the Falcon, being chased by the Avenger, used its greater agility to avoid the Stalker and the Tyrant as they closed in from the other direction. Although the three capital ships managed to avoid catastrophe, the Falcon escaped to the nearby planet Bespin.
An Imperial II-class Star Destroyer, the Stalker was equipped with a hangar bay, a communications tower, a solar ionization reactor, and two deflector shield generator domes. Measuring 1,600 meters long, it was propelled by three destroyer-I ion engines and four emergency use gemon-4 ion engines.
In 3 ABY, the Stalker was in service to the Imperial Navy. After the implementation of Project Swarm, an operation by the Galactic Empire to dispatch Viper probe droids across the galaxy in order to locate the Rebel Alliance's secret base, the Stalker was part of Death Squadron, the personal fleet of Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader. The squadron included the flagship Executor, the Avenger, the Conquest, the Devastator, the Stalker, and the Tyrant, and were all stationed near Qeimet in the Juris sector when one of the probes found the Alliance headquarters Echo Base.
In 3 ABY, one of the probes deployed from the Star Destroyer reached the ice planet Hoth, where the rebels' Echo Base was hidden. The probe identified the base, which led to the Empire forcing the rebels off the world. After the battle, the Avenger took part in the pursuit of the Millennium Falcon in the Hoth asteroid belt.
Death Squadron soon jumped into hyperspace and eventually arrived in the Anoat sector's Hoth system, where the base was located. The fleet was joined by the ISD Ultimatum, which participated in the Battle of Hoth alongside the rest of Death Squadron. Following the rebel evacuation from Hoth, Death Squadron chased the rebel freighter the Millennium Falcon, which was carrying the important Alliance leader Princess Leia Organa. While the Avenger and its TIE fighters chased the Falcon, the Tyrant and the Stalker closed in from the opposite direction. The Falcon maneuvered so that the Tyrant and Stalker had a near collision with the Avenger. The Falcon managed to escape to the Hoth asteroid belt while still being pursued by the Imperial fleet, but eventually escaped to Bespin nearby.
Behind the scenes
The Stalker first appeared in the 1980 original trilogy film Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. The Star Destroyer was not identified in the film, but received the name Stalker in the new Star Wars canon in the 2016 reference book Star Wars: Complete Locations. In the Star Wars Legends continuity, that name was introduced in the Star Wars Customizable Card Game's Hoth Limited expansion, released in 1996.
While Star Wars: Complete Locations identifies the Star Destroyer to send a probe droid to Hoth as the Stalker, the vessel was conversely identified as the Avenger by Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded, released earlier in 2016, and the ninth issue of Star Wars Helmet Collection. The Stalker was confirmed to canonically exist by the 2021 original trilogy adaptation The Odyssey of Star Wars: An Epic Poem, written by Jack Mitchell. This article assumes that Complete Locations supplies the correct name, being the more recent source.
- The Odyssey of Star Wars: An Epic Poem
- The Original Trilogy Stories
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back (First appearance)
- Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Screen Comix
- Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Graphic Novel Adaptation
- Star Wars: Complete Locations (First identified as Stalker)
- Star Wars: Build Your Own R2-D2 34 (Building the Galaxy: Finishing the Effects Shots)
- Star Wars: Battles that Changed the Galaxy
Notes and references
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back establishes that the Stalker is an Imperial-class Star Destroyer, which measures 1,600 meters in length according to .
- The Original Trilogy Stories depicts the Stalker with what identifies as destroyer-I ion engines and gemon-4 ion engines (which are for emergency use).
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back depicts the Stalker with what identifies as deflector shield generator domes, a solar ionization reactor, and a communications tower.
- The Odyssey of Star Wars: An Epic Poem
- Star Wars: Complete Locations
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the events of Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, including the Stalker's appearance, to 3 ABY.
- Doctor Aphra (2016) 37
- Star Wars Customizable Card Game – Hoth Limited (Card: Stalker) (backup link)
- Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 9 (Highlights of the Saga: Ground Assault on Hoth)