For other uses, see Star Wars 44.

"The Force is with you, young Skywalker... but you're not a Jedi yet!"
Darth Vader[src]

Star Wars 44: The Empire Strikes Back: Duel a Dark Lord is the forty-fourth issue in the Marvel Star Wars series of comics.


Luke Skywalker arrives in Cloud City and R2-D2 and they begin looking for their friends. Darth Vader delivers the frozen body of Han Solo over to Boba Fett and instructs the Ugnaught workers to reset the carbon-freezing chamber for Skywalker. He then instructs his officers to have Leia and Chewbacca brought aboard his ship. Lando Calrissian fires back, claiming that part of the deal was that they would remain in the city. Vader venomously tells him that he is altering the deal.

The Imperial soldiers begin escorting Leia and Chewbacca back to the ship when they come upon Luke. A firefight takes place and the group splits up. Lando, feeling guilty over betraying Han, has his own men overtake the stormtroopers. He frees Leia and Chewbacca and the partially re-constructed C-3PO. They try to make it back to the landing pad to free Han, but they are too late. As they arrive, Boba Fett takes off with Han's body en route to his employer, Jabba the Hutt. They board the Millennium Falcon and leave Cloud City.

Meanwhile, Luke goes to the carbon freezing facility where he finds Darth Vader waiting for him. They ignite their lightsabers and begin dueling. Their fight takes them to a gantry hanging above one of the city's exhaust shafts. Vader slices off Luke's right hand with his saber. Luke accuses Vader of killing his father, to which Vader replies, "No, Luke. I am your father". Unable to handle the truth of the matter, Luke flings himself off the gantry where he begins falling to his death.

Falling through the various tunnel shafts below the city, he is eventually expelled and left hanging from a sensor vane on the underbelly of the floating city. He reaches out with the Force to project his thoughts to Leia. Leia, hearing Luke's telepathic cry for help, orders Lando to turn the Falcon around and go back for him. They pick Luke up and rendezvous with the Rebel Fleet.

Onboard a medical ship, Luke is cleaned up and his hand is replaced with a cybernetic replacement. Now he has to deal with his failure to rescue Han as well as the revelation that Darth Vader, the most evil being in the galaxy, is his father.


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  • Bird (Mentioned only)

Droid models



Organizations and titles

Sentient species

Vehicles and vessels

Weapons and technology


Behind the scenes[]

This is part six and the conclusion of the six part adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back.

There is a five page pin-up section in this issue featuring art by Walt Simonson, Joe Jusko, Fred Hembeck, Bob Layton & Marshall Rogers.


This comic book issue includes advertisements for the following products:

  • Marvel Comics' Marvel Spotlight starring Captain Universe comic book
  • Star Wars Official Fan Club membership offer
  • Grit Magazine
  • Pez candy products
  • Marvel Anniversary calendar – 1981
  • Marvel Comics' Doctor Strange (Volume 1) comic book


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Notes and references[]

  1. The Comic Reader #185 and The Comics Journal #60