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Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (formerly titled The Empire Strikes Back) is the novelization of the film of the same name. It was written by Donald F. Glut and based on a story by George Lucas. It was first published in paperback by Del Rey on April 12, 1980.

Publisher's summary[]

Luke, Han and Princess Leia's story didn't end with the destruction of the Death Star—it continues in The Empire Strikes Back.

Though they had won a significant battle, the war between the Rebels and the Empire had really just begun.

Now, several months later, the Rebels have established an outpost on the frozen wasteland of Hoth. But even on that icy, backwater planet, they could not escape the evil Darth Vader's notice for long.

Soon, Luke, Han, the princess and their faithful companions were forced to flee, scattering in all directions—the Dark Lord's minions in fevered pursuit!


The novelization has a number of differences from the film:

  • The novel has more scenes with the probe droid and its journey to locate the Rebel base on Hoth. One of them is the droid's encounter with a wampa, which attacks it. The probe droid reacts by disintegrating the creature with its blaster.
  • Han Solo never says, "And I thought they smelled bad on the outside." He does however mention that if he doesn't get the shelter built in time, "Jabba won't need those bounty hunters."
  • The novel featured more wampas emerging from within the walls of the Hoth Rebel base, codenamed Echo Base, and attacking Rebel personnel and killing a couple Tauntauns. The Rebels managed to capture and contain the wampas in a secure room. During the Battle of Hoth when Han, Leia, and C-3PO are trying to reach the Millennium Falcon, C-3PO stops and walks towards the door which leads to the room where the wampas are contained. He tears off a large portion of the door's warning label and rushes back with Han and Leia. When the Imperial snowtroopers stop by the quarantined room, they are attacked by the wampas.
  • Yoda has blue skin, which was originally intended for his character design, instead of his recognizable green skin.
  • Han and Leia's kiss is not interrupted by C-3PO, but Chewbacca witnesses part of the scene.
  • There are only five bounty hunters aboard the Executor; 4-LOM is omitted, and Zuckuss is a "human type" instead of a Gand.
  • When greeting the Millennium Falcon on the landing platform, Lando Calrissian's entourage includes aliens.
  • The Ugnaughts are throwing scrap into a pool of molten metal instead of putting them onto a conveyor belt that carries them into an incinerator. Chewbacca also has far less trouble in forcing them to relinquish Threepio's parts.
  • Vader's lightsaber during the cave scene on Dagobah is blue rather than the usual red.
  • Han does not say "I know" in response to Leia's "I love you." Instead, Han reassures Leia that he will be back.


The novelization sold two million copies within the first week of Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back's theatrical run.[1]





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