Star Wars Infinities: The Empire Strikes Back is a 4-part comic sub-series of Star Wars Infinities. It was published from July 2, 2002 to November 20, 2002, then compiled as a trade paperback on April 2, 2003.
Take the events and characters from one of the classic Star Wars films, throw in one happenstance, mishap, or technical glitch beyond the characters' control, and watch how that changes everything. In Dark Horse's first foray into Infinities (Star Wars Infinities: A New Hope), Luke Skywalker's valiant torpedo attack on the Death Star failed due to a faulty detonator -- an event no one could have foreseen -- and the Rebellion was dealt a debilitating setback. In Infinities -- The Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo's desperate attempt to locate his friend Luke in the icy wastes of the planet Hoth is thwarted when the tauntaun he's riding succumbs to the cold while Han is still a mile from Luke's location. Han arrives too late, barely in time to hear Luke's dying words about Jedi training and the planet Dagobah...
Thus begins an adventure far different than the one seen in the motion picture. Along the way, a famous bounty hunter is frozen in carbonite, Han and Chewie are captured on Tatooine by Jabba the Hutt, and Princess Leia and Yoda have a fateful jungle showdown with Darth Vader!
On the ice planet Hoth, Luke Skywalker is scouting the vast wastelands when he is attacked by a wampa. Freeing himself and escaping its cave, he collapses in the snow, hearing the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi, telling him to go to Dagobah to train under Yoda. Events begin to change when Han's Tauntaun dies before Han can find the missing Luke. A short time later, Han Solo arrives, but it is too late for the young Jedi. Luke tells Han to train as a Jedi, then dies in the Corellian's arms.
The next day, the Alliance forces hold a funeral for Luke. Han tells Leia that he has to go to Dagobah, believing that he is to train as Jedi. The funeral is interrupted by the arrival of the invading Imperial forces consisting of TIE fighters, AT-AT walkers and Snowtroopers. Wedge Antilles and Wes Janson die during the ensuing battle, although much of the Rebel force escapes, including Han, Leia Organa, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO onboard the Millennium Falcon. The Falcon is unable to effectively escape the Hoth System due to a malfunctioning hyperdrive.
Evading the blockading Imperial ships, the Falcon travels to Bespin, where Han and the others are met by Han's gambling buddy, Lando Calrissian. Although skeptical of Han's claim of being a Jedi, Lando offers to fix the Falcon and keep them company. When he returns to his office, Lando then meets with another recent arrival: Boba Fett sitting at his desk.
Fett demands that Lando take him to Han and the others, but what Boba does not know is that they have already arrived (as Han decided not to go into the asteroid field). Lando does so, quietly signaling to Lobot to inform Cloud City Police for assistance. Fett is led into a trap and knocked unconscious in the ensuing battle. Lando tells the others that Fett was here on his employer's wishes. Thinking that Fett meant Jabba the Hutt, Han, Leia, Chewbacca and Threepio depart Cloud City after the repairs are finished and head for Dagobah.
Shortly thereafter, Lando is relaxing in his office and admiring his new desk, which is crafted using Boba Fett's carbonite-encased corpse, when Darth Vader arrives in orbit demanding to speak with the bounty hunter. Lando says that neither Fett nor the Rebels are there. Vader, using the admission as a reason to declare Cloud City as a secret Rebel base, utterly destroys it. Every inhabitant is killed including Lando.
En route to Dagobah, Han comforts Leia on what he assumes is the events of the past few days catching up with her (actually the subconscious disruption in the Force with the destruction of Cloud City). Once arriving on the planet, they are met by Yoda, who plainly tells the group that it is Leia, not Han, who is to be trained as a Jedi. Yoda tells Leia that Luke was her brother and her father is Darth Vader, as well as that he even knew her mother. With great reluctance, Han departs Dagobah to deal with his deathmark, while Leia remains to be trained with Yoda.
Three months pass, Han gathers together the money he needs to pay off Jabba, and Leia continues to grow strong in the Force, while Vader continues to search for his son, not knowing the youth's fate; aggressively dismissing any rumor that he was killed during the Battle of Hoth, Vader insists that he can still sense Luke's presence.
Vader even led an operation to a forest planet. The Sith Lord's forces left behind a path of fiery destruction among native settlements, but their efforts turned up no signs of Skywalker or Solo, and Vader grew impatient, despite an officer's suggestion to focus his efforts elsewhere (possibly on the construction of The Emperor's new battle station).
Meanwhile on Tatooine, Han, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2 arrive in Mos Eisley to pay off Jabba the Hutt, using the services of an aged Vilmarh Grahrk to transfer the money over to Jabba. Instead of helping them, however, "Uncle Villie" betrays Han and the others, who are captured by Jabba's thugs and taken to Jabba's Palace and the Falcon is stolen by Villie.
The following evening, Han, Chewbacca and the droids are brought before Jabba and, despite Han's best efforts to convince the Hutt otherwise, are sentenced to death by fighting a pair of nexu that Jabba keeps in a pit beneath his audience chamber, where the rancor used to be. With everyone's attention diverted, Artoo secretly frees Han and Chewbacca, who escape while the nexu—likewise freed from their imprisonment—tear the palace apart, and even kills a lot of people in the palace and injures Jabba. In the confusion and chaos, Han, Chewbacca and R2 are able to board a Hutt shuttlecraft and escape to retrieve the docked Falcon in Mos Eisley and return to Dagobah to see if Leia has completed her training, leaving 3PO behind in the chaos and confusion. After the disaster with the nexu, a wounded Jabba orders his advisor to get a pet that's "more controllable" like a rancor.
Arriving the next day, Darth Vader arrives at the damaged palace, with a legion of Sandtroopers in tow, and demands that Jabba turn over Han and Chewbacca. Jabba says that they escaped and he does not know where Han is now, and that he hopes to never see them again, but Vader finds something of more interest: the droid he built as Anakin Skywalker and demands that his former creation be handed over to him. Jabba hands over C-3PO to the evil sith lord, and then orders his advisor to get a new translator droid. Taking C-3PO back to the Executor, Vader reveals himself as the droid's Maker, and learns from the droid the location of "Skywalker": Dagobah, by torturing the droid.
Back on Dagobah, Leia is in the last stages of her training and senses the presence of a lightsaber crystal from a nearby cave. Yoda sends her off to retrieve them, saying that she will soon become a Jedi. Shortly after she leaves, Vader arrives and demands that Yoda turn over Luke to him. The two then engage in a battle of minds that sees Vader harmed by the spirits of Jedi he knew during his time as Anakin Skywalker, specifically Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon Jinn and Mace Windu. During the confrontation, Vader learns of Luke's death.
Leia retrieves the crystals and, upon inserting them into her lightsaber, has a vision of Yoda in danger. She rushes back, but is too late, for Vader has delivered a death blow to the old Jedi Master through the mental link, severing the Jedi's lock on his mind. Leia and Vader engage in a lightsaber duel and Leia severs Vader's right arm. Vader offers her the chance to join him and rule the galaxy, but Leia refuses. Before Vader can strike her down, Han and Chewbacca arrive in the Falcon. Han then fires at Vader, which kills and instantly redeems him. Leia then removes her dying father's mask to reveal his face. Anakin's last words were "I had… have… a daughter." Before Yoda dies, he encourages Leia to pass what she has learned on to others. Leia then burns her father's body in a funeral pyre.
With both Yoda and Anakin dead, and Leia now a Jedi Knight, she, Han and Chewbacca now leave on the Falcon and prepare themselves for the eventual return of the Jedi, by rejoining the Rebels and bringing everlasting peace to the galaxy...
Parallels to the original story
The Infinities story included a few "tongue-in-cheek" references to the original story of Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back:
- Darth Vader has hired a number of bounty hunters to follow the Falcon.
- The Millennium Falcon attaches to a Star Destroyer and float away with the garbage to go to Cloud City and get their hyperdrive repaired.
- Boba Fett is frozen in carbonite on Cloud City and used as a desk by Lando Calrissian. In the movie, Han Solo was frozen, but not used as a desk, but as a wall ornament.
- Han refers to the scene where the Millennium Falcon lands in an asteroid.
- On learning that Darth Vader is Leia's father, Han screams "That's impossible!" In the movie, Luke screamed something similar on learning the same thing.
- Yoda tells Han he is a scoundrel. In the movie, Leia tells Han the same thing.
- Vader tells C-3PO, "I am your maker." In the movie, he tells Luke "I am your father."
- Vader severs Yoda's right arm with his lightsaber. This also appears to be a play on Vader severing Luke's right hand in the movie.
- Vader tells Leia, "Join me and we shall rule the galaxy together." This is a play on his statement to Luke, "Join me and together we shall rule the galaxy as father and son."
- When Han fires his blaster at Vader on Dagobah, it kills him unlike the shot in the movie on Bespin.
- The Emperor doesn't even make an appearance although he's mentioned a few times, despite his brief appearance in the movie.
- Star Wars Infinities: The Empire Strikes Back 1
- Star Wars Infinities: The Empire Strikes Back 2
- Star Wars Infinities: The Empire Strikes Back 3
- Star Wars Infinities: The Empire Strikes Back 4
- Star Wars Infinities: A New Hope
- Star Wars Infinities: The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars Infinities: Return of the Jedi