- "The Force is with you, young Skywalker… but you are not a Jedi yet."
- ―Darth Vader to Luke Skywalker
The Duel on Cloud City was a lightsaber duel between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, during the Galactic Civil War. The inexperienced Skywalker was ultimately outmatched against Vader, and defeated, losing his hand in the process. At the end of the battle, Vader revealed to Skywalker that he was, in fact, Luke's own father—Anakin Skywalker.
- "I've got to go to them."
"Decide, you must, how to serve them best. If you leave now, help them, you could, but… you would destroy all for which they have fought and suffered."
- ―Luke Skywalker and Yoda
After Han Solo, Leia Organa, Chewbacca, and C-3PO were captured by the Galactic Empire, after trying to seek refuge in Lando Calrissian's Cloud City, Luke Skywalker disobeyed Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi and set off to rescue them; however, Vader was tracking Skywalker before he even entered Cloud City.
As Luke entered the city, along with R2-D2, and began to search for his friends, Boba Fett appeared, and fired a shot around a corner, which Skywalker avoided, before returning fire, and advancing, but, shortly after, he saw Organa from around a corner, desperately trying to break free of the grip of Imperial Lieutenant Sheckil in an attempt to warn Skywalker that he was walking into a trap, but he ignored her, and continued to follow. Just as he passed through the door where Organa had disappeared, it slammed shut behind him, cutting him off from R2-D2.
Making his way through the catwalks and elevators of the Cloud City Core, he eventually reached the darkened Carbon-Freezing Chamber. Suddenly, the chamber became illuminated, revealing Darth Vader, standing atop the flight of steps to the walkway above. Striding up to the Sith Lord, Skywalker ignited his lightsaber. Vader responded by calmly activating his own weapon, and the battle began.
- "You have learned much, young one."
"You'll find I'm full of surprises!""
- ―Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker
Skywalker attacked first, initiating two brief, unsuccessful strikes at Vader's torso before regrouping. He then attempted to use an overhand power attack to overwhelm Vader, but the Sith Lord blocked the attack, maintaining a one-handed grip on his weapon. Skywalker's attack resulted in a blade-lock which Vader broke by throwing Skywalker to the floor, but Skywalker quickly recovered and advanced. Luke then engaged in an aggressive series of attacks and managed to drive Vader back, surprising the Sith Lord. However, Vader soon counter-attacked, forcing Luke back to the head of the stairs. During a subsequent lull in the fight, Vader complimented Skywalker on his increased dueling proficiency, an assessment which Skywalker arrogantly agreed with. Before he had even finished speaking, Skywalker attempted a counter-attack of his own but Vader deprived him of his lightsaber with a quick flourish.
Vader then lazily slashed at Skywalker, hoping to herd him towards the carbon freezing pit. Skywalker leapt out of the way of the attack and rolled down the stairs to the chamber's main platform. Vader leaped after him, backing Skywalker up to the edge of the freezing pit. As the pit was closed and Skywalker's attention was focused on his opponent, the young Jedi did not perceive Vader's trap. Vader claimed that Skywalker's destiny lay with him, and that Obi-Wan had known that to be the case. As Skywalker denied this, Vader, blade extended in front of him, continued to force Skywalker towards the now-open freezing pit and Luke, not realizing that the pit was behind him, continued to retreat. As such, when Vader performed another casual swing of his weapon, Skywalker backed right over the lip of the freezing pit and fell into it. As Vader activated the chamber with the Force, he failed to notice that Skywalker had leaped upwards, clinging to the overhanging pipes above the pit. Vader then approached the pit, musing about how easily Skywalker had been defeated, when he suddenly heard a metallic crash from above and noticed Skywalker trying to climb up the pipes and hoses above the pit.
Complimenting Skywalker's agility, Vader quickly bisected one of the hoses in an attempt to dislodge his son. Skywalker then jumped down and used the severed hose as a weapon, which sprayed Tibanna gas into Vader's face and served to momentarily stun him. Vader's earlier action of severing the hose also triggered alarms that started wailing throughout the chamber. Skywalker then recovered his lightsaber and slashed at Vader, only for the Sith Lord to block his blow. As the pair's blades locked, Vader taunted Skywalker, complimenting him on his ability to control his fear, but advising him that releasing his anger was the only path to victory.
Vader promptly broke the blade-lock and pressed the attack, but Skywalker managed to fend him off, leaping over an attack at his legs and flipping above Vader. Landing behind the Sith Lord, Skywalker unleashed his own offense and drove Vader back, towards the edge of the platform, before savagely kicking the Sith Lord. Unable to effectively counter against this assault, Vader lost his balance on the edge of the platform, and toppled off the side. Skywalker jumped down and followed, searching for Vader.
Advancing down a passage into the processing vane, Skywalker encountered Vader. The Sith Lord calmly raised his lightsaber, and stood his ground, as Skywalker slowly advanced.
As Skywalker and Vader faced off, Vader used the Force to rip a column of pipes off of a wall behind Skywalker and hurl it at him. Skywalker whipped around and, as he cut the fixture apart, Vader quickly lunged, engaging the youth in a brief bout of swordplay. As the two of them blade-locked, Vader telekinetically threw a metal box at his son, which smashed into the back of Skywalker's head and broke the blade-lock. Vader then pulled away, relying on the technique of Dun Möch, a use of psychological warfare, through the Force, telekinetically hurling objects at Skywalker.
As Skywalker tried and failed to hold off the onslaught of Force-propelled equipment, a misguided piece of piping smashed through an observation port, which caused gale-force winds from the air shaft outside to fill the chamber. Vader hugged a nearby wall for safety, while Skywalker was sucked out into the air shaft. As the winds subsided, Vader went to the shattered observation port and saw that Skywalker had managed to cling onto a catwalk along the exterior of the vane, several floors below.
Skywalker managed to climb up onto the catwalk, and once again began looking for Vader. Eventually, he entered a small corridor where he was suddenly ambushed by the Dark Lord. So far, Vader had held back, only testing Skywalker's abilities, but now the time had come to make him embrace the dark side. In a brutal demonstration of his own variant of Djem So, Vader began hacking at Skywalker with a series of heavy overhand power blows, overwhelming him through sheer strength. Skywalker was forced onto the defensive as Vader drove him back along the corridor. Engaging Skywalker in a blade-lock, Vader threw him against a wall and quickly pressed his attack. Recovering, Skywalker dodged a slash from Vader, which struck the wall where he had been seconds before and caused an eruption of sparks. After avoiding another such attack, Skywalker attempted to escape along the side catwalk from whence he had come, but Vader quickly cut him off. Thrown off balance by another failed blade-lock, Skywalker was forced to retreat along the main maintenance catwalk. Vader continued his relentless offense, blocking and shunting aside all of Skywalker's counters, eventually blade-locking with the young Jedi again and throwing him to the ground.
Bringing his blade to Luke's throat, Vader taunted him, declaring him beaten, and stating that further resistance would result in his death. In response, Skywalker defiantly drove Vader's blade aside and regained his feet before attacking again. As their bout continued, Skywalker, in desperation, managed to slightly wound Vader with a strike at the shoulder. Enraged, the Sith Lord moved to end the duel and pressed his assault, his barrage driving Skywalker onto a small extension at the end of the catwalk. Vader ended the duel by slicing off a piece of equipment there, and when Luke involuntarily glanced at it, Vader took advantage of the opening, catching Luke's blade in a bind and slicing off Skywalker's lightsaber hand with a swift undercut.
Defeat and revelationEdit
As Skywalker recoiled in pain, retreating along the extension, Vader tried to sway him to the dark side, and revealed the fact that he was, in truth, Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker. Initially, Skywalker denied the claim vehemently, though later he ultimately felt what Vader had said to be true.
In the end, Skywalker gained the moral courage to throw himself off the maintenance catwalk into the air shaft below, and chose death, rather than taking the option of joining Vader.
As he fell, Skywalker was sucked into a gas port, and found himself clinging to a weather vane on the underside of Cloud City. He reached out to Organa through the Force, and was rescued by her, Calrissian, and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon.
Though Vader made another attempt to capture Skywalker, as the Millennium Falcon departed Bespin, onboard the Executor, the astromech R2-D2 was able to reactivate the ship's hyperdrive and allow the group to escape.
- "Ben… why didn't you tell me?"
- ―Luke Skywalker
This revelation haunted Skywalker, and, yet, motivated him, helping to turn him into a true Jedi, one who—unlike his father—did not fall to the dark side. Likewise, Vader informed Palpatine regarding his failure to capture and turn Skywalker that he had nonetheless "sown the seeds of ambition" into Skywalker's mind.
A year later, Skywalker was finally able to come to terms with the truth of his parentage, when he met his father above Endor on the second Death Star, where they dueled, again, this time to the death.
Cloud City was captured by the Galactic Empire, which turned the gas mines into Ugnaught slaving camps. It is known that Vader recovered Skywalker's hand and took it to the Mount Tantiss storehouse, where it was used by Joruus C'baoth to grow a clone of Skywalker.
Though annexed by the Empire, holos of the duel between the two Skywalkers later found their way into the market. Though they only captured the first twenty seconds of the duel, they sold for 15 credits each in Port Town.
Behind the scenesEdit
The duel between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker is remembered by many Star Wars fans as the most memorable lightsaber duel in Star Wars history.
As Lucas wanted the lightsaber fights to gradually become "faster and more intense" as Luke was becoming more adept at using a lightsaber, a shift in fighting style began to show itself, with some one-handed forms making their first appearance—a precursor to what lightsaber fights of old would be revealed to look like.
The revelation of Luke Skywalker's parentage was kept so secret that even David Prowse (the actor playing the body of Darth Vader and speaking the lines on set) did not know. Instead, he spoke the line "Obi-Wan killed your father", as had been printed on a substituted page of the screenplay. Meanwhile, the overdubbed voice of James Earl Jones spoke the genuine line. Mark Hamill himself was only told moments before going on to shoot the scene and no one else on the cast other than Jones and Hamill found out until the premiere. (In the video game LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy—in which characters do not speak—Vader instead makes this revelation by pulling out a photograph of Anakin and a noticeably pregnant Padmé and pointing to Luke so as to show that he is the unborn child in the picture. This is obviously non-canon.). The great lengths that the production staff went to keep the identity of Luke's father from being leaked was later spoofed in The Simpsons episode "Worst Episode Ever," where one of the invaluable Star Wars memorabilia that Mrs. Prince was unknowingly selling to Comic Book Guy was a film reel that was labelled "Alternate Ending: Chewbacca is Luke's Father."
In the GBA game Star Wars Trilogy: Apprentice of the Force, the duel was slightly expanded: After Luke managed to knock Vader off the carbonite freezing platform, he then travelled through an area littering with Stormtroopers before stopping them before proceeding to fight Vader and be blown back by Vader's telekinesis.
- LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
- LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
- Choose Your Own Star Wars Adventure: The Empire Strikes Back
- The Lost Lightsaber (Appears in flashback(s))
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (PSP, version historic mission)
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ Star Wars: TIE Fighter (Demo)
- ↑ Star Wars 47: Droid World
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 3.24 3.25 Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- ↑ The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back novelization
- ↑ Fightsaber: Jedi Lightsaber Combat
- ↑ Shadows of the Empire 1
- ↑ Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back
- ↑ InQuest Gamer 26