Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (novel)

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Star Wars Episode V:
The Empire Strikes Back
Attribution information

Donald F. Glut

Publication information

Ballantine Books

Release date

April 12, 1980[1]

Media type

Hardcover, Paperback






Rebellion era


3 ABY[1]


Star Wars Trilogy

Preceded by

Empire and Rebellion: Razor's Edge

Followed by

Tales of the Bounty Hunters

The Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back novelization, written by Donald F. Glut, is the official novelization of the film of the same title. Like other novelizations, Empire contains many scenes and details cut from the film. Original printings of the book do not bear the label "Episode V" anywhere.



Publisher's summaryEdit

Although they had won a significant battle, the war between the Rebels and the Empire had really just begun. 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 book is the same as the film, with only a few minor differences or changes in detail or plot. A few are listed below.

Differences from the filmEdit

  • During the Battle of Hoth, after the Rebels' shield generator is destroyed, Hobbie crashes his snowspeeder into the head of General Veers's AT-AT, killing both.
  • Yoda has blue skin.
  • Luke sees scrolls of what look like handwritten manuscripts in Yoda's house.
  • Luke doesn't bump his head in his hurry to tell Obi-Wan and Yoda he is ready to become a Jedi.
  • Han and Leia's kiss is not interrupted by C-3PO, but Chewbacca witnesses part of the scene.
  • Luke's training with Master Yoda and Han and Leia's relationship are both examined in much more detail.
  • There are only five bounty hunters aboard the Executor. 4-LOM is omitted, and Zuckuss is a "human type."
  • Captain Needa's death is not directly described. The scene merely begins with: "A pair of white-armored stormtroopers lifted Captain Needa's lifeless form from the floor of Darth Vader's Imperial Star Destroyer."
  • When Luke is attacked by stormtroopers in Cloud City, he returns fire with his blaster, unlike in the film, where he doesn't fire a shot.
  • Darth Vader has a blue lightsaber blade.
  • Luke falls from the weather vane at the bottom of Cloud City before the Millennium Falcon intercepts him.
  • The nebula at the end of the film is a red-orange star.

As with all novelizations, the dialogue does not exactly match that of the film version. A sample of these differences:

  • Han never says, "And I thought they smelled bad... on the outside."
  • E-3PO never says, "E chu ta!"
  • Lando says, "I have a bad feeling about this."
  • Han never says "I know" in response to Leia's "I love you," which was due to Harrison Ford ad-libbing the line.
  • Darth Vader says "Bring my ship in" instead of "Alert my Star Destroyer to prepare for my arrival."


By type 
Characters Creatures Droid models Events Locations
Organizations and titles Sentient species Vehicles and vessels Weapons and technology Miscellanea



Droid models



Organizations and titles

Sentient species

Vehicles and vessels

Weapons and technology


Cover galleryEdit

This is a gallery of the different cover variations of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

Collected inEdit


See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

External linksEdit

Star Wars film novelizations
Prequel trilogy
Episode I: The Phantom Menace · Episode II: Attack of the Clones · Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars Trilogy
Episode IV: A New Hope · Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back · Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Sequel trilogy
Episode VII: The Force Awakens

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