Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Inciting Event:

Luke’s POV: An Imperial probe droid lands on Hoth. Luke is attacked by a Wampa before he can investigate. After Luke escapes the Wampa, Obi-Wan’s spirit appears to Luke in a snowstorm, instructing him to go to Dagobah and train with Master Yoda to become a Jedi Knight like his father before him. This makes Luke a strong threat to the Emperor’s power: “The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi.”

Han and Leia’s POV: Han wants to leave Leia and pay back Jabba the Hutt, but goes to save Luke from the snowstorm instead. He also encounters the Probe droid which has discovered the hidden Rebel base and reported it back to the Empire.

First Plot Point: The Empire attacks the Rebel base, forcing all the heroes to flee. Luke goes to Dagobah and meets Jedi Master Yoda, while Darth Vader focuses his fleet on capturing Han and Leia as they flee together in the Millennium Falcon.

First Pinch Point: Darth Vader communicates with Emperor Palpatine, who denounces Luke as a “new enemy” that must be tracked down. Meanwhile, the plot turns for Luke upon his arrival on the desolate swamp planet Dagobah and for Han and Leia as they enter the dangerous asteroid field.

Midpoint: Luke encounters a vision of Darth Vader in a cave on Dagobah. He fights the specter and beheads it, only to see his own face in the severed head, a dark omen that he could be turned to the Dark Side just as Vader was, and symbolizing other deeply character-centric things as well. He also witnesses Yoda’s mastery of the Force when Yoda saves his X-Wing from the swamp, and he must confront his own lack of faith.

Han and Leia’s POV: Han and Leia give in to their romantic feelings for each other. They discover the Falcon is actually hiding inside an enormous space slug and are forced to fly out into the open, where they again outmaneuver the Imperial fleet and set a course for Bespin to take shelter with Han’s friend Lando. They are followed by the bounty hunter Boba Fett.

Second Pinch Point:

Luke’s POV: Luke sees Han and Leia being tortured in a vision from the Force. Against Yoda and Obi-Wan’s admonitions, he prepares to leave Dagobah to rescue them, risking being pulled into Vader’s trap and never becoming a Jedi.

Han and Leia’s POV: Boba Fett tracks Han, Leia, and Chewbacca to Cloud City. Vader forces Han’s friend Lando to betray them, then captures and tortures Han and Chewbacca, true to Luke’s prescient vision. This probably counts as torture for Leia, too because she loves Han, now.

Third Plot Point:

Han and Leia’s POV: Han is frozen in carbonite and placed in Boba Fett’s hands for delivery to Jabba the Hutt. Lando decides he’s had enough of betraying his friends and tells his security force to take back his city from the Imperial forces there.

Luke’s POV: Luke arrives on Cloud City and is enters a duel with Vader.

Climax: Luke duels Vader, determined not to join the Dark Side, but Vader pours on the hurt until Luke is backed into a hopeless corner.

Leia and Chewbacca fight their way to the landing platform in a race to stop Boba Fett from escaping with Han’s frozen, but alive body, but are too late.

Climactic Moment: Vader cuts Luke’s hand off and reveals that Vader is Luke’s father. I choose this as the climactic moment because it is where the conflict inside Luke comes to a head–the father he dedicated his life to imitating turns out to be his worst enemy.

Luke also asserts his decision to remain pure from the Dark Side and casts himself down an enormous shaft, choosing death rather than corruption. Instead of falling to his death, he is sucked out by an exhaust vent and lands on a weather vane. He calls first to Ben, then to Leia, with the Force. Leia orders Lando to turn the Falcon around and pick up Luke. They escape into hyperspace.

Resolution: Luke is fitted with a cyborg hand and he and Leia ponder their fate and that of Han.

Comments: I included a POV for Han and Co. but the main conflict is still with Luke and his walking the razor’s edge between the light and the dark, which will come fully to a head in Episode VI.

(Submitted by Aaron McCausland; edited by K.M. Weiland.)

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