In 1997 to co-inside with the Special Edition re-releases of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and to add to the momentum building to the prequels coming in 1999, Lucasfilm and Disney released a new set of read-along books. Here is the 1997 version of Star Wars,The Empire Strikes Back. Compare it to the original 1980 version.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
You can also read along with the story in your book. Unless you are already programmed to know when the pages end, you will know it is time to turn the page when you hear this sound... I believe the storyteller is ready, so let us begin.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
It was a dark time for the Rebel Alliance. Although the Death Star had been destroyed, the Imperial troops still had managed to force the Rebels out of their hidden base and pursue them across the galaxy. A group of freedom fighters led by Luke Skywalker had established a new secret base on the remote ice world of Hoth. The evil lord Darth Vader, obsessed with finding young Skywalker, had dispatched thousands of probes into the far reaches of space.
Trotting his tauntaun across the tundra. Luke reported in on a routine scouting mission. “There’s a meteorite that hit the ground near here. I want to check it out. It won’t take long.” Suddenly, a vicious snow beast knocked Luke off his mount. The wampa dragged the unconscious Rebel into its icy cave.
When Luke woke up, he realized he was about to become the warn pa’s next meal. As the snow beast approached, he surprised it with a swing of his iightsaber and scrambled out of the cave.
But outside, his tauntaun had been killed by the snow beast, and a blizzard was raging, making it difficult to see. Then, he heard a familiar voice. “Luke ... you will go to the Dagobah system. There you will learn from Yoda, the Jedi Master who instructed me.”
Exhausted, Luke collapsed into a snowdrift. Fortunately, Han Solo was nearby. He rescued the young Jedi, put up a shelter against the cold night air, and by the next morning, they were rescued.
While Luke recovered in the medical center, Iian and Chewbacca were alerted to an unusual signal coming from outside the camp. They went to investigate and found an imperial Probe droid. Han radioed back lo the base. “It’s a good bet the Empire knows we’re here.” The Rebels began evacuating immediately.
Aboard Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer, the Dark Lord heard of the activity on Hoth. “That’s the system. And Tm sure Skywalker is with them. Set your course and prepare your men.”
The Rebel evacuation had begun just in time. Imperial walkers were heading toward the base. As the first transports blasted into space, Rebels on the ground began an attack. Troops fired cannons, and snowspeeders zoomed around the massive walkers, firing laser blasts. But the strong armor showed hardly a scratch.
Then Luke got an idea. “Use your harpoons and tow cables. Go for the legs. It might be our only chance of stopping them.” Soon the tall legs of the walkers were immobilized in a web of cables. The walkers fell over and exploded, and the Rebels were able to get away.
Onboard his X-wing fighter, Luke was explaining the course to his companion R2. “We’re heading for the Dagobah system.”
Meanwhile, in the Millennium Falcon, Han, Leia,and Chewbacca were in trouble. Ships from the Empire were right behind them, and Han had done all he could to outrun them.
Flying into an asteroid field was dangerous, but it was the only way to lose the star fleet. He nearly hit a large asteroid, but he landed safely inside a cave.
On the other side of the galaxy, Luke crashed into the swampy ground of Dagobah. This was not what he’d expected.
“Oh, R2, what are we doing here? It’s like something out of a dream.” Nearby, a creature spoke. “I am wondering, why are you here?”
“I’m looking for someone.”
“Yoda. You seek Yoda. Take you to him, I will.”
Luke followed. “Stay here and watch after the camp, R2.”
Aboard his ship. Darth Vader knell before the holographic image of the Emperor. “What is thy bidding, my master?”
“There is a great disturbance in the Force.”
“I have felt it.”
“The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi.”
“If he could be turned, he would become a powerful ally.”
“Yes. Yes. He would be a great asset. Can it be done?”
“He will join us or die, my master.”
Back on Dagobah, Luke discovered that his new friend was, in fact, Yoda the Jedi Master. But Luke had to convince the little creature that he was ready to become a Jedi Knight. After much discussion, Luke finally began the training. He learned how to sharpen his lightsaber skills, improve his balance and self-control, and increase his strength. Yoda was encouraged by what he saw.
“Remember, a Jedi’s strength flows from the Force.”
After flying out of a cave. Han piloted the Millennium Falcon to Cloud City for some minor repairs. An old friend, Lando Calrissian, met Han, Leia, and Chewbacca when they arrived, and gave them a tour of the city. When Lando showed them to the dining room, the group was met by Darth Vader. “We would be honored if you would join us.” The bounty hunter Boba Fett was at his side.
Lando hung his head.“I’m sorry. Thev arrived right before you did.”
On Dagobah, as Luke concentrated with the Force, he saw a vision of Cloud City. In it, he felt that Han and Leia were in danger.
“It is the future you see.”
“Future? Will they die?”
“Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.”
“I’ve got to go to them.” Luke began gathering his things.
Suddenly, Ben appeared. “It is you and your abilities the Emperor wants. That is why your friends are made to suffer.”
Yoda became very serious. “Only a fully trained Jedi Knight with the Force as his ally will conquer Vader and his Emperor. If you end your training now, if you choose the quick and easy path, as Vader did, you will become an agent of evil. Strong is Vader. Mind what you have learned. Save you. it can”
“I will. And I'll return. I promise.” Then Luke climbed into his starfighter, fired up the engines, and flew away.
“Told you I did. Reckless is he. Now matters are worse.”
Ben sighed. “That boy is our last hope.”
“No, there is another”
Meanwhile, in a detention block on Cloud City, Han was thrown back into his cell with Leia and Chewbacca. “I feel terrible.”
“Why are they doing this?”
Han was puzzled. “They never even asked me any questions.”
The door to the cell opened again. It was Lando. He told them it was Luke the Dark Lord wanted. “Lord Vader has set a trap for him.”
Leia was angry. “And we’re the bait.”
Lando turned to leave. “Well, he’s on his way.”
Later, in another part of the city, Darth Vader surveyed a carbon-freezing chamber with Lando. ‘This facility is crude, but it should be adequate to freeze Skywalkcr for his journey to the Emperor”
“Lord Vader, we only use this facility for carbon freezing. If you put him in there, it might kill him.”
“Then we’ll test it on Captain Solo first.”
It wasn’t long before Han and the others were brought into the chamber. Darth Vader looked at the doomed Han Solo. Chewbacca went crazy at the thought of his friend being put into carbon freeze.
“Chewie. The Princess, you have to take care of her. You hear me?”
The Wookiee nodded.
Leia rushed over to Han. “I love you!”
Han was lowered into the pit, and within seconds, he was frozen and in perfect hibernation. “Reset the chamber for Skywalker. See to it that he finds his way in here.”
At the same time, Luke had landed his ship in Cloud City and was looking for his friends. He’d heard a commotion and was hiding in a doorway as a procession of stormtroopers passed by. Suddenly, a laser blast narrowly missed his head. He’d been spotted! Dodging laser fire, Luke ran for cover and ended up in a darkened chamber.
"The Force is strong with you, young Skywalker. But you are not a Jedi yet.”
Luke was exactly where Darth Vader wanted him.
While the frozen Han was being taken away by Boba Fett, several stormtroopers escorted Lando and the others to Darth Vader’s shuttle. Suddenly, they were surrounded by Cloud City guards. “Well done. Hold them in the security tower—and keep it quiet.”
The first handcuffs that Lando unlocked were Chewbacca’s. The Wookiee turned and began choking him. “There’s still a chance to save Han ... at the east platform.”
Chewbacca and Leia raced after Han. But they were too late.
In the carbon-freezing chamber, Luke and Darth Vader were locked in combat. “Your destiny lies with me, Skywaiker.” Vader knocked Luke into the freezing pit. With a wave of his hand, the freezing equipment started to wrork.
With Jedi skill, Luke leaped out of the pit and stood before Vader.
“Obi-Wan has taught you well. You have controlled your fear. Now release your anger. Only your hatred can destroy me.” Vader lunged at Luke, their sabers clashed, and Luke forced Vader off the stage.
Luke climbed down after Darth Vader, and found himself in a small room. Vader sprang from the shadows. As they continued to fight, Vader used his powers to break heavy pieces of equipment off the wall and slam them into Luke. More and more things flew at the young Jedi, causing him to swing his lightsaber wildly. Vader stepped back. Then one piece of equipment crashed through a window, and suddenly, Luke was sucked out of the room and tossed onto a platform below.
At that same time, Leia and the others were racing through the city’s corridors with stormtroopers at their heels. Lando paused at a communication terminal. “This is Lando Calrissian. The Empire has taken over the city. I advise everyone to leave before more Imperial troops arrive.”
They ran down the landing platform and inside the Millennium Falcon. Chewbacca started the ship’s engines. In a hail of laser fire, the ship tore off into the clouds.
Meanwhile, Luke crept along a ledge that stuck out over a huge bottomless reactor shaft. Suddenly, Vader was there. He forced the young Jedi down to the very end of the ledge. The crackle of swords echoed as Vader attacked Luke. In one swipe Luke lost his right hand—and his lightsaber—into the abyss below.
“There is no escape. Don’t make me destroy you. Join me and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy.”
Darth Vader towered over Luke. “If you only knew the power of the dark side. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.”
“He told me enough. He told me you killed him.”
“No. I am your father.”
“No! No! That’s not true! That’s impossible!”
“Luke. You can destroy the Emperor. It is your destiny. Join me. and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son.”
Luke let go, falling away from his father, into the abyss.
He tumbled through the air until he landed on a vent hatch. The hatch opened and Luke fell out onto a weather vane. Try as he might, he couldn’t get back to the hatch. As he dangled in space, he used the Force to call for help.
“Leia. Hear me! Leia!”
Far away, Leia felt very strange. “Luke. We’ve got to go back. I know where Luke is.” Chewbacca turned the ship around. As they neared Luke’s position, Lando harnessed himself to the emergency hatch and pulled Luke safely inside.
Onboard the medical ship, Luke had his arm fitted for a mechanical hand. Leia stood at the window watching Lando and Chewbacca in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon.
“Princess, we’ll find Han. I promise.” Luke walked over to Leia as the Millennium Falcon zoomed into space.
The Empire had won this battle. But the Rebels knew' they would meet their enemy again someday. And maybe then, they could continue the fight to bring freedom to the galaxy.
[®. TM &. © 1997 Lucasfilm Ltd. Title, characters and place names protected by all applicable Intellectual property laws. All rights reserved. All music published by Bantha Music (BMI). ®, ©, ™, & ℗ 1993 Lucasfilm Ltd. © 1997 Buena Vista Pictures Distribution. Inc. Disney, Walt Disney Records and logos are © Disney.]