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What's Actually in the Movies? (for a GURPS RPG)

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 (Edited)

I recently became interested in doing a take on Star Wars in the GURPS 4th edition role-playing system. I have pretty much all the books, so I can make lightsabers, Jedi fighting styles, Star Destroyers and even give statistics for the imperial capital if I like. There is an already existing GURPS Star Wars project that is a fairly comprehensive treatment of the Expanded Universe (and maybe the Prequel/Sequel-verse). Though I have read some of the EU books and most of the Essential Guides I wanted to do something different (and less tedious and time consuming). I wanted to stat things up using normal GURPS rules (for Ultra-Tech, Spaceships and Psi) without referring to any content, explanations, or backgrounds that isn’t explicitly in the original trilogy. This is both because it’s far less material to have to sift through and model, because it gives me more leeway when designing things, and also because the Joseph Campbell meets Flash Gordon meets WW2 movie theme is just a lot different in tone than the EU/Game/Prequel/Sequel stuff. When I found this website I figured it would be a good way to figure out just what is - and what isn’t - actually in the original trilogy.

Here is a list that compiles a combination of things I thought of and things I came across reading threads in other forums regarding similar topics:

Technology - Spaceships

  • Small Spaceships capable of planetary landing
  • Big spaceships capable of planetary landing & takeoff (Hoth)
  • Large battleships (‘Star Destroyers’) (How big is a Star Destroyer without reference to EU-lore?)
  • Huge battleships (the Executor, 'Star Dreadnought) (As Star Destroyer - how big is this thing?)
  • The Death Star (How big is it?)
  • ‘Blaster’ type ship weapons
  • Missiles of some sort (are they ever named in the films?)
  • Shields
  • Tractor Beams
  • Hyperdrive (requires calculations, no real indication of how fast this is since we don’t have any scale of the Empire or distance between where the crews travel - except that it’s called ‘Galactic’)
  • Space fighters of the Empire (are these called TIE anywhere in the films?)
  • Smaller (but still large) spacecraft (Leia’s ship - is it ever named?)
  • The Millenium Falcon
  • Rebel big ships in VI
  • X-Wings
  • Various Rebel Fighters/Small Ships (never named or explained in the films)
  • Bounty Hunter’s spaceship in VI
  • Emperor’s shuttle in VI
  • Imperial ‘bulk cruisers’ mentioned, inferior to ‘Correlian’ ones?
  • Cloaking devices aren’t unheard of, but small ships don’t have them
  • Ships aren’t that common?

Planetside Vehicles

  • Landspeeders
  • Chicken-legged armored vehicles with blasters
  • The four-legged walkers with blasters (‘Imperial Walkers’ in the films)
  • Flying speeder things on Hoth that the rebels use, have blasters and cables
  • Hovering skiff thing on Tatooine that Jabba has

Big Guns & Defenses

  • Those defensive cannons on Hoth
  • Some kind of shield over the rebel base on Hoth

Personal Weapons Technology

  • ‘Blasters’ - semiautomatic energy guns of some kind, including some gun Leia has (presumably a blaster), the rifles the Stormtroopers carry, the big pistol Han Solo has, Greedo’s gun, presumably the MG42 looking thing the Stormtroopers were getting ready to blast Han with when they were taking off in the Millenium Falcon
  • Lightsabers - seem to cut basically whatever, but can be stopped by tough materials. Not actually used much except Vader v. Obi/Luke fights - swords with an armor divisor
  • Axes
  • Thermal Grenades
  • Spear thingies Palpatine’s guards have
  • Bounty Hunter’s gun in VI
  • SAW-type blasters used by the rebels during the Battle of Hoth
  • Miscellaneous guns and melee weapons see in IV and VI but never used or explained

Personal Armor

  • Stormtrooper armor (seems useless, at least against direct hits from the weapons the heroes carry)
  • Red armor the emperor’s guards are wearing (never tested)
  • Vader’s armor (either his armor or his powers or both stopped a short-range hit from Han’s big pistol)
  • Vests that rebel pilots are wearing in V/VI (never really tested)
  • Bounty Hunter’s outfit in VI (maybe durable, the fight with him in the desert was pretty short)

Androids and Cyborgs

  • R2D2, C3P0, C3P0 knock-off, droid that catches fire up in IV, trash can droid, little black box robot on wheels, bounty hunter robot in V
  • Darth Vader is cybernetic. it was somewhat implied that Vader’s cybernetics were voluntary.
  • Cyborg with weird head appliance on Cloud City
  • Luke’s robot hand in VI
  • Imperial Probe Droid
  • Torture Robot used on Leia in IV
  • Anti-droid prejudice exists.
  • Droids can be tortured.
  • Restraint bolts are a common method of controlling droids.
  • C3PO introduces himself as “Human-Cyborg Relations”. Cyborgs are common? Why do they need a droid to relate to humans?

Other Technology

  • Cameras (on Death Star)
  • Hologram communication (Emperor to Vader)
  • Hologram recording (R2D2) and display (IV)
  • Stormtrooper communicator link thingies in IV
  • Freeze people in carbonite (potentially non-lethal)

Imperial Politics

  • Empire had a senate (was dissolved), The Senate was important enough that some of the Imperial officers think doing away with it is risky. The Imperial senate was considered the last vestige of the Republic
  • Empire has an Emperor. No explanation of how or why he’s the Emperor, or how old the empire is, or if he’s the first emperor or one in a series, or what came before the empire, whether the empire is a revolutionary government (i.e. overthrew the previous state which ruled Tatooine and other parts of the Galaxy) or an expansionist one (which conquered them). This really just isn’t gone into at all.
  • Tarkin is apparently important (Governor - ‘Grand Moff’ in credits may be a feudal title unrelated to his position in the Empire)
  • Some other imperial officers on the Death Star and various imperial ships (ranks? Grand Moff, Captain, Admiral)
  • Deleted Tatooine scene has Biggs talking about the Empire nationalizing commerce, so it’s apparently somewhere between interventionist and communist in its economic policies.
  • regional governors
  • The Empire has been tightening its control recently, and that has driven more worlds to the Rebel Alliance.
  • The (imperial) Academy appears to be a Galaxy-wide institution - it’s a way for young folks from remote planets to get into the galaxy at large.
  • Actual Imperial authority seems pretty remote, at least on the sort of worlds where the movies are mostly set. Maybe they’ve got their hands full clamping down on the important worlds?
  • Corellia seems to be a shipbuilding center for the Imperial fleet.
  • There are at least 6 million forms of communication in the Empire.
  • Regarding Vader’s role, its interesting to note that in the first film it seems Vader has no military authority in and of himself. He’s Tarkin’s servant, and thus can call on the Moff to back his actions, but he’s otherwise without a legitimate place in the command structure, enough so that the actual senior officer’s of the Death Star are openly dismissive of him. However, by the second film Vader is personally in command of his own fleet and answers only to the emperor. The implication is that between the first and second film there was a big shake-up in the upper echelons of the Empire, and Vader shrewdly (and probably ruthlessly) used the opportunity to seize a great deal of power for himself. Head of the Secret Police.
  • The Old Republic was apparently semi-feudal (akin to the Roman), whereas the Empire is bureaucratic-technical (as is the Rebel Alliance.
  • Feudal titles (Princess, Lord, Knight) and Republican ones (Senator) but these don’t seem to carry much weight anymore?

Rebel Alliance

  • Lady in the big meeting over the Death Star plans in IV (is she named?)
  • Mon Mothma named in VI credits, but never mentioned in the movie
  • Other people in the meeting, also people in V and VI rebel base (are any ever given name or rank?), rebel pilots (some are ‘leader’ of a squad but no rank otherwise given)
  • Leia seems important

Commerce

  • Mined Spice from Kessel is valuable (and smuggled)
  • Almost everyone on both sides is a human
  • Cut scene of Biggs complaining about the Empire nationalizing commerce

Places

  • Alderan (blown to bits)
  • Tatooine
  • Cloud City: Cloud City, as grand as it seems, isn’t considered a big place by galactic standards.
  • Hoth
  • Rebel base on Yucatan Pyramid Planet (ever given a name in the movies?)
  • Dagobah (system?) Swamp planet with Yoda
  • Dantooine (too far away to be useful as a demonstration, but close enough that scouts can get there reasonably quickly)

Force Powers

  • Dark Side named - There is no “light side” of the Force, just the Force and the Dark Side.
  • Vague stuff about the Force being some kind of energy that binds the Universe
  • In script Vader is referred to as a ‘Dark Lord of the Sith’, which is never mentioned or explained in any of the movies as far as I remember
  • Push/throw/lift stuff is a pretty common technique
  • Befuddle the minds of/evade notice from dumbasses
  • Improve your sword-fighting and piloting/space shooting abilities
  • Block blaster bolts? (Vader in V)
  • Fly/Jump (Vader & Luke)
  • Choke people, even via telecom
  • Shoot lightning (only the Emperor does this)
  • See into the future or something (Yoda does this, the Emperor too?)
  • Turn into a force ghost when you die (Vader, Obi-Wan, Yoda); This is a sufficiently rare thing that Obi-wan figured Darth Vader would either be unaware of it, or at least unaware of Kenobi’s abilities in that state.
  • Jedis: Obi-Wan, Yoda, no one else ever mentioned as far as I can tell. No information given on them at all. The Jedi had an apprenticeship system of teaching that is apparently helped by withdrawing from the world (see Dagobah and the evil cave thing) but Jedi were involved in the world- Kenobi was a general, Anakin was a pilot. As a result there is no evidence that any but the Jedi Masters were monastic, becoming a Jedi didn’t mean you had to give up the world until you became like Yoda on Dagobah or Obi-Wan on Tatooine. Also the Jedi were Knights. Darth Vader is widely thought to be the last practitioner of the Jedi “religion.”
  • No mention of the Sith at all (except in script, unexplained), or any order of Dark Side users. Vader works for the Emperor, the Emperor is the Emperor, they both have Dark Side powers. Vader used to maybe be a Jedi (never explicitly said IIRC) but there’s no explanation for who the Emperor is or why he has powers/where he got them.
  • Imperial officer refers to Vader’s powers as ‘sorcery’ and ‘dead religion’
  • Some locations are stronger in the Force than others.
  • Luke doesn’t seem to have ever heard of the Force before his talk with Obi-Wan. Others had heard of it, but even experienced and well-travelled people often don’t believe in it and haven’t ever seen enough obvious ‘powers’ to take anyone talking about it seriously.
  • “The Lightsaber is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. A relic of a more civilized age.” Upper class? Everyone looks concerned when Obiwan whips out the lightsaber, but not Jedi concerned. Just like he’s a tough customer and wondering what his next move is. Again, implies lightsabers are not the exclusive tool of Jedi.
  • “Jedi are all but extinct.” Implies some still live out in the galaxy… out of the reach of the Empire.
  • Jedi were trained young
  • Vader hunted Jedi?
    History
  • Republic Lasted for a 1,000 generations
  • Republic fought Clone Wars
  • Obi-Wan was a general in the clone wars and worked with/fought with/knew Leia’s adoptive father Bail Organna. Anakin fought in the Clone Wars
  • Cut scene reveals Anakin Skywalker is a famous hotshot pilot
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TV’s Frink said:

GURPS?

I just learned something new today, but only on the most superficial level possible.

Generic Universal Role-Playing System. It’s a fairly realistic-leaning RPG made for use with multiple setting/genres. Though that’s not very important, I’m just trying to pin down what’s actually in the movies as background.

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Regarding the size of Star Destroyers, you might be able to make an estimate based on the relation of the diameter of the Falcon to the size of the Star Destroyer bridge in ESB.

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The Falcon is probably the one thing you can measure stuff against like the Star Destroyer’s main tower, the height of the Death Star’s docking bay area on the equator (and by extension the whole thing). Other stuff doesn’t really get shown at a close enough distance to judge.

Yub Nub for life

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Is the word ‘TIE’ ever used in the film or the scripts to refer to the Imperial fighters? I do not recall ever hearing it.

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VonKatzen said:

Is the word ‘TIE’ ever used in the film or the scripts to refer to the Imperial fighters? I do not recall ever hearing it.

It’s in ROTJ.

And in the time of greatest despair, there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as the Son of the Suns.

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Here’s two questions I had:

  1. is the battle station in “Return of the Jedi” ever actually referred to as the ‘Death Star’? I know it’s obviously modeled on the first one, but just the same two ships of the same class can have different names.

  2. Does the ‘A-Wing’ aka A-Fighter in Return of the Jedi ever jump to/from hyperspace on screen?

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 (Edited)

VonKatzen said:

Here’s two questions I had:

  1. is the battle station in “Return of the Jedi” ever actually referred to as the ‘Death Star’? I know it’s obviously modeled on the first one, but just the same two ships of the same class can have different names.

Yes, in the briefing scene.

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Possessed said:

VonKatzen said:

Here’s two questions I had:

  1. is the battle station in “Return of the Jedi” ever actually referred to as the ‘Death Star’? I know it’s obviously modeled on the first one, but just the same two ships of the same class can have different names.

Yes, in the briefing scene.

Thanks.

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Doesn’t Han Solo says « Boba Fett? Where? » in the Sarlacc Pitt sequence in ROTJ ?

Han: Hey Lando! You kept your promise, right? Not a scratch?
Lando: Well, what’s left of her isn’t scratched. All the scratched parts got knocked off along the way.
Han (exasperated): Knocked off?!

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VonKatzen said:

Here’s two questions I had:

  1. is the battle station in “Return of the Jedi” ever actually referred to as the ‘Death Star’? I know it’s obviously modeled on the first one, but just the same two ships of the same class can have different names.

  2. Does the ‘A-Wing’ aka A-Fighter in Return of the Jedi ever jump to/from hyperspace on screen?

Have you actually seen the movie? Death Star is mentioned like 30 times and probably half of it is from Ackbar’s speech where he repeats it even in the same sentences.

And in the time of greatest despair, there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as the Son of the Suns.

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 (Edited)
  • Missiles of some sort (are they ever named in the films?)

Proton torpedoes you mean?

  • Hyperdrive (requires calculations, no real indication of how fast this is since we don’t have any scale of the Empire or distance between where the crews travel - except that it’s called ‘Galactic’)

It should be very fast since in TESB Captain Needa goes to see Vader right after the Falcon disappears from Imperial sensors and mere seconds after Needa’s death Piett says “if the Millenium Falcon went into lightspeed it would be on the other side of the galaxy by now”.

[…] (Leia’s ship - is it ever named?)

Nope.

  • Ships aren’t that common?

There’s not enough information. It might be Tatooine people are just very poor.

  • Lightsabers - seem to cut basically whatever, but can be stopped by tough materials. Not actually used much except Vader v. Obi/Luke fights - swords with an armor divisor

Ah good old PT screwing things.

  • Stormtrooper armor (seems useless, at least against direct hits from the weapons the heroes carry)

Did a stormtrooper die by a blast in the OT?

  • Droids can be tortured.

Damn you RotJ.

  • C3PO introduces himself as “Human-Cyborg Relations”. Cyborgs are common? Why do they need a droid to relate to humans?

Diplomacy, probably, specially with non-human species.

  • Cameras (on Death Star)

Those things were cameras?

  • Hologram communication (Emperor to Vader)

Also Vader with Veers, and Vader with Needa and a guy who died or lost communication at that moment

  • Empire had a senate (was dissolved), The Senate was important enough that some of the Imperial officers think doing away with it is risky. The Imperial senate was considered the last vestige of the Republic

In a 1977-only context you may add the Death Star was the only way the Empire could control the galaxy after the dissolution of the Senate.

  • Deleted Tatooine scene has Biggs talking about the Empire nationalizing commerce, so it’s apparently somewhere between interventionist and communist in its economic policies.

Not to sound rude but if you were to include deleted scenes why not including stuff from the drafts and final scripts? Like Vader being the Dark Lord of the Sith, whatever the Sith are here.

  • The Empire has been tightening its control recently, and that has driven more worlds to the Rebel Alliance.

Wasn’t that Leia one-upping Tarkin?

  • Actual Imperial authority seems pretty remote, at least on the sort of worlds where the movies are mostly set. Maybe they’ve got their hands full clamping down on the important worlds?

Tatooine is the only OT planet with a permanent human presence (Bespin is a gas planet) and Luke speaks of it negatively so there’s not enough information.

  • The Old Republic was apparently semi-feudal (akin to the Roman), whereas the Empire is bureaucratic-technical (as is the Rebel Alliance.

Not enough information honestly. I have also never seen people speculating the Old Republic was semi-feudal.

  • Feudal titles (Princess, Lord, Knight) and Republican ones (Senator) but these don’t seem to carry much weight anymore?

But Leia was a princess of an entire planet.

  • Lady in the big meeting over the Death Star plans in IV (is she named?)

I don’t even know who are you talking about hahaha.

  • Other people in the meeting, also people in V and VI rebel base (are any ever given name or rank?), rebel pilots (some are ‘leader’ of a squad but no rank otherwise given)

General Rieekan IIRC.

  • Cloud City: Cloud City, as grand as it seems, isn’t considered a big place by galactic standards.

It doesn’t have a name in the movies though. The closest is Luke’s “A city in the clouds”.

  • Rebel base on Yucatan Pyramid Planet (ever given a name in the movies?)

The satellite? Only refered as a moon (maybe the fourth moon of Yavin). It’s in the scene where Vader says to Tarkin it’s gonna be a great day for the Empire.

  • Improve your sword-fighting and piloting/space shooting abilities

Implied. Never confirmed IIRC.

  • Block blaster bolts? (Vader in V)

Maybe.

  • Fly/Jump (Vader & Luke)

When did Vader and Luke fly in the movies? They made great jumps but no flying.

  • See into the future or something (Yoda does this, the Emperor too?)

It may be the Emperor is just a smartass but it wouldn’t be strange for him to read the future (except when dying lol).

  • Turn into a force ghost when you die (Vader, Obi-Wan, Yoda); This is a sufficiently rare thing that Obi-wan figured Darth Vader would either be unaware of it, or at least unaware of Kenobi’s abilities in that state.

TBH Obi-Wan’s line never made a lot of sense but it’s a plausible explanation.

  • Jedis: Obi-Wan, Yoda, no one else ever mentioned as far as I can tell. No information given on them at all. The Jedi had an apprenticeship system of teaching that is apparently helped by withdrawing from the world (see Dagobah and the evil cave thing) but Jedi were involved in the world- Kenobi was a general, Anakin was a pilot. As a result there is no evidence that any but the Jedi Masters were monastic, becoming a Jedi didn’t mean you had to give up the world until you became like Yoda on Dagobah or Obi-Wan on Tatooine. Also the Jedi were Knights. Darth Vader is widely thought to be the last practitioner of the Jedi “religion.”

I see OT Yoda as a guy who was living in a swamp planet just because, while Obi-Wan was hiding from the Empire and maybe looking after Luke. Speculation though.

  • “The Lightsaber is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. A relic of a more civilized age.” Upper class? Everyone looks concerned when Obiwan whips out the lightsaber, but not Jedi concerned. Just like he’s a tough customer and wondering what his next move is. Again, implies lightsabers are not the exclusive tool of Jedi.

The PT screwing things - Part Two

  • Jedi were trained young

Not enough information. It is implied Yoda didn’t want to train Luke.

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VonKatzen said:

  1. Does the ‘A-Wing’ aka A-Fighter in Return of the Jedi ever jump to/from hyperspace on screen?

In the shot where the fleet jumps to hyperspace, five A-Wings are seen jumping. They are very blurry though.

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THE SUN RACES THROUGH A BLUE SKY FILLED WITH WHITE CLOUDS.
THE WAYS OF HIS HEART ARE MUCH LIKE THE SUN. SONIC RUNS AND RESTS; THE SUN RISES AND SETS.
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GZK8000 said:

  • Hyperdrive (requires calculations, no real indication of how fast this is since we don’t have any scale of the Empire or distance between where the crews travel - except that it’s called ‘Galactic’)

It should be very fast since in TESB Captain Needa goes to see Vader right after the Falcon disappears from Imperial sensors and mere seconds after Needa’s death Piett says “if the Millenium Falcon went into lightspeed it would be on the other side of the galaxy by now”.

That could be hyperbole.

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Doubt that the sun doth move,
Doubt truth to be a liar,
But never doubt I love.

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Dek Rollins said:

VonKatzen said:

  1. Does the ‘A-Wing’ aka A-Fighter in Return of the Jedi ever jump to/from hyperspace on screen?

In the shot where the fleet jumps to hyperspace, five A-Wings are seen jumping. They are very blurry though.

If you think about it, it’s pretty weird that all the fighters go to lightspeed separately and not inside the capital ships.

And in the time of greatest despair, there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as the Son of the Suns.

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LexX said:

Dek Rollins said:

VonKatzen said:

  1. Does the ‘A-Wing’ aka A-Fighter in Return of the Jedi ever jump to/from hyperspace on screen?

In the shot where the fleet jumps to hyperspace, five A-Wings are seen jumping. They are very blurry though.

If you think about it, it’s pretty weird that all the fighters go to lightspeed separately and not inside the capital ships.

It wouldn’t look as exciting or lend it the feel of a last desperate assault with everything they’ve got.

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 (Edited)
  • Block blaster bolts? (Vader in V)

Maybe.

Deflected into the wall.

Did a stormtrooper die by a blast in the OT?

Leia alone kills a few per movie.

It doesn’t have a name in the movies though. The closest is Luke’s “A city in the clouds”.

Han says it. But is that the planet or the city?

When did Vader and Luke fly in the movies? They made great jumps but no flying.

Vader does his little floating jump down the stairs in the ESB dual I guess. It’s more like flying when they started using it as a Super Nintendo animation.

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Mocata said:

LexX said:

Dek Rollins said:

VonKatzen said:

  1. Does the ‘A-Wing’ aka A-Fighter in Return of the Jedi ever jump to/from hyperspace on screen?

In the shot where the fleet jumps to hyperspace, five A-Wings are seen jumping. They are very blurry though.

If you think about it, it’s pretty weird that all the fighters go to lightspeed separately and not inside the capital ships.

It wouldn’t look as exciting or lend it the feel of a last desperate assault with everything they’ve got.

Of course I meant realistically speaking, not cinematically.

And in the time of greatest despair, there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as the Son of the Suns.

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Mocata said:

  • Block blaster bolts? (Vader in V)

Maybe.

Deflected into the wall.

Well that’s why I said maybe, as we only see being deflected but Vader’s hand might absorb direct hits. But that would be pure speculation.

Did a stormtrooper die by a blast in the OT?

Leia alone kills a few per movie.

What I mean is, do we have any confirmation they’re truly dead or merely KO’d? I have always assumed stormtrooper armor would prevent a blast hit from being lethal but would not stop the wearer from being stunned.

It doesn’t have a name in the movies though. The closest is Luke’s “A city in the clouds”.

Han says it. But is that the planet or the city?

“Bespin, it’s pretty far but I think we can make it” (not those exact words IIRC). The city is unnamed, like Ach-To or D-Qar or Hosnian Prime.

When did Vader and Luke fly in the movies? They made great jumps but no flying.

Vader does his little floating jump down the stairs in the ESB dual I guess. It’s more like flying when they started using it as a Super Nintendo animation.

That’s what I think OP’s saying it’s flying but I just think of it as a big jump. OT Vader is more agile that he appears to be, although maybe not as agile as R1 Vader.