10 Facts About Cloud City From The Empire Strikes Back

Cloud City was the location where Han Solo, Princess Leia, C3-PO, and Chewbacca sought refuge after their amazing escape from the clutches of Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. Here are some cool facts about the mining colony.
  • Cloud City was an outpost and a tibanna gas mining colony high above the planet Bespin (tibanna is a gas used in hyperdrives and starship weaponry, and as a coolant around the gravity-active elements of repulsor lifts).
  • The city sits 60,000 kilometers above the core of the gas giant. It is kept in place by an anti-gravity pod.
  • It is so named as it is perpetually surrounded by giant clouds.
  • The city's economy is centered on tibanna gas, but Extended Universe canon tales tell of a tourist industry and gambling being something else to do there.
  • Cloud City appeared in The Empire Strikes Back and featured Lando Calrissian who administered the city. 
  • Calrissian won his role from Baron Administrator Dominic Raynor in a Sabacc tournament. Thus he was in charge when Darth Vader arrived and made his “deal.” When it was clear Vader did not intend to keep his end of the bargain, Calrissian betrayed him and ordered his citizens to flee.
  • Three key plot points then occurred, each of which was a pretty big deal in terms of Star Wars lore:
    1. Princess Lei and Han Solo's love was confirmed (freezing out Luke Skywalker) with the immortal words, “I know,”
    2. Han was frozen in carbonite by Darth Vader and thus claimed as a bounty by Boba Fett.
    3. Luke faced Vader only to lose his arm and learn he was his son.
Cloud City over Bespin with an X-Wing
Image Courtesy of Lucasfilm
  • In an early rough draft of Star Wars, which was written by George Lucas in 1974, a city on Alderaan was described as a giant gas planet. That concept eventually became Bespin. When concept designer Ralph McQuarrie began conceptual work for the second draft of the script, he designed what could have been an Imperial capital on Alderaan. Whilst that idea never made it to the final pages, the art designs McQuarrie drew were eventually used as the inspiration for the look of Cloud City, differing only in minor respects from the city as seen in The Empire Strikes Back.
  • Bespin has one sun. A rotation around that sun is 12 hours and an orbital period around that sun is 14 years.
  • Many a viewer of The Empire Strikes Back has wondered who the bald guy with Lando Calrissian is. He is Lobot. Lobot served as Lando's aide. His brain was permanently connected to the Cloud City's central computer which allowed him to communicate directly with the city's computer network. Lobot was played in the film by John Hollis. Hollis went on to appear in minor roles in Blake's 7, Superman I, Superman II, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, and Flash Gordon. Flash! Aaaah AAAAAAH!
Personally, we can't help but wonder what the gas actually is on Bespin and if it would power a burner for brewing beer!
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.