10 facts about Cloud City from The Empire Strikes Back. #3 will blow your mind and convert you into a vegan!

Jan 13, 2017
cloud city concept art by Ralph McQuarrie

10 facts about Cloud City from The Empire Strikes Back 

Cloud City was where Han, Leia, C3PO and the Walking Carpet sought refuge after their amazing escape from the clutches of Vader in ESB. Here's some cool facts about the mining colony.
  • Cloud City was an outpost and a tibanna gas mining colony above the planet Bespin
  • It is so named as it is perpetually surrounded by giant clouds. 
  • The city sits 60,000 kilometres above the core of the gas giant. It is kept in place by an anti-gravity pod.
  • The city's economy is centred on tibanna gas. The gas is used on the production of weapons and hyperdrives. Extended Universe Canon tales tell of tourism and gambling being other things to do.
  • Cloud City appeared in Empire Strikes Back film 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 Lord 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 that were a pretty big deal in terms of Star Wars:
    1. Lei and Han's love was confirmed (freezing out Luke) with the immortal words, "I Know"
    2. Han was frozen in carbonite by 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

  • In an early rough draft of Star Wars written by 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 was 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 Episode V.
  • Bespin has one sun and a rotation is 12 hours and an orbital period around that sun of 14 years. 
  • Many an Empire viewer has wondered who that bald guy with Lando 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, II and IV and Flash Gordon.  Flash! Aaaah AAAAAAH!

We wonder what the gas actually is on Bespin and if it would power a burner for brewing beer!

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