During the ending of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, C3PO, and R2-D2 escaped, why didn't Darth Vader hunt down the Millennium Falcon?

Didn't Darth Vader have a ship to follow them?

1 Answer 1


The ship went into hyperspace. With the tracking beacon deactivated, Vader and Piett simply had no means of following them.

“We did it!” Lando yelled triumphantly. The Millennium Falcon had shot victoriously into hyperdrive.

Darth Vader stood silently. He gazed at the black void where, a moment before, the Millennium Falcon had been. His deep, black silence brought terror to the two men standing near him. Admiral Piett and his captain waited, chills of fear coursing through their bodies, and wondered how soon they would feel the invisible, viselike talons around their throats.

But the Dark Lord did not move. He stood silently contemplative, with his hands behind his back. Then he turned and slowly walked off the bridge, his ebony cloak billowing behind him.

The Empire Strikes Back - Official Novelisation

The film's Read-Along Storybook adaptation is less flowery.

Vader sensed that Luke was nearby, and commanded his men to grab the ship with the Star Destroyer's tractor beam.

Chewbacca was desperately trying to get the hyperdrive working. But it was R2 who connected to the ship's computer and restarted it. Just as the Empire was about to capture the Rebels, the Millennium Falcon blasted off at lightspeed, disappearing to safety.

The Empire Strikes Back Read-Along Storybook

  • 1
    Yet in another story, seeing a ship flee was enough to follow it...
    – Yakk
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 20:32
  • 2
    @Yakk - This is dealt with in other questions. In short, some systems are pretty remote and there are only a few hyperspace routes planned out. If you're heading away from the planet in a particular direction, you're obviously heading to a particular destination.
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 20:43
  • Endor was supposedly an especially remote system. It only had two routes mapped out, making it the perfect spot for an ambush and to hide a large building project
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 20:44
  • I think Yakk talks about the escape of Leia's ship from the Battle of Scarif.
    – MooS
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 21:09
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    "...With the tracking beacon deactivated..." I don't think Piett's men put a tracking beacon on the Falcon at Bespin, did they? Which makes sense - the Falcon wasn't going anywhere with Leia, Chewie, and Luke held captive, Han Solo on his way to Jabba, and Cloud City on lockdown. The one variable neither Piett nor Vader foresaw was Lando Calrissian throwing in with the Rebel Alliance and helping Leia, Chewie, and Luke escape from Bespin.
    – RobertF
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 3:25

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