In The Empire Strikes Back, this is part of the opening crawl:

Evading the dreaded Imperial Starfleet, a group of freedom fighters led by Luke Skywalker have established a new secret base on the remote ice world of Hoth.

Why does this say "led by Luke Skywalker?" Luke may have blown up the Death Star, but he's certainly not a leader of the Rebellion, and this line seems to imply that he's in charge of the entire Rebellion, which is certainly not true. At first, I thought that this could be a misprint as to his role in A New Hope, but even in ESB Luke isn't seen as a leader. It's Leia and General Rieekan who are actively taking a leadership role. And he's certainly not a "leader" in ANH, only one of the pilots.

So why does the crawl title Luke as a leader? Even within the movies, it doesn't seem to make sense. They're not actively fighting, so it's not even as if Luke is leading troops.

  • 2
    Sounds like the same person wrote that who writes blurbs for the back covers of SF books.
    – DavidW
    Mar 4, 2021 at 15:29
  • 1
    Since Luke follows orders rather than giving them I think that's a good question, but still "a group led by" does not imply he is in charge of the whole thing. Mar 4, 2021 at 15:31
  • 1
    Duplicate of: scifi.stackexchange.com/q/207060/21154
    – Milo P
    Mar 4, 2021 at 16:00
  • Also - he's a jedi(ish). There are certainly elder leaders in the Rebellion who remember the Jedi (ie: peers of Bail Organa) and would certainly tag Luke as a leader
    – NKCampbell
    Mar 4, 2021 at 16:23
  • I don't think the movie states that the Rebellion was only based on Hoth. It could be that Luke is the leader of "a group of freedom fighters" which is but one piece of the scattered rebel forces who don't rendezvous until Return of the Jedi.
    – workerjoe
    Mar 4, 2021 at 20:04

1 Answer 1


I believe the status bestowed upon Luke in A New Hope as a war hero and his heroics during the Battle of Yavin granted him command, and in the EU he leads missions in the three year gap between ANH and ESB. This would make sense and in addition, in ESB, it is said:

Han: "Do you know where Commander Skywalker is?"

Deck Officer: "I haven't seen him."

This shows that not only Han but other officers on Hoth refer to Luke as "Commander Skywalker". He is also "Rogue Leader" and that could mean he is a commander of maybe just the air squadron. It's a little unclear, but it's probably safe to say that between Luke's heroics during the Battle of Yavin combined with his aid to the Rebellion during the three year time gap between ANH and ESB, it could make sense that he is a commander of the Rebellion, if not just Rogue Squadron.

Hopefully that answered your question!

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