View Full Version : How long were the Rebels on Hoth?

04-07-2003, 11:01 PM
It's been 3 to 4 years since the battle of Yavin by the time ESB starts. The events of this part of the film seem to take less than 4 days total - within that time, a probe droid lands on Hoth, discovers the shield generator, and the Imperial fleet assaults the Rebel's Echo Base while the Rebels evacuate.

So here they are, a sizeable Rebel force with a big hangar, at least a dozen T-47 Airspeeders to defend it, medical facilities, an ion cannon, local tauntaun mounts, a command center, and a shield generator - but how long have they been there? If they've been there a long time, how come the snowspeeders aren't yet adapted to the cold? If they haven't been there a long time, how come they have this big ice base complete with a massive Ion cannon on top?

It seems like they haven't been there that long, yet the empire is already breathing down their necks. Did Vader simply get incredibly lucky and catch the Rebels just as they were settling in to their new base?

Exhaust Port
04-07-2003, 11:09 PM
I always thought that the Hoth base had been there for quite awhile and that the Rebels had chosen to use the remote base for their large fleet as they move around the galaxy. So, a good portion of the equipment wasn't quite cold proof and their methods weren't up to speed, i.e. having to rely on Taun Taun's for scouting missions.

The Rebels could have had these outposts scattered throughout the galaxy and they just moved from one to the other to stay one step ahead of the Empire. Perhaps the Empire got wind of their chain of outposts and sent out probe droids to each hoping to catch a glimps of the Rebels.

04-08-2003, 05:45 AM
I thought the battle of Hoth was only a few months after the battle of Yavin.

From the back of TESB novel:

Though they had won a significant battle, the war between the Rebels and the Empire had really just begun. Now, several months later, the Rebels have established an outpost on the frozen wasteland of Hoth. But even on that icy, backwater planet, they could not escape the evil Darth Vader's notice for long.

I'm not sure how reliable the backs of the novels are, though.

04-08-2003, 08:17 AM
The novels info are alot of times skewed.

El Chuxter
04-08-2003, 12:01 PM
The Rebels make a comment about just equipping the speeders for cold weather, and they're unfamiliar with Wampas, so I'm assuming not too very long. Ozzel (?) mistook their base for a pirate outpost; is it possible they adapted an existing structure to their needs?

04-08-2003, 01:57 PM
YES! A Hoth thread!

I have always been under the impression that the rebels had a series of bases scattered about the universe. Like Yavin, Hoth was always there - just not fully equiped. I would imagine there were other bases located either in remote locations, or in systems sympathetic to the rebelion.

I would guess a small crew of rebels staffed this location for some time. I mean how easy could it have been to find a herd of Tauntauns if they had just gotten there? Furthermore, the kind of infrastructure present -as mentioned above with the ion cannon, shield generator, even the interworkings of the base itself- could not have just been instantly created.

As I see it, this is the way any rebelion functions. You have your safe spots among sympathizers or out of view of the opressor. If found, you scatter, and reassemble at another of your predetermined sites.

There was a pre planned rendez-vous as they abandoned Hoth - only our heroes went in other directions...

04-08-2003, 02:40 PM
I always thought they had been there a few months. They didn't have much equipment ready for the cold. All their scouts were done by Taun-Taun. Wampas were unknown to them. The base was probably there but unutilized until they took it over. It coul dhave been left there by a smuggler or something as well.

04-08-2003, 05:52 PM
Originally posted by JediTricks

How long were the Rebels on Hoth?

about 6 feet, most of 'em.

da-dat crash! :D

04-09-2003, 01:58 AM
EP, I think the Rebels were broken up into cells and moved around a lot, setting up temporary bases as they went. If they have too many secret bases they're not using, that could end up leading the empire to them as you said. I'm not saying it's impossible they had a "cold storage" (no pun intended) backup base, but if they were going to be moving around like that, why bother even having a ground-based base of this size instead of opting for smaller, more expendable exchange stations and a mobile starship base?

As for tracking the Rebs by their chain of bases, when Vader sends off probe droids to the far reaches of the galaxy, I wouldn't think that would be too focused a search.

Poggle, like scruff said, the novels are definitely not canon and are more and more often being challenged by the prequels and other EU. The timelines I've seen for the SW saga show ESB to be 3 years after ANH and ROTJ to be 6 months after ESB.

Chux, that's possible, but I wouldn't think a pirate outpost would have the power supply to fill the needs of the Rebels' equipment, ships, and especially that massive ion cannon. I think the EU says that the Hoth system is used by pirates a lot, and they are who put the slug in the asteroid, but I don't know if any EU says that Echo Base was someone else's before the Rebs'. I think some EU says that Rieekan and Luke and Leia build the base from scratch, but that's just EU and doesn't make entire sense.

Aceguide, that makes sense, but like I said above, why bother even having a base that large if you plan on moving around a lot when you could have small ground stations supporting a mobile starship-base? I suppose the "Dantooine" line in ANH supports this a little though, but Echo Base seems like a very expensive base to build just for stand-by.

04-09-2003, 02:37 AM
This is a good question! :)

I never put a whole lot of thought into the core of your question, rather I always wondered what would possess somebody to choose a frickin' ice planet in the first place?

I suppose the first "obvious" answer would be that it would be an "unlikely" place for any sane person to go.

However, it wouldn't be that difficult to "scan" the planet for signs of extraneous heat and other oddities that don't belong. While it was extremely convenient that this probe droid just happened to land on the exact planet...on the exact side of the planet...within eyeshot of a random patrol, eventually a random Imperial search would have easily spotted the signs anyway.

Perhaps it's easier to look at it in terms of the alternative, such as a planet like Dagobah. Lot's of pre-existing "life forms" to hide amongst, so any "life scans" by the Empire would turn up nothing out of the ordinary, unlike a similar scan on Hoth would. Plus, it would just be a gazillion times easier for the Rebels to exist and do their work. Living in a freezer presents a multitude of challenges that get in the way of accomplishing the primary goal. Mere survival in the elements would take precedence on Hoth.

As a matter of Production Design, it's an awesome choice, particularly after being introduced to a desert planet, a steel orb, and a jungle world. The obvious next choice is snow. From a practical "in movie" point of view, it was kinda dumb.

Exhaust Port
04-09-2003, 09:07 AM
And with AOTC we were introduced to a Water World. Thankfully this one didn't have Kevin Costner. ;)

04-09-2003, 10:28 AM
JediTricks - You bring up an interesting question of finances. I have always wondered how the rebels could afford to fight the empire at all. Obviously there were a number of systems and planets that came together against the empire - but still - maintaining a starship cannot be cheap.

I agree with your point that they would not expend the funds for such a large base only to abandon it is a good one. I would contend, however, that somehow they were extremely well funded, and thus cost was not much of an issue. I would also contend that they were not planning on moving nearly as quickly as they did. Yet, when necessitated to leave by the arrival of the Empire, had a quick evacuation plan. It would seem they have evacuated a lot - implying that there are other bases.

Exhaust Port
04-09-2003, 11:39 AM
Originally posted by JediTricks
If they have too many secret bases they're not using, that could end up leading the empire to them as you said. I'm not saying it's impossible they had a "cold storage" (no pun intended) backup base, but if they were going to be moving around like that, why bother even having a ground-based base of this size instead of opting for smaller, more expendable exchange stations and a mobile starship base?

Remember when Leia was being tortured for information of the secret Rebel base she gave the location of a deserted Rebel base. Darth Vader told Tarkin that the base had been deserted for sometime. I kind of made my assumption that they had a ring of secret bases to run between from that scene.

04-09-2003, 03:27 PM
I always got the impression they weren't there for very long, as Luke was out placing markers and one of the Generals comments that with 'all the meteor showers it would be hard to detect incoming ships'.

I got the impression that the rebels had settled for Hoth, as it was far from the main shipping lanes after being pursued from other bases. I'm also assuming mainly from the opening trawl that Vader was using all available resources to hunt down the Rebellion, therefore they could never stay in one place for too long. Vader probably just blanketed every suitable system, afterall if you can build a Death Star you should be able to knock out a few Probe Droids for blanket coverage.

In reference to the amount of infastructure such as the Ion Canon etc, maybe it comes straight off the back of a lorry/starship, ie you place it on the ground press a button and watch it unfold into an Ion Canon?

04-09-2003, 11:00 PM
Stilla, I would think staying within the ice cavern would mask heat signatures - if they were hot enough to show up on sensors, would they not be hot enough to melt the cavern too? If not, certainly the Wampas and Tauntauns that already live there would give off heat readings that would confuse the issue, wouldn't you think? Plus the lack of cities and tech on both Hoth and Dagobah, as well as hiding within the pre-existing Yavin IV temple, suggests to me that Imperial sensors look for technology rather than warm bodies.

The one thing that Hoth offers which swampy Dagobah doesn't that works in the Reb's favor is a lot of flat, empty land to build on top of and into. Dagobah has small patches of land between lots of bogs and swamps, everything would have to be disconnected and risk sinking like Luke's X-wing does.

EP, we were introduced to water world in TPM too, but that was under-water world while AOTC was stilts-over-water world. :D

Ace, I would think that the Mon Cal are totally supporting the Alliance in terms of finances (and by ROTJ, ships and large bases), and once Alderaan is destroyed, I guess Princess Leia could simply use all the planet's offworld finances to pay for her part of the rebellion. It seems like in ANH, the X-wings are the rebels' newest ship in their fleet and before the X-wings came around, they had been stuck primarily flying those old geezerly Y-wings for missions - perhaps it is Leia and her Alderaan money joining the alliance that is what gives them the financial boost to continue building a fleet.

EP, I know what you mean about Leia giving up Dantooine like that, but Dantooine was pretty far away and well off the beaten path according to Tarkin, plus the scouts reported the base there as being deserted for some time. I would think if they had a string of bases, Leia might have chosen one a little less obviously abandoned.

ODB, good point about Luke and Han placing the markers, I had forgotten about that. I dunno about the "plug n play" ion cannon though, that thing took down Star Destroyers, I would think that would require a lot of setting up to get it to rotate properly and not let the recoil destroy the structure underneath.

Darth Jax
04-09-2003, 11:19 PM
star wars essentials chronology states that battle of hoth was 3 years after battle of yavin. it mentions that approximately one year before work had begun on echo base on hoth. its an EU answer, but it's the best i got. working strictly from the movies you have no clue how long they've been there.

04-11-2003, 02:01 AM
Originally posted by Darth Jax
star wars essentials chronology states that battle of hoth was 3 years after battle of yavin. it mentions that approximately one year before work had begun on echo base on hoth. its an EU answer, but it's the best i got. working strictly from the movies you have no clue how long they've been there. I've read that too, but the airspeeders not adapted to the cold and the sensor markers not having been placed until the beginning of ESB sorta contradict that (which is why I posted this thread ;)). It seems that the general take on it is that they built the base beforehand but never really set it up or looked into what it would take to get it fully defensable.

04-11-2003, 11:11 AM
I am so not an OT EU guy... most of the EU I've been reading has been PT stuff.

I'm going to guess that a lot of the equipment may have just arrived at the base even though the structures may have been in place or under construction for some time.

From the "maps" it appears that Hoth is far removed from Yavin. It may have taken them a while to get all that stuff from Yavin and the various outposts to Hoth without any run-ins with the Empire.

Another thing to consider is that they also were still "placing sensor markers" around and I don't think they could get TOO far from the base riding tauntauns.

I'm just guessing, but all indications point to a very recent (agreeing with "months") occupation of Hoth before the Empire found them.

04-13-2003, 06:39 PM
Who said that they have had the snowspeeders the whole time? This could have been something that they had been working on...developing a (snow) transporter defense vehicle. This is because they didn't have one. It doesn't take like a month to develop something like that...could take years. And once the developers made one to their liking, they finally started producing them in great numbers...(should have tested them first but maybe the pilots had to learn to fly them). And maybe they wanted a bunch of them quickly because they knew the Empire was a threat. Now my Wampa theory. I have lived here in TX for years (22) and have NEVER seen a rattlesnake. I know they are out there, but I have never seen one. A Wampa could have been the same way... a more secluded animal that rarely needed to hunt...(some animals can eat a deer and not have to eat again for a year or two). For all we know, the Wampa could have been adapted for that kind of habit due to his environment. So, Rebels not seeing one and being unfamiliar with one is not a good indication of how long they had been there. ;)

EDIT: Now about the sensors. Maybe the sensors had a life span while they sat in sub-degree weather. After, say a couple of months, they could have gone bad and now Han and Luke had to see to it to place new ones in the same area of the old ones that had "gone out". (like a light bulb or something) :)

05-02-2003, 08:47 AM
I read in a book somewhere before that the rebels had suffered a major attack in the Derra IV system (the battle of Derra IV) and had just moved to Hoth. I think it was in the X-Wing series and another of other books. Also somwhere I read about Leia where she was talking about the Hoth Soldiers and the showing her how to assemble and use a Vibro Blade on the ice when they were making the tunnels. But these were books

05-02-2003, 10:04 AM
Maybe the Rebels were on Hoth for a couple of months preparing the base, and Luke, Han, and Chewie arrived recently. Remember, that bounty hunter on Ord Mantell line from Han, so he had to be somewhere between the Celebration and placing markers.

05-03-2003, 05:47 AM
The EU is a toughy because sometimes it can support a good theory and then later can throw a huge monkeywrench into things. The Rebs have 3 years between ANH and ESB, yet would Han have not paid Jabba for that entire time when he did have access to the money?

I think Echo Base ultimately is a bit of a paradox, it's set up quickly and not long before the start of the film but with HUGE technology and a big support infrastructure.

Bel-Cam Jos
05-03-2003, 10:04 AM
Originally posted by JediTricks
The EU is a toughy because sometimes it can support a good theory and then later can throw a huge monkeywrench into things. The Rebs have 3 years between ANH and ESB, yet would Han have not paid Jabba for that entire time when he did have access to the money?

No, no, no! EU explained this perfectly! ;) In one of the Marvel SW comics (around #14 maybe?) Han says "see ya!" to the wimpy Rebellion and takes his reward to pay Jabba the Hut (not a typo). Along the way he's boarded by some space pirate who takes the moolah. So Han tries to get it (or a comparitive amount) back, but is unsuccessful and must return to the Rebels.
See? No contradiction at all. Unless you consider... :rolleyes:

05-03-2003, 05:24 PM
The snowspeeders are just airspeeders for normal climates.
I would guess that the rebels have been on Hoth longer than the speeders. Probably those were shipped in after they arrived and set up. It's posible that the heirarchy of the rebellion worked fast to get a supply of low altitude speeders shipped to the Hoth faction. They would have to have been on Hoth a while to have built the big globular laser turret. But building the ice caverns wouldn't have taken long due to it simply being a case of carving out the ice with some sort of laser cutter or sonic cutter perhaps. A bit like carving butter i guess. I reckon the reason the markers took so long to place would be because of the Wampas, the earlier drafts of the script and the cut scenes show that the Wampas were going to be a real problem for the rebels. Kinda like us trying to build a polar base in Polar bear feeding grounds. Just a real pain and hindrance
I would hazard a guess and say that the rebels had been on Hoth a matter of weeks. They seem fairly organised but not completely settled in. And yet with the speed they clear out of the place they can obviously pack and unpack at a really speedy rate. Perhaps they were only just arrived at Hoth? So again i would have to say a week or a couple of weeks would be my estimate.

05-05-2003, 05:42 PM
It's been stated in several EU sources that there was indeed a large, abandoned pirate base on Hoth, and that the rebels took advantage of this base, expanded it using laser cutting tools (thus explaining the horizontal striations seen on the wall surfaces in the corridors), and thus created Echo Base to act as the primary base of operations for the rebel alliance.
It is also entirely possible that there had been a rebel presence of some sort on Hoth some time before the rebellion decided to make it their official primary base of operations. Surely someone would have been sent out to scout out the location beforehand, and to possibly start preparations for building Echo base. Perhaps these agents and engineers used star craft as thier primary means of transportation before the snowspeeders arrived and were able to be modified for the low temperatures; star craft (such as x-wings and y-wings) would have already been equipped to handle extreme cold due to the freezing temperatures of the vaccum of space.
I agree with TheDarthVader's assessment that it is entirely possible to live in an area for quite a long while without ever having encountered native animals. All of my life I have lived in an area where there are supposedly wild mountain lions living very nearby, yet I have never seen one outside of a zoo (we supposedly have rattlesnakes as well, but cougars might be more analogous with wampas; both being large predators).