First introduced in The Empire Strikes Back as a frozen wasteland, the planet of Hoth was entirely different from the sweltering world of Tatooine seen in A New Hope. It was identified by the Imperial Fleet as the sixth planet in the system of the same name, and determined to be the location of Echo Base after initials data scans by an Imperial probe droid.
Due to the discovery by the probe droid, the Rebels were forced to evacuate. The Imperial Fleet orchestrated an aggressive ground assault, which caused Rebel forces to have to cover the evacuation and fight for their lives at the same time. Full of glaciers, icy tundras, and surrounded by an asteroid belt, it may have made a perfect location for a hidden Rebel encampment, but it's also home to many other fascinating details. Here's 10 things you didn't know about Hoth!
10 IT'S IN THE OUTER RIM (AND PUMMELED BY METEORS)
Despite being so dissimilar in climate and terrain, Tatooine and Hoth are both in the same general area of the galaxy. Hoth is the sixth planet of the Hoth System, located in the Anoat Sector of the Outer Rim Territories. Despite Han Solo citing it as "pretty far," Bespin is actually much closer to Hoth than Tatooine. It gets pummeled by asteroids and meteors, which is why the Rebels had to create a shield generator.
The Outer Rim is where a lot of the action happens in the Star Wars Saga. The lava planet Mustafar is located there (again, closer to Hoth than Tatooine), Geonosis is there, and you'll note places like Utupau and Dagobah are a lot closer than you'd think.
9 IT WAS THE SITE OF A GREAT REBEL DEFEAT
Though the remoteness of Hoth, combined with its inhospitable environment, seemed to indicate it would be an ideal place for a hidden Rebel Base, it was also an ideal place for an Imperial ambush. Once Vader's Star Destroyer dropped out of light speed over the planet, it took only moments for General Veers to have his troops on the ground.
Several AT-AT walkers marched on Echo Base, with platoons of snowtroopers prepared to take on any ground forces the Rebels could muster. Since the evacuation of base personnel included protecting the shield generator projected around the escaping ships, Rebel troops had to make one final stand against superior opposing forces.
8 ECHO BASE HAD TO BE CARVED FROM THE ICE
The fortress-like command center that was Echo Base had to be carved from the vast expanses of ice that covered the planet. It took the Alliance Corps of Engineers months to make it habitable for a population of Rebels that would number in the thousands.
While this took place, the thousands of Rebel troops, pilots, and technicians had to reside on cruisers in the Rebel Fleet, constantly changing location to remain undetected by Imperial probe droids. Hundreds were sent throughout the galaxy to find the next location the Rebels would choose as a stronghold.
7 ECHO BASE WAS A HASTILY CONSTRUCTED LABYRINTH
Appropriately named for its "echo" acoustics, Echo Base was a labyrinth-like settlement with a series of large natural caverns and snaking corridors set up by the Alliance Corps of Engineers. Because of the hastiness of its construction, a problem with any part of the electrical current and half the base would lose heat. Personnel wore thermal gear perpetually.
The largest part of Echo Base was its main hangar, where technicians continued to improve the endurance of the Alliance's fighter squadrons in subzero temperatures, and maintained the functionality of the transport ships that would get them off world in the event of an evacuation.
6 IT'S SO COLD SHIPS BARELY FUNCTION
The frosty conditions on Hoth prevented the T-47 light airpeeders from operating with any level of efficiency for the first few months. They were designed to help patrol and defend the outpost, as well as spot Imperial probe droids. Unfortunately, the weather continued to cause electrical problems, forcing Rebels to venture out onto the frozen plain on tauntauns.
The speeders, first developed by the Incom Corporation to be low altitude vehicles, were adapted by the Rebel Alliance into snowspeeders while on Hoth. They were utilized as ground attack ships, capable of flying in between an Imperial AT-AT's legs and binding them together with a harpoon cable.
5 THERE WERE SEVERAL REBEL OUTPOSTS ON HOTH
Though Echo Base served as the main base of operations for the Alliance on Hoth, it had several outposts connected to it. Echo Station 3-T-8 was the first outpost to spot the Imperial Walkers as they trudged determinedly towards the shield generator. It was the first to be overwhelmed by Imperial forces.
Other bases included Perimeter Outpost Delta and Outpost Delta. They were to the northwest of Echo Base and outside the base energy shield. All outposts held Rebel troops in trenches, with three-person laser turrets, as well as artillery emplacements.
4 IT WAS HOME TO BAD SMELLING TAUNTAUNS
The Rebels were lucky that Hoth could be inhabited by a few non-intelligent life forms, namely the tauntauns that provided alternate transportation when the temperatures made sure the airspeeders couldn't function. Tauntauns are furry lizard-beasts that inhabit Hoth's equatorial tundra, where they forage for lichen and ice worms.
While tauntauns make sturdy mounts once they're domesticated, the oils they secrete from their skins produced a very unpleasant odor. Their powerful legs and tail help propel them forward on the ice, while their horns and clawed hands help them dig for sustenance. They became ready mounts for the Republic with a steadily supplied diet of mook fruit treats for good behavior.
3 WAMPA ICE CREATURES HID IN ITS CAVES
Besides tauntauns, wampa ice creatures are the only other large non-intelligent life on Hoth. Standing at three meters tall, with incredibly sharp fangs and claws, they are the apex predator on the ice planet. Wampas hunt the wastelands of Hoth without fear, easily ambushing prey by blending into the snow with their white fur.
Once they've successfully incapacitated their prey, they suspend them from the roof of their cave to provide sustenance for later. With the arrival of Echo Base and the Rebel forces, wampas started gathering in packs and attacking its underground tunnels and tauntaun stables. One nearly killed Luke Skywalker, but it proved no match for his lightsaber and power of The Force.
2 IT HAD PROMINENT TOPOGRAPHY
Contrary to popular belief, Hoth isn't just a snowy expanse. Like other harsh worlds like Tatooine, it has many geographic differentials. It may all look barren and white on the surface, but its topography is as varied as anywhere else. There are ice glaciers throughout its surface, as well as ridges, like Shyloah's Crest.
One of the most well known pieces of topography is the Moorsh Moraine, a large glacial fixture that the Imperial forces used to shield themselves just before they initiated the ground assault on Echo Base. It was large enough to conceal Gozanti-class cruisers as they ferried personnel to and from the planet.
1 HOTH WAS FILMED ON LOCATION
To create the harsh terrain of Hoth, George Lucas and his film crew set out for Finse, Norway, where the Hardangerjøkulen glacier could be used for Echo Base, as well as areas with wide snowy plains for the surrounding area where the Battle of Hoth would take place.
Filming took place in subzero temperatures, so little makeup was used to make faces look weather-beaten by the wind chill. For the battle between the Rebel and Imperial forces, the area was recreated in miniature, with the snow and ice of Hoth made using baking soda snow and glass bubbles.