Behold! 16 rare, wintry-fresh Empire Strikes Back storyboards

The icy Battle of Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back is one of the most kickass sequences in the Star Wars omniverse, with riveting pacing, combat-style editing and the shock and awe of Imperial Walkers on the north ridge. Here's more proof in these ultra-rare storyboards from a young special effects artist whose career was just blooming.

Before director Joe Johnston saddled up for The Rocketeer and this summer's Captain America, he was a greenhorn storyboard artist for Lucas' ragtag Bay Area effects crew back in the 1970s. As a Cal State Long Beach student, he answered an ad for a job at Lucasfilm, eventually rising to the position of head storyboard artist.

These rough, early images—including art by assistant art director Nilo Rodis-Jamero—detailing the frosty battle between the rebel alliance and Imperial ground troops, showcase Johnston's cinematic eye. Many shots and angles are instantly familiar as they depict the specific sequence from the fifth draft of the screenplay and are being seen by the world now for the first time. Johnston also helped create Boba Fett's striking Mandalorian armor, working with concept artist Ralph McQuarrie, using early Darth Vader designs for inspiration.

For more, head over to io9.

(Via GeekTyrant)

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