Empire Minute 64: The Magic Tree and the Evil Cave

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April 10th, 2014


Luke moves into the almost total darkness of the wet and slimy cave. The youth can barely make out the edge of the passage. Holding his lit saber before him, he sees a lizard crawling up the side of the cave and a snake wrapped around the branches of a tree. Luke draws a deep breath, then pushes deeper into the cave.


Mike Dawson



  • Starts with Luke going in to the cave of evil gift shop; ends with Luke being startled and about to see something in the cave.


  • R2-D2 seems to be shivering - either of cold or fear.
    • R2 often has emotional responses to situations.
    • Perhaps R2 is like Luke's iPhone and is vibrating because Luke is receiving a call.
    • Luke's voicemail is probably filled up:
      • Han's left a message saying that they're going to be late to the rendezvous because they're stuck in a slug.
      • Rebel base has left a message saying that Luke won't be Rogue Leader anymore if he doesn't arrive at the rendezvous soon.
  • Does Yoda know that Luke is going to fail the cave test?
    • Yoda knows as soon as he puts the gun belt / holster on.
    • Yoda thinks "Here we go again; he never listens".
  • About the Cave of Evil <from Mike>:
    • Yoda lives near it, and on Dagobah, because the evil energy from the cave cancels out his positive energy.
    • He can therefore hide on Dagobah while in exile.
    • A "Force scan" would show Dagobah as being neutral.
  • About the tree and the cave <from Pete>:
    • Tree - It is a magic tree:
      • There should have been dialogue along the lines of "turn left at the Magic Tree and then go up to the stubborn bush".
      • The Magic Tree is a magician - actually more of an illusionist.
    • Cave:
      • It was the site of Jedi duel forever ago.
      • The good Jedi Minch killed an evil Jedi there and the evil Jedi's essence seeped into the ground.
      • Notes:
        • Yoda was called Minch in the Leigh Brackett draft of the movie script but this name was then used for the above story.
        • It was originally Yoda that killed the evil Jedi but this was changed to Minch.
      • Does this "seeping of evil" happen everywhere that a Sith is killed? Its like a warm patch in a swimming pool.
  • Is the cave actually physically dangerous or just spooky?
    • What would Luke have seen if he hadn't taken his weapons?
      • A bad wax museum.
      • A "It's a Small World" type ride.
      • An animatronics display on a 24x7 loop.
      • Teenagers acting out scenes from Jedi lore.
  • Can people outside hear what's going on inside the cave? This could be embarrassing.
    • The gift shop probably sells photos of your time inside the cave.
    • What souvenirs of the cave does Luke have?
  • So, back to the original question - was Luke in any physical danger in the cave?
    • The hosts don't know.
    • In EU Yoda goes in to the cave multiple times himself to see if he can beat it.
      • Yoda wants to get the high score.
      • He needs another token for every game.
      • If he achieves a score of three million then the board flips and sparks start coming out of it.
  • What deepest fears woud the hosts see if they went in to the evil cave?
    • Only Alex answers:
      • When he was a kid he once pushed his neighbour over to take his bike.
      • In the cave, that kid would appear riding the bike.
      • Alex would take the bike again and ride out saying "Hey Yoda, look at this awesome bike I got". Yoda would say "You failed" at which point Alex would use the Dark Side to just levitate away on the bike.
  • There are earth animals in the cave. We don't see any other earth creatures in the Star Wars universe - e.g. a cat.
    • Perhaps Luke is hallucinating and sees scary animals with four, or no, legs.
    • Animals like horses or chickens would seem totally wrong in Star Wars.
  • Frank Oz hated an aspect of working on the movie - all of the live snakes crawling around the set.
    • Also, all the snake poop.
    • What's worse? Snake poop or actual snakes?
      • Depends on the type of snakes. Scary snakes like asps ("very deadly") would be much worse.
      • The snakes in this scene don't look like scary snakes.
  • This is a very moody scene and has a horror movie feel about it. There is nothing else really like this in the movies.
  • There are amazing Ben Burtt sound effects in this scene.
    • There is a Tauntaun (it is haunting Luke - "Luke, you lived inside me for hours".)
    • Sounds from all of the other animals that Luke has killed are also heard.
    • There is a splashing sound.
    • You basically hear whatever haunts you. For the hosts this would be dogs and some jackass kid on a bike.
  • When Luke is walking in to the cave there looks like a built structure around him (i.e. a door and some walls).
    • It looks like the pylons in "The Land of the Lost".
    • This is because Minch was building something when the evil Jedi came over and started bothering him.
    • Mike thought the cave was where Yoda's spaceship was parked and the sturcutre was the spaceship.
    • Yoda's spaceship was actaully used to build his house on Dagobah.
    • The last 30 minuntes of ROTS was "Yoda's Home Improvement" show.
    • "Yoda - "I don't get many visitors. When I do and they ask me questions I immediately shut them down."
    • Yoda - "Lizard never asks why. Be more like Lizard, Luke."
  • More magic Cave of Evil talk in the next podcast episode.

Meta Minute

  • 17:43 podcast episode length.
  • Cold-open: 8-DAY-GREEDO call - the monitor lizard makes full use of its few seconds on screen but his acting career didn't take off unfortunately.
  • Earth animals appear in abundance on Endor in the first Ewok movie .
  • Mike plugs his new book - Angie Bongiolatti (2014) published by Secret Acres.


  • Alex: <Following Mike's plug for his book in the intro> Yes, a very good book. We all enjoyed it here on The Star Wars Minute. STAR WARS MINUTE! Mike: Thanks guys - see you tomorrow.
  • Pete: Yeah, we didn't minchion <mention> that.



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