Empire Minute 110: That's Why You Don't Blow Up the Death Star

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June 13th, 2014


Vader's sword comes down across Luke's right forearm, cutting off his hand and sending his sword flying.


John Skrzypek



  • Starts with Vader knocking Luke down and telling him he's beaten; ends with Vader telling him "if you only knew the power of the Dark side."
  • This is the first time Vader calls him Luke.
  • Vader cuts off Luke's hand.


  • John has had an action-packed week of minutes.
  • Vader is no longer trying to capture Luke, he's all-out attacking now.
    • Cutting his hand off was probably an accident.
  • Vader probably doesn't get to do many lightsaber battles (at expert level) these days—he will probably be sore after this.
  • Mentioned: The sehhhnate.
  • Shoutout to Ben Burtt.
  • Luke gets a glancing blow off Vader's shoulder. I thought lightsabers cut right through everything?
  • How far up does the robot arm go?
    • Let's ignore what the Prequels say for the moment.
  • Vader going to the toilet.
  • What does Vader smell like? Band-aids and altoids.
  • There's a real physicality to the lightsaber battle in this minute.
  • Luke looks very beaten up now.
  • Vader uses very passive voice in this scene: "don't let yourself be destroyed".
  • Cutting Luke's hand off was clearly an accident and Vader (Anakin) identifies with Luke as a similar thing happened to him <twice!>.
  • Vader thought Luke would have surrendered by this point.
  • When did it cross Vader's mind to team up with Luke against the Emperor? Was that the plan all along, or did it suddenly click for him during the fight.
  • Luke gets his hand cut off:
    • Shocking in 1980.
    • Luke is supposed to be the hero that comes in and saves them.
    • However Han gets frozen and Luke loses his hand, his weapon and the duel.
  • Luke's lightsaber turns off when his hand is cut off. This is due to:
    • A fingerprint sensor on the lightsaber (dead-man switch).
    • The lightsaber power cord getting cut (as seen on Obi-Wan Kenobi) in Star Wars.
  • Luke actually loses his balance and grabs the railing with his other (left) hand. As a result, his right hand is flailing around and this is when it gets cut off. It is ironic that the one time there is actually a safety railing in Star Wars and it is used there is an injury.
  • Vader would be a great ten-pin bowler.
  • On Tatooine, Luke is like Buster Bluth from "Arrested Development". He made out with his sister and got his hand cut off. That's why you don't blow-up the Death Star.
  • When the word "gantry" is used irl and its definition.
  • Does Vader realise that Luke is using his old lightsaber and is he upset when it's lost? No - Anakin goes through a lot of lightsabers.
  • Vader could have used the Force to get the lightsaber back. Luke's hand may have come with it and he would have been freaked out or could have attached that to his arm somehow.
  • Vader doesn't really physically react to injuring Luke.
  • What would have happened if Luke did join Vader at this point? There's a lot of paperwork to fill in to join the Empire.
  • This is the first time Vader suggests to Luke that he could join him. Luke might have liked this option BEFORE his hand was cut off.
  • Classic whiny Luke returns - and the hosts are all loud in this sequence.
  • Referenced: "Lost In Space".
  • The camera shot of Vader beckoning was on a Star Wars trading card.
  • What destructive conflict is Vader referring to? The Rebellion versus the Empire? If so, why does Vader want to end the battle? He's evil and is supposed to like war.
    • This is similar to the line that the Emperor tries on Anakin in the Prequels.
 The Star Wars ten pin bowling team:
  Darth Vader.
  Boba Fett.
  General Veers.
 Bowling against people with telekinesis powers would not be fun.
  • Promotion for the live Father's Day event - "I Am Your Father's Day".

Meta Minute

  • 26:10 podcast episode length.
  • Cold open: Thanks to Matt, Megan, and Steven for donating to the show at http://starwasminute.com/donate
  • Pete only saw Revenge of the Sith once in theaters, so it's no wonder he doesn't remember Palpatine having a lightsaber.
  • Our beloved Pol Treidum is described as a "gantry officer". A "gantry" is a bridgelike overhead structure that supports things like a crane. It can also be the thing that supports a rocket prior to liftoff.
  • Thanks to, and from, John for the week. It is revealed that John has been working behind the scenes on the podcast for a while.
  • Post-credit close: Alternate comedic read of promotion for starwarsminute.com/donate.


  • Pete:...we analyze, scrutinize, and cauterize...
  • John:...and I'm Johnny cakes. That's all I gotta say. Alex: That's all you have to say.
  • John: (as a Valley girl) If you only knew, like, the power of the Dark side, like totally like cool.
  • John: it's not as good as the Prequels though. Alex: Counselor, you've been warned.
  • John: I love articles in...my face.
  • Pete: Hey baby, do those arms go all the way up?
  • Alex: <All as Vader after Luke joined him and they're heading out of the tube> Sorry about the hand thing; in the heat of the battle I just... Pete: But, you know, you did great. You, you know, totally held your own. Alex: They make great robot hands now; they look just like real hands. Pete: (à la the Rock Biter from The Neverending Story) I mean, look at my hands. They're big strong hands
  • John: Ok, so you call him <the Emperor> over and I'll stand behind this... Pete: Ok, here's what...we invite him to dinner, you hide behind the curtain. It totally works, trust me. I just did it... Alex: I just did it with - never mind, you don't need to know.
  • John: <In the outro> On the Star Wars Moment.



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