Empire Minute 22: The Wookiee Word for Fire

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Left to right:Gary Kurtz, Joe Johnston, Michael Pangrazio, and Irvin Kershner


February 11th, 2014


Pilots, gunners, and R2 units scurry about. Luke, pulling on his heavy-weather jacket, is headed toward a row of armored speeders. He stops at the rear of the Millennium Falcon, where Han and Chewie are trying to repair the right lifter with even more haste than before.


Damon Ciarelli



  • Starts with Darth Vader telling Admiral Ozzel to set course for Hoth; includes Chewie hugging Luke to say goodbye / don't go; ends with Han Solo about to say something.


  • General Veers is standing way too close to Vader when he turns around - they should have kissed.
  • All Imperial Officers from this point forward are played, in full, by British actors.
  • The Imperials refer to the Hoth system; more discussion about what the term System means in the Star Wars universe. The confusion about this is identified as a 'major issue' by the hosts.
  • Alex likes shots of people standing on the Millennium Falcon; it makes it seem more real.
  • The exterior of the Falcon seems very complicated and fragile.
  • What is Han breaking and what are the alarms about? Hyperdrive; motivator; starter engine; electrical short.
  • How things work are never explained in Star Wars, as opposed to Star Trek which provides lengthy technical explanations.
  • Referenced: Star Trek.
  • The Falcon alarm sounds like a bad recording of Chewbacca.
  • Chewbacca seems to take his time to find the off switch for the broken thing on the Falcon that puts Han in some danger. Another example of Chewbaccca trying to get out of his life debt.
  • 2-1B (medical droid) talk:
    • Luke makes awkward small talk with 2-1B. Would we want our medical droids to have the small talk app?
    • Maybe the small talk is for some other purpose:
      • A concussion test to make sure that Luke is ok.
      • 2-1B is just the interface to a team of doctors listening in (to make sure that Luke is fit for battle).
      • 2-1B is concerned that he'll be left behind in the evacuation. In the Brackett draft there is a line that some of the droids may have to be left behind so 2-1B may have a valid concern here. 2-1B has identified Luke as the hero of the rebellion so he wants to endear himself to Luke.
    • Luke seems fit and healthy in this scene. Good work by 2-1B.
    • If 2-1B didn't talk then this would be an awkward scene; basically just 2-1B watching Luke getting dressed.
    • 2-1B also fixes Luke's hand later on. Luke must have specifically requested him.
    • 2-1B has a very retro look - like an old Ford car.
    • PTR quotes "Take care Sir" all the time - even though its never appropriate.
  • Chewbacca is very much treated, and acts like, a dog in this scene. Patted behind the ears by, and very loving to, Luke.
  • Treadwell appears at the end of this minute:
    • Han yells at him.
    • How does Treadwell (a rolling droid) move around on top of the complex Millennium Falcon without doing any damage? Dolly tracks; soft, inflatable wheels.
    • Is Treadwell still on top of the Falcon when it takes off? Perhaps there is a system for this.
    • How Treadwell gets around from location to location:
      • Maybe Luke carries him everywhere, although we rarely see Luke's luggage in the movies.
      • Alex reverts to the theory that Treadwell got onto the Falcon when it was on The Death Star - see ESB 5.
    • Han understands, and clearly speaks, 'Tread' to communicate with Treadwell.
    • Han tells Treadwell to wait a second - Treadwell waits, literally, a second. He is clearly a robot that follows orders very literally.
  • The background humming noise in 2-1B's medical centre:
    • The same noise that is in Aunt Beru's kitchen.
    • The hosts all like this noise.
    • Damon suggests that a forensic team investigating various crimes in the Star Wars universe would definitely use that noise to link certain crimes to each other.
    • Maybe Luke physically emits this noise from one of his old robotic parts.
    • Lots of human characters in the Star Wars universe may have various robotic parts .

Meta Minute

  • 20:15 podcast episode length.
Harrison Ellenshaw (left), alongside fellow Star Wars artists Ralph McQuarrie and Michael Pangrazio on The Empire Strikes Back set
  • The shot of the rebels preparing for the attack is an interesting 'behind the scenes' glimpse as all four guys are crew for the movie.
    • Ralph McQuarrie - design.
    • Joe Johnston (yes, that Joe Johnston) - design and special effects.
    • Harrison Ellenshaw - matte painter.
    • Michael Pangrazio - matte painter.
    • One of them refers to the Deck Officer.
    • There are a lot of lines in this scene for minor characters.
    • This scene was shot twice. It was first shot on location in front of a fur background that was deemed unacceptable so was then reshot back at ILM.
  • Use of matte paintings in modern movies (vs 'photoshop').
  • The droid 2-1B is voiced by Denny Delk. He has done a lot of work for Lucasfilm including Wicket the Ewok in the Ewoks cartoon.
  • Closes with Support the Show.


  • Damon: It's also funny when they start the fire. Alex: Oh, they didn't start the fire. Pete: Yeah, it was always burning.



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