Empire Minute 27: Go, Dak. Go!

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AT-AT go motion.jpg


February 18th, 2014


The fleet of snowspeeders races above the ice field at full throttle. They accelerate away from the base and head toward the distant walkers.


Adam Santiago



  • Starts with ice falling on R2-D2's head as he lets out a whistle; ends with the AT-ATs - aka the walkers - commencing their attack.
  • The first appearance of AT-ATs.


  • The design and practicality of the walkers. Also, how likely was it that they would come up against opponents with harpoons on tow-cables (i.e. the snowspeeders)?
  • Are the Rebels whaling on Hoth?
  • How do you get in and out of an AT-AT? Via a platform (as per ROTJ); rappel out on ropes; the AT-AT crouches down or it's like an elephant at the circus; via a hole where the 'poop-hole' should be.
  • A side-impact may be enough to tip an AT-AT over.
  • It seems a stretch that the Rebels could feel the AT-AT's footsteps from well over a mile away.
  • Is the ice that falls on R2-D2 from the walkers walking, or a nearby explosion?
  • Luke is a terrible commander. He's a good pilot and Jedi, but is a terrible military officer based on this sequence. He ignores Dak not being ready; doesn't wait for answers from his team etc.
  • Who is most responsible for the failed attack? Luke, for not giving Dak enough time - or Dak, for taking so long to get ready? (Alex re: Dak - "He had one job to do!").
  • Luke's and Dak's call sign is "Rogue Leader".
  • Luke is always rushing into things without thinking.
  • The attack is a funny sequence:
    • Luke tells Dak to get ready.
    • Dak says that he's not ready / set.
    • Luke ignores him, keeps flying and then tells Dak to go / fire.
    • Nothing happens (because Dak's not ready) and neither of them say anything as they fly off.
  • Adam's notes for this minute were "R2 goes bonk, Snow forward, and go Dak go!"
  • "Sorry Pete" - In the Prequels, Imperial attacks involve hundreds of troops, droids and vehicles while this attack seems to involve just six (or even less) walkers. Not a very serious attack.
    • Alex equates this with the lightsaber battle between Vader and Obi-Wan in Star Wars compared to the lightsaber battles in the Prequels.
    • Pete thinks that the Walkers are literally packed with Snowtroopers waiting to pour out - like a pinata when it's hit with a stick.
  • How does Vader get down to the Rebel base from the Imperial Star Destroyer? To be discussed in a later minute.
  • Adam points out that the Prequels were a big time of expansion for the Republic (later Imperial) army while this movie covers a time of decline for the Imperial army.
  • The walkers main mission here is not to conquer the base. They are just there to knock out the power generator. Once that's done then the real attack begins.
  • How do Star Destroyers land? On a platform or do they just always stay in space?
    • "Sorry Pete" - In the Prequels the proto-Star Destroyers are on platforms. (Note - as at November 2016 - the trailer for the Star Wars anthology movie "Rogue One" shows a Star Destroyer hovering stationary above a town, so this must also be possible.)
  • How long is a Star Destroyer? Longer than the Empire State Building is tall? The <made-up> order is - Troop Transport, Empire State Building, Titanic, Star Destroyer, Super Star Destroyer. Exact dimensions to be provided in later minutes.
  • Luke's snowspeeder takes off vertically and then flys forward whereas all of the other snowspeeders only take off by moving forward. What's that about? Luke being a better pilot than the others, or maybe moving forward is the correct way to take off once your gunner is ready.
  • Which would you rather be in the Rebellion in this battle - snowspeeder pilot or ground trooper? (Pete says a gunner in a snowspeeder.)
    • Snowspeeder pilots take the brunt of the attack while ground troopers can hang back.
    • However, if they miss the transports a ground trooper is left outside on Hoth while a snowspeeder pilot can stay in the relative warmth of the speeder.
  • A number of Rebels would have been captured in this battle.
  • The Rebels ground troop response to the walkers seems totally ineffective. In fact, the Rebels entire response to the walkers - including the snowspeeders - seems to be ineffective and nonsensical. To be discussed more in later minutes.

Meta Minute

  • 21:51 podcast episode length.
  • Cold-open: Ad-read starwarsminute.com/shirts.
  • Adam promotes a t-shirt that he has on sale via graphiclabtees.com - Star Wars / Good Times mash-up - JJ Walker in carbonite.
  • Adam points out that the lightsaber battle in Star Wars that Alex references are the minutes that Adam covered of that movie in the podcast - i.e. SWM 86 to SWM 90.
  • The Imperial walkers are filmed using the Go motion technique. Go motion is discussed in some detail and all relevant information is available on the linked Wikipedia article.
  • Alex tried to build his own AT-AT, out of a shoe box and pieces of wood, as a kid. AT-ATs should have been Tinker Toys or giant pink ponies in the movie.
  • Adam mentions the amazing Star Wars mash-up art of James Hance.
  • The walkers are introduced into the movie with no fanfare; they just appear. This makes them even cooler.


  • Adam: ...slash the A T A T <pause> the A-Team A-Team; oohh!
  • Pete: Are the Rebels whaling on Hoth? Alex: They're going to be wailing when the Empire's finished with them.
  • Pete: Now, Luke here... Alex: Now look here!
  • Pete: Dak to the Future; Dak to School. Alex: I think Dak needs to go Back to School.
  • Adam: Dak forever; Dak Dak. Alex: <quietly> Dak Attack. Pete: Dak Officer. Alex: Wait, did you say Dak Officer?
  • Adam: That's not what I call "bumping the puppet".
  • Adam: In relation to building an AT-AT toy at home "You could build one out of Tinker Toys, right?" Alex: "Yeah, I guess so - but Tinker Toys are for babies!"



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