Empire Minute 28: Dying in Ships

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February 19th, 2014


Dak is lost. Blood streams down his forehead, which rests on his smoldering controls. Out the back window, an Imperial walker recedes in the distance.


Adam Santiago



  • Starts with snowspeeders attacking the AT-ATs or Imperial Walkers or A-T-A-Ts - they make their first pass and realize that it may not be the best strategy to fly right at them and shoot lasers; ends with the sad death of Dak.
  • Only inside shot of the All Terrain Armoured Transport with our old friend General Veers.


  • The discussion about responsibility for the crash - Luke or Dak? - continues. Luke seems to treat Dak like R2-D2 in this sequence.
  • Is Luke likeable in the beginning of this movie? Was it intentionally edited to make Luke come across as "unlikeable" and not a real hero? Luke's "failures" at the beginning may actually be subtle messages that Luke is not meant for the military and has a higher calling to The Force. Dak is sacrificed to this end as Luke realizes that he is not a good leader of men.
  • Why did it take them so long to switch to harpoons when they know, or suspected, that the lasers wouldn't work? This is another example of what Luke is good at - improvising, not leading.
  • If the harpoon attack is improvised by Luke, how did Wedge and the other pilots know how to do it? Was it a standard procedure? Wedge is very good and probably worked it out too. Maybe the other pilots were already using the harpoons and it took Luke a while to work it out.
  • Nintendo 64 Rogue Squadron game - it was very difficult to circle the Walkers and get past that stage in the game. There was also a Gamecube game that was equally difficult.
  • The smell of burning Dak must have filled the cabin. Dak is also a brand of spam.
  • Dak may have invented, or be named for, a drink called a dakari. Dak's full name may be Dakari Tars or Dak Dak Goose.
  • General Veers is personally piloting an AT-AT in this sequence. General Veers and Pol Treidum are the only competent Imperial Officers. Veers is given a job, he does the job, is successful - and is not distracted or concerned by anything.
  • Veers helmet and costume - the helmet is a stormtroopers in a different color, while the body armor is Dengar's - also in a different color (aka dengarmor).
  • In the EU, Boba Fett acted as Dengar's Best Man when Dengar got married. The hosts imagine Boba Fett and Dengar wearing formal wear.
  • A third variety of Imperial troopers are shown inside the AT-AT. We've seen regular Stormtroopers, TIE fighter Pilots, AT-AT Drivers (Sandtroopers are considered a variant of regular Stormtroopers).
  • AT-AT Drivers made a cool action figure toy. They were better than the Stormtroopers and TIE fighter Pilots action figures. The TIE fighter Pilot action figure looked like a combination of a Stormtrooper and a Rebel fighter "smooshed" together - or like they got together and had a baby.
  • Is Walker Driver a good job? Just a fancy chauffeur?
    • Better than being a space pilot and running the risk of dying in space.
    • However you are a long way up and it's a long way to fall if something goes wrong. All AT-AT Drivers have constant vertigo.
  • Pete declares General Veers to be his favorite Imperial Officer.
  • There is an EU scene in which a snowspeeder kamikazes into Veers' walker and kills all the crew, including, potentially, Veers himself. Kamikaze attacks are not used or shown in Star Wars.
  • No chat between the snowspeeder pilots and the rebel base in this battle. The crew at the rebel base were too busy packing for the evacuation.
  • The Empire must have heard Dak saying that he can take them on; this jinxed Dak.
  • Dak as the anti-Wedge; incompetent and over-hyped.
  • Luke basically destroyed two heroes - Dak and Biggs Darklighter.
  • Veers is still wearing his Imperial tunic underneath his Dengar body armor. It must be nice and warm in the AT-AT cockpit - the heater's probably running and some low music is playing in the background.
  • There is no personalisation or customisation of equipment in the Empire.
  • How much space debris must there be around the place? <Note - October 2016 - this fact is visited in various scenes in TFA.> The debris must include pieces of Porkins.

Meta Minute

  • 16:40 podcast episode length.
  • The actor that plays Dak, John Morton, is very good at dying in ships in movies:
    • This movie - Dak the gunner - in a snowspeeder with a laser.
    • Superman II - Nate the astronaut - in a space module killed by Ursula.
    • Flash Gordon - Pilot - in a plane zapped by some kind of ray.
    • The actor needs to be extra careful around vehicles in his real life.
    • The fact that Dak kept getting into vehicles, even though he was surely going to die shows that "Dak is where it's at".
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  • Adam: (reminiscent of the old TV ad for Expedia.com) Singing ".COM..."



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