Empire Minute 31: Daft Punk

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February 24th, 2014


Desperately, Luke works the controls of his flak-buffeted ship. Suddenly, the speeder is rocked by a huge explosion. Luke struggles with the controls with a look of terror on his face. The speeder fills with smoke, and electrical sparks jump about the cockpit.


Mike Norton



  • The tail end of the battle of Hoth. Starts with the rebels running away from the looming AT-ATs and ends with Luke barely escaping out of his crashed snowspeeder.
  • The first AT-ST (aka Chicken Walker) is seen.
  • The first Snowtrooper appearance.


  • Cold-open, 8-DAY-GREEDO call - what's in the rebel ground troop's back packs?
  • What are the rebel ground troops in the trenches trying to accomplish? They're the last line of defense but they're not having any impact whatsoever.
  • Blame rests with the intoxicated General Rieekan for not recalling the ground troops the instant they realised that there were not any Imperial ground troops involved in the attack. Alex suggests that this failure was one of the key elements when Rieekan was indicted for war crimes by the Republic.
  • The assumption is that the majority of the ground troops are already on the transports ready to evacuate. Although we don't see any more camera shots of the ion cannon firing or transports leaving. Did the rebels only do this once?
  • The AT-AT cockpit is surrounded by cannons so it must be very loud in there for General Veers and his crew. Or it's like in modern car commercials -just really quiet in there. General Veers puts on some quiet classical music and drinks a perfectly placid cup of tea during the attack.
  • The sound volume inside a tank.
  • We see General Veers and two other guys in the cockpit. Is one the gunner and the other one the driver who is controlling the legs with big levers? Or are the two guys actually Daft Punk? (Daft Punk have appeared in a commercial based on the Star Wars cantina scene and the movie TRON: Legacy). However Daft Punk have NOT appeared in any Superman movies.
  • The first appearance of a Snowtrooper in the movie, and therefore the podcast, is well timed in February 2014 as snow storms hit the East and the North of the USA.
  • Everyone seemed to like Snowtroopers because they were the first Stormtroopers that were different (see SWM canon). They were like a TIE Bomber versus a TIE fighter. They were cool. Mike explains it this way:
    • Take a Stormtrooper's helmet and make it black to become a TIE fighter pilot - awesome.
    • Take a Stormtrooper's helmet and remove the mouth to become a Snowtrooper - SUPER-awesome! Like a Stormtrooper ninja.
    • Although why do Snowtroopers wear skirts? This bothers Mike.
  • What do Snowtroopers wear under their helmets / mouth-mask to keep the cold out? A scarf; balaclava; heaters; another Stormtrooper helmet (!); breathing apparatus. If they wear another helmet under their main helmet then they must be very small, jockey-like people.
  • We see Zev Senesca's face again but he seems to be beaten up. What happened to him?
    • Hit his head on the cockpit or something.
    • Maybe Han Solo beat him up. Or maybe Chewbacca did it because Zev found Han (and if he had died, Chewie would have been out of his life debt).
    • If he hit his head on the cockpit of the snowspeeder then this seems like very bad design.
    • Or he may have been hit by glass shards from the windscreen after being shot. This also indicates bad design by the rebel engineers.
    • Perhaps the snowspeeders are like badly designed cars; especially given that a few of them do blow-up (but not Luke's).
  • Zev must have been crest-fallen and dismayed when, while he's flying around doing his thing, Luke bursts onto the radio to give him orders. Luke has become the most incompetent pilot in the squadron and continues to be a terrible commander. Luke providing "cover" for Zev is another example of this. How can he give Zev cover in this scenario? And Luke just ends up getting shot down anyway. Does Luke even know what "cover" means?
  • The snowspeeders seem to just fly straight at the AT-ATs, therefore giving the AT-ATs easy shots. Can't they attack in another way? Mike always assumed that, because they were SNOWspeeders they only had limited attack and altitude capabilities. This view was reinforced by the way they swooped over the ground when the pilots were looking for Han and Luke. They're like "suped-up landspeeders".
  • Maybe the snowspeeders were just trying to draw the AT-AT's fire to distract or delay them. Hopefully the snowspeeders were fast and agile enough to avoid the lasers that the AT-ATs were shooting out of their mouth.
  • Mike is glad that the snowspeeder pilots were all wearing their seat belts to keep safe - although this didn't work for Zev, Dak or anyone else that was flying with Luke. Wedge had the right idea - he made a "kill" and then left to get away from Luke as quickly as possible. Luke calls other pilots in this and/or later minutes but they all ignore him. The hosts imagine what Hobbie does in the cockpit when the call from Luke comes through.

Meta Minute

  • 17:35 podcast episode length.
  • Behind-the-scenes trivia about the Walkers - laser blasts and laser blast hits were used by the special effects department to disguise any go-motion mistakes with the Walkers.
  • It looks like the stop motion effect is used for the AT-STs - as opposed to go motion for the AT-ATs.
  • The hosts do not recall seeing the term "Chicken Walker", for the AT-STs, on the toy packaging even though everyone says it was there. They do recall the term Scout Walker, so the name of the toy must have appeared as - AT-ST "Scout Walker" (Chicken Walker).
  • Mike never owned the AT-ST toy but Pete did. The toy was cooler than the actual thing. The AT-ST is different between ESB and ROTJ as it was completely redesigned between movies.
  • The term AT-ST clarifies how to say AT-AT. If you say at-at then how do you say at-st? At-'ass't; Atsty.
  • Support the Show via all the usual means.
  • The podcast is on Stitcher now (this is what all the kids are using - it beams podcasts right into your brain).


  • Alex: The Empire truly is striking back.
  • As a train roars by Mike's studio - Pete: Is that the first transport?
  • Pete: Speaking of jerkiness. Alex: Hey!



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