Empire Minute 65: The Billy Madison of the Jedi

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April 11th, 2014


Then, a loud hiss! Darth Vader appears across the blackness, illuminated by his own just-ignited laser sword. Immediately, he charges Luke, saber held high. He is upon the youth in seconds, but Luke sidesteps perfectly and slashes at Vader with his sword.


Mike Dawson



  • We are in the evil cave built by Minch.
  • Starts with Darth Vader appearing in the evil tree (Pete: "cave"); ends with Luke staring down at his own decapitated head / face in Darth Vader's armor.


  • This is basically the climax of the movie - Luke fights Darth Vader.
  • Pete didn't grasp this scene as a kid:
    • He thought that it was a dream sequence.
    • He didn't realize that it was Luke's face in the helmet; he thought it was Darth Vader's face.
  • Vader keeps coming back regardless of what parts get chopped off him.
  • Kids don't really know what's happening in movies but still enjoy them. This is much like their experience of life at that age.
 Mike saw ESB when he was 5 years old.
  He left the movie after R2 was eaten by a fish as this scared him.
  He went to see another movie instead.
  • Luke sees Vader and the audience hears a lightsaber turn on but doesn't know whose it is.
    • It turns out to be Luke's and this is why he fails.
    • Luke could have passed the test even though he took his weapons with him. However, as soon as he draws his lightsaber he fails.
    • If he hadn't of drawn his lightsaber Vader would have just hugged him and begged him to come home.
    • Luke doesn't learn his lesson in this scene - he turns his lightsaber on first when he meets Vader again later on in the movie.
    • Luke should have:
      • Waited to "let the other person talk first".
      • Just talked to Vader.
  • Would Vader have shown up if Luke didn't have his weapons?
    • The cave conjures up your deepest darkest fears. For example, Alex bullying someone as described in ESB 64.
    • For Luke, this is Darth Vader.
    • Luke and Vader have never met - they just made eye contact on The Death Star.
    • Luke must think about Vader a lot for him to appear in the cave.
    • Luke thinks that Vader betrayed and killed his father and knows that he killed Ben Kenobi - so he wants revenge.
    • What would Vader / Anakin see in the cave?
      • Sebulba.
      • Wald.
      • Something to do with Padmé.
      • Sand or the beach.
  • Clearly Luke has never seen a good lightsaber battle before - this one is very quick and awkward. There are no fancy moves.
  • Vader is being very helpful to Luke during the duel.
  • At this point does Luke think that:
    • He has killed Vader?
    • Vader was his twin brother?
      • Luke walks out with Vader's head claiming victory.
  • David Prowse (the actor physically portraying Darth Vader) couldn't see very well, or at all, out of the helmet. He was basically blindfolded and following instructions from the crew.
    • They probably fought in slow motion and then sped up the film.
    • This is how every kids play fight goes - it starts off slow and fun, someone gets more serious, and then someone gets hurt.
    • This is what Mike would see in the cave - kids fighting and then one of them crying.
  • Is Luke good at being a Jedi at this point (or at any point)?
    • Pete says no, although he does get slightly better.
    • How does Luke compare to other Jedis?
      • Luke can't do any of the really cool stuff.
      • Basically Luke is at youngling level; he is the Billy Madison of Jedi school.
      • He doesn't do much more than what he has learnt up to this point.
      • In ESB he does a bit of running, jumping standing still.
      • In ROTJ he does mind tricks, choking, levitation and flipping around. That's pretty much it.
      • The hosts point out that this is pretty much all any Jedi does.
      • Pete identifies Force running as something that Luke doesn't do.
      • Qui-Gon teaches Force running - this is his signature move whereas Yoda teaches flipping (see ESB 64).
      • Can Vader do a lot of these physical Jedi things given that he is largely mechanical?
        • He definitely can't do Force lightning.
        • However his mechanical legs should go faster than human legs.
      • IG-88 is a really fast runner in the EU.
        • In the Clone Wars cartoon the heroes are fighting two IG-88s and they are pretty cool. They're almost like spiders and definitely not what you'd expect based on this movie.
 In mentioning the Clone Wars cartoon, Alex says to Pete that he knows he hates it when they mention this cartoon.
  Pete says that the Clone Wars cartoon is fairly low down on the list of Star Wars things that he hates.
  Alex asks Pete to rank the five Star Wars things that he hates the most.
  The hosts get too befuddled by the sheer scope of this question to answer it.
  They'll come back to it in a later podcast episode.

  • Luke does do a headstand on Dagobah and moves some rocks around. This is all still coming up so the podcast is going to be stuck on Dagobah for a while yet.
    • There is classic still photo of Yoda falling off Luke's foot (as seen in a later minute).
    • Mike's cut of the movie skips Dagobah entirely and goes straight from Hoth to C-3PO being blown up on Cloud City <spoilers>. Mike says that this Yoda section of the movie is boring.
    • Pete says that you need to see the Yoda stuff so that things are explained.
 Pete and his wife have been watching the movies with some 4- to 5-year-old children of his family / friends and have observed the following:
  SW - Antsy in the first half but enjoyed the second half.
  ESB - Liked the movie in general.
  ROTJ - Bored.
 (Mike says "that's not true; that's impossible" and that Pete was influencing the kids.
 Pete swears that he was just providing relevant information when asked.)
  TPM - The kids liked this more than ROTJ but didn't love it.
  • Alex agrees that the Yoda stuff was boring as a kid.
    • Mike just wanted to see more space worms.
    • For example, a space worm following our heroes wanting to be friends.
    • There must be an EU story about hunters hunting and killing space worms.
  • What was Luke cutting off Vader's head supposed to signify?
    • One - Luke is on the same path as Vader.
    • Two - It was a huge hint that Vader is his father.
    • We find this out in twenty minutes or so, although that's six months in podcast time.
    • The hosts realize that they are in a temporal distortion field where they live twenty minutes for every one actual minute. They will soon be old and decrepit.
  • Thanks to and from Mike for the week.
  • Mike suggest other names for the podcast:
    • The Magic Tree.
    • Millennium Falcon Gunner Holes.

Meta Minute

  • 22:13 podcast episode length.
  • Mike plugs his new book - Angie Bongiolatti (2014) published by Secret Acres. Check it out on starwarsminute.com/amazon.


  • Mike: That's a saying - "In business meetings always make the other person turn on their lightsaber first."
  • Alex: <As Vader to Luke during the duel in the cave> Now parry, parry. Look, my side is open to attack."
  • Alex: Have I talked about Force running before on this show? No? Oh no, was I talking about Force running in my free time!?
  • Alex: A swing to the right Pete: Then a move to the left.
  • Mike: You want them to come away from TPM quoting the part where they say "yee-ha". Pete: Are they watching The Dukes of Hazard? Mike: What, am I wrong, is it yippee? Oh, well you guys are the ones that have watched TPM the most. Alex: <To Mike> Are you trying to out us? "That guy, what's his name?" Mike: Yeah, Andrew Skywalker; little Andy.



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