Empire Minute 77: Brown Stick

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April 29th, 2014


The two packing boxes and Artoo fall to the ground with a crash, then Luke himself tumbles over.


Joe Dator



  • Starts with the intrepid bounty hunter Boba Fett trailing the Millennium Falcon; ends with Luke being troubled by visions of pain and torture in the not-too-distant future.


  • Joe points out that it's "Two for Tuesday" - are we talking about two minutes in today's podcast episode?
  • Yoda is obsessed with handstands and levitating things.
    • What is contained in the boxes that Luke is levitating?
    • Luke has swung on ropes, run, done some handstands, and levitated things. What about the other cool things that Jedi can do - why isn't Yoda teaching him those things?
    • This is Yoda's style of training.
    • Yoda tells Luke to remain calm however Luke is not calm or relaxed at any stage.
    • Luke didn't intend to lift R2 - that was just the residual effect of The Force.
    • Yoda chose the completely wrong moment to introduce the new concept of visions to Luke.
    • Yoda is totally mind tricking Luke - Yoda clearly wants to get rid of Luke as quickly as possible.
    • Yoda is really upset about how hopeless Luke is but it's largely Yoda's fault due to his training method.
  • Is Yoda talking about seeing Luke's friends or Yoda's friends?
    • Yoda can see everything that Luke is seeing - like the safety brake in a Driver's Education car.
    • Yoda is trying to make Luke mess up. His method of training is for the student not to succeed but to just do the best they can. It's like a Kobayashi Maru exercise in Star Trek.
    • Yoda is playing a psychic's trick on Luke by fishing for information - "Close to them, you are?"
  • Does Yoda know about Leia's progress?
    • Space Jimmy Smits was watching Leia; Obi-Wan Kenobi was watching Luke; Yoda was watching both them - creepy!
    • If Luke and Leia had a brother which character was it?
      • Tank from Tatooine.
      • Motti, Needa, or Ozzel from the Empire (Ozzel could have been his father)
  • Yoda lines <sic> that are often quoted by the hosts:
    • Alex - "Must learn control". Used when talking about the Ctrl key on a keyboard.
    • Joe - "Concentraaate!". This doesn't help him to concentrate - it usually makes it worse.
    • Pete - From now on he will say "Good, calm, yes".
  • There is more falling in this minute by Luke and R2. There should have been a third fall in this sequence although Luke really falls down later in the movie.
  • Is Kenny Baker in R2 when R2 is levitated and then dropped?
    • Yes - Kenny was welded into R2 and the beginning of filming, stayed in there for three months or so and was fed through a tube or slot (when the crew remembered to feed him, that is).
    • Kenny would occasionally push a letter out to his wife and kids.
    • Joe points out that this is ironic given that R2 looks like a letterbox but letters would be coming out of him.
  • The movie needed a long shot of R2 being levitated with the other objects.
    • The Dagobah playset had a lever mechanism on its side to levitate objects on a brown stick.
    • Joe says that it would be cool if R2 could fly. There is absolutely no response from Pete or Alex.
    • The playset also had a brown foam section (for the swamp) with cross cuts in it so that characters could be pushed into the swamp.
    • However the foam was only an inch tall so you couldn't push characters right down into the swamp; they would only be half "submerged".
    • Did the playset have room underneath it for Frank Oz?
    • No, the playset either had to be levitated or placed on a film set of its own for it to work properly.
 Kenner should make an Elstree Studios playset so that kids could make their own movie sets.
 It would include spaceship models, matte paintings, Ben Burtt, and a costume department.
 The hosts tell the listeners:
  Do not steal this idea.
  Or use it and pay them.
  • Luke has a "homina homina" moment in this minute.
    • He can't decide what to do or say in response to Yoda so he looks up, is about to say something, decides not to and looks down.
    • He then repeats the process and cannot say anything.
    • This is how the sequence ends and Luke is very silly looking.
    • This is more slow-witted Luke and is not his best moment. It doesn't bode well for a Jedi and the potential savior of the universe.
  • There will be more Yoda and Luke in the next podcast episode.
  • Luke says that he sees a city in the clouds. A first time audience doesn't know what this is referring to and wonders what it means.
    • Yoda should have said "hmm, read the novelization you have" because most kids would have known all about Bespin and Cloud City from the book or related comics.

Meta Minute

  • 17:12 podcast episode length.
  • The only things that Joe needs in the cave are a chair, a lamp and an ashtray.


  • Joe: Luke just drops his boxes... Pete: –So to speak.
  • Pete: ...I [Yoda] sit here and see all these friends that I used to have that were killed by your father.
  • Joe: In my day when we levitated things we did it with a brown stick. These kids today are spoiled.



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