Star Wars Minute 106: Frankensteins

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Berkey poster.jpeg


October 28th, 2013


Silhouetted against the rim lights of the Death Star horizon, four ferocious Imperial TIE ships dive on the Rebel fighters.


Joe Dator



  • Starts with the dramatic announcement that enemy fighters are on their way (towards the Rebels) and ends on a cliff hangar in that Luke Skywalker appears to be shot down.
  • Does Luke pull through?


  • Luke is still the new guy; he doesn't see the enemy fighters anywhere.
  • Red Leader tells him to pick up his visual scanning—i.e. look around. Talking could be known as using your verbal matrix.
  • The Imperial defense seems a bit light on—no more than six TIE fighters in any one shot. This number increases dramatically in later movies —the Empire obviously learns the lessons of this attack.
  • The Rebels appear to have an advantage in terms of spaceships. The X-wings are robust—like a 70s muscle car—whereas the TIE fighters are cheap and mass produced—like a Pinto.
  • Referenced: Ford Pinto.
  • TIE fighter pilot is a terrible job even though it appears cool. They're in a flying cardboard box that is very unstable in flight.
  • The TIE fighters have much cooler targeting computers than the X-wings. The X-wings are like an Atari whereas the TIE fighters are like an Amiga or Sega.
  • Referenced: Atari; Amiga; Sega.
  • The targeting system on the X-wings has knobs that look like they came from a 70s stereo system or something similar. Earth technology has certainly surpassed imagined space technology, although Alex points out that Star Wars is ancient history, from a long, long time ago. So, actually, our 70s technology was inspired by these targeting computers and other Star Wars items. Star Wars certainly made everyone look at, and use, their stereos differently.
  • X-wings should definitely have a rear gun to target spaceships that are chasing them. This is a definite design flaw. Also, the X-wings pilots need to toughen up when there are people chasing them.
  • The Y-Wing does have a manned gun turret that can fire to the rear, but for the trench run they lock it pointing forward so that only one crew member, the pilot, is required. Locking it pointing backwards would probably make more sense for a trench run or attack.
  • The TIE fighters have the same problem in terms of no rear gun.
  • Why aren't all TIE fighters the same model as Darth Vader's, which seems to be a better spaceship?
  • Red Four is named John D. 'John D' Branon. His name makes him sounds like a member of the band Sha Na Na.
  • Referenced Sha Na Na.
  • The character John D. is not 'fake Wedge' (see SWM 98) as some people have thought.
  • Red Leader is an under-rated leader, and the actor doesn't get enough credit for his performance which changes during the battle (see below for more information).
  • Red Leader is unflappable during the battle even when he gets into some trouble later on; he can compartmentalize things very well.
  • Some emotional, 'behind-the-scenes' issues in Gold Squadron will be discussed in a later minute.
  • In regards to Darth Vader walking the halls in this minute and walking up to two TIE fighter pilots (Joe says X-wings pilots by mistake and then says "you can edit that") Joe laughs at the scene and camera angles that are used. They show Darth Vader as this tall giant and the TIE fighter pilots as very short—therefore explaining the different angles. It almost looks as if the TIE fighter pilots are filming Darth Vader walking up to them. Maybe all TIE fighter pilots are short to fit into those tiny TIE fighter spaceships.
  • Bets are on: does Luke Skywalker live or die after being shot?

Meta Minute

  • 19:28 podcast episode length.
  • Cold-open: Ad read for Amazon and the Star Wars Minute Amazon link.
  • Alex remembers a super-cool poster of this battle that had a thousand ships in it. This is the impression you get when you watch the movie normally, but a minute-by-minute analysis reveals that there actually aren't that many spaceships in this battle.
  • The poster also showed four, count them - four, separate Millennium Falcons in the battle. How did that happen? Millennium Falcons are like Frankensteins - you don't get multiples.
  • Referenced: Frankenstein.
  • The Death Star also looked naked in the poster—i.e. it didn't have an outer skin - like Death Star II in ROTJ. (The poster was done by John Berkey who also did the famous 1976 King Kong poster, which scaled things very differently to the movie).
  • Referenced: King Kong; The World Trade Center.
  • The character John D. is performed by an actor named Jack Klaff. Jack Klaff also played one of Christato's henchmen (called Apostis) in the James Bond 007 movie 'For Your Eyes Only'. Christato in 'For Your Eyes Only' was performed by actor Julian Glover who was also General Veers in ESB. It all links back.
  • In the 70s, a constant refrain regarding any actors in Star Wars was which James Bond 007 movie they were in. Given the cross-over of actors, could you make a recut of Star Wars using only scenes from James Bond 007, Dr. Who and Hammer movies?
  • These actors, along with the crew that George Lucas so famously clashed with at the time, really reflect the "Britishness" of Star Wars.
  • David Prowse was in a 'Hammer Films Production' movie called Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell as Frankenstein - and that movie also starred Peter Cushing. The movie doesn't seem to have much to do with the legend of Frankenstein. Did Peter Cushing ever see David Prowse's face?
  • The actor that played Red Leader was a British actor and he was not dubbed as he used an American accent for his performance. He recognised and understood the movie that was being made.


  • Joe: My name is Joe Dator...I'm here to bring a little class to the proceedings.
  • Joes: I'm sipping a little wine; I asked them what pairs best with Bantha.


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