Star Wars Minute 57: Five Days' Worth of Sunlight

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August 20th, 2013.


The small green planet of Alderaan is blown into space dust.


Ryan Haupt



  • Princess Leia is being interrogated by Governor Grand Moff Tarkin.
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi senses a disturbance in The Force.


  • The explosion of Alderaan in this minute.
  • Tarkin, Leia, Vader sandwich—they are all standing extremely close to each other.
  • What's the story with Dantooine? This isn't clear as system naming in Star Wars isn't clear.
  • An ethical dilemma in the real world similar to what Leia faces in this minute.
  • Did Leia simply lie about Dantooine, was she out of the loop on Rebel activities, or was she making a complex calculation about the best outcome in this situation?
  • Tarkin (Cushing) trilling his 'R's. Pete wonders if this was a homage to the movie Singin' in the Rain starring Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher's mother. (Note: Only Pete could make this type of connection; this is Pete's specialty.)
  • Pete says that Leia's 'surprised face' in this minute is basically just her face in real life now.
  • Carrie Fisher's wardrobe in Star Wars.
  • The guys standing in the laser chamber on the Death Star aren't wearing helmets or any other protective gear. Alex points out that even the Imperial Officers that actually pull the levers for the laser are wearing full face masks. Alex thinks they must get prisoners to do the job in the laser chamber.
  • What are the guys doing in the laser chamber?
  • Ryan talks about the destruction of Alderaan based on a discussion with a friend of his. All you need to do is apply enough energy to the core of a planet to overcome the gravitational force that is holding the planet together - "That's it!". Ryan provides actual facts and figures regarding Alderaan to explain this.
  • Ryan explains how the Death Star laser generates and applies energy to its target.
  • Physical fallout from the destruction of Alderaan.
  • Earth's moon and how it was created.
  • The amount of energy required on the Death Star to power the laser.
  • Was the attack filmed and broadcast by the Empire?
  • Ryan reminds us that sound doesn't travel in space (but see SWM-Canon#Noise in space).
  • Referenced: Superman, Armageddon (1998).
  • The attack on Alderaan probably made more people join the Rebellion than anything else. How the Empire would have spun the attack.
  • Ben's sense of the attack. Alex thought that he said 'oysters' instead of 'voices'.
  • Referenced: "The Walrus and the Carpenter" poem by Lewis Carroll

Meta Minute

  • 20:24 podcast episode length.
  • Ryan confirms that, in the real world, double star systems are more common than single star systems.
  • Ryan did, in fact, get the correct bivalve.
  • There are a few exchanges in this episode whereby Alex and Pete don't hear or respond to Ryan, or vice versa. Intentional, a sound quality issue, or just a part of the cut and thrust of this podcast?
  • The halfway point of the movie is actually 30 seconds into minute 61.
  • A request to call 8-DAY-GREEDO with the exact lines of this minute and the previous minute.
  • Ryan does one of the best ever sign-off set-ups at the end of this episode and it completely catches Pete and Alex by surprise.


  • Ryan: A Long time. Alex: (Laughs) Ryan: I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself. Alex: Never apologize for quoting Star Wars.
  • Alex: So, you guys don't want to talk about the planet blowing up, huh?
  • Alex: Ryan, you're a science guy, what's the deal here?
  • Pete: And we just watched these too; I should have written it down. (Note - Don't worry Pete, we got you.)


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