Star Wars Minute 8: Lifeboat Sniper

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June 12th, 2013.


Minute 8 of Star Wars: Droids enter the escape pod and blast into space. Princess Leia is interrogated by Darth Vader.


Tony Consiglio



  • This minute starts with the droids getting into the escape pod and then blasting off into space for Star Wars, and ends with Princess Leia being interrogated by the evil Darth Vader (who just finished choking a guy).
  • The first major human speaking scene - between Vader and Leia - occurs in this minute. Vader and Leia use each other's names / titles thereby introducing each other to the audience.
  • A Tosche Station scene (that introduced Biggs) was deleted from this minute between the ejection of the escape pod and the confrontation between Leia and Vader.


  • C-3PO's comment "The damage doesn't look so bad from out here" is peculiar. Pete always thought C-3PO was referring to the Imperial Cruiser and NOT the blockade runner, meaning that C-3PO doesn't know what the ship he was on looks like. Is this another example of C-3PO being 'dim-witted"? Alex suggests that perhaps C-3PO can see the blockade runner in the 'hangar' of the Imperial Cruiser and was commenting on the blockade runner all along.
  • How the Stormtroopers boarded the blockade runner is even more unclear given the view that we get of the ships in this scene. The blockade runner is just held by a tractor beam (or something) in the hangar and there are no physical connections between the two ships that we can see.
  • The layout of, and perspective from, the escape pod is also unclear. At one point the droids are looking up and out a window at the ships but then the exterior shot shows the escape pod engines where that window should be.
  • Why do the Imperials restrain themselves from firing on the escape pod? The whole trilogy would have ended right there if they had of shot and destroyed it, and it seems unlike the Empire not to shoot and destroy things. "Hold your fire" makes no sense in that context - there is no reason NOT to fire. Additionally, in a universe of droids and robots there is always a chance that something important other than a life form is in the pod. Tony ultimately explains it (Note - Tony understands everything) by looking at it from the Imperial Officer's point-of-view - they're at work and if you can avoid doing something at work then you usually will. Alex agrees with this line of thinking but points out that one of the officers is the manager and should have wanted to do something (i.e. fire on the escape pod). Tony admits that this is true.
  • Based on the "there's another one" comment, have the Imperial Officers just been taking pot-shots at other escape pods with life-forms on-board up until this point? The hosts think that this is probably the best job in the entire Imperial Navy - lifeboat sniper.
  • Why did it take so long for the droids to escape in the escape pods? They should have done it much sooner.
  • Is not shooting at escape pods with no life-forms onboard Imperial policy, or did this one guy - Gunnery Captain Bolvan - just make a decision at that moment? Was he a secret rebel agent?
  • Other ways that Bolvan could have told the Lieutenant not to shoot the escape pod, and the fact that Bolvan definitely got choked by Vader once Vader found out that the droids, were in fact, on that escape pod all along.
  • What role do droids play in Star Wars society? Are they just like pets? Would droids flying escape pods sound ridiculous to Imperial Officers?
  • Are C-3PO and R2-D2 rogue droids? Droids are supposed to just complete a set task, so two of them flying an escape pod on a mission would be like your washing machine deciding that it was tired of washing your clothes and just leaving (credit=Tony).
  • Also, are humans in Star Wars living in constant fear of the droid uprising?
  • Given that Leia is Darth Vader's daughter "from a previous marriage" (credit=Alex) their confrontation should have carried much more weight. The hosts agree that this is more proof that George Lucas is full of Bantha doo-doo in saying that he had the whole Star Wars saga mapped out from the beginning.
  • Pete points out that Lucas collaborator Gary Kurtz is on record as saying that Leia was never going to be Luke's sister and that Lucas made this decision very late in the piece for ROTJ.
  • Vader sarcastically refers to Leia's previous "mercy missions". Vader also gets a bit emotional / worked-up in this scene.
  • What first-time viewers are making of the movie at this point. Darth Vader definitely has a lot of impact.
  • Darth Vader's breathing noise still goes on when he is talking.
  • Darth Vader looks sleeker and glossier over time, but in this scene he looks ragged and dusty. (Editor's Note - February 2017 - It was revealed in Rogue One that Vader had been in close-quarters combat immediately prior to tracking down and capturing Leia's ship).
  • Is 'Darth' Darth Vader's first name, his title or something else? Obi-Wan calls him Darth later on in the movie but Pete thinks this is just Obi-Wan needling Vader.
  • Alex laments a) that a toy escape pod was never manufactured and b) he never really got a good shot, or understanding, of what it looked like so that he could draw it accurately.
  • Pete explains the background of, and context for, a range of scenes that were deleted at the beginning of the movie to avoid it becoming American Graffiti in space.
    • The hosts generally agree that the deleted scenes from Star Wars do not add much to the story, apart from Luke's affection for Biggs which is shown later in the movie. Alex points out that this is partially addressed in the special edition with the Luke and Biggs scene in the hangar being extended, thereby increasing the emotional impact of Biggs' eventual demise.

Meta Minute

  • 16:08 podcast episode length.
  • A sample of the deleted scenes is available on YouTube.
  • In earlier drafts of Star Wars C-3PO and R2-D2 begin as imperial droids on the Death Star. During a battle between the space station and attacking star-fighters, led by General Skywalker, the two droids escape the space station. As it travels past enemy fighters, one star-fighter comments, "Object approaching. Attack bearing..." Another star-fighter calls off targeting the droids, noting "It's a life-pod. Let it go." This is also depicted in the graphic novel The Star Wars by JW Rinzler.
  • Referenced: The Star Wars July, 1974.


  • Tony: And I'm Tony Consiglio from the spice mines of Kessel.
  • Alex: To Pete "I can't believe; we're breaking down Star Wars minute-by-minute and NOW you're all self-conscious about being nit-picky!"
  • Alex: If anything you think he'd be like PIIU! then the guy would be like "Good shot Jansen!" you know and...
  • Tony: Imperial Officer 1 looking at the escape pod "Oh, should we shoot..." Imperial Officer 2 "No, why bother".
  • Tony: As sarcastic Vader "Oh, droids, isn't THAT a big surprise!"
  • Tony: As Vader to Leia "Go to your room!"
  • Tony: During the sign-off "...minutes, minutes of The Star Wars".


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