Empire Minute 36: The Fonz's Playbook

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The Fonz.jpg


March 3rd, 2014


Hearing the loud roar of the Millennium Falcon's engines, Vader looks toward the main hangar doors just in time to see the Falcon lift up and disappear outside the cave.


Tim Kreider



  • Starts with Han prepping the Falcon to escape Hoth; ends with Luke prepping his X-wing to escape Hoth.


  • Opening theme music is interrupted by the sound effect of the Millennium Falcon breaking down and then being hit back into life.
  • The Millennium Falcon has trouble starting and Han Solo hits it á la Fonzie. Has this been acknowledged as a move straight out of the Fonz's playbook? It is instantly recognizable to kids in the 70's.
  • Referenced: Happy Days.
  • The hosts remind younger listeners of who Fonzie is and what he does.
  • Does Han have Fonzie power with the ladies?
  • Leia pointlessly complains about "this bucket of bolts" (i.e. the Falcon). Leia often complains when she has no other options.
  • Leia should know by now that the Falcon is the coolest ship. Although it is a temperamental vehicle.
  • The Falcon has been on Hoth for three years while they try to repair it. This is actually why they built the rebel base there. Han landed the Falcon on Hoth but the couldn't get it restarted so they just built a base around it.
  • The Falcon is basically Han's car. Han is his character straight out of American Graffiti:
    • Hot-rodder.
    • Shoots his mouth off.
    • Drives his car around.
    • Says "punch-it" to Chewie.
  • Is Han hitting the Falcon good or is it one of those gags that we would not have liked in the Prequels? The hosts think it works although it is corny.
  • (Pete shares a story about when he was younger and he lived in a large loft with dodgy wiring. They were playing basketball in the loft and the ball hit the ceiling which made the lights go out. They stood there in the dark for a while but then decided to throw the ball onto the ceiling in the same spot, which made the lights come back on. They then continued playing basketball as they were.)
  • Hitting / kicking machines to make them 'go' again does work a surprising number of times in real life.
  • Han is not a good mechanic or smuggler - he may just be all talk with a lot of panache and image.
  • The cockpit of The Millennium Falcon is loved by all. It's:
    • Cozy, visually interesting, realistic.
    • A place for cool adventures and making out.
    • A homey space that is not big and vacant like The Enterprise.
    • A lived-in place like your car on a cross country road trip. There should have been garbage and wrappers on the floor.
  • Ornamentation in the cockpit - there were dice shown in the cockpit in Star Wars. What happened to the dice in this movie?
  • The cockpit is not very well lit.
  • Alex points out that in this scene as the Snowtroopers bring in and set-up the canon you can see someone - presumably Han - in the cockpit of the Falcon. Good continuity.
  • What are the Snowtroopers' intentions with the big gun? Shoot the Falcon to a) blow it up entirely (thereby potentially killing Luke) or b) just knock it out of action? The intentions of the Imperials are rarely clear and Stormtrooper tactics often seem to be at odds with Darth Vader's strategy.
  • Just as the gun gets set-up the Falcon shoots it and it blows up. While Han was getting ready for take-off Chewie was watching the Snowtroopers just waiting for the perfect time to shoot them.
  • When was the Falcon's "belly gun" installed? The hosts think that it wasn't there in Star Wars.
  • Is the Imperial canon the same one from docking bay 94 in Star Wars? 94.
  • Darth Vader sadly watches the Falcon flying away. This movie actually really sucks for Darth Vader - his goals are foiled a lot.
  • Does Darth Vader recognize the Falcon from previous encounters?
  • Vader should have shot a grappling hook onto the Falcon from his suit. He would have then been dragged along as they took off.
  • Does Vader think that Luke is on the Falcon? He must given that he follows it so intently. The Imperials should have just followed Luke, not the Falcon or other spaceships.
  • Where is the X-wing rendezvous point? Luke had to walk there so it's near the base somewhere. Also, where are the AT-ATs at this point?
  • Maybe the late Admiral Ozzel was supposed to take care of the rendezvous point.
  • If the Imperials had followed Luke it would have led Vader straight to Yoda.
  • How an encounter between Vader and Yoda would have gone at this point:
    • Yoda could probably kill Vader.
    • However they wouldn't have fought - instead they would have hashed it out by sitting down and talking.
    • This would have been the end of the saga.
  • They may have all gone to an awkward family counselling session together:

Vader: (played by Alex and Pete) "You hurt my feelings when you cut off my hand and blew up my space station."

Luke: (played by Alex) "I feel belittled when you killed my Master in front of me and he dissolves into space."

Vader: (played by Pete) "You only met him that morning!"

Yoda: (played by Tim) "Of your feelings only speak. Do not blame."

  • We see the Falcon taking off once in Star Wars, twice in this movie and never in ROTJ. This is why ROTJ is a "lesser movie".
  • Luke is staggering around in the snow like he's drunk. He's also out-of-sync with the Falcon flying off.
  • There should be Walkers, even wrecked ones, in the background of these scenes.
  • Wedge appears at the end of this scene. He wishes Luke good luck and Luke completely ignores him. What a jerk!
  • Is R2-D2 flying / moving the X-wing at this point? It is implied a couple of times in the movie that R2 can and does fly the X-wing.
  • R2 is effectively an extension of the X-wing at this point. He should have screamed out in pain anytime something happened to the X-wing - kids would have loved that.
  • This is the only movie in which R2 doesn't get blown up. R2 and C-3PO are humiliated at every opportunity - although R2 always has his pride.

Meta Minute

  • 19:59 podcast episode length.
  • Pete read somewhere that they reason they're always welding the Falcon is because it's a visual movie-making fix to show that the characters are actually doing something in the background.


  • Tim: <Intro> I'm Tim Kreider, a writer. Alex: All highbrow!
  • Alex: The other thing about The Fonzie is... Pete: You said THE Fonzie? Alex: The Fonzie. The Fonzie scheme.
  • Pete: I was the "Han Solo Fonzie Basketball Guy" for two seconds. (See the story above for background.)
  • Tim: <As Vader - great impersonation> "What!"



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