Empire Minute 88: The Vagaries of Stormtrooper Blaster Positions

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May 14th, 2014


There is a buzz and the door slides open, revealing Lando.


Jeff Ayers



  • The IG-88 minute!
  • Starts with Lando explaining that Cloud City is not part of the mining guild and their operation is small enough to avoid blah blah...business stuff; ends with the gang sitting down to have dinner / refreshments with Darth Vader and Boba Fett.


  • This is one of the biggest and most shocking moments in Star Wars and movies in general.
    • What time is it on Cloud City?
    • Referenced: the movie Free Enterprise and the line "Dinner with Darth and Boba?"
  • We see E-3PO with a bunch of children. That's a terrible idea given how grumpy E-3PO is; or perhaps he's grumpy because of the kids.
  • Cloud City's customers are keen to avoid Imperial interference. Who are these customers? Are they criminals?
    • This may depend on what tibanna gas is and what it powers. Is it illegal? Lando is making grey market sales.
    • The business discussion is boring in this movie.
    • Cloud City is like an offshore supplier - their customers must be criminals.
  • Han and Lando have had genuine and tender moments in the movie and this makes the reveal and double cross all the more impactful.
  • Lando is definitely torn about his decision.
  • Lobot is seen telling someone something.
  • The the door opens and chaos breaks loose.
  • Lando delivers an villainous line just before opening the door. He's made to look like a bad guy but is he?
  • Stormtroopers appear and all hold their blasters in their left hands. These are the vagaries of stormtrooper blaster positions.
  • Vader delivers his best line when the door opens.
    • Vader spent ages planning where he would be, where Boba Fett would be, whether they'd be standing or sitting, what he would say when the door opened etc.
    • Vader is a gentleman and the host so he stands when they enter.
    • He would have been upset if they entered via a side door.
  • Is this a new Force power - deflecting laser bolts with your hand?
    • Or is it just Vader's glove that deflects the laser?
    • Vader's hands are robotic so are they even "forceable"?
  • Han's first instinct in every situation is to start shooting. He's like a quick draw cowboy.
    • The new special edition of the movie has Vader shooting first.
  • Chewie's roar is unique and adds to the scene.
  • Han tries to come up with his best line but just says "I'm sorry too". Leia is not impressed by this line based on the look she gives Han.
  • This is the first time that we see classic stormtroopers in the movie.
  • What do they do when that door closes? This mystery is a great story-telling and movie-making technique.
    • They all sit down have a nice dinner, relax and chat awhile.
  • The crew just seem to give up - they probably realize that there's no way out.
  • Where is Chewbacca's bowcaster and what happens to Han's gun?
  • Does Han and the audience know who Boba Fett is? Yes - because of The Holiday Special and The Prequels.
 Pete reminds us that he dressed up as Boba Fett for Halloween 1979 - i.e. before the movie came out.
 (He was a true hipster).
 There were a lot of Boba Fett toys released before the movie.
  • They sit down for food and refreshments - there are already some items on the table.
    • C-3PO would have loved the formal dinner party but would have had a nervous breakdown seeing Vader and Boba Fett.
    • E-3PO provided the Bespin protocol guidance to Vader for the dinner. Bespin protocol includes one of the guests hiding off to one side and then revealing themselves after everyone has arrived.
    • Given the hierarchy of things, shouldn't Boba Fett have been at the table and Vader hiding?

Meta Minute

  • 21:12 podcast episode length.
  • Cold-open: 8-DAY-GREEDO call - multiple calls about this minute. Han shoots first; what do Vader and Boba Fett chat about while they're waiting?; Han picking up and throwing a pie at Vader (from future guest of the show Jordan White).
  • This first time Jordan is heard on the show. His next appearance is as a guest host on ROTJ 6.


  • Pete: Maybe that's just kind of force of habit. Alex: Force of habit.
  • Pete: You know - pens, headphones, blasters. It's all the same.
  • Jeff: <As C-3PO> Oh no!



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