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#1
Old 05-26-2009, 12:49 PM
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When and how did Darth Vader realize Luke was his son?

So I was watching a bit of Star Wars this weekend and my girlfriend is like "how did Darth Vader know Luke was his son." And unfortunately I did not have a good answer to that question.

In Episode IV, Vader felt "the Force is strong with this one" when he was chasing his X-wing through the Death Star trench. But he didn't seem to see a family resemblance.

Or was it simply a matter of during the time between Episodes IV and V, Vadar getting wind of this hot shot pilot named "Skywalker" (which for all we know might be as common as Smith on Tatooine) who is strong in the Force, from Vadar's home planet and he just sort of put two and two together?
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#2
Old 05-26-2009, 01:14 PM
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I was just about to say I think seeing Luke with Obi-Wan would've been all he needed, but then realized that that was in Ep IV. Hmmm...I guess that's never made clear, at least that I can remember.
#3
Old 05-26-2009, 01:14 PM
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Maury Povich.
#4
Old 05-26-2009, 01:22 PM
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In STAR WARS, Darth never meets Luke, nor learns his name: Luke is just one of rebel fighters, and "The force is strong in this one." Darth doesn't even seem to know that "this one" was part of the group that rescued Leia from the Death Star.

So, presumably he did some research (and some thinking) between the time he got spun off into space at end of STAR WARS and the time he got to Bespin in EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. The into to EMPIRE implies that Luke was making a name for himself in the Rebel Alliance. It wouldn't take too much detective work, once he heard that there's a "Luke Skywalker" running about with the rebels, strong in the force. In the scene where Darth communicates with the Emperor, the Emperor doesn't seem aware (at that point) of the relationship? I guess it's arguable.

It's interesting that he never says "the force is strong in this one" when he's interrogating Leia on the Death Star... even though she is able to resist his interrogation.
#5
Old 05-26-2009, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C K Dexter Haven View Post
It's interesting that he never says "the force is strong in this one" when he's interrogating Leia on the Death Star... even though she is able to resist his interrogation.
Because Leia wasn't his daughter at that point?
#6
Old 05-26-2009, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C K Dexter Haven View Post
In the scene where Darth communicates with the Emperor, the Emperor doesn't seem aware (at that point) of the relationship? I guess it's arguable.
Doesn't the Emperor refer to "the son of Skywalker", or is that in RotJ?

FWIW, the Star Wars comic book had Vader interrogating a captured Rebel prisoner, demanding to know who destroyed the Death Star, and being told "Luke Skywalker".
#7
Old 05-26-2009, 01:36 PM
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The exact (orginal, not that bullshit they changed it to later) phrase in Empire Strikes Back was "The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi". So either

A) The emperor knows Luke is Anakins son, but doesn't know that Vader is Anakin (wouldn't that have been a nifty plot...)

-or-

B) They both know and it's just scripted so it doesn't get in the way of the big reveal later.

Last edited by Earthworm Jim; 05-26-2009 at 01:37 PM.
#8
Old 05-26-2009, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumpy View Post
Doesn't the Emperor refer to "the son of Skywalker", or is that in RotJ?
That's in ESB. Here's a clip. So it appears that Vader knew about him (and that he was being trained by Obi Wan) by the beginning of the second movie.
#9
Old 05-26-2009, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Amazing View Post
Because Leia wasn't his daughter at that point?
Ha ha.

Fanwank: In EU, Leia is described as weak in the Force, and that's after serious training by Luke brings out her potential.

Not-so-fanwanky: Vader only notices Luke's strong when Luke is communing with Obi-wan and, presumably, reaching out to the Force in doing so. Leia wouldn't have been touching the Force at all during interrogation or even known she could have.

As for the scene in ESB between Vader and the Emperor, I always figured they talked about Luke and Skywalker in the third person because neither of them wanted Vader reminded that he was Skywalker and he should have paternal feelings for Luke. The last thing Palpatine wanted was for Vader to go off and play Daddy, which of course he tried to do anyway, just in an evil and twisted way. Plus they needed to hide the big reveal, of course.
#10
Old 05-26-2009, 01:52 PM
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I've always assumed that Vader knew the second he heard the name "Skywalker" attached to young person in the company of his old teacher.
#11
Old 05-26-2009, 02:30 PM
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There could also have been reports available regarding a rerettable incident when Owen and Beru Lars burst into flames while assisting Imperial stormtroopers in their inquiries involving the search for some allegedly stolen droids. Those reports might have listed one Skywalker, Luke, as living at that address, but not accounted for.

Lord Vader did have knowledge of Owen Lars, and his then-girlfriend, Beru.

Last edited by kaylasdad99; 05-26-2009 at 02:30 PM.
#12
Old 05-26-2009, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosstone View Post
As for the scene in ESB between Vader and the Emperor, I always figured they talked about Luke and Skywalker in the third person because neither of them wanted Vader reminded that he was Skywalker and he should have paternal feelings for Luke. The last thing Palpatine wanted was for Vader to go off and play Daddy, which of course he tried to do anyway, just in an evil and twisted way.
That's always been my assumption, too. And, in RotJ, when Luke turns himself in to Vader on Endor, and refers to him as "Anakin Skywalker", Vader says something along the lines of "that name no longer has any meaning to me."

I'd imagine that, after the anguish of learning that he was responsible for Padme's death, Vader largely stuffed all those memories and emotions into a closet in his mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosstone
Plus they needed to hide the big reveal, of course.
Well, yeah, there's that, too.
#13
Old 05-26-2009, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C K Dexter Haven View Post
It's interesting that he never says "the force is strong in this one" when he's interrogating Leia on the Death Star... even though she is able to resist his interrogation.
But she wasn't able to resist Vader's interrogation - if she was, then the Battle of Yavin wouldn't have taken place.

Incidentally, the details of the drug-droid assisted interrogation are fleshed out in the 1980 NPR radio series (which apart from being canon, is actually really well-written.) Vader squeezes the location of the rebel base out of her by running a real head-trip on her: He mind-tricks her into believing that he's her father.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Amazing
Because Leia wasn't his daughter at that point?
She probably was, actually. When you read all of the progressive versions of the script, Leia was developed from the same character that Luke was.

[/nerd]

Last edited by Larry Mudd; 05-26-2009 at 02:51 PM.
#14
Old 05-26-2009, 03:11 PM
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Of course she was able to resist it. That's why Tarkin had to go through the whole business of testing the Death Star out on Alderaan; to get her to give up the location of the rebel base.

They finally did get the location by putting a tracking beacon on the Millenium Falcon, and letting our intrepid heroes "escape".

ETA:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Mudd
Incidentally, the details of the drug-droid assisted interrogation are fleshed out in the 1980 NPR radio series (which apart from being canon, is actually really well-written.) Vader squeezes the location of the rebel base out of her by running a real head-trip on her: He mind-tricks her into believing that he's her father.
Wait, what?

Then why did they bother with the "You prefer a different target, then? A military target?"

Last edited by kaylasdad99; 05-26-2009 at 03:13 PM.
#15
Old 05-26-2009, 03:26 PM
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I would imagine that even if the Rebel Alliance was able to keep the name of the pilot of the X-Wing that blew up the Death Star closely held (e.g., his picture wasn't splashed all over that galaxy's version of the Internet within seconds), the Empire would surely know the identity of the pilot within a few weeks of HUMINT work. I think it is fair to say that Vader knows who Luke is at the beginning of Empire and everything Vader does in the movie is meant to make a personal confrontation with Luke inevitable.
#16
Old 05-26-2009, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaylasdad99 View Post
ETA:Wait, what?
Never mind; my memory was playing tricks on me - thought the mind probe came after the demonstration at Alderaan.
#17
Old 05-26-2009, 04:00 PM
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I have nothing intelligent to add (which is usually the case with me) but I do want to commend the OP for a fabulous question, and the rest of you for the subsequent discussion. I'd never thought of this before, but it's a fascinating "lost moment" to speculate on.
#18
Old 05-26-2009, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Mudd View Post
Never mind; my memory was playing tricks on me - thought the mind probe came after the demonstration at Alderaan.
"She lied. She lied to us!"
"I told you she would never consciously betray the Rebellion."
"Terminate her! Immediately!"

That little byplay between Tarkin and Vader has always stuck in my head. The Star Wars novel version of that exchange was where I learned the word "apoplectic".
#19
Old 05-26-2009, 05:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosstone View Post
"She lied. She lied to us!"
"I told you she would never consciously betray the Rebellion."
"Terminate her! Immediately!"

That little byplay between Tarkin and Vader has always stuck in my head. The Star Wars novel version of that exchange was where I learned the word "apoplectic".
I always loved that because Tarkin - who just blew up an entire planet - is so shocked that someone lied.
#20
Old 05-26-2009, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Mudd View Post
Never mind; my memory was playing tricks on me - thought the mind probe came after the demonstration at Alderaan.
Didn't they find Yavin by putting homing beacon on the Falcon and then following that?
#21
Old 05-26-2009, 05:38 PM
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From Episode IV, we can deduce certain things:

1. Darth Vader cannot tell his offspring solely by being in proximity to them, or even close intimate proximity. He does not realize he is interrogating his own daughter by mind probe, and he doesn't cotton that his son is on the Death Star, or that his son is about to blow up the Death Star.

2. Vader knows about Luke before the Emperor contacts him while he is hunting down Han and Leia in the asteroid field. He does not sound surprised when the Emperor says "Luke Skywalker. Further, he knows this Skywalker is "just a boy," and that the boy had been with Obi-wan Kenobi.

3. There is a significant period of time between the two films. In this time, Vader would have had plenty of time to gather the available data on the destruction of the Death Star, the activities of Obi-wan Kenobi, and the activities of the rebels. Certainly, he would have tracked the Millenium Falcon backwards to see where it had been engaged in the service of Obi-wan Kenobi. This would lead him to the knowledge that Skywalker had been seen in the bar on Tatooine, etc. etc.

So it's not a shock he knows the information by Episode V.
#22
Old 05-26-2009, 05:40 PM
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who blew up an entire planet, and "mislead" (lied to) leia.
#23
Old 05-26-2009, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C K Dexter Haven View Post
So, presumably he did some research (and some thinking) between the time he got spun off into space at end of STAR WARS and the time he got to Bespin in EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. The into to EMPIRE implies that Luke was making a name for himself in the Rebel Alliance. It wouldn't take too much detective work, once he heard that there's a "Luke Skywalker" running about with the rebels, strong in the force. In the scene where Darth communicates with the Emperor, the Emperor doesn't seem aware (at that point) of the relationship? I guess it's arguable.
This isn't exactly canon, but I always wondered if the Alliance wasn't making some PR for their own sake out of Luke around the time of the opening of ESB. Not necessarily a publicity campaign that would make him known throughout the empire, but dropping it around the right circles where people might be willing to support them if they had a bit more confidence that the Rebellion might have a chance.

"Yeah, we're not saying that he's been trained in the Jedi ways like the old days, but the Force is strong in him, he's the son of one of the Jedi heroes of the Pre-Empire days, Anakin Skywalker, and was trained by Obi-Won Kenobi before Kenobi died. He saved Princess Leia from Darth Vader, blew up the Death Star, and personally I feel like he's just getting started."

(This is assuming the fact that Anakin Skywalker=Darth Vader is known to very few people.)
#24
Old 05-26-2009, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeps With Butterflies View Post
Maury Povich.
We've tested the results and Darth Vader, you ARE the father!
#25
Old 05-26-2009, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisk View Post
..."Yeah, we're not saying that he's been trained in the Jedi ways like the old days, but the Force is strong in him, he's the son of one of the Jedi heroes of the Pre-Empire days, Anakin Skywalker, and was trained by Obi-Won Kenobi before Kenobi died. He saved Princess Leia from Darth Vader, blew up the Death Star, and personally I feel like he's just getting started." ....
Just what the embattled, rag-tag Rebellion needs: a good publicist!
#26
Old 05-26-2009, 06:51 PM
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The real question is why Obi-Won and Yoda did such a half-assed job at hiding Luke. They put him on Vader's home planet, with Vaders relatives, and had him keep his last name. Had they just told his uncle to change his name to 'Luke Lars', Vader would've presumably never figured it out.

Actually, before the prequels made it clear Yoda was trying to hide Luke, I assumed that Vader always knew he had a son (but not daughter), and had just decided to let him be raised by his uncle why he was busy conquering the universe and hunting down Jedi

Last edited by Simplicio; 05-26-2009 at 06:55 PM.
#27
Old 05-26-2009, 07:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by interface2x View Post
We've tested the results and Darth Vader, you ARE the father!
The results are in, and Luke's father is........

Jar-Jar!

#28
Old 05-26-2009, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
The results are in, and Luke's father is........

Jar-Jar!

This is funny until you picture Luke getting er... produced...


Excuse me while I go hide under my bed, everything is ruined forever.
#29
Old 05-26-2009, 07:56 PM
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"No, Vader, you are my father. Search your feelings, you know it to be true."
#30
Old 05-26-2009, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Asylum View Post
Didn't they find Yavin by putting homing beacon on the Falcon and then following that?
Yeah. Didn't they?
#31
Old 05-26-2009, 09:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asylum View Post
Didn't they find Yavin by putting homing beacon on the Falcon and then following that?
Easy?! You call that easy?!
#32
Old 05-26-2009, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simplicio View Post
The real question is why Obi-Won and Yoda did such a half-assed job at hiding Luke. They put him on Vader's home planet, with Vaders relatives, and had him keep his last name. Had they just told his uncle to change his name to 'Luke Lars', Vader would've presumably never figured it out.
Actually, it's kind of brilliant to hide Luke as Vadar's nephew with in-laws he never visits on some jerkwater planet he probably never plans to go back to.
#33
Old 05-26-2009, 09:37 PM
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How did Vader even know he had a son?

I mean he knew that Padme was preggers, but that was about it.

In retrospect it was stupid for the crew that separated the twins and hid them from Vader even kept Luke's last name. Clearly no one was in the know about Leia, cuz she had a different last name, but just think if they made him Luke O'Malley or something like that.
#34
Old 05-26-2009, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
3. There is a significant period of time between the two films.
Three years passed between ANH and ESB, according to official Lucasfilm canon.
#35
Old 05-26-2009, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir T-Cups View Post
How did Vader even know he had a son?

I mean he knew that Padme was preggers, but that was about it.
That's the point. The last he saw of Padme, right before his duel against Obi-Wan on the lava planet, she was pregnant, unconscious, and badly injured. After the cybernetic surgery, Palpatine told him that Padme had died. At that point, he had no reason to believe that Padme had delivered.

But, when he starts hearing about this Skywalker kid who blew up the Death Star, and he puts it together with "the Force is strong in this one"....DUH!
#36
Old 05-26-2009, 11:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaylasdad99 View Post
There could also have been reports available regarding a rerettable incident when Owen and Beru Lars burst into flames while assisting Imperial stormtroopers in their inquiries involving the search for some allegedly stolen droids. Those reports might have listed one Skywalker, Luke, as living at that address, but not accounted for.
Here is the documentary on that. Of course, the search for the nephew might have been slowed down due to name confusion. Duke?
#37
Old 05-26-2009, 11:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir T-Cups View Post
How did Vader even know he had a son?

I mean he knew that Padme was preggers, but that was about it.

In retrospect it was stupid for the crew that separated the twins and hid them from Vader even kept Luke's last name. Clearly no one was in the know about Leia, cuz she had a different last name, but just think if they made him Luke O'Malley or something like that.
Hey, it worked, didn't it?
#38
Old 05-26-2009, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Asylum View Post
Didn't they find Yavin by putting homing beacon on the Falcon and then following that?
I'm sure they did.

I love the expression on Chewie's face at the 0:56 mark.
#39
Old 05-27-2009, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Bosstone View Post
"She lied. She lied to us!"
"I told you she would never consciously betray the Rebellion."
"Terminate her! Immediately!"
and later

"She may be of some use to us after all."
"Who are you talking about? The girl you told me to terminate immediately like hours ago? Dude, if you're going to revisit your decisions like this, you really need to work on your impulse control."
#40
Old 05-27-2009, 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by KneadToKnow View Post
and later

"She may be of some use to us after all."
"Who are you talking about? The girl you told me to terminate immediately like hours ago? Dude, if you're going to revisit your decisions like this, you really need to work on your impulse control."
Actually, aren't Tarkin and Vader notified of the Falcon's arrival almost immediately after the termination order? Vader turns around and says "She may yet be of some use to us." The order never got out of that room.

I have some excuse for being this nerdy, honest. I just watched the movie again last week.
#41
Old 05-27-2009, 02:54 AM
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The people who run the annual father-son picnic are just merciless. You WILL show up and you WILL have a good time.
#42
Old 05-27-2009, 08:40 AM
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I just wanted to say, I have thought of this question but never thought to actually ask it. It's good to see some feasible answers.
#43
Old 05-27-2009, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by interface2x View Post
We've tested the results and Darth Vader, you ARE the father!
Noooooooooo!!!
#44
Old 05-27-2009, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Simplicio View Post
Had they just told his uncle to change his name to 'Luke Lars', Vader would've presumably never figured it out.
Plus, that would be an awesome name.
#45
Old 05-27-2009, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
(snipped)

2. Vader knows about Luke before the Emperor contacts him while he is hunting down Han and Leia in the asteroid field. He does not sound surprised when the Emperor says "Luke Skywalker. Further, he knows this Skywalker is "just a boy," and that the boy had been with Obi-wan Kenobi.

(snipped)
(Bolding mine)

How do we know that wasn't the first time Vader heard the boy's name? The mask and the voice both hide emotions pretty well, don't they? I don't recall the scene in detail, but I seem to remember Vader was kneeling, with short answers to the questions the Emperor made.

Maybe what we were witnessing was the Emperor's subtle scolding of Vader because:

1. The Emperor already had found out who they were dealing with
2. Vader hadn't even found out the boy was his own son
#46
Old 05-27-2009, 08:00 PM
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It occurs to me a lot of people give the prequals some shit because why wouldn't Vadar remember the protocol droid he built as a kid? But according to IMDB, there is only one scene in the original fims where he is even in the same room as C3P0.
#47
Old 05-27-2009, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by msmith537 View Post
It occurs to me a lot of people give the prequals some shit because why wouldn't Vadar remember the protocol droid he built as a kid? But according to IMDB, there is only one scene in the original fims where he is even in the same room as C3P0.
Which scene?

Dinner at Bespin?
#48
Old 05-28-2009, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by DiggitCamara View Post
How do we know that wasn't the first time Vader heard the boy's name?
Doesn't Vader refer to him by name at the beginning of ESB when the probe droid first finds the Hoth base?
#49
Old 05-28-2009, 07:35 AM
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From the opening scroll
Quote:
The evil lord Darth Vader, obsessed with finding young Skywalker,
has dispatched thousands of remote probes into the far reaches of
space...
After the probe radios back its report
Quote:
VADER: That is the system. And I'm sure Skywalker is with them. Set
your course for the Hoth system. General Veers, prepare your men.

Last edited by fiddlesticks; 05-28-2009 at 07:35 AM.
#50
Old 05-28-2009, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Harvey The Heavy View Post
Doesn't Vader refer to him by name at the beginning of ESB when the probe droid first finds the Hoth base?
Yes. "That's it. The rebels are there, and Skywalker is with them".

As for C3P0, keep in mind that he's not exactly a unique-looking droid. We see at least two others I can think of off the top of my head, and that's just in ESB. Hoth base had one, and there was another in Cloud City that C3P0 ends up close to right before getting blown to bits.

-Joe
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