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I don't remember it being explained in the movie. What exactly is Dr. Lazarus referring to by saying Grabthar's Hammer in Galaxy Quest?

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I figure it's a deliberately cheesy line that you'd have to be a fan of the (fictional) show to get. Like, imagine if someone kept saying "Live Long and Prosper" or "May the Force be with You", but you'd never heard of Star Trek and Star Wars because they never existed in your universe. That's where we are, because Galaxy Quest (the show) never existed in ours. – Darrel Hoffman Jan 14 at 15:51
up vote 27 down vote accepted

As explained by screenwriter Robert Gordon to MTV, there's no back story:

Gordon:By Grabthar’s Hammer” was a temp line. It was basically the Hammer of Thor, but Grabthar just sounded so silly. I kept meaning to change it, but around the production offices, they started to make t-shirts, it started to sink in a little bit.

Rickman: The ending scene, where Kwellek is dying, and I say the “Grabthar’s” line for him. There were all these different layers with these characters. It is such a great acting challenge. You are only as good as the script, really.

Long: The funniest line, at the mall. “By Grabthar’s Hammer . . .what a savings.” I just saw Nick Frost and he said he and Simon Pegg and all those guys, that’s the line they quote all the time.

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By Grabthar's Hammer, what a gentleman! Rickman can always be relied upon to credit other people for his great performances. – Michael Stern Jan 14 at 15:47
@MichaelStern From your comment I suspect you have not heard but Mr. Rickman passed away this morning. He will be missed. – O.M.Y. Jan 14 at 17:23
I think during the Introducing the crew part at the Con, Rickman refuses to say it, but his character Dr. Lazarus says it instead on the big screen behind him. During this scene, the Lazarus is swinging some sort of a hammer. – Zikato Jan 15 at 8:46
@Zikato Nope, that's a flag: – BCdotWEB Jan 15 at 11:32
My bad then. My TV doesn't have the best resolution. I thought it some kind of warhammer (one with really long handle). – Zikato Jan 15 at 11:40

This was a catch phrase that Dr. Lazarus used in the movie.

By Grabthar's hammer... what a savings.

By Grabthar's hammer, by the suns of Worvan, you shall be avenged.

other than being a catchy phrase, we don't know exactly what or who Grabthar was, nor what his hammer was.

An example of a similar catch phrase could be this one by Thor,

By Odin's Beard

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