In Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke sabers the arm off the wampa, the scene shows the arm falling to the ground in dramatized slow-motion with a slightly "strobe" effect (consequence of only having 24fps to spread out).

Was this intended to foreshadow the later severing of hands/arms of Luke + Vader (and by lightsaber, as well)?

In my opinion, it seems too emphasized of A) a shot, and B) a shot effect to just be unconnected, independent dramatization - it sure seems like foreshadowing.

Bonus: Does anyone know when in the writing process it was conceptualized that A) Vader would cut Luke's hand off, and then B) Luke would eventually take Vader's hand?


1 Answer 1


I do not believe that you'll be able to definitively get an answer without hearing directly from the screenwriters or Lucas.

However, that being said - the goofs page at iMDB reveals a few issues they had with the Wampa monster. One states that you can see that the arm appears to be a glove, and you can see the puppeteer wearing it. It may have been easy to just use this portion of the prop to imply the wound.

If you watch the scene, it looks like there were problems with shooting and editing.

I would also believe that another type of injury that could have been shown may have warranted a harsher rating from the MPAA at the time. This was before "PG-13" - so there may have been considerations to prevent an "R" rating.

You'll note that in Episode IV, Obi-Wan simply disappeared when being struck with the light saber, again - likely to maintain the "PG" rating.

I would imagine that had their been intent for foreshadowing, the injury would have been a cut at the wrist, unlike the cut at the shoulder as shown.

  • I find it hard to believe that Obi-Wan disappeared specifically to avoid an R rating when the same movie had a dismembered arm on the ground with a great deal of blood. I think it was more based on the plot, and just the preferred cinematic style was to not show a gruesome death. Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 2:37

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