Disclaimer: Contains spoilers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. If you haven't yet seen the movie and intend to, you may want to skip over this question.

In the decades since Episodes 4, 5 and 6 of Star Wars were released, Darth Vader has been embraced as a cultural phenomenon, recognizable almost universally across much of the world.

For decades, we've known of and loved his utterly dry if mostly absent sense of humor, his impatience when it comes to those under his command, and his love for choking people. This all came together in one pivotal moment in the latest Star Wars film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,

when Darth Vader, frustrated with Director Krennic, choked him while delivering the amazing line: Don't choke on your ambitions

This scene may be the single best in the entire movie in the eyes of many filmgoers, as it references material across the board from Star Wars canon to provide the kind of tension-releasing moment many fans have been waiting their whole lives for. When I saw it the entire movie theater broke out in uncontrollable laughter. But many viewers also thought it may have gone a touch too far, breaking just a bit too far from what we have come to expect from Darth Vader to provide one small moment of ________.

This type of homage has a name in film. Callback? Reference? I can't remember. Can you?

  • related :P
    – Mithical
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 13:14
  • Comic relief? Or maybe, thinking more closely to homage, a reference (as you had already suggested), a call out to the previous movies. Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 14:15
  • It's "aspirations" which made it a super double plus horrible pun. This isn't a "too funny moment," it was a jump the shark moment. In my theater they were laughing at him, not with him.
    – Yorik
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 16:55

2 Answers 2


Fan service defines a scene which only exists to make fans happy.

It is about "servicing" the fan – giving the fans "exactly what they want." Fan service usually refers to "gratuitous titillation", but can also refer to intertextual references to other series or story and visual elements that audiences tend to desire. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_service

In this case, it's also a callback to the early films. A callback being a scene that relates to an earlier one, but without a cut to it. That would be a flashback.


It seems the word I was looking for was intertextuality. Especially in film, this term is used to describe a sort of callback where references to previous material as fan service can support a film, but only when done right.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .