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"Aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper" - Princess Leia to Luke Skywalker, disguised as a stormtrooper, upon seeing him for the first time in her cell on Death Star.

Does that comment ever get backed up in the canon?

The answer should be based on one of the two things:

  1. Explicit canon information (e.g. Luke's height, average ST height during 0 ABY). This should be backed by explicit canon quotes/cites (canon levels G-, T-, C-, D-).

  2. Canon movie analysis (compare the physical height of the Hamill's character to the height of stormtroopers next to him, directly or by transitivity). This should ideally be accompanied by screenshots.


Please note that out of universe this is likely false. Mark Hamill, according to Googling, is 5'9", while Temuera Morrison (aka Jango Fett, the template for clone troopers) is 5'7". {insert your rant about many troopers NOT being clones in 0ABY HERE}

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I think it's entirely possible that Leia is just being herself and throwing barbs at her captors - similar to her saying that she smelled Tarkin's "foul stench when [she] was brought on board." This does not necessarily mean that Tarkin really did stink. Though, some Old Spice can never really hurt. –  phantom42 Jan 7 at 15:20
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@phantom42 - have you ever talked to someone who served on a submarine? :) –  DVK Jan 7 at 16:02
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Papaltine: "Wait a sec, you've been flying around for two weeks trying to get a signal? Oh, you must smell like feet wrapped in leathery, burnt bacon" –  phantom42 Jan 7 at 18:34
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Wait a second. Did we finally decide that the Robot Chicken skits were canon? –  John O Jan 8 at 0:54
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Ponda Baba's Bad Day is 100% canon in my mind. –  phantom42 Jan 8 at 0:55

3 Answers 3

up vote 29 down vote accepted

According to the Star Wars wikia:

While Jango's official height is 1.83 meters, his actor is significantly shorter. This can be seen in every scene Jango appears in with Obi-Wan Kenobi, who is 1.79 meters tall, and is reflected in The Cestus Deception, which states his clones as being 1.78 meters tall.

The New Essential Guide to Characters lists Luke's official height as 1.72 meters (again, according to the Star Wars wikia) which makes him considerably shorter than a Clone Trooper at least.

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Whether or not all the Stormtroopers were clones by 0ABY, the Empire did and does use non-clones to bulk out the Stormtrooper ranks.

Additionally, many Stormtroopers are not Kamino clones, but the quicker-grown Spaarti clones. The Spaarti process is not as effective and the quality is not as good. There is much more variance in Spaarti clones than Kamino clones. The troopers thus created are still exceptional soldiers, but they are not the well-trained and flexible Clone Troopers.

Some of this variance is physical - there are Stormtroopers of varying heights (as can clearly be seen on the Death Star in A New Hope). These height differences, whether explained by less-pure cloning or non-clone recruitment, are visible and present throughout the movies. It's entirely likely that the Empire has a minimum height requirement for their recruited Stormtroopers. If so, it's possible that Luke is shorter than this. That said, physical height isn't the true cause for Leia's statements.

Leia, as a Senator, sees Stormtroopers a lot. As a Rebel leader, she's likely quite interested in their actions, limitations, and training. So when Luke walks in, it would be obvious to her that he's NOT a Stormtrooper. His armor is a close, but not perfect fit. His posture is all wrong (Stormtroopers stand tall, he hunches), and he wears his armor and carries his blaster rifle like someone who isn't used to either. So long as he was hurrying through the halls, following the lead of Solo (a well-travelled starpilot who a backwater farmboy would have admired) and intent on proving himself, Luke kept his awkwardness to a minimum. The second he entered the cell and saw the object of his quest (in an attractive 18-year old form) right in front of him? All that awkwardness and farmboy shyness came to the forefront.

Leia would have immediately known there was something different about this Stormtrooper. She was still trying to resist interrogation and spite Vader and Tarkin, and may have suspected this was a ploy by them. Her initial response was based off of that assumption: a derisive comment about the intruder's physical stature. Against someone sent to interrogate her, it would have failed. Against a farm boy who'd fallen into something so much bigger than himself, and who already was self-conscious? It had exactly the effect she was going for. Luke went on the defensive, trying to justify himself.

TL;DR: Luke is probably not below the minimum acceptable Stormtrooper height (the armor fits, after all) but showed many physical signs that indicated to Leia she could get an advantage over a potential adversary by making a derisive comment. "You're short" is the one she chose.

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I like this answer but most of it seems speculative. As noted in the question, i'm not asking for rationalizations, but for canon hard data (actual heights). –  DVK Jan 7 at 15:06
    
@DVK: I've read all the G-canon novels, seen the movies, etc. There's nothing in G-canon. C-canon has many explanations, often (slightly) contradictory. –  Jeff Jan 7 at 15:46
    
I was expecting the answer for #1 approach to be C-canon, yes :) –  DVK Jan 7 at 16:00
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@DVK This doesn't seem speculative, at least if you're culturally fluent in late 20th century Californian. This is an expertly broken-down analysis of the rapid interaction in question. The psychology of Leia the prisoner that causes her to make the comment would be much more obvious if the viewer didn't know Luke was in 'trooper garb. The comment also translates readily into noting an air of "farmboy slouch." Absolutely brilliant, Jeff. I think one could say simply: "She was attacking her attacker, not measuring…" "Was her comment intentionally definitive?" I think would also be a good Q. –  NOTjust -- user4304 Jan 8 at 4:59

It was just done to emphasize Luke's role as an underdog, non "Hero" archetype kind of hero. He was not manly, tall and strong, he was just a kid.

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Canon reference? –  DVK Jan 8 at 0:21
    
@DVK The script(s). Han calls him 'kid' and 'junior'; the emperor, 'young Jedi' and 'young apprentice'. –  Mazura Sep 19 at 8:22
    
@Mazura - there are plenty young and/or underdog people who are tall. Totally irrelevant. –  DVK Sep 19 at 14:35
    
"a farm boy with heroic aspirations who looks much younger than his eighteen years" -IMSDB. Han calls him kid 14 times in the IV script. –  Mazura Sep 19 at 18:25

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