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When Luke and Obi-Wan are planning to leave Tatooine with Han Solo in Episode IV, Obi-Wan tells Luke:

BEN You'll have to sell your speeder.

And Luke replies:

LUKE That's okay. I'm never coming back to this planet again.

What does this mean? Why would his speeder only be useful/important on Tatooine?

The stronger the canon the better, but I won't set a hard limit on what type of source I'm looking for. Please leave pure speculation to the comments.

EDIT: No one seems to understand what I'm asking here. I know that they needed the money. Here's my confusion:

Ben tells Luke that they have to sell his speeder in order to leave Tatooine. The only reason this would be a problem is if Luke was unwilling to part with the speeder.

Luke says "That's okay", alleviating a concern. He appears to be saying, "that's fine, it doesn't matter that I have to lose my speeder, and the reason I'm okay with that is because I will never return to Tatooine."

Why is this a reason to be okay with losing the speeder?

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Isn't this because he physically can't take it with him? ...and he doesn't plan on returning? Maybe I'm the only one who understood it this way. –  Gorchestopher H Feb 4 at 19:32
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It's pretty clear they need the money to pay Han –  Richard Feb 4 at 19:42
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Why is everyone answering that he needed the money to pay Han? The question is asking why Luke indicated the speeder would be useless to him later on. –  Gorchestopher H Feb 4 at 20:18
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I think the assumption that Luke's statement about never coming back was related to the speeder being useless elsewhere is purely speculative. It's entirely possible that he couldn't afford to bring it with him, in which case, if he was coming back he'd give it to a trusted friend for safe-keeping. But, since he's never coming back, he might as well sell it. Furthermore, he could just as easily have been saying, "I'm never coming back here, so I don't want to keep anything from here." Some of your responses make it sound like you're unhappy that people don't accept your premise. –  Matt Feb 4 at 20:43
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What would you do with your car if you were leaving your country never to return? –  terdon Feb 5 at 0:19
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9 Answers

I have always thought the meaning of this exchange was clear: Luke would have to sell his speeder to raise enough money for the down-payment on the trip to Alderaan.

Obi-Wan had no obvious assets. If he had a treasure chest full of gems or something, this should have been shown.

Luke was a teen-age farm boy, not rich, so he didn't have any money on hand. Possibly Luke's Aunt and Uncle had a bank account or something, but it would be impractical for Luke to try to get money from it, with the Empire looking for him and the droids. And I doubt anything valuable was left in the blasted farm.

Obi-Wan cleverly offered a deal to Han Solo: a modest sum now, and a generous sum on arrival at Alderaan. (Clearly he was counting on the royal family of Alderaan helping him out.)

Later, when Luke has sold his speeder, he complains that he didn't get very much for it, and Obi-Wan says "it's enough". I have always assumed he meant "it's enough to cover the down-payment I promised."

EDIT: The question has been edited with this new text:

Luke says "That's okay", alleviating a concern. He appears to be saying, "that's fine, it doesn't matter that I have to lose my speeder, and the reason I'm okay with that is because I will never return to Tatooine."

Why is this a reason to be okay with losing the speeder?

I don't read too much into this. It would be expensive to ship the speeder as cargo, and the speeder might not be useful on other planets (e.g. on Coruscant, you need something that can actually fly, not just hover a small distance above the ground). The only possible question would be whether Luke has a sentimental attachment to the speeder. (For example, I had a car that I drove for 20 years, and I had some sentimental attachment to it, much more than the car I am driving now.) We can take this comment as Luke reassuring Obi-Wan that he has no sentimental attachment to the speeder, and instead of saying outright "I am not attached to this speeder" Luke comments that he is never going to return. This clearly implies that there is no reason to try to store the speeder for later recovery so they might as well sell it.

Also, Luke didn't love living on Tatooine; he yearned to go elsewhere. And his Aunt and Uncle had just been killed on Tatooine, so perhaps now he not only yearns to go, he also hates to stay. I seem to recall him saying "There's nothing for me here, now."

If you like, you can also infer that maybe the speeder reminds Luke of Tatooine, and he would just as soon be rid of it for that reason.

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Reason #1: Shipping freight depends on WHAT is being transported.

Han Solo: ... She's fast enough for you old man. What's the cargo?

Obi-Wan: Only passengers. Myself, the boy, two droids... and no questions asked.

This clearly implies that (1) Han cared bout what the cargo is and (2) Obi-Wan knew enough to include non-live cargo - droids - in the answer.

It makes perfect sense - you pay extra for extra luggage even on Earth airplanes. Never mind lugging a hulking speeder all the way to Alderaan, taking away valuable cargo space that can be used for REAL contraband.

This means that it would have cost a lot extra to ship the speeder - the money which Luke clearly did NOT have.


Reason #2: Luke's plans.

He did not have specific plans... but he wanted to train as a Jedi and presumably eventually join a Rebellion as a pilot like Biggs Darklighter. Given how Rebellion existed (see evacuation from Hoth) having a personal speeder wouldn't have been of any use - not like Luke had his own X-Wing he could use when he joined the Rebellion, the way Corran Horn did.

Luke: I want to come with you to Alderaan. There's nothing for me here now. I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi like my father.

The bolded part also proves he had no intention to come back to Tatooine.


Reason #3: Landspeeders like Sorosuub are not rare, and thus fungible. Given the remoteness of Tatooine, the same speeder would probably cost less in better parts of the galaxy, since there would be no mark-up for delivering it to out-of-the-way hole far from everywhere. So it would be cheaper for Luke to sell one now; and buy one later for probably less money elsewhere; than to pay freight even if he could afford one

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I just don't see a lot of this. They're trapped in the city, they need money and they don't have any. What have they got to sell other than their lightsaber? Simple - Selling Luke's speeder should get them enough cash to get to Alderaan and link up with the rebellion –  Richard Feb 4 at 21:45
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@Richard - I don't see how what you said in any way contradicts what I said. But the question wasn't at all "why did they need to sell" –  DVK Feb 4 at 22:31
    
But you're arguing that he's got other reasons to sell than the simple need for ready cash so that they don't get caught by the empire and killed/tortured for information. –  Richard Feb 4 at 22:44
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@Richard , the question is not about why he chose to sell the speeder, it's why luke felt he didn't need the speeder anymore. They're related but separate questions. –  phantom42 Feb 4 at 23:00
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@Chad - any small freighter I am aware of in RL cares about cargo volume and size even absent legality. YT wasn't big enough that Han wouldn't care. –  DVK Feb 5 at 13:10
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He doesn't say it's useless off Tatooine.

The answer is right in his quote:

That's okay. I'm never coming back to this planet again.

Let's go over what's going on.

  • His aunt and uncle have just been killed
  • His best friend is off fighting in the rebellion
  • He is smitten with the hot girl in the hologram his sister
  • He has been recruited by an aged Jedi to finally escape Tatooine, a planet he apparently has little love for
  • He and Obi-Wan have booked passage as low-profile passengers. The less luggage they have, the better

Look at it as though he was a refugee booking passage on a ship across the ocean. The refugee might own a car in their home country. The car isn't useless in the destination country, but

  • There is no easy way to transport it
  • There will likely be little use for that specific vehicle. Another vehicle may be procured in the new country

So, if there's no reason to come back to Tatooine and no reason/way to take it with him. It's not useless, but there's no reason to keep it.

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Luke has a sister?!?!?! +1 –  DVK Feb 5 at 19:27
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I can only suggest that a book whose author (on the cover at least, if not wholly in fact) is George Lucas is fairly canonical. I therefore give you Alan Dean Foster's George Lucas' own explanation of Luke's thinking:

"But two thousand — and fifteen more when we reach Alderaan!"

"It's not the fifteen that worries me; it's the first two," Kenobi explained. "I'm afraid you'll have to sell your speeder."

Luke let his gaze rove over the landspeeder, but the thrill it had once given him was gone — gone along with other things best not dwelt on.

"It's all right," he assured Kenobi listlessly. "I don't think I'll need it again."

That's the start of chapter 7, on page 103 of Star Wars: from the adventures of Luke Skywalker.

As revealed by the different dialogue here in the novelization not even mentioning the planet, the premise of your question is simply wrong. There's no reason to think that Luke's landspeeder will be useless off Tatooine. It's all about it now being useless to Luke.

Of course, we know that landspeeders work off Tatooine. We even know that Luke encounters and uses landspeeders off Tatooine, later in his life. He does a very brief stint as a landspeeder mechanic on Nam Chorios in Planet of Twilight, for example.

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This is the only answer so far not based on speculation. –  nmclean Feb 6 at 14:30
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Tatooine has a mantle with a uniquely-high concentration of tetrahedral quartz, which serves as an amplifier for magnetic repulsion technology. Repulsors on more sophisticated planets typically use anti-gravity projection as a means of levitation; instead of relying on magnetic repulsion.

^ I completely made-up the above text to demonstrate that I do understand the nuance of your question.

Here is my answer: I believe it is generally understood that Luke needed the money and/or could not physically take his speeder with him in the Millennium Falcon and/or simply would not have the need to use speeders at his new destination.

I believe you are reading too much into the bolded word in the following quote:

That's okay. I'm never coming back to this planet again.

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+1 for getting the OP's intent, immediately addressing it, and concisely pointing out the potential misunderstanding/misreading. By very far, the best answer on this page. –  billisphere Feb 5 at 14:27
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Yeah, this is what I was going for, but concise. –  MrBoJangles Feb 5 at 17:29
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And yes, this is the best answer. –  MrBoJangles Feb 5 at 17:33
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Luke's response has nothing whatsoever to do with his speeder being "useless off of Tatooine". He's simply acknowledging that it's fine with him to part with his (bulky and potentially valuable) possessions, since he's not coming back.

Think about it:

STREET, KANSAS, ON THE WAY TO THE AIRPORT.

BEN [Concerned about paying for the flight to LA.]: You will have to sell your car.

LUKE : That's okay. I'm never coming back to Kansas again.

This carries no implication that cars are useless in LA.


UPDATE: The question has been significantly edited to repair this error in logic, and is now about something different.

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How's this different from @phantom42's answer? –  DVK Feb 5 at 19:28
    
@DVK: This answer points out that there is a logical flaw in reasoning behind the question. There is simply no implication that the speeder is "useless off of Tatooine": that does not follow from anything in the dialog. The other answer is about why it might make sense not to take the speeder; this one is about what any similar statement would mean. –  raxacoricofallapatorius Feb 5 at 20:44
    
I am sorry, this example simply does not work. The conversation makes absolutely no sense. Kansas to LA is AFAIK eminently drivable. –  Taemyr Feb 6 at 2:42
    
@Taemyr: In the example, they're flying. And in any case, the point is that there's an error of logic in the original question. Given the conversation, there is no implication that the car/speeder is "useless" at the destination. –  raxacoricofallapatorius Feb 6 at 3:23
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I always thought it was pretty clear that Ben and luke needed the money to pay for passage off of the planet. Han is offering a pretty steep price but Ben talks him into accepting a far more modest sum up-front with a bigger payment on their arrival at Alderaan.

The stormtroopers look over at the booth but Luke and Ben are gone. The bartender shrugs his shoulders in puzzlement.

HAN: Seventeen thousand! Those guys must really be desperate. This could really save my neck. Get back to the ship and get her ready.

EXTERIOR: TATOOINE -- MOS EISLEY -- STREET.

BEN: You'll have to sell your speeder

LUKE: That's okay. I'm never coming back to this planet again.

Shortly aferwards we see Luke negotiating with a Vuvrian for the sale value, which they presumably give to Han.

enter image description here

EXT. TATOOINE - MOS EISLEY - STREET - ALLEYWAY - USED SPEEDER LOT

Ben and Luke are standing in a sleazy used speeder lot, talking with a tall, grotesque, insect-like used speeder dealer. Strange exotic bodies and spindly-legged beasts pass by as the insect concludes the sale by giving Luke some coins.

LUKE : He says it's the best he can do. Since the XP-38 came out, they're just not in demand.

BEN : It will be enough.

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I don't think I saw this answer yet on this page. The way I am reading it which may have an answer for you other than they needed the money is that, all other things aside, Luke at this point has never been off the planet Tatooine and was raised a farmer. I think the comment was meant to be taken as an innocent comment from someone who all this was new for:

(Paraphrase) "I'm leaving the planet, I better sell my speeder." Actual "LUKE That's okay. I'm never coming back to this planet again."

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I always looked at it this way.

If making a permanent move overseas, few people would consider taking an automobile with them.

I see Luke's decision following similar logic.

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How's this different from @phantom42's answer? –  DVK Feb 5 at 19:28
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protected by Keen Feb 5 at 22:02

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