Take the 2-minute tour ×
Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

At the end of Star Wars Episode 6: Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader threw the Emperor into a pit. Why was there a pit in the Emperor's VIP chamber on the Death Star?

share|improve this question
25  
Maybe the same reason Jabba the Hutt has one. Sometimes you just want to see captives thrown into a pit for entertainment. Or it might have been a mix-up with the plans. The pit was meant to be in the next chamber over, but someone misread the blueprints. If you think building an extension to your house is bad, try constructing a Death Star... –  Royal Canadian Bandit Apr 22 at 8:14
2  
Maybe it was the air conditioning vent for the throne room. –  Selezen Apr 22 at 8:26
21  
Slightly more serious speculation: The Death Star was still under construction, so maybe this was a temporary throne room and/or they were planning to wall off the pit later. (There was a fantastic Robot Chicken sketch in which the Emperor has to yell at a construction crew to keep the noise down while he is monologuing at Luke.) –  Royal Canadian Bandit Apr 22 at 8:29
3  
For the same reason there is a ridiculous amount of metal scaffolding and sheer drops in Cloud City, Eric Bana's ship in the Star Trek relaunch, and many other shows; dramatic fight scenes. As a galactic Emperor, Palpatine knew full-well his throne room needed to be decked out to the nines for a dramatic fight scene. –  James Sheridan Apr 22 at 11:00
6  
This is explicitly called out in TVTropes' page on No OSHA Compliance –  Avner Shahar-Kashtan Apr 22 at 11:59

4 Answers 4

up vote 37 down vote accepted

Well we can rule out it being a temporary throne room, as it is described in immense detail in the following article (also referenced by Max's answer):

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Imperial_throne_room_%28Death_Star_II%29

Considering the following excerpt:

Surrounding the throne room and its neighboring rooms was the abyss, an open shaft surrounding the turbolifts, which led directly to the Death Star's power core, 400 km (250 miles) below. The receiving area, or inner sanctum, was separated by a retractable walkway. The Receiving area was used for meetings with local system governors and/or the Emperor's advisors.

From this I would surmise that, being a Sith Emperor who rules the galaxy through fear, the Emperor intentionally constructed his throne room with an "abyss" in it in order to intimidate the governors and other people who would enter that room.

The fact that he could so easily be thrown into it served as even more of a "fuck you" to those people as it showed that he considered them to be of utterly no threat to him at all.

share|improve this answer
4  
I'm willing to buy "because intimidation". And Palpatine looks a lot like Monty Burns, so... –  joshbirk Apr 22 at 19:34
12  
It's probably fair to say that the Emperor never considered the possibility he'd be overpowered. Remember this is the guy who beat Yoda! He probably assumed he'd be the one doing the throwing... –  Liath Apr 23 at 7:04
    
"Madness? THIS IS THE EMPIRE!" –  Michael Paulukonis Apr 28 at 20:50
2  
Is ANY of that "immense" detail actually referenced properly aside from "I'm describing in words what I see in the movie"? –  DVK Dec 8 at 0:46
    
@Liath, yes. The pit is clearly there for the Emperor to throw people into. –  A E Dec 8 at 22:47

Numerous areas throughout the Death Star consisted of vast air shafts. These shafts helped circulate air, pressurise the battle station's habitable sections, and also channeled heat that expended from generators located within the shafts.

Imperial Death Star Owners Workshop Manual, p.82

share|improve this answer
9  
Okay, but was that necessary in Emperor's VIP chamber? –  Sachin Shekhar Apr 22 at 10:09
4  
In case the Emperor himself needed to "demote" some generals. –  Chahk Apr 22 at 13:12
14  
It was necessary for the Emperor to feed the ducks. Old people like to feed ducks, and there were many ducks in the pond at the bottom of that pit. –  James Sheridan Apr 22 at 13:20
1  
At least the pit makes more sense than there being a Death Star Owners Workshop Manual. Like the Emperor is going to tinker with his Death Star in his own workshop. –  mcv Apr 22 at 13:43
10  
@JamesSheridan: Probably a typo. Should be "feed the ducts" –  Einer Apr 22 at 14:12

If I remember correctly, the Emperor's chamber was at the top of a tall spire on Death Star II.

The "pit" was simply the tower shaft.

See: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Imperial_throne_room_(Death_Star_II)

share|improve this answer
1  
OK. But as I understand it the question is, why have a huge opening to the pit, into which people can easily fall (or be thrown)? –  Royal Canadian Bandit Apr 22 at 14:10
4  
Palpatine is evil. The pit is impressive, scary, and good for throwing people into. The psychological effect of all that on people visiting the throne room is probably deliberate. Of course, he was probably arrogant enough that the idea someone might one day throw him into it never even occurred to him. –  anaximander Apr 22 at 15:59
1  
@anaximander Yep. I know if I were the Emperor, and they asked me if I wanted a pit or no pit, I'd want the pit. Well, I'd want one of those hyper-fast blast doors for it too, installed horizontally and to look more or less like ordinary floor... –  Dronz Nov 14 at 6:51

Intimidation. Long, deadly drops cause unease in those coming before the emperor. Especially when he has force powers to flick people off the edge.

It's the usual half-baked plan by an evil villain that backfires when he becomes a victim of it

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.