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In Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi Luke Skywalker is captured by Jabba the Hutt and taken to the Sea of Dune to be thrown into the Pit of Carkoon to be digested over a thousand years.

In Jabba's court he is brought in front of Jabba with his hands handcuffed behind him. After a brief conversation where Luke tells Jabba he should have negotiated the scene ends and cuts to Luke, Han Solo, and Chewbacca all on a ship heading to the Pit of Carkoon.

C3PO: "You will, therefore, be taken to the Dune Sea and cast into the Pit of Carkoon, the nesting place of the all powerful Sarlacc."

When they arrive at the pit Jabba offers to let the trio beg for their lives. Luke is still on the ship with his hands tied behind his back.

As he walks out on the plank his hands are miraculously no longer cuffed. He has his hands at his sides. It appears at this point Chewbacca and Han Solo who were also cuffed are also no longer cuffed.

Luke jumps off the plank, grabs the plank with his hands, flips up, grabs the light saber flipped to him by R2D2 and pandemonium ensues.

How did Luke's hands get freed? Why would somebody take the cuffs off of him?

Luke Skywalker

  • 2
    Clearly, one of the guard wanted a souvenir. – Rogue Jedi Sep 12 '15 at 17:00
  • 19
    Handcuffs give the sarlacc indigestion. – Kevin Sep 12 '15 at 17:07
  • The Haikou Pit? Say what? – Ras Morthil Sep 12 '15 at 19:52
  • @RasMorthil LOL. I just corrected it, thx. I played it back at least five times and couldn't understand exactly what 3PO was saying. After I put the question together I looked up the correct spelling of everything and forgot to change it in the body. LOL – JMFB Sep 12 '15 at 21:58
  • In light of the Disney canon explanation, I thought you might like to reconsider your acceptance. – Valorum Mar 21 '16 at 15:46
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As best I can tell, the loss of the handcuffs actually happens earlier, during the speech where Jabba is offering to let them beg for their lives as seen in this image:

enter image description here

Luke’s arms couldn’t be that far apart with his hands still cuffed. Before that, it’s mildly ambiguous as to whether the cuffs are still on. Luke keeps his wrists crossed, as he’s hustled toward the plank.

enter image description here

I can’t find any indication of the cuffs being removed, but there was enough time while Jabba was speaking for it to have happened. As to why they might have remove the cuffs, maybe they’re just being overly thrifty, not wanting to lose the cuffs to the Sarlacc pit and figuring the humans to be helpless without their weapons. Still, you’d think that they’d at least not uncuff the Wookiee.

One version of the script has the following:

25 EXT SARLACC PIT 25

The convoy moves up over a huge sand pit. The Sail Barge stops to one side of the depression, as does the escort skiff. But the prisoner’s skiff moves out directly over the center and hovers. At the bottom of the deep cone of sand is a repulsive, mucouslined hole, surrounded by thousands of needle-sharp teeth. This is the SARLACC. A plank is extended from the edge of the prisoner’s skiff. Guards release Luke’s bonds and shove him out onto the plank above the Sarlacc’s mouth.

Either way, it’s pretty clear that everyone would have seen that they were no longer cuffed and no one reacts, so it’s either a continuity error or it was intentional on the part of Jabba’s goons.

  • +1 correct answer. Since you gave your theory that it was to be "thrifty" before the other answer, and you also posted the movie script before the other answer did, I am awarding you with the correct answer. Good Job. – JMFB Oct 10 '15 at 0:03
  • 3
    Plus the hand-drawn circle. :-P – FuzzyBoots Oct 10 '15 at 2:02
  • @Adamant: Smart-quotes? – FuzzyBoots Oct 3 '16 at 5:01
  • I corrected the spelling of “Wookiee.” You had spelled it “Wookie.” The smart quotes just are a bonus from some browser extension. – Adamant Oct 3 '16 at 5:05
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According to the film's junior novelisation, it was the guards (note, not Lando) that released his handcuffs.

A long, narrow metal plank was extended from the edge of the prisoners’ skiff. The spear-wielding guards then released Luke’s bonds and shoved him onto the plank.

There's confirmation in the film's new junior novelisation (along with an explanation why they removed them)

The leather-faced guard and another even tougher-looking one who might be his brother—or sister?—have selected Luke as the first course and push him toward a plank that has extended from the side of the skiff.

One of the guards—guided by a Jedi mind trick—decides to remove Luke’s handcuffs.

This is backed up in the film's official novelisation;

An iron plank was extended over the side of the prisoners’ skiff. Two guards untied Luke’s bonds and shoved him gruffly out onto the plank, straight above the orifice in the sand, now beginning to undulate in peristaltic movement and salivate with increased mucus secretion as it smelled the meat it was about to receive.


As far as the film is concerned, this appears to be the scene where his cuffs are removed. We can't really see much from the long-shot, but before this scene his hands are cuffed behind his back, afterwards he's able to put his hands by his sides, slightly in front of him.

enter image description here

Which ties up nicely with the official shooting script's description of the scene

25: EXT[erior] SARLACC PIT

The convoy moves up over a huge sand pit. The Sail Barge stops to one side of the depression, as does the escort skiff. But the prisoner's skiff moves out directly over the center and hovers. At the bottom of the deep cone of sand is a repulsive, mucous-lined hole, surrounded by thousands of needle-sharp teeth. This is the SARLACC. A plank is extended from the edge of the prisoner's skiff. Guards release Luke's bonds and shove him out onto the plank above the Sarlacc's mouth.

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