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Wookieepedia states that

Luke Skywalker demonstrated [force choke]

and later, to back up that claim, goes on to say

Luke Skywalker entered Jabba's Palace, where he was met by two Gamorrean guards who blocked his way. Luke raised his hand and the two Gamorrean guards clutched their throats and fell back.

However the only citation Wookieepedia provides is "Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi" so essentially they're basing the claim entirely their own interpretation of simply watching the scene in Episode VI. Even by the page's own description, there's not enough evidence to support a claim that Luke used Force Choke on Jabba's guards.

Luke simply raised his hand toward each guard, suggesting some kind of Force technique.

The guards had their hands near their throats but I wouldn't say they "clutched their throats". They stumbled backward. This all could be because Luke used Force Choke on them OR it could be something else. Perhaps he used a sort of Force Push to move them away. Some say the guards make choking sounds but it also could just be their normal pig-like gurgling/slurping noises. It could be either way.

Is there any more concrete evidence stating what exactly Luke did to Jabba's guards? I would prefer sources that go beyond simply watching the scene and interpreting what is seen. For example sources from interviews, books, novelizations, or even games would be most helpful. Canon or Legends sources are acceptable.

  • 2
    It certainly looked like they were choking to me!
    – Liath
    Nov 21, 2015 at 9:09
  • 2
    "None so blind as those who will not see."
    – brian_o
    Nov 21, 2015 at 13:45
  • 1
    @brian_o Care to elaborate what you mean by that?
    – RedCaio
    Nov 23, 2015 at 17:18
  • Interestingly, neither of the junior novelisations nor the script have any reference to the guards choking. That being said, it certainly looks like they're choking.
    – Valorum
    Dec 17, 2015 at 0:03
  • To me it looked more like Luke was crushing one guard's heart
    – Nu'Daq
    Dec 1, 2021 at 2:34

3 Answers 3


The transcript implies that he used a Jedi mind-trick, or something similar:

Luke raises his hand and points at the puzzled guards, who immediately lower their spears and fall back. The young Jedi lowers his hand and moves on down the hallway.

It seems he used the Force to either calm them or mind-control them into moving away. There is no indication that he Force-choked them, and as a Jedi, he probably wouldn't anyway.

The Legends novel Heir to the Empire supports this.

A strange memory flicked through his mind: walking into Jabba's palace on Tatooine five years ago, using the Force to befuddle the Gamorrean guards.

Later in the page, he described "touching their minds."

  • 2
    "He definitely didn't Force-choke them, as this wouldn't be a very Jedi thing to do." I totally agree, but some say the Force Choke and dark robes was to make the audience believe he might actually succumb to the Dark Side in RotJ. Thanks for the great answer!
    – RedCaio
    Nov 21, 2015 at 2:12
  • 3
    Luke was known to use a form of Force Lightning called electric judgement, so he did straddle the line. Remember that he was often 'winging' it in the early years without full guidance about how to be a Jedi, he had to rebuild the Order and much of its ideas and practices.
    – Phyneas
    Nov 21, 2015 at 2:13

From the James Kahn novelization (are novelizations still canon?) :

Luke raised his hand and pointed at the guards.Before either could draw a weapon, they were both clutching their own throats, choking, gasping. They fell to their knees.

Does not sound like a "mind-trick" to me.

  • 4
    Hmmm, it seems as though they originally planned for it to be a simple mind trick (see Rogue Jedi's source) but in the film they wanted it to be unclear whether or not Luke was using mind trick or Force choke in order to make the audience believe he might actually succumb to the Dark Side in RotJ. Interesting.
    – RedCaio
    Nov 21, 2015 at 19:46

He does choke them, but...

The Gamorreans clearly act as if in pain or choking, which probably was used as a callback to Vader choking Motti to make the audience feel as if Luke was falling to the Dark Side.

In any case, the so called "force choke" seems to be just an application of telekinesis, not a unique power that only dark siders can master. It would be no different from using the force to pull a weapon away, restrain someone or freeze a blaster bolt in middair. Videogames just make it a unique power for gameplay reasons.

What makes any force power "dark" is the emotion behind it, and Luke was pretty calm through the ordeal.

In conclusion, everything points at Luke slightly choking the guards to intimidate them. What is really interesting is the tendency of people to treat this use of the force as something special, regardless of intent.

  • 4
    Vader was pretty calm when he was choking Motti out... :P
    – Skooba
    Jan 13, 2017 at 15:54
  • @Skooba - Not just calm, but positively gleeful (for Vader)
    – Valorum
    Jan 13, 2017 at 16:14
  • 1
    @Skooba We can all agree that Vader had, by that point, better control over his emotions than Luke "not my sister! raaargh!" Skywalker XD
    – Oskuro
    Jan 14, 2017 at 20:17

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