Twice we see Rico get severely wounded by bugs and left behind by his squad-mates. After the second time this happens, he is listed as KIA, and then turns up in a healing tank. No explanation is made or implied regarding his rescue. In fact, given the visible scene, it seems impossible that he was rescued before bleeding to death.

Was something left on the cutting room floor?

  • 2
    It's been a while since I watched the film, but I seem to recall that when Rico joins the roughnecks, he is told that Rasczak saved his life. Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 16:41
  • @IanThompson - Rasczak's Roughnecks. Huuh
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 24, 2021 at 19:43

2 Answers 2


Lieutenant Rasczak saved him, according to other Roughnecks.

From the film's script, right after Johnny Rico is released from the healing chamber and he and Ace and Dizzy join Roughnecks. Here's the script's scene:

Ace: So, I hear your lieutenant is a real nut-buster
Birdie belts him, and Ace goes down.
Birdie: No one talks about the Lieutenant that way. He saved my life!
Sugar: Mine, too.
Other Roughnecks: Same for me. Me, too.
Ace: Well, sounds like he is quite a guy.
Birdie (to Johnny): Who do you think saved your ass?
("Starship Troopers" screenplay by Edward Neumeier, Production Draft 4/17/1996)

The comic adaptation wasn't that specific, it simply said "someone found him and stitched him up" and omitted that "saved your ass" scene.

Totally ironically, this is one of the small, insignificant plot details that the film script actually gets somewhat correct from Heinlein's book (while getting everything meaningful wrong) - RAH heavily implies that Lieutenant saved likely Rico's life in the book, if not physically then metaphorically:

I'm glad I did it that way, because if I hadn't, I wouldn't have been along when the Lieutenant bought it . . . and that would have been just too much to be borne. It happened very fast and just before retrieval. A man in the third squad was wounded, not badly but he was down; the assistant section leader moved in to pick up — and bought a small piece of it himself. The Lieutenant, as usual, was watching everything at once — no doubt he had checked physicals on each of them by remote, but we'll never know. What he did was to make sure that the assistant section leader was still alive; then made pickup on both of them himself, one in each arm of his suit.
He threw them the last twenty feet and they were passed into the retrieval boat — and with everybody else in, the shield gone and no interdiction, was hit and died instantly.
I haven't mentioned the names of the private and of the assistant section leader on purpose. The Lieutenant was making pickup on all of us, with his last breath. Maybe I was the private. It doesn't matter who he was. What did matter was that our family had had its head chopped off. The head of the family from which we took our name, the father who made us what we were.
("Starship Troopers" by Robert Heinlein, Chapter 10)

However, the movie's "Lieutenant Rasczak" character was actually a rather poor amalgamation of three different book characters, Rico's MP teacher (Col DuBois), his first commander (Lieutenant Rasczak) and Sgt/Lt Jelal.

  • What really bakes my noodle is, why is Lieutenant Rasczak walking around a home base brandishing around a rifle in his hand? Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 17:15
  • 1
    "RAH heavily implies that Saved likely Rico's life in the book" - did you mix up some words here?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jul 24, 2021 at 19:32
  • @Randal'Thor - Skooba bit me? :) Commented Jul 24, 2021 at 19:40

This was addressed in the film's original script. In short, Johnny was spotted by the troopers of the 2nd Brigade who'd been sent to relieve them after their position was overrun. The Lieutenant personally saved him although it's not particularly clear whether he was recognised.

JOHNNY: Medic... MEDIC...!

Now two more Arachnid warriors close in on him through the enveloping smoke. He fires his pulse rifle empty, and dropping it, crawls desperately, dragging his useless leg.

JOHNNY: Oh, God... Oh, God, help me... please help me...!

A third Arachnid warrior rears up in front of him, deadly jaws slashing down toward him, when suddenly it is blown to pieces in the blinding blast of a point-blank pulse cannon.

VOICE (O.S.): Take my hand!

Johnny reaches out. A STEEL HAND takes his, dragging him back as bugs attack. His rescuers's pulse cannon thunders overhead. Bug parts fly as insects swarm in for the kill.

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