On the Death Star, Luke was sucked under the surface of the sewage water in the trash compactor by a dianoga. Han and Leia tried frantically to pull him out, but couldn't find him. The water only came up to about their knees, though, so why did they have so much trouble finding Luke?

Note: the idea for this question came from http://www.moviemistakes.com/film1226/questions/pageall.

  • 3
    You're assuming that Luke stayed in the same spot. The dionga (the one-eyed monster), could have dragged him around. Also they were seen standing on a pile of garbage, so while it might look like it's only knee deep, they could have been standing on a huge mountain of trash
    – CBredlow
    May 11, 2016 at 19:09

1 Answer 1


The simplest answer is that the trash compactor isn't only a few feet deep, it's actually part of a much larger (and deeper) system.

This image from Star Wars: Inside The Worlds shows the compactor boxes at the top and some sort of larger space (perhaps another crusher or a grinder?) and finally some a holding tanks below that. Presumably the trash is flattened at the top, then drops down into the space below (for crushing/grinding), before finally being sluiced into the main waste tank once the pieces are small enough.

We can safely assume that Luke was dragged into the space below the primary compactors (e.g. where the Dianoga lives) before being released.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Thus why: "No! Shut them all down!" ?
    – Mazura
    May 11, 2016 at 22:34
  • Precisely. There are multiple compactors on the level, each for different waste types. Recyclable waste just seems to get smashed and filtered. I would assume that food waste and radioactive stuff go into different compactors prior to treatment (or just compacted and then vented into space).
    – Valorum
    May 11, 2016 at 22:36
  • It probably didn't get, or couldn't get, far enough with a struggling human. That's why it let him go, and it let him go because it had somewhere better to be. So there must be more to the system.
    – Mazura
    May 11, 2016 at 22:43
  • 1
    The evil Empire... recylces?!?
    – RedCaio
    May 11, 2016 at 22:52
  • @RedCaio - They also litter extensively, because, let's face it, they're evil.
    – Valorum
    May 11, 2016 at 22:59

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