On the cover of some versions of Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader is holding something in his hand.

Star Wars novel cover art 1

Star Wars novel cover art 2

It seems to be comprised of some strings with multicolored objects hanging off of them. Do we know what it's supposed to be?

  • 42
    What is Luke holding? – Adamant Aug 27 '16 at 19:39
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    I don't think he is holding anything. I think it's part of the overplayed scenery. Vader is holding up a clenched fist and it just looks like he's holding something. But that's opinion and unverifiable. – Broklynite Aug 27 '16 at 19:40
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    @Adamant Some sort of proto-lightsaber, I'd assume. – Rogue Jedi Aug 27 '16 at 19:42
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    Looks to me like he's crushing something, and the debris is falling from his hand. – ApproachingDarknessFish Aug 28 '16 at 7:31
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    Like it or not: it's a bottle of Gin. Met this guy at an AA meeting. – Ghanima Aug 28 '16 at 22:01

In the original John Berkey painting, it appears that Vader is holding his lightsaber, stylized in a similar manner to Luke's lightsaber. (In fact, it almost looks like a solid metal blade with light glinting off it to me, but I think that's just stylization.)

Berkey's illustrations from early in the history of Star Wars were done with minimal access to information about the film as it was being made. As such, his Star Wars work is also notable for occasional inaccuracies. (For instance, one painting of the Death Star battle features multiple Millennium Falcon-like ships, since he didn't know that model was used as a unique ship in the film.)

The multicolored streaks below his hand seem to be just another stylistic flourish, typical of Berkey's painting. They may represent motion lines, as the color used is similar to the red-orange "contrails" left by the Y-Wings at the left of the image.

  • 1
    To be honest, I kinda like this version of the lightsaber better. Instead of a big colored beam, it's more of a subtle glint. – shadowtalker Aug 28 '16 at 18:44
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    I never realized that both Vader and Luke were left-handed. – aroth Aug 29 '16 at 2:02
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    @ssdecontrol then you may find the darksaber of interest. – Turambar Aug 29 '16 at 12:38

They appear to be simple motion lines. You may wish to note that they also appear on earlier (and stylistically cruder) version of the same picture by the same artist

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  • 5
    I want a print of that first one! – Joel Coehoorn Aug 28 '16 at 2:07
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    The second image looks like a scene from a really happening discotheque. – Detective Chimp Aug 28 '16 at 2:32
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    @Joecoehoorn - I get my posters and prints from www.photobox.co.uk The picture above has sufficient pixels to blow it up into a poster size. – Valorum Aug 28 '16 at 6:47
  • @DetectiveChimp You mean like one run by this guy? – Reinstate Monica -- notmaynard Aug 29 '16 at 16:41

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