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, 2016 at 19:39
  • 2
    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, 2016 at 19:40
  • 6
    @Adamant Some sort of proto-lightsaber, I'd assume.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Aug 27, 2016 at 19:42
  • 2
    Looks to me like he's crushing something, and the debris is falling from his hand. Aug 28, 2016 at 7:31
  • 1
    Like it or not: it's a bottle of Gin. Met this guy at an AA meeting.
    – Ghanima
    Aug 28, 2016 at 22:01

2 Answers 2


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. Aug 28, 2016 at 18:44
  • 10
    I never realized that both Vader and Luke were left-handed.
    – aroth
    Aug 29, 2016 at 2:02
  • 2
    @ssdecontrol then you may find the darksaber of interest.
    – Turambar
    Aug 29, 2016 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! Aug 28, 2016 at 2:07
  • 24
    The second image looks like a scene from a really happening discotheque. Aug 28, 2016 at 2:32
  • 3
    @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, 2016 at 6:47
  • @DetectiveChimp You mean like one run by this guy? Aug 29, 2016 at 16:41

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