Why didn't Luke kill the Wampa?

A Wampa, minus one Wampa arm

  • 4
    Womprats are on Tatooine. This is a wampa. – phantom42 Nov 14 '16 at 22:04
  • 16
    No need to, once he had it... disarmed. – SQB Nov 14 '16 at 22:17
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    Because Jedi don't go around mindlessly killing things? – Valorum Nov 14 '16 at 22:26
  • 3
    My first comment on seeing this scene in the remade TESB was "It's just a flesh wound". – Spencer Nov 15 '16 at 0:02
  • 1
    Most humans would be likely to die from losing an arm even with modern medicine. The wampa could very well have died. – Todd Wilcox Nov 15 '16 at 6:13

He didn’t need to

Luke could sense that the wampa was afraid of him:

The wampa staggers back, staring. The lightsaber is so sharp, so hot, that it has cauterized the wound. There is no blood. But there is no arm either. The great beast is in pain. And now it is afraid of you. Very afraid.

Keeping your eyes trained on the savage ice beast, your lightsaber raised high, you slowly back out of the cave.

So You Want to Be a Jedi?

As such, he didn’t need to keep fighting it, since it had (at least temporarily) stopped trying to attack him. Besides, if he’d kept trying to kill it (for no good reason, which probably wouldn’t be a very Jedi thing to do), it might have attacked in order to defend itself, which would have put him at greater risk of injury or death.

In addition, if you look at the scene, it appears that he’s in a definite hurry1 to get away from the wampa:

He’s still wary of it, and doesn’t have any great desire to stay near it in order to kill it.

1: Yes, this does contradict the idea that he “slowly backed out of the cave.” At best, he “quickly backed out of the cave.”

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  • Hmm... I thought he was frightened that's why he ran away in such a hurry, but if that wasn't the case couldn't he stay at his cave, that would have kept him warm? or maybe not because of the search droids? though i don't think he knew about them at that moment – Qwerty Nov 14 '16 at 22:13
  • @Qwerty - In both the canon novelization and the film, he’s frightened (that’s why he keeps his lightsaber raised and his eyes on the wampa as he leaves the cave in the novelization). In the movie, he’s a bit less composed, though. – Adamant Nov 14 '16 at 22:15

The film's original junior novelisation indicates that Luke was heavily motivated by a simple desire to get away from the Wampa, presumably because he was fearful of it. Note his "scurrying".

The severed limb landed on the snow with a muffled thud. Howling in pain, the wampa clutched at its open wound.

Not wasting a precious second, Luke deactivated the lightsaber and scurried away from the wailing beast. He moved by instinct, pushing his way through snow and ice until he tumbled out through the mouth of the cave and into …

A blizzard.

The Empire Strikes Back - Junior Novelisation

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  • I used to use the previous novelizations, but I came across some quotes saying that Disney wasn’t bound to the previous novelizations, giving examples of things like Owen being Obi-Wan’s brother and Yoda having blue skin. – Adamant Nov 14 '16 at 23:47
  • @Adamant - The general principle is that they're canon(ish) where they elaborate on what's seen on screen. twitter.com/delreystarwars/status/461579307341840384 + twitter.com/pablohidalgo/status/712038897065304067. That doesn't make them not canon per se – Valorum Nov 15 '16 at 0:04
  • Right, but if a fact is found in the old novelizations, but not the films, it’s not canon. So I wouldn’t be so sure about relying on them for explanations of a character’s mental state, for example. Though in this case, there’s an arguable conflict between one of the new novelizations and the original film. I wonder what their policy is on that.... – Adamant Nov 15 '16 at 0:06
  • @Adamant - In this instance, the earlier novelisation doesn't conflict with sources that are definitely canon (e.g. the film, the newer novelisation or the Star Wars in 100 Scenes factbook). - "you slowly back out of the cave." – Valorum Nov 15 '16 at 0:07
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    @Adamant - I rather suspect that they didn't want to just come out and say "They're not canon" for a couple of reasons: 1) Because the first one is supposedly written by George Lucas and 2) Because these books have been in the top 250 bestseller lists for the last 4 decades, netting the studio tens of millions of dollars. – Valorum Nov 15 '16 at 0:14

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