In the Mos Eisley cantina, right when Luke sits down at the bar, Ponda Baba (who appears to be the companion of Doctor Evazan, the man with the mangled face) indicates his displeasure with Luke or something related to him, leading the man to confront him:

…I don't like you either. You watch yourself; we're wanted men…

Why does Evazan escalate this situation so quickly to outright threatening Luke's life? I can't imagine it would stem from anything Luke said (he tried his best to defuse the situation, but he was clearly a little uncomfortable with it). Obviously he was quite a hothead and maybe even a little bloodthirsty (how else do you have the death sentence in 12 systems), but did either being have a legitimate complaint?

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    I don't know any canon sources beyond the movies themselves, but my read on this situation is that they were two bad-ass, villainous types who saw a young, innocent farm boy wander into their cantina in "the bad part of town" (a.k.a. all of Mos Eisley.) And so they initiated contact, intending to start a fight, beat Luke senseless and steal anything of value he might have. Because that's what bad-ass villainous types do. If not for Obi-Wan's intervention, their plan probably would have been a rousing success.
    – Steve-O
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 2:33
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    I must say I like Robot Chicken's take on that scene.
    – plannapus
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 15:08
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    xkcd.com/1583 Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 18:07
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    Bullies gonna bully. They don't need a reason.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 21:54
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    I just figured this was typical barroom behaviour, no? The only place I've ever seen a person draw a gun out of spite or anger is... guess where.
    – Octopus
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 23:28

5 Answers 5


Not really

According to his Databank article, Ponda Baba (the Aqualish who initially accosts Luke) was basically just bored:

Bored and looking for excitement, Ponda picked a fight with Luke, which Evazan quickly escalated.

And according to Evazan's Databank article (Doctor Evazan being the disfigured human), they assumed that Luke (a young farmboy) would be an easy target:

The doctor and his pal Ponda Baba assumed the young farmboy would be an easy target, and paid little heed to the old man in dusty robes who’d accompanied young Luke into the bar.

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    @CHEESE Last sentence of the question is "did the man or his companion have a legitimate complaint?" Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 2:41
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    Ever since I first saw that movie as a kid, I took it for granted that those guys didn't know or care who Luke was, and weren't really angry at him personally for any reason . . . they just wanted to amuse themselves by scaring, maiming, and/or killing a youngster who looked like a soft target. I'd never bothered to read up on those guys (didn't even remember their names, if I ever knew) but the quotes from Databank articles are perfectly consistent with what I always believed.
    – Lorendiac
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 4:08
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    @Lorendiac They didn't even have to maim him. Like you said, they're just bored, and having fun messing with a "noob" to their bar.
    – krillgar
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 13:12

I think they were drunk

They were, after all, in a canteen, i.e. a place that sells alcoholic (and probably other intoxicating) drinks. They had been there for quite some time, so could have been drunk. then Luke sits down a bit too near, and they didn't like that.

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    ...and some people are just mean drunks.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 14:26
  • I chose Jason's answer because he researched it out, but I like your opinion.
    – Bob
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 16:04
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    That's actually in the original script.
    – Tensigh
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 8:36

This scene is simply an extrapolation of existing human behavior, as is the entire bar scene. Many times (in the past, of course) I have seen drunk or drinking men become agitated and try to provoke seemingly weaker bar patrons with bullying or aggressive words and sometimes actions. Everything in this scene could happen in any number of bars on earth, except that on earth the patrons are not aliens (probably, lol). This scene, again, reminds me a little of a cross between Rick's place in Casablanca, and some random bar from an old Western movie.

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    It wouldn't surprise me if some species were naturally more aggressive than others. Add alcohol (or anything like that) and of course bad things would happen.
    – Bob
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 16:11

In the script, George Lucas wrote that they were drunk.

A large, multiple-eyed Creature gives Luke a rough shove.

Negola dewaghi wooldugger?!?

The hideous freak is obviously drunk. Luke tries to ignore
the creature and turns back on his drink. A short, grubby
Human and an even smaller rodent-like beast join the
belligerent monstrosity.

Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope, Revised Fourth Draft, January 15, 1976

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    I can't provide the page number, but the script can be found here, and it's listed in the script: imsdb.com/scripts/Star-Wars-A-New-Hope.html George Lucas wrote the script alone to my knowledge.
    – Tensigh
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 11:40
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    I've included the relevant quote for you, although I do not know where the IMSDB get its sources. Anyway, once properly sourced, this is a very good answer.
    – SQB
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 21:05
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    This made me wonder how reliable a source the IMSDb is.
    – SQB
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 21:20
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    I read a copy of the script once in a book. But if you look in the script it's there; imdb was just the first place I found it (I was at work when I looked it up).
    – Tensigh
    Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 3:38
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    @SQB Thanks for the edit.
    – Tensigh
    Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 3:38

I suppose this scene is a bit trope-ish now, but basically it's the idea of discrimination against the weakling.

Would be very interesting for Old Man Luke to run into these two in episode 8 or 9. Let them try and be a jerk to him now.

  • 1
    We try to post answers that are backed by evidence. Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 5:17

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