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Whilst watching Empire I noted that Luke climbs what appears to be a rigid ladder to get into his X-Wing when leaving Dagobah (after learning that Han, Leia, Chewie and C-3P0 may be in danger at Bespin).

Once he enters the cockpit, how does the ladder retract?

The ladder looks too rigid to be folded??

  • 5
    By the magic of handwaving. – Jon Kiparsky Apr 30 '17 at 23:00
  • If I designed this thing it would be a rope ladder that is just lifted into the cockpit and drops into a cubbyhole. – Joshua May 1 '17 at 4:21
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The junior novelisation confirms that it's "retractable" (as opposed to being manually attached and then discarded).

Quite how this is actually accomplished isn't immediately obvious but I'd assume that it collapses into a smaller size and then slots into the body of the X-Wing somewhere near the top.

Yoda answered, “If you honor what they fight for … yes!”

Luke reached for the lower rung of the X-wing’s retractable ladder and looked away from Ben and Yoda.

Empire Strikes Back - Junior Novelisation


Interestingly, a deleted scene from Return of the Jedi has Luke climbing a similar ladder and then simply discarding it. No explanation is offered for this discrepancy.

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  • Many thanks for your answer there. I never read the novel unfortunately and I appreciate the confirmation. Many thanks again. :) – PrimalScientist Apr 30 '17 at 23:26
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    @PrimalScientist - The major issue here is that in reality, it's just fixed to the X-Wing. The retraction happens off-screen since there's no way it could happen on-screen without a pointless $50,000 special effect sequence. You might also want to reference "liquid cable" as being much the same thing. – Valorum Apr 30 '17 at 23:42
  • Curiously, a deleted scene from Return of the Jedi shows Luke simply unhooking the ladder and tossing it away from him. – Bob Apr 30 '17 at 23:45
  • @Bob - See edit. I presume this is the scene you were talking about :-) cheers for the assist. – Valorum May 1 '17 at 0:07
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    @T.J.Crowder - They wheel it up. It's not that daft if you think about it. Better to use a fixed one (that they can keep in good condition more easily) than the collapsible one. – Valorum May 1 '17 at 11:16

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