In the cell 2187, there was a bunk and nothing else, despite the fact that Leia was a VIP prisoner. No food. Nothing for entertainment or changing clothes. Why?

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What about the essentials like toilet?

Other prison cells shown in Star Wars: Rebels were similar. How do Imperial prison cells work?

  • 4
    If a prisoner is important, the guards can escort them to a toilet. If they are unimportant, they do not deserve the convenience of one. Food can be delivered as the jailer desires...or not. Forget about entertainment or changing clothing. This is the Empire.
    – Adamant
    Apr 4 at 7:29
  • 30
    Insert prisoner, close door. Done
    – Valorum
    Apr 4 at 7:38
  • 29
    How do Imperial prison cells work? Not very well, thank you. Apr 4 at 11:48
  • 1
    @PaulD.Waite At the time of posting this question, I was actually thinking about you. 😂 Apr 4 at 12:25
  • 2
    @InvisibleTrihedron see scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/140569/…
    – kgutwin
    Apr 4 at 18:55

2 Answers 2


The cell appears to be a "dry cell", without running water or toilet facilities. Just a bare room with a metal cot built directly into the wall.

Leia explores the cell from top-to-bottom and the only notable features are an air vent (above head height), a metal grated ceiling with lighting, and the obligatory security camera.

They at least removed her binders before shoving her inside. Leia stumbled into the long, flat sheet of metal on the opposite side of the cramped room. Her bed, if she had to guess. Whirling around, she came within a few centimeters of kicking the closed door before stopping herself.

“You won’t get away with this!” she called. “Do you hear me?”

Leia was ready to tear the station apart, even if she had to do it with her bare hands.

But first she had to get herself out of that cell.

Leia paced in circles, feeling at the seams of the walls for loose panels that could be pried off, if not to reveal a hidden escape route, then to be used as weapons. Everything on the space station was new and pristine. Turning her attention upward, she climbed onto the metal cot and scanned the ceiling—there! The red light pouring through the grates covering the ceiling had masked it at first, but there it was. A vent.

A vent the size of her head.

Star Wars: A New Hope - The Princess, The Scoundrel and The Farm Boy


"Nothing for entertainment or changing clothes"?

OK, frame challenge. This is not a correctional facility, this is an arrest cell in a military installation. People will be held for interrogation, until execution, or until transported off elsewhere to be interrogated and / or executed. There is no "VIP" status either, Leia didn't get to take her luggage and was not given a change of clothes by the Imperials. Indeed she was scheduled for execution (as C3PO pointed out earlier), so why bother?

If you look at a military arrest cell today -- any country, really -- what you see is a bunk, and a stainless steel loo in a corner, no more. No table, no shelves, no chair.

We don't get to see a loo in Leia's cell, but we don't get to see the whole cell. There might be one in the corner we don't get to see, there might be one behind some kind of panel (the novel text posted by Valorum does not tell us that either, it just states there were no loose panels to be pried off). Perhaps they walk the prisioners to the head on schedule, as to further drive home the message: We are in control here, Rebel scum.

  • 2
    I agree with this. It was not called a prision, it was the "detention level". Much like a police stations will have a lockup where they throw prisoners for the short term which is just a cage with a bench.
    – Skooba
    Apr 5 at 11:44
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    @Valorum "VIP political prisoner" and "scheduled for execution" does not really mix. I go with the movie material.
    – DevSolar
    Apr 5 at 13:07
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    Another thing to keep in mind - this movie was made in the 1970's. A time period in which it was actually not allowed to depict a toilet on screen (at least in the US), hence the mysteriously toilet-free bathroom in the Brady Bunch house, etc. So even if the filmmakers had wanted to depict that level of realism, they would not have been able to. Apr 5 at 13:26
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    Well, I had the experience of being in a military arrest cell. No, not what you think -- this was my service time in the army, I was on guard duty, and while off shift we'd use the (unoccupied) arrest cell in the guard house to take a nap. Aside from the cots put up for the purpose, it was a stark concrete room with an iron door and a small barred window. No toilet, no furniture of any kind. If someone from the barracks would have earned himself a stint in arrest, we'd have taken away the cots (except, perhaps, one), and that room would have been his cell for the duration.
    – DevSolar
    Apr 5 at 13:49
  • 1
    "No, not what you think". Sure, @DevSolar, we'll go along with that. nudge, nudge, wink, wink :)
    – FreeMan
    Apr 5 at 17:30

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