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Darth Vader tested carbonite-freezing technology on Han Solo because he didn't want to kill Luke who was precious to the emperor. But, why was it necessary? Wasn't it already a tested and proven technology? Even Darth Vader (when he was Anakin) himself used it along with others decades ago (Star Wars: The Clone Wars S03E18).

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    How else was Lucas going to get Leia to admit that she loved Han? And how else could he let her know that he knew? – Chad Feb 7 '14 at 22:26
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In the scene referred to in the question, the commander, Obi-Wan and Anakin himself all talk about this idea as though it is unproven and being completely improvised.

Anakin (and the Ugnaught operators) and the Krath were the only ones to have been known to use carbon freezing chambers to freeze living beings.

So while Vader knew it could be done, the chamber device and chamber probably still had to be calibrated and adjusted to the correct settings so that it would be done correctly.

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    Also, Vader probably wanted to play with the carbon freezing chamber. – phantom42 May 20 '13 at 11:09
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    @SachinShekhar IIRC the SW canon policy is that the films over-ride everything else, so if that episode of The Clone Wars contradict the film in some way, then the episode was wrong. – evilsoup May 20 '13 at 12:23
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    @SachinShekhar, see the edit to the answer. Judging from the reactions, this did not seem to be a common use for the freezing chambers by the Republic. – phantom42 May 20 '13 at 12:43
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    @SachinShekhar - generally it takes more than 1 experiment to greenlight a dangerous human-use technology :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 22 '13 at 15:08
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    Even if the process and technique had been proven, this equipment hadn't been proven. It's the difference between knowing that Crysis 3 will run on a computer, versus knowing that it will run on this computer. – Matt Feb 7 '14 at 22:26
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No one says that it hasn't been done before. Vader's only uncertainty is in how powerful the freezing unit is.

Lando cautiously asserts,

"We only use this facility for carbon freezing. If you put him [Luke] in there, it might kill him."

Vader responds with,

"I don't wish for the Emperor's prize to be damaged. We'll test it first."

I am using the dialogue as it appears in the official Empire Strikes Back novelization.

The novelization gives an insight into Vader's thinking:

He knew a way to find out just how powerful this freezing unit was.

This test, of course, involves Han:

"Bring in Captain Solo."

The fact that Vader wants this done (freezing Luke in carbon as a means of transportation) could be inspired by his experiences in the Clone Wars. The novelization suggests that, as far as Vader is concerned, the only uncertainty is in how powerful the unit is, which is why Han is subjected to the procedure.

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    Oh, so the answer is not "because The Clone Wars hadn't been written yet"? Neat. – Mr Lister Jan 30 '16 at 10:06
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During the actual scene where Vader talks about freezing Luke, Lando expresses concern:

Lando: Lord Vader, we only use this facility for carbon freezing. If you put him in there it might kill him.

Darth Vader: I do not want the Emperor's prize damaged. We will test it on Captain Solo.

This leads one to believe that this is still a fairly experimental technology when it comes to freezing humanoids. But, in answer to your question, the reason for testing it on Han was to make sure he lived. In theory, if he lived, so would Luke.

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    I think this quote doesn't necessarily imply that the technology is experimental. Perhaps Cloud City, as a mining outpost, regularly carbon-froze inanimate objects. Lando's concern could be that his facility is industrial rather than medical grade. – Simon May 20 '13 at 14:57
  • @Simon: I put that line in there, because when we first saw it, my friends and I all thought that meant it was experimental and unproven. – PiousVenom May 20 '13 at 15:00
  • @Simon If answerer has rejected your suggestion, add your answer with the movie quote. You've got point. – Lobo May 21 '13 at 0:49
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    Lando's quote is pretty imprecise. Technically what Vader is asking is carbon freezing. But inference is that Vader's request is not what they typically use it for and so the outcome is uncertain. IE, they don't use this on organics. And why would they? They aren't slavers. – joshbirk Feb 18 '14 at 19:52
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There are many ways of storing and transporting cargo that are not necessarily suited for living beings. Would you like to be stuck in an airplane's baggage hold instead of its cabin?

The freezing process was most likely NEVER used for living beings, even though technically it was possible. It was only used for preserving perishable items for shipping. Naturally, using it on living beings would cause some trepidation.

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    Why is everyone ignoring last sentence of my question? – Lobo May 21 '13 at 22:55
  • Was it a different model? That might explain it, as I haven't watched the Clone War episode you're referring to, Sachin. Perhaps it was the type, the process, or even the ingredient that was unproven, not the concept. – Jersey May 22 '13 at 14:44
  • @SachinShekhar because you seem to think that just because he did it ONE time, 20 years ago, he knows the exact right settings and calibrations on another device to make sure this goes off without a hitch. He may also just want to prove to Fett that the concept works. – phantom42 May 22 '13 at 15:37
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The real answer is the movie came out 30 years before the cartoon. The people writing the cartoon didn't remember/care why Solo was frozen.

Many times when you have several writers working on a work of fiction there are inconsistencies.

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    Actually They wanted to use the chamber because it was such a powerful scene in ESB. They were borrowing off of that for the cartoon. – Chad Feb 7 '14 at 22:28
  • I think you need to back up that statement. How do you know that they didn't care? – Valorum Feb 7 '14 at 23:07

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