In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke receives a very realistic looking hand that can even feel pain.

Luke Hand

Compare this to the hand Anakin has at the end of "The Clone Wars" which is obviously robotic, and does not even have a covering that resembles skin.

Anakin robotic arm

Technology advancing in the 20+ year period between amputations does not make sense. Its doubtful that prosthetic technology not be able to produce a hand of Lukes quality in a time when cloning technology was available.

Luke's hand is provided to him by the Rebellion, which had limited financial and medical resources. Compare this to Anakin, who as a Jedi in the time of the Old Republic, had access to limitless medical resources. The Jedi probably could have arranged for a biological hand to be cloned for him, but that might raise ethical concerns.

It seems Anakin should have received a hand as advanced as Luke's

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    Well, you never know. Just look a laptop from 20 years ago, and a modern one. There will be a significant difference. Who can say? Maybe they had a technological breakthrough. Dec 4, 2011 at 3:08
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    I would think it could jsut be a matter of personal choice. What would a sith care about emulating life, or feeling pain?
    – JustJeff
    Dec 4, 2011 at 12:21
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    I don't see any proof that Anakin's hand was less advanced than Luke's. Different features, yes. But nothing that compares functionality. It's quite possible as JustJeff said, that Anakin didn't care about it not looking robotic, for a variety of reasons. I'm voting to close, unless you can provide examples that Luke's hand is indeed, superior Dec 4, 2011 at 15:00
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    "Technology advancing in the 20+ year period between amputations does not make sense." - Why not? Jun 27, 2013 at 9:53
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    @EikePierstorff: deteriorated? They have a Death Star now. They’re getting pretty good at building stuff. Sep 22, 2015 at 18:49

9 Answers 9


First, it look like a lot of improvement was made in the Cybernetics technology during those 20 years because the war caused his share of amputee. Excerpt from Cybernetics wookieepedia article

Fist area of medical technology was spurred by the carnage of the Clone Wars, and the replacement of body parts with lifelike replicas reached a high level of refinement during the Galactic Civil War.

And despite of his appearance Anakin's robotic arm was quite advanced for his time, from Mechno-arm wookieepedia article :

On Geonosis, Anakin's right arm was severed at the elbow by Dooku's lightsaber. Anakin survived his encounter with the Sith Lord, and returned to Coruscant to recuperate and oversee the creation of a prosthetic limb. This robotic appendage lacked the synth-flesh applied to some models, and had a skeletal, droid-like appearance; it was designed to be a sturdy replacement, not a cosmetic disguise. Anakin's new arm connected to the remainder of his limb via a synthennet neural interface, a complicated piece of technology that allowed Anakin to register feeling in his mechno-arm.

Anakin's metal mechno-arm was an advanced version, featuring golden, electrostatic fingertips that simulated a sense of touch. Data collected by the fingertips was transmitted through sensory impulse lines running down the fingers and into an interface module at the wrist. This module served as the junction between Anakin's robotic hand and living flesh. The arm's servos and sensors were controlled by a power cell near the thumb. The mechno-hand's motorized knuckles provide Anakin with a crushing strength far beyond the Human norm.

  • Why would their be advances in medicine when robots fought with disposable clones?
    – Oldcat
    Sep 22, 2015 at 16:49
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    @Oldcat I would guess that "repairing" a clone would cost less (both money and time) than growing a new one. Sep 23, 2015 at 6:50
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    @Oldcat By the way, while Clones were "disposable" in a sense, they were very-much cared for medically. It is much cheaper and usually faster to triage and repair a typical clone injury than grow a new one. This is evidenced multiple times in the Clones Wars tv show.
    – TylerH
    Feb 22, 2016 at 20:41

When Luke lost his hand, he was the only Jedi known to the Alliance. He was the hero of Yavin, and suffered his injury while going toe-to-toe with Darth Vader - the right hand of the Emperor. He got the very best the alliance could provide.

Anakin lost his hand in a fight. He launched the attack, confident in his ability, to wipe out Tyrannus. He attacked early instead of waiting for backup, and his attack could have cost the lives of himself and his Master.

Luke lost his hand in an act of heroism, Anakin in an act of hubris.

It's very likely that Anakin's lack of realistic skin was a reminder to him to show restraint and use his head before he acted.

It didn't work.

It was either self-imposed, or more likely imposed on him by the Council or Obi-wan. As time went on, he became used to it, and likely chose not to replace it with a realistic limb, though he may have upgraded the other capabilities. There's no evidence, however, that any of Anakin's limbs lack the ability to feel sensations, despite their lack of artificial skin.

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    – evilsoup
    Jun 27, 2013 at 16:32
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    @evilsoup I missed it. What was the spoiler he forgot to mark? For that matter, if you are worried about spoilers, what are you doing here? This is not a safe place for you!
    – AndyD273
    Mar 9, 2015 at 18:26
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    @AndyD273: I said (spoiler: it didn't work) in my last paragraph.
    – Jeff
    Mar 9, 2015 at 19:56
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    @MishaRosnach: I'm pretty sure that comment was intended as a joke.
    – Jeff
    Jun 4, 2015 at 12:28
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    @Jeff: To be fair, it's way funnier now with the green spoiler tag. Hell, maybe I'll even vote it up... There we go.
    – Misha R
    Jun 5, 2015 at 3:48

Nah dude, you don't get it, Anakin's mechno-arm was probably superior to Luke's, it augmented Anakin's strength many times fold and it too was capable of sensorial sensibility. Anakin was the one that refused an alternative, preferring to use his custom-made prosthetic and even tinkered with it...


Although I kind of agree with Star Wars lack of biological body restorations, I mean come on! By the time Earth reaches interstellar travel (which Star Wars civilizations achieved long before the events of the movies), the damage that Darth Vader's body sustained (and I garantee even twice as that) could be entirely repaired, restoring Vader's body to it's original state... but, there would be no movies. Though this doesn't have apply to any secondary or background character, which, interestingly enough, have never ever been seen with a prosthetic limb, or body section...

And come on, dude:

"but that might raise ethical concerns"

Coruscant or any Star Wars civilization can't be compared in any degree with any of Earth's and any of its societal structures.

Also remember the Clone Wars? Yeah well, they cloned trillions of dudes from 1 single template dude and sent them to their deaths... and the clones themselves were perfectly aware of their status and went on in absolute happiness! Such notion is kind of unsettling you know?


I think it's more of style over substance. Just because it looks better doesn't mean that it works better. Take, for instance, the case of Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who became an amputee as a result of the Boston Marathon bombing. She was a dancer, and would not be able to dance again with a standard prosthetic that looks like a real leg, but doesn't function well, similar to the following:

enter image description here

But, she is able to have much greater mobility with a bionic leg that doesn't look as nice, but enables her to continue to dance:

enter image description here

I realize that the comparison isn't exact, because clearly, in both Luke and Anakin's case, the arms are both bionic, but it shows that just because something looks nicer, doesn't necessarily mean that it works better. I would imagine that Anakin's arm is much more flexible, more durable, stronger, etc., than Luke's.

Also, consider this: Luke did not have much combat experience, and as such, is more likely to want to hold on to as much humanity as possible. Anakin, on the other hand, could see the benefits that a fully cybernetic arm could give him in battle, even if it doesn't look as good. Besides, he could just cover it with a glove, and done.


In a word "hubris" the Jedi eschewed possession, and were of a very modest and simple mindset. Any Jedi requiring a prosthetic would then likely choose the minimum that was needed, while Luke, who grew up as a farmer on Tatooine would likely have desired the most accurate replacement that he could get. Even today, some amputees choose to go for a simple hook rather than an advanced limb replacement with microprocessors to guide proper joint movements.


Its entirely possible that in the 20+ years between the two amputations the technology improved. However, the real answer is that when Episode V came out it was just much easier to make Luke's fake hand mimic a real one for technological reasons. If he had a hand like Anakins it would have been much more difficult/expensive to show in a film if Luke was to perform with the dexterity he did in Episode VI. By the time Episode II came out advances in technology and CGI would make showing great dexterity with a metal hand very easy.


I mostly agree with what DavRob60 said, with the important mention that in the position of Anakin even I would of chose efficiency vs aesthetics.

Luke's replacement hand is aesthetically good looking, but not technologically superior to that of Anakin.


I think anakins would be way more stronger because it is mettalic and lukes looks like a real one. With the substance that makes stuff look like skin, It is much more harder to move. Thats why in force awakens he shows a fully mettalic robot hand.

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    Welcome to SFF:SE. What is your evidence for these assertions? They seem like pure speculation. We value solid answers based on citeable sources over pure opinion.
    – Praxis
    Mar 10, 2016 at 3:35

You have to remember, Palpatine wanted Vader to feel pain as much as possible to feed the dark side. Having a lesser robotic arm in quality, made sure he felt that pain.

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    In what way? Anakin's robotic hand never seems to hinder his abilities to do anything?
    – Edlothiad
    Jan 30, 2018 at 10:29
  • The question is about Anakin's replacement hand, pre-Mustafar, not Vader's post-Mustafar.
    – T.J.L.
    Jan 30, 2018 at 16:25

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