In The Empire Strikes Back Han dives into a cave in an asteroid to escape the Imperial ships chasing the Millenium Falcon. Originally I was wondering why there was air available to them outside of the ship, as well as heat, but this article about the exogorth explains that.

But it leaves open another question: Solo flies the ship into a cavern. Assuming he doesn't notice the teeth at all, there's another issue. While Han Solo is brash and quick acting and appears reckless, he does keep track of all the factors in a situation, which is how he can often react quickly and succeed with moves others would consider reckless.

So he flies the ship into a cavern. Once he's in this cave in an asteroid, there's heat outside and an atmosphere (again, explained in the article above). When they wonder about the rumbling, they exit the ship with only breathing masks.

Why isn't an experienced pilot/captain/shipowner like Han alerted because there's an atmosphere and heat outside the ship when he's on an asteroid in the middle of space? Granted, the cave is safer than facing several capital ships, but even if he didn't believe in the slugs, shouldn't he have started putting the facts together from the start?

I know the article says he doesn't give much credit to the stories of exogorths, but wouldn't atmosphere and heat in such a cave be some form of a warning? And even if he's not sure, why do something like shoot the slug (whose mouth you're in) in the tongue? Obviously at some point before he starts flying out, he's beginning to give the tales some credit.

Is there an in-universe explanation for why he'd ignore all these factors (and still fire his blaster into the exogorth's tongue!) or is his carelessness nothing more than a function of plot?

  • 24
    Perhaps Leia caused his mind to be focused in a different direction.
    – Xantec
    Dec 12, 2011 at 20:17
  • 1
    Honestly, @Xantec, considering both answers address something I hinted at in the original question (and edited to cite specifically just now), I'd consider this more of a valid answer than the two answers provided already.
    – Tango
    Dec 12, 2011 at 23:30
  • 1
    @Xantec - Because in space, there are no bras.
    – Valorum
    Aug 16, 2014 at 22:49

4 Answers 4


The article you link holds the key:

Solo had heard stories for years of the giant slugs, and had been warned of their dangers, but he dismissed them as mere "ghost-stories".

If I'm being chased after and the only place I can hide is a coffin (and I'm in Transylvania), and I don't believe in vampires, I might hide in there, knowing (foolishly perhaps) that vampires will not be found there.

Also, comedic effect.

  • But then, even if he's not sure he buys the stories, why do something dumb like shoot the slug in the tongue with a blaster?
    – Tango
    Dec 12, 2011 at 23:27
  • 15
    @TangoOversway, in the US Army we had a saying "there is the right way, the wrong way and the Army way." Han does things the Han Solo™ way.
    – Tangurena
    Dec 13, 2011 at 0:33
  • @TangoOversway My memory is a bit fuzy on that. I think he didn't know what it was, so up to that point, he was shooting at something uncertain, moving but probably not alive, and probably not... OMG! Space monster!! RUN!!!
    – MPelletier
    Dec 13, 2011 at 2:22

According to the article you cite, Solo didn't believe in the exogorths, and thought their tales were just "ghost stories". Besides, Solo had a LOT on his plate at that moment...he'd just outrun the TIE Figters through an asteroid canyon, and he was concerned about the Falcon not being up for operations...


The exogorth is a silicon based life form. So the readings would likely be consistent with the expected readings for the interior of a silicon based asteroid. In additions mynocks are common through out the galaxy so finding them in cave on an asteroid would not be completely unexpected. In space there are several asteroids and planets with atmosphere inside their hollow spaces (Kessel).


Notwithstanding the earnest fan answers here, it's a plot contrivance for Han and Leia to finally be alone, after their interrupted lovers' tiff on Hoth. But of course that conversation too gets interrupted... and the romantic subplot continues to tease ongoing through Bespin, Han getting frozen and the subsequent rescue at Jabba's Palace. In the storytelling sense, the Han-Leia, Han-Lando and Luke-Yoda-Obi Wan story arcs (and the unfolding of Darth Vader) liven up what would essentially be boring exposition of a very linear story.

Or to quote Stacy from hilarious fan-spoof Pink Five Strikes Back:

What's that? You say he takes all his girlfriends here?

  • 2
    Yeah, well, any question about any fiction can be answered by "plot contrivance". The hard part is providing an answer that works within the universe about why it's believable and doesn't strain credibility.
    – Tango
    Aug 18, 2014 at 18:32
  • @Tango in the extreme case, aka 'fanwanking'
    – smci
    Aug 18, 2014 at 19:03

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