Towards the end of The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke falls out of the chute and is hanging from what looks like an antenna, he sees something falling down towards the clouds. Is that his hand, or some other random thing?

(BTW, if this is his hand, wasn't it recovered in one of the books?)

  • The pic "could" be a pouch that was ripped off his utility belt, maybe a DL-44 heavy blaster pistol in holster?
    – user3072
    Jan 4, 2012 at 16:18
  • There's nothing in the script or the novelisation about it.
    – Valorum
    Jul 20, 2014 at 18:37
  • this question should be put on hold since the answer will likely be revealed in some measure on December 18 with the release of The Force Awakens
    – NKCampbell
    Nov 25, 2015 at 20:49
  • How did that work out? ::eyeroll::
    – UFL1138
    Feb 13, 2018 at 18:59

8 Answers 8


You can see the screenshot below. I uploaded it in the highest resolution I could get, but it's from the DVD, so the resolution is set anyway (and SE reduced it anyway). I took out my blu-ray and watched the sequence, frame by frame, on my 57" HDTV (these days it's harder to get a sharper or larger image than that). This screenshot is of the first or second frame of the shot with this object falling. It's the largest and clearest view of the object. This screenshot is from the DVD "Limited Edition." The image on the blu-ray is similar. Object falling from Bespin Cloud City Since it's hard to see, here's just the object itself (which doesn't show up well here unfortunately):

enter image description here

While it's not stated definitively, I think it's intended to be his hand, still clutching his lightsaber. If you can find a good image, there is a cylinder stretching out on two ends from something in the center, as if it's a lightsaber held in a hand. But the main part of the object, the part holding the center of the cylinder, there's what looks like fabric fanning out from it and blowing in the wind as it falls. I suspect that's intended to be fabric from his sleeve, but his sleeve is long enough to cover his stump when we see Luke. (I suspect this is an intentional error to avoid showing a severed hand directly and thus allowing the movie to keep the PG rating - there's rumors Lucas made other changes along the way to keep a PG rating.)

When Luke is drawn into the air chute and sliding through it, there aren't signs of anything falling with him. Still, the shape is enough like something clutching a lightsaber that it seems likely it's intended to be his hand.

  • With screenshot... Great :)
    – user931
    Dec 21, 2011 at 14:20
  • I assume you mean a PG rating? Dec 21, 2011 at 15:51
  • 1
    Interesting. The DVDs are rated G and the film was rated PG. That would explain another rumor I've heard about Lucas.
    – Tango
    Dec 21, 2011 at 16:05
  • No, it just explains the changing of the rating system- when older re-mastered movies are re-rated, they often change to more family friendly ratings.
    – Chuck Dee
    Dec 21, 2011 at 16:56
  • 6
    You know what would help here? Enhance it! youtube.com/watch?v=Vxq9yj2pVWk
    – Ken Liu
    Dec 21, 2011 at 21:21

Like TangoOversway, I have not seen anything regarding this object in the rest of the movies or as a statement from Lucas.

However, in the expanded universe novels (The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn), there is some more information:

The Emperor somehow recovers Luke's hand and lightsaber, and stores it as a secret 'treasure' along with a collection of various other artifacts and machines. Luke eventually has to fight a clone produced from samples taken from his lost hand, while the clone is armed with the very lightsaber he lost at Bespin.

I would imagine it would be hard to do this if the hand had fallen into the gas giant (where it would have been damaged by the extreme pressures).

  • 3
    This sounds familiar. Was his new hand a fightin' hand?
    – NiceOrc
    Dec 22, 2011 at 2:41
  • 3
    This seems the best answer. What are the chances Luke's hand and lightsaber would end up at exactly the same location as Luke? There was a lot of debris generated from the lightsaber duel. More likely it was a chunk of metal from the gantry.
    – RobertF
    Dec 3, 2013 at 5:15

If his hand and light-saber both get cut, they would probably have ended up where he fell(before he got there). So when he falls he ends up with his hand and light-saber next to him. The chute then opens and all(him, his light-saber and hand) fall out, he then lands on an antenna and his hand/light-saber keep falling. This is my 2 cents regarding what happened.


My argument against this being his hand and lightsaber:

  1. When his hand and lightsaber are cut off, they fly off to the left of the big fin Vader and he are fighting on. When Luke jumps, he pushes off to the right. Very unlikely that he would end up in the same tube.
  2. Hand and lightsaber, if they did not dissociate in flight, would certainly have separated once they impacted somewhere prior to falling away. The object that falls appears to be one item.
  3. Hand and lightsaber are -not- visible in the tube Luke falls into, nor do we see any object other than himself until the final fall where he lands on the antenna and the object in question falls into the clouds.
  4. George Lucas was somewhat involved in what "could" and "could not" be done in the original Thrawn trilogy. I suspect he would have told Zahn not to clone Luke or enter his lightsaber if it could not be done. GL paid a lot more attention to continuity back then.

Just my pennies!


It is Luke's lightsaber falling, still clutched in his hand - if you freeze the scene at the right point you can see it. They don't have to have landed in the same spot as those were ventilation shafts and would all open at the same time. It is a big mistake by Disney in the new film. Even with sci-fi and space magic, there is no logical explanation as to how it could have been recovered. It is an error.

  • Could you provide a picture of this scene froze at the right point? Jan 31, 2017 at 20:27
  • Check out the tour and help center for info on what this site is looking for when posting. :)
    – RedCaio
    Feb 1, 2017 at 9:41

Every time a Lightsaber falls to the ground in these movies, the creators go out of their way to show it. So I suspect you're right...that is his hand and the Lightsaber.

  • 2
    This is speculative and not really a good answer.
    – The Fallen
    Sep 27, 2012 at 15:26

Definitely his hand and saber - why else would Lucas include it in the movie? Serves no purpose otherwise. A segue to The Force Awakens.


What happened to Luke's hand is definitively answered in Season 1, Episode 3 of Space Janitors.

For those who haven't watched the series, basically it lands on the floor where a janitor picks it up, doesn't understand what it is, and has a variety of adventures with it, like toasting his mush and accidentally cutting off the arms of his best friend.

As for where it fits in the canon, it fits solidly in the "should be, because it's too funny not to be" category.

  • Link only answers are discouraged. You should usually summarize the relevant part of the link in your answer. Also, I have not watched Space Janitors, but since it is not canon I doubt this link is relevant to the question.
    – numaroth
    Oct 3, 2014 at 16:50
  • 2
    And what level of canon is Space Janitors?
    – phantom42
    Oct 3, 2014 at 17:13
  • 9
    @phantom42 - Below Episode 1, but above the Holiday Special
    – Valorum
    Oct 3, 2014 at 17:40
  • 3
    Heh, I read this answer and thought to myself, oh god! here we go! taking on die hards, you've got some serious spaceballs there..
    – CGCampbell
    Oct 3, 2014 at 18:27

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