#312: Star Wars Ep. 4 Live Commentary

We follow up last week’s Ep. 1 commentary with a real-time watch of OUR childhood Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope. You can queue up your DVD and watch along with us if you like, but it’s not necessary. Either way you’ll hear us re-discover this classic, enjoy some very special (to us, and probably you, too) scenes from our first introduction to the whiney Luke through his eventual (temporary) triumph over the evil Prows…I mean Vader. We also offer a few thoughts about Lucas’ last big changes, including more Mos Eisley, more Jabba, and way more Darklighter.

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Great cast again guys. It was fun to watch A New Hope again on a day off with your commentary. This movie still stands up after 35 years like it was a new release with or without the additional scenes and added special effects. I have to commend Lucas for his vision and the execution of his storytelling.

Since I mentioned the additional content I’ll say that out of all the added scenes on the version you watched I remember the Biggs scene in the Rebel hanger the least. Not that it isn’t important in the least but that there were no added special effects to accompany it.

Also, you guys touched on Luke’s rise to leadership during the Death Star battle a little. As I’ve grown in my military awareness I’ve found it increasingly odd that the strike leader would put Luke in charge of the last ditch effort flight. Luke was brand new to the alliance, it was his first time up in an X-Wing, he had the least seniority of any of the pilots, his ship had already taken damage and he had already gotten himself “a little cooked” during a reckless attack run on the surface of the Death Star.

Was it his subsequent successful attacks that earned him the spot? Was it R2’s adroitness in fixing the damage to the fighter? Was it the knowledge that Luke had Jedi powers? Was it just like a coach giving the ball to his most productive player of the game during the final seconds? Was it Lucas’ way of putting Luke firmly in the Hero Slot? I don’t know. For what it’s worth Wedge Antilles should have been named the by the attack commander as leader of the Hail Mary run.

Granted, as Sean pointed out, Luke did set the game plan, he told Wedge to get clear once he lost power and he did make the incredible shot without computer aided guidance down the exhaust port. Would anyone else been successful in that run? Perhaps a later General Solo or Lando. However, no one else could have done it besides Wedge that was there at the time. I’ll admit that I’m partial to Wedge and fancy myself as being able to take Wedge’s place in the Star Wars Universe. So I am biased. But still, Luke’s selection as flight leader baffles me.

~Shooter Out

PS - Has GWC entered into a new format of no weekly news or were these two commentary podcasts just special news-less occasions?

He got the ball because he was the only one in position to deliver it. You saw another pilot try but he got taken out

Antilles and Biggs were there too. Not just Skywalker. And they both had training and had been with the unit longer than Skywalker.

Great article I read a while back on the Secret History of Star Wars site about how much Vader changed from A New Hope to Empire and Jedi.

Most interesting was how different his voice was, they have a good comparison clip here: http://secrethistoryofstarwars.com/visualdevelopmentofdarthvader.html
He is so much angrier in A New Hope. “Tear this ship apart, I want them alive!!” What happened to that guy?

I also remember Biggs lobbying heavily for Luke to be allowed into an X-Wing (bonus scene added on DVD’s), so I’m sure the guy in charge was like “alright, you want him, you watch out for him!” and assigned them to the same attack run…it didn’t seem like they had a lot of time to evaluate Luke’s resume with the Death Star in hot pursuit…

I’m not to that point in the cast yet, but another possibility is the fact that Luke believed he could make the shot. In the briefing, Fake Wedge was the one who thought it was impossible, and Luke said he had made similar shots (on moving targets) in the past.

Have you ever had the wonderful opportunity to surround youself with fighter pilots? They are some of the biggest egos I’ve ever met and they often make big promises in boast that most cannot deliver on. It is simply part of the culture. Mostly training and technology enable the winners these days (reference The History Channel’s series “Dogfights” for further information). Luke had neither. He was unfamiliar with his spacecraft and he had no training. I personally do not equate a T-16 with an X-Wing and a Womprat with an exhaust port - especially at “3 speed full throttle.” Most experienced pilots know that it is a chore just to keep “nuggets” alive in their first actual fight much less spearhead your main/last ditch attack. I still maintain Wedge was a more suitable choice to lead that last wave.

~Shooter Out

I can see assigning them to the same attack run, but choose Luke to lead it instead of Biggs or Antilles? That still makes no sense to me. And I completely agree that they didn’t have time to evaluate Luke’s resume. Heck, the boy didn’t even have a flight suit during the mission briefing.

~Shooter Out

In the extended SW universe, are there legions of washed-out former padewans who lost limbs during lightsaber training? I find it odd that all the Jedi we see have all their limbs. Do they make them train with padded swords for, like, 14 years before they get a live weapon?

Biggs believed in him, and maybe Biggs out-ranked Wedge? Or maybe Wedge believed in him too?

Or possibly they felt the harder job was keeping the TIEs off their back and would rather the nugget focus on the “simpler” task of shooting down the exhaust port?


The Red astro droid that the Jawas “possessed” was called R5-D4. Yes, I couldn’t remember it either and had to look it up because it was bugging me so much. I could be mistaken but I think we see other versions of the Red R5-D4 throughout the Star Wars saga.

~Shooter Out

As someone who has coached youth hockey with 8-13 year olds I can tell you from personal experience that if you do not wear appropriate padding you will receive multiple injuries. I agree with you and do not see the difference with young Jedis and lightsabers.

~Shooter Out.

Perhaps. But Red leader put Luke in charge of the next wave, not simply the task of shooting into the exhaust ports.

Jacen Solo accidentally sliced off his girlfriend’s arm when her lightsaber malfunctioned one of the first times she used it.

Though, based on Luke’s prothstetic he got in Empire Strikes Back, there could be more that we just don’t know aren’t on their original arm.

This whole thing was pretty rushed…I’m guessing they only had a few hours, MAYBE a day with the Space Station of DOOM in hot pursuit…that’s a LOT of time to run through the data, analyze find a weakness, then form a plan to attack it and make it feasible…that’s alotta work!

One thing that does bug me about the Lucas movies…he always assumes you will know or take the effort to learn all the back story stuff as you go along and really leaves off a LOT of details you need to do some homework and fill in the blanks

Of all the six movies and all the tweaks that were done, this is the best one to have the extra scenes fill in stuff and make it cooler (though the midget CGI-Jabba that had to match Han’s acting was always a peeve…)

Yeah, but their improvisation of Han walking over his tail was brilliant.

I DO laugh my ass off at that EVERY time…and it SO fits the Han “I don’t give a damn who you are I’m more awesome then you” attitude also!

Sean, be careful what you ask about in a Star Wars movie:

To the bit in the cast where you were talking about Luke being an ok guy later it seems to me that he had a major advantage in having all his masters die abruptly and none being available after along with being a Jedi that comes to the training as an adult (perhaps the only Jedi ever to do so?) and so has a fully formed sense of right and wrong and very limited time to be brain washed in a rather sinister and cult like fashion I mean who else takes little impressionable children and then severs all of there family ties and farther goes to ban any emotional attachments outside the group? If anything it’s a wonder the Jedi haven’t had more of a major sith problem with there sociopath factory academy. Still here we have someone who isn’t terrified of having emotions from the seeming thought pattern of the Jedi being emotional attachment > pain > anger > hate > dark side and completely ignoring no emotional attachment > uncaring > contempt > hate > dark side one believes that making your peacekeepers not give a crap about anyone may be a bad idea I’m surprised the Jedi council didn’t set themselves us as the galactic overlord “for every ones protection”.

On a side note does anyone else find it odd that the Jedi are banned from having families when the Skywalker family would seem to indicate that force affinity is hereditary? I’m sure also that in the prequels somewhere it says there are too few Jedi gee I wonder if the order needs to be taught about the birds and the bees and sent off to make new Jedi.