Star Wars Q: What's with the cutting off of arms? (spoilers, of course)

So, I’m re-watching the Star Wars movies. in every episode, someone (or something) is getting an arm or hand cut off.

Does George have some sort of fetish?

I can’t be the only who’s noticed this.

Really? I can only think of Anakin and Luke losing limbs, which links the two (remember in Ep 6 where Luke takes a long look at Darth’s right hand?).

Hmm, I know Anakin gets his whole arm cut off and Luke gets his lower arm cut off, anybody else? I think for those two it is meant as some sort of symbolic connection…father and son and well they have this defromity in common and it means that, umm, they are bonded and something else deep.

How about the original Star Wars when Obi-Wan hacked that creature’s arm off in the bar who was bothering Luke at Mos Eisley (however it’s spelled!).

Wolfian, there’s also the removal of the Wampa ice creature’s arm, as well as the grunting thug-thing who tries to assault Luke in the cantina, Episode IV.

Mr. Blue Sky, I wish I had an answer. I’ve noticed it too. Lucas has said that he likens the scripts to the films as a symphony, with repeating themes, crescendos, (enter Strong Bad mode) trembelos, arpeggios…

The chopping-off of arms thing may just be a generic thematic repetition. Or I dunno, maybe the answer’s in Joseph Campbell. I have to admit, I’ve wondered about this, too.


There’s a website devoted to chopped off arms in the star wars movies, but I don’t know the link… Maybe someone else does. Amusing site.

The chopped off hands of Star Wars

That’s spelled right.

Okay, I may regret asking this, but was this scene cut from the Special Edition?

Not that I remember.

Well, you have to admit, with a lightsaber, it’s rather easy to cut someone’s arm off, and it’s quite an effective deterrant. In Episode IV, the guy pulled a gun, so he lost his arm. Apparently, lightsabes didn’t cauterize a wound back then, so that poor bastard probably bled to death. Episode V, again…Wompa coming at Luke with arms out stretched, a blind swing of the lightsaber, and it’s an easy hit. With Luke’s battle, it’s more storyline, but again…not many other limbs one can cut off without making it too much of a hinderance or fatal (could you imagine if Luke lost his leg at the knee? Robot leg not so cool as robot hand). In Jedi, it was to show the connection between Luke and Vader and to show how close Luke is to becoming next in line as a “Dark Lord of the Sith.” He’s just like his father, and thus, capable of being turned. This is what helps Luke go back to the light…and get tortured horribly.

Episode 1…I can’t think of who got their hand cut off. Episode 2, in the bar scene, it seemed more of an homage to Episode 4, but also an effective way of disarming/disabling an opponent you want alive for questioning. In both bar scenes, it also shows the people around you that you’re not one to mess with. And Anakin losing his arm is, again, for storyline purposes so the connection can be made later on.

Overall, it comes down to the fact that, aside from cutting off limbs, there ain’t much else one can do with a lightsaber in a fight. Especially if you don’t want to shoot the ratings up past PG.

disarming is the appropriate term here.

I tried to post this earlier but the hamster was tired. Pretty much what Elvis has said.

Well as far as I know they all were chopped off with light sabers. A weapon like a light saber is most effective as a slashing weapon like a longsword or a katana. If you are fighting something agressive the slosest thing on it’s body to the edge of your weapon is probably going to be an arm or a hand. In all four cases I have seen (guy in bar, ice creature, Luke, and Anakin) they were all fighting someone with a light saber and had hands outreached (guy in bar with gun, ice creature both arms reaching for Luke, Luke with saber, Anakin with saber).

Now if arms were getting shot off all over the place i might well question it. But I remember how man wrist injuries I have gottn in fencing class with non-edged weapons and usually by accident on a failed parry. If those foils had been capable of cutting through metal (as seen in several of the movies) with ease then I would have had to re-learn some very basic things.

We notice the dis-arming early on, when STAR WARS (now Episode IV: A NEW HOPE) was the only movie in the series. While there are two obvious hands-chopped off that are obvious and mentioned (C3PO and the guy in the cantina), there’s a more subtle reference. And, dammit, I’ve forgot the exact wording. In the Millenium Falcon, when R2 is playing that strange 3-D chess with Chewbakka, Han Solo makes the comment to the effect that Wookies might “tear your arm off” if they lose.

I have emailed this to that hands-off site.

One word: Freud. It could be argued (hem hem) that all this cutting off of limbs is a kind of symbolic castration. It diminishes the hero’s masculine power. But then he gets a nice new limb, which can never go floppy or be cut off (go with me on this one) and he is thus more powerful.

It’s a very common theme, I think. Look at Sauron and Frodo with their fingers. In the X-files, Mulder’s nemesis Krycek gets his arm sliced off by some Russians and comes back as a real MF. Mulder has a scary dream in which both his arms get cut off a load of sexy nurses. Tis Freudian, I tells you. Lucas is tapping once again into the whole ancient myth thing. Oh yes.

I don’t think he’s that intelligent anymore.

I think bloodlessly cutting off an arm or a head is as violent is George Lucas is willing to get. He wouldn’t want to scare the children.

What about that scene where the Black Knight loses both arms AND legs? Then he . . . uh . . . sorry, wrong movie. :wink:

I don’t know, I’m sure whatever script they have for Episode III could be greatly improved with the introduction of the Holy Thermal Detonator.

It’s a Norse thing.

Tyr, the God of War, sacrifices his hand in the jaws of the Wolf, Fenris, so that that other Gods can chain the beast until Ragnarok (the last battle).

That’s why so many heroes lose hands…of course, Tyr just leanred to fight with his left hand, and didn’t go the whole cybernetic replacement route.

That’s my theory…though that whole arm=dick thing might work too.

I vote for the prracticality of it in sword-fights. Half of the Book of Five Rings is about sword techniques that you can use to slash your opponent’s hands. Pretty common move, I suspect.