UT-OH! I’m getting into dangerous territory here. After all, I should know it’s one thing to be silly about any of the other five Star Wars films, but nigh High Sacrilege to turn that humorous eye toward that Most Revered of Nerd Films, The Empire Strikes Back.
I should know better by now. But I’m incorrigible.
So here it is. One of the big unanswered questions from The Empire Strikes Back.
Why Did They Have to Run from the Space Slug Anyway?
The obvious answer is, of course, that it’s a plot device. The movie had resolved all of its objectives for that act and they needed to speed us along to the climax.
They needed a MacGuffin, if you will, that would give us a sense of urgency so that Han & Co. would expose themselves to the Empire and have to be chased.
It still doesn’t mean it was necessary to move it that way, nor does it make less noticeable on BluRay that the floor is just plywood with garbage bags stretched over it. They could have (and if memory serves, originally had them think everything was fixed and/or have the bombers start to trigger a cave–in), go out into the asteroid field again and have the same events happen that we saw in the final film. No need for scary space slugs.
But It Begs the Question
Why did they have to leave the space slug right then anyway?
The slug wasn’t digesting them quickly, it had an atmosphere of some sort (hence breathing masks but no space suits) and they knew they still hadn’t completely repaired the hyperdrive. They also knew the Empire was out there and they were beyond their reach for the moment.
So why would they run right then? Even if they figured out that there was a slug? Just hang out for a little bit, don’t piss it off and then fly out. Or, additionally, use your guns to blast your way through its teeth when you’re ready to go. I know that the GSPCSS* might have a fit, but nothing said you had to run right away.
Or Did It?
Once again, I can think of a thousand answers, but I’ve been accused of looking to allow leeway for everyone’s favorite Space Saga enough times that once more I turn to you, my audience, to let me know what you think.
Have at it!
*Galactic Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Space Slugs