When I took the eldest padawan to see Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back in the theater recently, I was reminded of a question that I’ve always had. There’s no satisfactory answer to it. I don’t think it’s possible for there to be. It definitely falls into the “Unanswered Questions from Star Wars Movies” series I’ve been building over time.
Why was there an express elevator to the Cloud City Carbon Freezing Chamber?
Now you remember it, yes?
Setting aside the clever edit that keeps the audience off-balance and eliminating the need to know how Luke is duped into taking said elevator, I’ve always been curious as to the why of the whole thing.
As an elevator, it seems more than a little impractical.
I mean, shortly before Luke using the personal lift into hell, we’ve seen people approach from catwalks and descend stairs to go from an access level down to the freezing apparatus. If this elevator existed, it probably would have been an even more dramatic and heart-stopping entrance for Vader to take it. You’re standing around the circle and, whoosh, Vader shoots up through the floor.
Even staging it so that Luke walks in to the freezing chamber from the previously established route and having Vader pop up behind him is a killer way for the Dark Lord to appear. I love the way it is in the film, I’m just saying…he had a flair for the dramatic already. Let’s make a statement.
But still I’ve never really been sure why it exists. A single-person circular tube that goes up through the floor of the freezing apparatus is just puzzling. There are additional questions of placement and layout that make me question how in the name of the Force the place was even situated with relation to other landmarks, but hey…it’s a great film and I don’t care that much.
Go ahead. Diagram for me where the carbon freezing chamber is, with relation to other places we’ve seen in the film on Cloud City, unless Luke took a long ass walk to get to that express elevator.
The only acceptable explanation I can accept is that it was for shipping freight that had been carbon-frozen. Maybe it could also be used by the ugnaughts, maybe, to get to the chamber without people seeing them. Cloud City definitely seemed to be stratified by class structures so that those living in the gleaming hallways never had to see the workers who kept the joint running.
If you have something you think is a better explanation, I’d like to hear it. (Well, I know most likely I’d read it, but I’m being colloquial.)