A 'Star Wars' Executive Just Noticed A Goof In 'The Empire Strikes Back' That No One Caught For Decades
Nothing gets past eagle-eyed audiences who are all too eager to share the latest TV or movie gaffe on social media.
Remember when Game of Thrones fans noticed the anachronistic chalice in the form of a Starbucks cup left in plain sight?
Another bungle just surfaced, but this time the recent discovery was from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
It turns out that lightsaber Luke Skywalker was wielding in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was apparently an import from the planet earth.
Uproxx noted that Pablo Hidalgo – a Lucasfilm executive on the Star Wars franchise – tweeted about his discovery from the 1980 Star Wars sequel.
It was an innocuous tweet at first.
"I've noted this before, but every time I watch a 'Star Wars' movie, there's something new to notice. Especially if I'm fortunate to catch it on the big screen."
And then he shared his jarring revelation with juxtaposed images of Luke's lightsaber.
"This latest discovery? that 'NEW YORK' is visible on the bottom of Luke's lightsaber in EMPIRE."
The image on the left was pulled from the movie with a barely-visible "New York" written on the bottom of the lightsaber. On the right is an image of the actual naked prop from the film before the etchings were buffed out and other pieces were added.
@pablohidalgo Huh, it I guess it really is the *Empire* State https://t.co/6IyE9Ha6wI— Ben Hower (@Ben Hower) 1560914825.0
Can you see it?
I've noted this before, but every time I watch a Star Wars movie, there's something new to notice. Especially if I'… https://t.co/3ybgHkIxLO— Pablo Hidalgo (@Pablo Hidalgo) 1560914321.0
It may take a lot of effort to even notice, but it is there.
@pablohidalgo I love that this will probably drive someone insane— Anthony (@Anthony) 1560914956.0
@pablohidalgo By visible you mean blown way up and with real squinty eyes you can barely make it out? Hey you're right!— Opening Crawl (@Opening Crawl) 1560930666.0
@Jcjpl (On the big screen it can be seen; though of course, it took about 40 years for me to notice)— Pablo Hidalgo (@Pablo Hidalgo) 1560951780.0
Uproxx's Josh Kurrp said the only link he could find between Luke's lightsaber and New York was the sound designer making recordings for The Empire Strikes Back during a family visit.
"[Sound designer] Ben Burtt recorded sounds of people in snow while visiting his family in upstate New York, which were used for the Hoth scenes."
With its universal appeal, it's hard to believe ardent fans of Star Wars missed the marking.
Although to be fair, the etching is easy to miss if you don't know what you're looking for.
It stands to reason then that Hidalgo, who has probably seen the movie a hundred times, was the first to notice the goof.
@pablohidalgo Visible, but not legible.— Shayn Mikel (@Shayn Mikel) 1560920631.0
@Shayn_Mikel It is at the right resolution.— Pablo Hidalgo (@Pablo Hidalgo) 1560921186.0
ComicBook weighed in with their thoughts on the discovery.
"This is a very small error, and hard to even notice if you aren't looking forward. It's honestly surprising that Hidalgo even found it in the first place."
"Then again, with as closely as 'Star Wars' fans have watched these movies over the years, it's hard to believe it took this long for someone to see it."
The fictional energy sword is used in combat by the Jedi order and their Sith counterparts. The luminescent blade consists of magnetically contained plasma that shoots from a metal hilt that was, well, not manufactured in New York.
@pablohidalgo Is Graflex a prop company?— Greg, Know Your Cuts of Meat Champion - 2006 (@Greg, Know Your Cuts of Meat Champion - 2006) 1560914453.0
In the photo on the right from Hidalgo's tweet, you can clearly see the word "Graflex" stamped at the base of the hilt, signifying the handles from the Graflex flash gun retrieved by set decorator Roger Christian.
@Money_Moose Graflex made the old camera flash holder that the lightsaber was built out of. https://t.co/PqaGkzXAVi— Pablo Hidalgo (@Pablo Hidalgo) 1560914701.0
@pablohidalgo @Money_Moose In the saber-building community people refer to that saber as a “Graflex” on its own. I… https://t.co/qPjdyRxUaN— Eric Strothers (@Eric Strothers) 1560915014.0
@pablohidalgo Folmer Graflex Corp. (later just Graflex, Inc., and formerly a division of Kodak) was on Clarissa Str… https://t.co/p7xoF9JbyA— Eric Stevens (@Eric Stevens) 1561040482.0
Don't mess with the Star Wars-obsessed. If you attempt to challenge them on trivia you may find yourself sinking into the Sarlacc Pit.
@Sturmwolken1 @pablohidalgo Haha! Well, the Graflex flashgun used to make the lightsaber in IV, V, VII, and VIII co… https://t.co/ZxWyeoDUeH— Jay Ingram (Charlemagne) (@Jay Ingram (Charlemagne)) 1560914944.0
@cube_joe @pablohidalgo Yep! It's the only shot that lets us know which one of the variant of Graflexs was used in… https://t.co/CMllmhJ7MG— George Swain (@George Swain) 1560930522.0
If you claim to be a true Star Wars aficionado and don't have any knowledge of the following, you're bantha fodder.
@pablohidalgo Oh my friend you are perched on the precipice of a deep and wonderful rabbit hole. Folmer Graflex fla… https://t.co/wDzRgkvuls— Michael Shane (@Michael Shane) 1560998184.0
@pablohidalgo No ESB lightsaber is considered screen accurate without it! ANH sabers also usually use a Folmer vari… https://t.co/xZdwhDrwUl— Michael Shane (@Michael Shane) 1560998320.0
@JayKingIngram @GraflexBank @Sturmwolken1 @pablohidalgo I’m glad I found someone who is as picky about lightsaber h… https://t.co/0JHSa4OB1F— Emperor Palpamemes (@Emperor Palpamemes) 1560925104.0
@pablohidalgo George had it changed to Aurabesh for the blu-ray release.— Brandon Bird (@Brandon Bird) 1560918388.0
Oh Starbucks, why did you meddle with this Sci-Fi movie from 1977?
@pablohidalgo Let’s not forget the Starbucks incident of ‘77. https://t.co/qFfOzNvhgY— Blue Milk On The Rocks (@Blue Milk On The Rocks) 1560948205.0
@pablohidalgo That's because the spirit of New York is intergalactic— Jennifer Heddle (@Jennifer Heddle) 1560926445.0
@pablohidalgo NEW YORK IS CANON— Ryan (@Ryan) 1560922578.0
@pablohidalgo I don’t own much Star Wars merchandise these days, but I do love my WIP New York flashlight. https://t.co/Yf3ArMhkFE— Sebastian Boyle (@Sebastian Boyle) 1560977857.0
@pablohidalgo New York is just an old weapons manufacturing planet on the Outer Rim. 🤷🏻♂️— Sir Gumbeaux (@Sir Gumbeaux) 1561048601.0
@pablohidalgo @pablohidalgo dude that is New York, Tatooine. How did you not know that three hundred miles from Mos… https://t.co/ereU28FmI0— Colin J Lewis (@Colin J Lewis) 1561076346.0
There you have it.
After 39 years since The Empire Strikes Back hit theaters, there is nothing more shocking than seeing "New York" on a lightsaber, forcing us to come to grips with reality.