Star Wars may be one of the greatest film franchises of all time, but it’s still based on a movie trilogy made in the ’70s and ’80s. George Lucas can release all the new editions jam-packed with CGI that he wants, but they still look like products of their times: star wipes, practical effects, and all. This is usually a charming strength, but occasionally their age shows.
Recently, Mark Hamill explained away one of the more glaring errors in Star Wars, and cemented a decades-old fandom in-joke in the process. In fact, his explanation is already part of the Star Wars story, if you know where to look.
The combat in Star Wars is one of its most exciting elements, as the franchise is full of flawless, meticulously choreographed thrills. But in Return of the Jedi, one sequence has an obvious error. When Luke is about to be forced into the Sarlacc Pit, he fights his way out at the last second. A guard tries to grab him, but Luke kicks him out of the way and into the pit. Except not really: The shot clearly shows that Luke missed.
This mistake is easy to mock, but a fandom in-joke explains the error away. Luke is simply executing a “Force kick,” a telekinetic attack that doesn’t require physical contact. The cheeky explanation earned a joking reference in Karen Traviss’ book Order 66: A Republic Commando Novel, and it even became an ability in multiple Star Wars video games.
The fix seemed like the perfect piece of “fanon” — fan-generated canon that isn’t canonically proven, but generally agreed upon — until Mark Hamill hopped on Twitter and explained the flub away by explicitly calling his action a “Force-Kick.”
Now, something doesn’t enter the Star Wars canon just because Mark Hamill says so, but it does mean that this piece of fanon has saturated the culture to the point where even the actors involved are aware of it. So why not make it canon? Maybe Luke Skywalker taught young Grogu how to force kick during Grogu’s time at Jedi camp, or maybe Ahsoka will bust the move out for a combat scene in her upcoming series.
A technical error in a 40-year-old movie doesn’t need an explanation, but a star using the term is only one step away from a fan-produced explanation becoming official. Now that Hamill’s aware of it, we could see the infamous force kick mentioned in the future. Even if it’s just an offhand remark, it would show that Star Wars listens to its fans... even the most pedantic ones.