Use the Force

40 Years Later, Star Wars Has Finally Explained Its Dumbest Mistake

A new short story will add context to the saga’s most bewildering moment.

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Star Wars

One of the most widely debated moments in Star Wars history began with a technical blunder. Return of the Jedi opens with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) demonstrating some serious prowess as a Jedi. While fighting Jabba’s goons above a Sarlacc pit on Tatooine, Luke delivers a high kick that sends one henchman flying. The only problem? His kick never actually connects.

What was clearly just the product of wonky camera angles became an inside joke almost overnight. Nowadays, the fandom refers to this moment as the first example of a “Force kick.” (Luke doesn’t actually have to kick the hapless guard: channeling the Force through his foot is apparently more than enough to inflict some damage.)

Luke’s “Force kick” in action.


Even Hamill recently got in on the joke, which all but cements the existence of a Force kick in canon. However, he’s only got one side of the story. What about the guard that found himself at the wrong end of Luke’s foot? No one’s ever bothered to ask him how their brief fight went down. That is, until now.

Lucasfilm has teamed up with Random House and Del Rey for another installment of From a Certain Point of View, an anthology novel that explores key moments of the original Star Wars trilogy from the perspective of characters you’d least expect. The latest addition to the series will follow the events of Return of the Jedi, and it’s spending a generous amount of time on Tatooine.

There are about 40 short stories total in the novel, each from a different perspective. Salacious B. Crumb, Max Rebo, and even the Sarlacc itself will get to tell their own stories. And, for the first time, fans will also get the chance to hear from the guard that faced off with Luke. Check out an excerpt below:

“Bright green against Tatooine’s pale-blue sky, the lightsaber lit the way to certain doom. Of that Sion was certain. Getting close to that thing was as good as signing his own deäth mark. But working in service to Jabba meant you didn't have the luxury of choosing self-preservation. The way Sion saw it he had three choices: get on the skiff and maybe make it out of this fight alive; hang back and probably get shot later for insubordination; or run off with his tail between his legs and still get shot later, but this time with a bounty on his head. No — it wasn't a choice at all.”

K Arsenault Rivera will reintroduce this previously unnamed henchman as Sion. Her short story, appropriately titled “Kickback,” explores this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment from a more sympathetic point of view. Sion might have been just another disposable henchman before, but it’s clear he had a lot on his mind in his encounter with a Jedi. If he’d had it his way, he probably wouldn’t have charged at Luke Skywalker at all. But as Jabba’s loyal servant, he doesn’t have much say in the matter.

What will Sion’s story reveal about Luke’s infamous Force kick? Was it a Force kick at all, or a desperate attempt to sever ties with Jabba? We’ll find out when From A Certain Point of View drops at the end of August, but let’s hope we’ll finally get the full story from Sion.

From A Certain Point of View: Return of the Jedi arrives on August 29.

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