In Star Wars, mistakes and improvisations can become iconic moments. Han replying to Leia’s “I love you” with “I know” was apparently off the cuff, while the stormtrooper that accidentally bonked his head on a doorway garnered his own sound effect in the special editions. Other times, mistakes can lead to glaring canonical issues, and clearing up exactly what happened isn’t easy.
But one of Star Wars’ problems has been solved with a story in the new book A Certain Point of View: Return of the Jedi, which settles a 40-year-old debate. And don’t worry; the now-established canon is definitely the best option.
On August 1, Del Rey Books tweeted excerpts from several stories in the latest Certain Point of View book, which depicts the movie’s famous scenes from the viewpoints of side characters like musician Max Rebo and Coruscant cook Dexter Jettster. One story is particularly intriguing: “Kickback” by K Arsenault Rivera, told from the point of view of Jabba’s soldier Sion (no relation to Ahsoka’s Eye of Sion), who finds himself face to face with Luke Skywalker on Jabba’s barge.
This is the character who famously reacts to Luke Skywalker’s kick way too late, making it look like he’s getting hit by thin air. The story snippet makes it seem like this was a conscious decision by Sion, a way to hedge his bets and avoid getting introduced to the wrong end of a lightsaber.
But in the actual story, the conclusion is much different. After considering his options and thinking of his husband and kids at home, Sion decides to fight Luke. “He had him. There was no space to parry and no space to swing, and — and he hadn’t accounted for the kick, not at this distance.”
That’s right; the canonical reason for this flub is a Force kick, with Luke effectively using telekinesis to knock Sion off his feet and into the Sarlacc pit. This confirms a decades-old fan theory that led to the Force kick becoming a fandom in-joke, with even Mark Hamill getting in on the fun earlier this year.
Finally, after four decades, we have a definitive answer. Though it may have started as a mistake, this moment will go down in Star Wars history not as a flub, but as the birth of a whole new fighting style.