Last Saturday Mythbusters took on Star Wars story elements in one of its best shows in its long run. How do Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman keep up the momentum? By sticking to the show’s unique format, keeping the original duo of makers and breakers that got us hooked on mythbusting in the first place, and giving fans the only place they can see science presented like nowhere else. Giving us a season opener with the greatest space fantasy of all time proves the series can continue as long as these guys want it to keep running.
The first Star Wars element they pursued in the Star Wars special was the chasm scene in A New Hope where Luke and Leia swing to safety in the Death Star while being pursued by Stormtroopers. Instead of simply proving out each element–which they did by testing a grappling hook, and having Jamie swing across with and without a Leia stand-in–they went into full cosplay mode with Jamie in Luke’s outfit and Stormtroopers from the 501st Legion cosplay group acting out the scene. Although Jamie noted that in a life or death situation it’d be difficult to get that grappling hook to stick on the first try, they determined the whole scene plausible. A big win for Star Wars considering these guys usually find movie myths don’t make the cut.
Next up, Mythbusters Grant Imahara, Kari Byron, and Tori Belleci took on the AT-ST all-terrain armored Scout Walker scene from Endor in Return of the Jedi. The Ewoks rigged two giant tree stumps to swing from either side and squish the driver’s compartment like a pop can. Were they able to replicate the scene? You bet! Although their test structure seemed ready to crumble any minute, the heavy trees practically demolished an armored car just as in the movie.
Finally, in what Adam referred to as the most elaborate myth test ever, Jamie and Adam recreated the scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Han discovers Luke, beaten by a Wampa, and stuffs him in a tauntaun that just died to keep him alive while he builds an overnight camp. Adam built a tauntaun from foam and fur, and they stuffed it with their trademark brand of gooey but life-like guts. Along with test equipment that measured the temperature of Luke (played by a dummy) they monitored the frozen conditions and showed that if you’re out in the cold on Mount Everest and there’s a fresh animal carcass to hide in, it might save your life. Awesome!
It’s this kind of episode that will keep fans coming back for more, and has made Adam and Jamie pop culture royalty. What adds to the cool factor of this episode is the fact that Adam made models for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Tori Belleci created some of the federation spaceships and podracers for Industrial Light and Magic for the prequel trilogy, and Grant Imahara worked for ILM on all three Star Wars prequels as an electronics and radio control expert, updating the R2-D2 units for the movies. What better street cred is that to put on such an episode?
Here is a preview of this season’s episodes:
Catch the Mythbusters Star Wars special on your local cable free-per-view and new episodes on Saturday nights through March 1, 2014.