Have you ever seen a movie with a scene of appendage dismemberment and whispered to yourself/shouted out loud “I am your Father”? This reaction has become just as iconic and memorable as anything else in the Star Wars universe, so much so that every film in the Saga so far has involved some form of lightsaber-induced liberation of limbs, starting with Ponda Baba’s unfortunate encounter with Obi-Wan, to Luke’s unforgettable clash with Vader, to Jango losing his head (literally) against Mace Windu, and Windu’s ultimate fate as well.
It seems that as long as there are lightsabers in the galaxy, heads will keep on rollin’ on screen. But it no longer looks like this fate only befalls those who oppose the Force, as the most recent Marvel movies have had their fair share of hand-offs. Fan speculation has mulled this one over for a while, asking whether or not this was a deliberate reference, and now curiosity becomes fact as Marvel have transpired it to be true!
“Somebody gets their arm cut off in every Phase Two movie. Every single one” – Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios President
Speaking to Cinema Blend recently, Marvel Studios President and all-round awesome guy Kevin Feige cracked open this easter egg that features in Marvel’s Phase Two Cinematic Universe, stating that it was a completely intentional decision. When asked about it he said
"“I’m obsessed with Star Wars. Who’s not? I’m 40 years old. I’m in the movie business.I went to USC. So I’m obsessed with Star Wars – and it didn’t start out as intentional, but it became intentional.“"
"“It sort of happens in every Star Wars movie, but I was sort of looking at it, ‘Okay, is Phase Two our Empire Strikes Back?’ Not really, but tonally things are a little different. Somebody gets their arm cut off in every Phase Two movie. Every single one“."
Okay, so the Phase Two movies so far include Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and the upcoming Ant-Man and Avengers: Age of Ultron. As it stands, there are indeed scenes involving characters losing arms in all of the current movies, and we have yet to see if Ultron and Ant-Man follow suit, so here are brief rundowns of each amputation to date (may contain spoilers):
Thor: The Dark World.
Loki and Thor travel to Svartalfheim to trick Malekith, which involves a projection of Loki chopping off Thor’s forearm. For me, this was the most obvious reference and I did indeed exclaim “That’s impossible!” when I saw Mjolnir tumble across the floor!
Iron Man 3.
Stark slices Aldrich Killian’s arm off during a “heated” confrontation.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
A subtler reference here, but one that involves the eponymous villain. As Bucky is having his bionic arm fixed, he has flashbacks to being rescued by Arnim Zola and seeing his left arm torn off and reassembled as his new bionic weapon.
Guardians of the Galaxy.
Gamora slices Groot’s arms off when he stands in her way on Xandar. Rocket reminds him that they will eventually grow back anyway!
Again, we will wait and see if this carries on through the remainder of Marvel’s Phase Two movies, but it’s a fair bet that it will. Comic book heroes are too powerful to not cause any major damage when dueling and body parts will fly as long as there are swords. However, this rather barbaric action does serve some story and character development in the Star War Universe, as one of the five Jedi Trials is the Trial of the Flesh which may or may not involve loss of limbs for the Jedi. Luke’s Cloud City clash was his Trial of the Flesh, as although losing his arm against Dooku on Geonosis was considered an act of recklessness Obi-Wan convinced the Jedi Council to accept this as Anakin’s Trial of the Flesh. Who said the Jedi Trials were easy huh?!
Final thought: spare a moment for another victim of the lightsaber, the unfortunate Wampa. Anybody who’s seen Robot Chicken Star Wars will know what I mean!