FOOD (SPOILER): Star Wars cuisine bites
The roast porg Chewbacca cooks up in Star Wars: The Last Jedi is by far the most delicious food ever seen in a Star Wars movie – and the wookie can’t even bring himself to eat it.
Most of the other characters sustain themselves with less appetizing fare: Swamp tentacle stew, alien walrus milk, pungent nerf burgers, live toads, chunks of hapless bounty hunters, robot parts – and no wonder Star Wars characters mainly eat space cookies. As Master Yoda said after tossing Luke’s biscuits around, “How do you get so big eating food of this kind?” Even Luke seems to agree.
Commenters in a recent survey responded to the question, “Why do you so rarely see characters in Star Wars eat anything?”
It was pointed out that this is a stupid question. Of course they eat. This is part of the magic of movie making. We take eating (and pooping) as “read,” and usually unnecessary to advance the plot. These Star Wars movies are long enough as it is. And did anyone actually eat dinner in My Dinner with Andre?
The other reason, of course, is that food in Star Wars is disgusting. The first clue that cuisine from a galaxy far, far away isn’t gourmet quality comes early in Episode IV: A New Hope when young Luke is sitting down to a meal with his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. Luke drinks what looks like blue milk, but just toys with his food and doesn’t take a single bite. Uncle Owen, meanwhile, is chewing while he talks – and he and Aunt Beru are shortly thereafter barbecued to death. Coincidence?
Some people claim to remember various aliens eating in the “Cantina scene” (also from Episode IV). It’s true that there was lots of drinking and smoking of various substances – but there were no plates of space nachos on any of those tables. Must not have been a gastropub.
One of the only times you actually see a hungry character – aside from Jabba – is in Yoda’s hut in Episode V: Empire Strikes Back, where Luke eagerly scoops several spoonfuls of an unknown bubbling stew into a bowl, takes a couple of bites and makes a face. Pass the red salt.
In Episode II: Attack of the Clones, we meet restaurateur Dexter “Dex” Jettster, who is known far and wide for his famous “nerf-burgers.” A nerf, as all Star Wars fans know, is a common space cow that looks like a giant leathery tick. It isn’t known if the animal’s terrible body odour transfers to its meat, but a nerf-burger is said to pair nicely with a glass of Dex’s equally famous “Jawa juice” – and let’s not even ask what you have to squeeze to get that.
In Episode I: The Phantom Menace, lil’ Anakin’s family hosts what looks like for a normal meal in the kitchen, but everyone seems a bit put off because Jar Jar eats like an anteater by means of his long, sticky tongue. How rude.
Can’t we all just sit down to a nice dinner for once? Fans point to “Lando’s betrayal,” near the end of Empire Strikes back where Leia, Han and Chewie are captured but then weirdly invited to dinner by Darth Vader, who says, “We would be honoured if you would join us.” The Robot Chicken parody brilliantly points out how awkward such a meal would be – but the movie never shows them actually eating. All we see is a table set for six (Darth, Boba, Lando, Han, Leia and Chewie, don’t see any name tags) on which is platter of flattish pale objects (space breads?) and what appear to be bowls of nerfballs.
There’s little actual eating in several dinner date scenes between Anakin the future Darth Vader and Princess Padme in Attack of the Clones. One time they have a lovely picnic next to a cooler filled with multi-coloured lumpy objects – which you never see them eat. Perhaps that’s because there’s a herd of nerf downwind. They also sit down for soup on Naboo: Padme keeps looking down at her soup ready to take a bite, but never actually does. Finally she eats something in another scene: a small piece of space apple – but that’s only because Anakin is using the Force to feed her. That’s gross in an entirely different way.
Moving up to the latest movie, what has Luke been eating all this time on his lonely island? No more space cookies for this guy. Rey – the latest Star Wars hero – follows the bearded Jedi master as he makes his daily hunting and gathering rounds. We see Luke spear an ugly fish from the ocean, and milk a hideous alien space walrus for some fresh blue milk, which he guzzles greedily, getting some of it in his beard. He sure loves his blue milk. Rey, meanwhile, dines on rehydrated space loaf.
Some people have criticized The Last Jedi for being both too long and not long enough, for having an overly convoluted plot, too many improbable events, too many characters, and generally being uncanonical. But what fits perfectly with all the other films is the food: The alien, exotic, unappetizing food that’s either too weird or too cute to eat.
The reason you don’t often see Star Wars characters eat is because they don’t want to.