Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Tommy Boy director takes the blame for society's mass misquoting of a certain Star Wars line

Illustration for article titled iTommy Boy/i director takes the blame for societys mass misquoting of a certain iStar Wars /iline
Screenshot: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (YouTube)

In the pantheon of misquoted lines from movies, “Luke, I am your father” is right up there with “Play it again, Sam.” True Star Wars fans will remember that, during the fateful showdown between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker in Empire Strikes Back, the exchange plays out a little differently with Luke asserting that Darth Vader killed his father and the Sith lord retorting, “No, I am your father.” Weirdly enough, the collective misremembering of this line can be traced back to a film that’s about as far from the Star Wars universe as you can get: Tommy Boy.

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter commemorating the 25th anniversary of the beloved Chris Farley comedy, director Peter Segal issues a formal apology for the flub and provides some insight into how it happened in the first place. This will come as a surprise to almost no one, but it turns out there wasn’t much thought put into an offhand Star Wars quote in the middle of a 90-minute comedy.

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“I would describe this movie as sort of a Caesar salad,” Segal tells THR. “We had no script to start with, and any ingredients that we thought might congeal into the thinnest thread of a story were put into the script. That was one of those moments where I stupidly spoke into the vibration of a fan, and I came up with that and thought, ‘OK, that might work. Let’s just put that in the movie.’”

Despite starting principal photography with only half a script, Segal says that there really wasn’t much improvisation once Chris Farley and David Spade were on set. With the two leads still being active cast members at Saturday Night Live, the entire film had to be shot during SNL’s summer hiatus. The truncated shooting schedule made improv virtually impossible.

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“So, as the guys would fly back and forth from New York to Toronto, we wrote as we could,” Segal says. “The days off that they had from our movie were days that I could sit at the computer and write.” So, it sounds like there wasn’t much time to consider whether a quote from a popular sci-fi franchise was accurate or not and, thus, a whole generation of casual moviegoers was doomed to have bad Darth Vader impressions forever.

Read the full interview here.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Pay me to write for you, you coward.

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