The Arrow, Mark Two

They can't argue against the crack, but they'll do anything to stop the arrow.

The numerous screenshots and pictures on this page (it'll take over two minutes at 56k) have been created from a TV quality widescreen VCD of the film.   I have also made a DivX vidcap of the scene under contention (which includes both the piercing arrow and the bouncing arrow (the only one visible in the VHS version)), available via the link icon:

(200kb DivX .avi, half-speed)



Some have disputed the visual evidence of the troop being hit by an arrow in the rear "backpack". Instead, they claim that he was hit in the black bodysuit area. This claim is based on consciously ignoring the visual evidence provided, in favor of claiming that because someone screams concurrent to the arrow impact, that the troop was injured.   Now, beyond the peculiar notion that screaming must equal injury, the claim is made that if the troop was injured then he had to have been pierced by the arrow.   Somehow, the objectors conclude that this means the black bodysuit was pierced, since supposedly the backpack could not have been. 

Obviously, this claim is a non sequitur in several respects . . . to put it nicely.  Disproving it is a simple task.  Most notably, there's the issue of arrow length. Naturally, the arrows of a severely pre-industrial civilization are not all of equal length, but let's try to take a look at the closest shot of an arrow anyway, and compare that with the struck trooper.

Red lines parallel to the arrows added for clarity

For the most part, Ewoks are 3.5-4 feet tall. The arrow is around half that. Scaled to the trooper, the arrow section we see is in the range of a foot long, suggesting that there's probably enough to have directly hit his flesh.

"You measured the Ewok and arrow wrong!", they have claimed, even after I explained that those were parallel lines, not to be measured sideways. And so, behold:

The original image and a contrast-enhanced version
Note the bowstring

The marked version. Explanation below

In the above image, there are three red pointers. The top-most pointer points to the top of the bow. The middle/left pointer points toward the arrowhead. The lower red pointer marks the end of the straight line of the arrow. Beyond that point, no arrow is visible.

You also see a red line, and some green lines. The red line once again runs parallel to the arrow, this time above it instead of below. The green line marks the termination points of both the arrow and the red parallel line next to it. And now, note the yellow lines. That's the bowstring. See how it just so happens to fit right about where I drew the parallel line to? Amazing!

A couple of Warsies refused to accept the fact that the arrow did not slice through the white backpack, still claiming that it was above the backpack due to a conveniently-angled mark on the armor in the most popular screencap from the scene, replicated on my page. As I pointed out, and as they ignored, the scene a few frames prior looked altogether different.

(70kb DivX vidcap (slow motion))

We begin with the original image that they're
so on about. Note how the arrow line appears
to continue on top of (i.e. in front of) the
semi-circle of white armor . . . it appears
as a darkening over the white semi-circle.

Some make the unusual claim that you can also see the
light-brown arrow in front of the black semi-circle
area. I have no idea where that claim comes from,
except perhaps desperation. Take a look at this pic,
with brightness and contrast both enhanced by 100%
. . . no arrow present on the black.

Now, take a look at the pic they ignored, from a few frames prior:

Let's grab just the relevant portion, and brighten it by 20%.

Now, we'll enlarge that, exactly doubling the height and width.

Let's draw a red line right on top of the arrow, and save this for later.

Now, let's take the enlarged version, and reduce the
brightness by 90% while increasing the contrast by 40%.
This should bring that mark out clearly.

See the mark? I'll circle it for you.

Now, how about we just apply the line image on top of the circle image?

Why, look at that.  One pro-Wars debater described it as looking like "a musical note".   Now, look at the two original frames again. 

Note the angle change of the trooper . . . note the fact that the same mark is in the same place on his backpack, but it's simply at a more convenient angle in the lower image that they prefer to use, as opposed to the one we looked at above.   Now you see why they insist on using that other frame.  Not very honest of them, is it?



A couple of opponents claimed that there was an arrow which bounced off one of the troopers, and eventually I was able to get them to try to back it up by pointing out where it was in the film, instead of just claiming it and running away.   They felt it somehow disproved the point that an arrow pierced the back armor as seen above (as if somehow another one bouncing prevents another one from piercing).   The trooper in question is to the left of the pierced trooper, as seen in the thumbnail.

Despite the TV-quality VCD vidcap, the arrow hit itself is little more than a blur, though the arrow is clearly visible for one brief moment when it is in flight in front of an Ewok, in the first frame. The following few frames show the event as clearly as I've managed to be able to create.  (It's easier to see where the arrow is in flight by watching the vidcap in frame-by-frame, though, so I do suggest that you download the scene I provided at the top of the page.)  I've circled the arrow's position in the repeated frames on the right side for clarity, since 'difficult to see, the arrow is':

Image As Captured
Image With Arrow Marked

Note well the fact that this arrow is moving much more slowly than the one which pierces the other trooper. Note well that this arrow is also shorter, as seen both when it is in front of the Ewok in the first image, and during and after the bounce.  (A less-massive and slower object will have much less kinetic energy.)   And finally, note the location of the hit, which appears to be an area featuring a junction of the armor sections (i.e. a point which has more armor than usual anyway).

For reference, note the pictures below, an unmarked and marked version of the scout trooper's back. The red circle marks the area which the arrow struck and bounced off of. Unlike the direct hit and piercing of the armor seen with the other trooper (approximate location marked in blue), the smaller and slower bounce arrow, with its lesser kinetic energy, also had the misfortune of hitting at a location which had the most protection due to the overlapping layers.

The back of the scout captured outside the back door of the shield generator station

Unfortunately, there's no way to tell just how the impact occurred. One can try to make guesses based on various factors, but it will depend on the exact point of impact, the shape of the arrow head and its angle at impact, et cetera . . . and these are not known. The requirements would be that the impact and bounce event allow for the observed trajectory change, which could be roughly 30 degrees to the left (from our perspective) and perhaps between 30 and 60 degrees upward.  That, of course, leaves us any number of possibilities, given the 'terrain' where the hit occurred . . . 

The lay of the land behind the scout's head

. . . the arrow may have hit the point where the upper semi-circle of white armor meets the little extra round section's uppermost part, and bounced off of that complex corner accordingly.  Alternately, it might've scored a glancing hit within the black semi-circle (not visible in the marked shot above), slid along until it hit the "bolt", and then bounced off.  Or, it could've hit the "convex" corner of the over-the-shoulder armor strap and the rest of the backpack.  We simply don't know, and unfortunately we don't get to see this fellow's armor to see if it is cracked, chipped, broken, or even undamaged entirely.

Whatever the case, it is obvious that Warsies cannot point to the bounce event as if it is some sort of disproof of the cracked shoulder armor or the direct arrow hit and piercing event.   Those events occurred.   To try to point to an unclear impact against armor by a smaller, slower arrow and proclaim the other two events as non-existent is not sane.