4 Pop-Culture Mysteries Revealed Years Later

We now know exactly what happened to Luke Skywalker’s severed hand — YOU’RE WELCOME
4 Pop-Culture Mysteries Revealed Years Later

It’s natural to notice a thread drop in a movie, TV show or particularly complex song, pick it up and ask, “Hey, what about this?” Some people (ahem) make entire careers of it. Most of the time, we resign ourselves to not having answers to these questions, at least until someone at Comic-Con asks them. Occasionally, though, the answer surfaces long after a normal person would have stopped asking, like a nod from the creator that says, “I know. I remembered. My bad.”

‘The Empire Strikes Back’: What Happened to Luke’s Hand?

For decades, there really wasn’t a question about what happened to Luke Skywalker’s hand after Darth Vader yeeted it into the bowels of Cloud City. It was safe to assume it just kind of poofed. Maybe it became a weird moon for the gas giant below. Is that how moons work? Then The Force Awakens came along and ruined everything, this included. It revealed that the lightsaber Luke had been clutching had been found, spawning countless memes to the tune of, “Where’s the hand, Lucas? WHERE’S THE HAND?!”

Again, it would be reasonable to assume that, unlike a lightsaber, a hand is organic matter that rots away over the course of dozens of years, but it turns out that’s not what happened, either. In a 2021 edition of Marvel Comics’s Darth Vader series, Luke’s hand can be seen floating in a vat in Palpatine’s cloning lab. Yep, the same one seen in The Rise of Skywalker, though it’s unclear if the hand’s still there. That implies Palpatine used it in his cloning experiments, probably for Skywalker’s midichloriany blood, which means Rey might be a Skywalker after all, infuriating scores of Reylo shippers and delighting a gross few.

‘Cha-Cha Slide’: What’s Part One?

“Cha-Cha Slide” doesn’t invite many questions, being as it is mostly dance instructions, but it does raise one right at the beginning, when DJ Casper introduces the song as “The Casper Slide Part Two.” First of all, Casper Slide? But also, part two? What was part one? Is this a History of the World situation (at least until recently)?

For about two decades, no one could find any evidence of a first part, but that didn’t mean it didn’t exist. In 2018, the podcast Every Little Thing launched an investigation that included an interview with the friendly dance ghost, who explained that the song was written for his nephew’s aerobics classes. It was initially not even a song, just a set of steps for middle-aged women to sweat to the oldies. When he decided to set it to music, he chose a sample that it didn’t even cross his mind to get the rights to, thinking it would never be heard outside that particular Bally Total Fitness.

When it became clear he had a potential hit on his hands and needed music he wouldn’t get sued for, he reworked the song into the part two we all know/love/obligatorily obey at weddings, and the original had never been played for the internet public until the podcast aired. It’s largely the same, with the most jarring difference being the change from “cha-cha now, y’all” to “cha-cha real smooth.” Imagine living in that world.

‘Friends’: How Did They Always Get That Coffee Shop Couch?

Friends, on the other hand, raised oh so many questions: How did they afford that apartment? Why did anyone put up with Ross? Seriously, how many square feet was that place? But most important, how did they always manage to snag the couch in Central Perk? Have you ever been to a big city coffee shop? You’re lucky if there’s enough room to stand in line. Why were these people so special that they could always get the comfiest seat in the house?

It turns out it’s because they actually were that special. When the show made its Netflix debut in 2015, fans suddenly noticed a tiny, unassuming “Reserved” sign on the table in front of the couch. If anything, this only raises more questions: How did they manage to pull that off? Why did the other coffee shop patrons, a people who are notoriously grumpy and can’t even wrap their heads around a “push” or “pull” door, respect it? There were a few times the gang had to shoo away interlopers, but it seems like an uncaffeinated Courteney Cox would be easy to fight off.

‘Hocus Pocus’: What Happened to the Bullies?

The last time we see the primary antagonists of 1993’s Hocus Pocus, they’re dangling from a ceiling in child-sacrifice-size cages. No, not the witches — town bullies/tragic victims of 1990s fashion, Jay and Ice. After a night of mugging our heroes and also random trick or treaters, they made the grave error of calling the Sanderson sisters ugly, earning them their spots in baby jail. After the sisters have been vanquished, they’re left to fend for themselves, laying down some impressive harmonies over the end credits.

If you were hoping they figured a way out and let the ordeal inspire them to turn things around, we have bad news. When the Disney-approved Sanderson cottage LEGO set was released in 2023, fans spotted the cages containing two oversize skeletons, suggesting Jay and Ice were never rescued and met an end far grimmer than deserved for some candy snatching and grand theft sneaker. Does this mean that Max, in his willful refusal to release them at the end, is kind of a murderer? Philosophers have been asking such questions for far longer than we’ve asked these.

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