MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews compared White House chief strategist Steve Bannon on Thursday to Star Wars villain Darth Vader, even though “he’s a good speaker” albeit “a little strong but, you know, that’s part of the deal he’s got.”

Hardball host Chris Matthews is quite the cinemaphile, frequently working movie references into his banter on the MSNBC program. So it was rather surprising when the MSNBC anchor made a whopper of a gaffe on his July 24 program regarding an iconic moment in the climactic lightsaber duel in the middle chapter of the original Star Wars trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back. It seems Matthews remembers Luke Skywalker losing the duel when Darth Vader cut of his arm, not merely his right hand.

The botched movie reference was made by Matthews as he relayed how the fictional villain has a higher favorability rating (58 percent) than any real-life 2016 presidential prospect, including Hillary Clinton (55 percent). Here's the relevant transcript (video follows page break):

"So this is how liberty dies...with thunderous applause."

Such was ominously stated by the fictional character Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) in "Star Wars III: The Revenge of the Sith" as she watched Emperor Palpatine tell a cheering Senate that he had taken all power away from them to form a Galactic Empire (h/t NBer bradbenj5952).

As the film was released in May 2005 shortly after George W. Bush's second inauguration, there were many in the media who saw a parallel between the events depicted and what was going on in our nation.

A former Wall Street Journal editor asked "Is Bush a Sith Lord?" Years later, Hillary Clinton called Dick Cheney Darth Vader.

Yet, if you watch this scene now, given what transpired during the presidential campaign last year and the cheering masses at Tuesday's inauguration, mightn't this have been a rather prescient foreshadowing of events in the future (video embedded below the fold):

Sure, we know when we're being used. The folks at "Morning Joe" are well aware that if baring some liberal leg is likely to cause us to cover them, mentioning NewsBusters by name virtually guarantees that an item will follow here in short order. But if the MSNBC show wants to play the homely-if-roundheeled high school girl striving for attention, NB is happy, as the popular QB of liberal-media busting, to oblige.

And so it was that on this morning's episode, newsreader Mika Brzezinski, much like the girl at the beach who "accidentally" lets the bikini strap slip, made a transparently intentional "mistake," confusing Dick Cheney with Darth Vader. That in turn prompted host Joe Scarborough, in mock horror at Mika's exposure of too much liberal skin, to call for NewsBusters. The incident occurred during Mika's 6:11 A.M. EDT newsreading of an otherwise innocuous item.

View video here.