We all love Star Wars for its massive budgets and incredible special effects, but part of what makes it such a charming franchise is that it’s not perfect. Really, it’s not even close. In the original trilogy alone, there are countless mistakes that would make it into the final cut, mistakes that we can all look at now and laugh. Whether these mistakes are from bad editing, continuity mistakes or botched special effects, they make Star Wars more special; they give it a little character. It’s the little trivial things like these that have become embedded in the Star Wars mythos and made the entire thing so much more fun on multiple viewings.
At this point in the game, we’re allowed to make fun of Star Wars. We can laugh at the silliness because the franchise is so beloved and so brilliant. No one’s feelings are going to be hurt because of this. Even if they are hurt, that’s ok because, when you’re as rich as the people are who were involved with Star Wars, money can buy happiness, or something like that. With this list, we’re giving you another reason to go back and watch the original trilogy, assuming you needed another reason. You can tell your partner or friend or family, it’s a project. It’s for science. Go through and spot these mistakes, laugh at them and be merry. You’re going to look like the brightest person in the room and the hugest nerd all at once, for science. Be bold. Here are 15 mistakes from the original Star Wars Trilogy.
15. Stormtrooper Head Bump
Everyone has seen this one by now, but we can’t, in good conscience, leave it off a list of Star Wars mistakes. When walking through a bay door in A New Hope, one of the Stormtroopers bonks his head on a door that was a little too low for him. Technically, this mystical actor has never been identified because a couple of Stormtroopers remember hitting their heads on set, but many point to the late Michael Leader as the most likely victim. Apparently the vision in those suits was terrible so this type of thing did happen somewhat frequently. To make fun of the incident and give it some precedence, Lucas would include a funny little gag in Attack of the Clones by having Jango Fett bump his head. It stands to reason that, if Stormtroopers are clones of Fett, they would be susceptible to his clumsiness and spatial unawareness.
14. Visible Power Cord
The lightsabers used by the Jedi Knights might seem high tech and magical, but that’s just the magic of movies, you see. They’re not actually real swords made of light. In fact, the lightsabers are so fake that you can see it with your own eyes when Darth Vader and Obi Wan Kenobi square up for a duel in A New Hope. In that moment look to Obi Wan’s wizard sleeve and see the power cord there which lit his saber up. Actually that power cord didn’t even really light it up. It seems that these early versions of the lightsabers were powered up so that they could spin. The sides of the swords were taped up with reflective tape and the spinning action would give them a cool little glow for the cameras.
13. Lando’s Disappearing Gloves
In one of those, could-have-been-fixed-so-easily-but-for-some-reason-they-didn’t-think-to-do-it mistakes, Lando Calrissian is shown to be very indecisive with his gloves in Return of the Jedi. As he dangles desperately over the mouth of the Sarlacc pit, he holds on to a rope for dear life. Now, when the camera is on Lando’s face, we see the actor Billy Dee Williams and we see that he has gloves on. Yet, when the shot is from up top, almost certainly showing a stunt double holding onto the rope, Lando, for whatever reason, has gloves on. Either Lando continues to put his gloves on and take them off whenever the camera changes, or the costume people and the editors didn’t realize the difference in the costumes.
12. What Color Is This Jacket?
This one has caused some controversy over the years, and, to be completely honest, we have no idea what’s going on here. The apparent mistake occurs when Han Solo is about to be lowered into the carbonite chamber, in The Empire Strikes Back. He takes off his jacket and holds it in his hands as he says goodbye to his friends. Then, when we get a close up of him, his jacket looks to be back on. Now, it does appear that this is nothing more than a trick of the lighting. It seems that the jacket is not actually on his back; the lighting has just made a shadow on his white shirt making it look black. Some say that the jacket is on but Lucas lightened it to make it look like a trick of lighting, but others say you can clearly see the shirt change color in the behind the scenes footage. Maybe what we have here is another case of what color is this dress, but we’ll include it as a mistake nonetheless.
11. Dusty Lightsabers Or Special Effects?
There’s no replacement for a solid effort and both Alec Guiness (Obi Wan Kenobi) and David Prowse (Darth Vader) gave it all they had when filming fight scenes. In the early lightsaber fights, the training and the technique wasn’t as solid as it would become in later films. In addition to that, the technology of the lightsabers wasn’t up to par at this point either. Because of this, Lucas instructed the actors not to physically hit the swords together. They were fragile and prone to break easily, so the utmost care was needed. But instead of going easy on the swords, these two classy try-hards just hammered their swords together. Not only did these things break regularly but, with many of the hits, a big cloud of dust flew up into the air. Since no one really knows what would happen if you smashed real lightsabers together, the clouds of dust were never a problem. Everyone just thought it was part of the special effects. Until now.
10. The Mysterious Changing Holster
Lando’s at it again, switching things up and making it confusing for everyone, ruining their evenings. It’ll never make sense why actors or filmmakers or whoever, make significant costume changes in between shots. Sure, Lucas had no way of knowing that people would criticize everything possible in every one of his shots, but still. When Lando and Han are having a romantic moment outside of the Millennium Falcon, Lando’s holster appears to take on a life of its own. It starts with the holster being on Lando’s left hip, but, after Han walks away and turns around to smile at him awkwardly, Lando’s holster position is reversed, now hanging off his right hip. Why would this happen? That’s right, there’s no reasonable explanation. Lucas is just one of those people who just want to watch the world burn.
9. AT-AT Leg Pole
This one might be getting a little picky, but because it’s such a well-known scene, we’ll allow it. When Luke and the good guys are blasting away at the AT-ATs, they find a couple of different ways to take them down. Because their armor is too strong for blasters, Luke says they need to find a new way to bring them down, such as tripping them with ropes (then blasting them with blasters when they’re down which makes no sense whatsoever). Luke also learns that throwing bombs into their mechanical innards does the trick ever so elegantly. The important thing to note here is that this is all just make believe. These guys aren’t actually taking these machines down like this. Nope. These are fake. There are sticks underneath their feet, which, when pushed upwards, make the machines fall over. Sorry for destroying the illusion.
8. Black R2D2
Nowadays special effects are a breeze to pull off. There is a lot of knowledge that has been passed down from film to film, but many of the major breakthroughs came while filming Star Wars. There was one revelation that was unknown at the time, which led to a few mistakes throughout, most visible when R2D2 rides up on Luke’s X-Wing, and that had to do with the green screen. Back then, a green screen wasn’t even the norm, so the Star Wars crew used a blue screen. Well, because R2D2’s main color is blue, those sections were made to look black in these flying sequences. Actually these blue sections were translucent, but because the backdrop was black, it looked black and really didn’t look half bad, sort of like if R2D2 put on war paint to transform himself into a badass.
7. Missing Restraints
So Han Solo gets locked up and he’s about to be murdered at the end of The Empire Strikes Back. Ok, not exactly, but he is going to be frozen in carbonite forever. So there he is, all shackled up, shackles on his wrists and shackles around his chest and arms. When he’s lowered into the carbonite chamber, his shackles are removed from hands, probably so he can make that epic carbonite pose, but his chest shackles are kept on. Later, when he’s unexpectedly saved, he is brought back to his normal state, but guess what. Those chest shackles have disappeared. What could have happened to them? Does carbonite melt metal? Did Solo Houdini his way out of them?
6. The Unspoken Words
Ok, so this one wasn’t technically in the original trilogy, but it was added into the remastered versions later on. There are many mistakes with the added in stuff, like the who shot first question and the entire conversation between Jabba the Hutt and Han Solo, but that’s a talk for another day. The most obvious mistake of them all was an added line for Luke when he arrives at Dagobah looking for Yoda. For whatever reason, Lucas felt that it was necessary for Luke to add in the line “If he even exists,” in reference to his search for Yoda. Well since this line was never shot in the original scene, Lucas just had his SFX team mess with Luke’s mouth to make it seem like he said the dubbed over line. The result is stupid and offensive. It looks and sounds just like a bad foreign language dubbing.
5. Darth Walking Through The Ship
In Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader uses the Force to walk right through the overhanging roof of his ship. It might be a mistake in the rendering of the ship, but who knows these things? All we can see is that when Darth walks down and out of his ship, he doesn’t duck and doesn’t bend, he just walks right through the nose of the ship. Magic. It’s possible the ship was not really there and it was all done by computer, but no one really knows for sure. Let’s just leave it as a mystery. It does, however, appear that low-hanging doors were quite the problem in Star Wars, which begs the question, how didn’t Chewie hit his head on every doorway?
4. Chewbacca’s Shoe
When Han Solo runs into a room full of Stormtroopers in Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back, pay close attention to Chewbacca running in behind him. Look at his feet. This guy is wearing shoes. What kind of a Wookie wears shoes? Yeah, there are a few mistakes with Chewie’s belt, disappearing, reappearing, switching sides, but the shoes bit is classic. It’s kind of traumatic seeing Chewbacca like this, having the veil pulled back and revealing the illusion for what it is. It’s a sham. It’s akin to seeing Mickey Mouse pull off his head at Disneyland. Kids running away screaming, puking and crying. This is the exact same thing but the kids are older and have more beard hair on their necks.
3. Unknown Passenger
Right after Han Solo and the gang escape from Mos Eisley, everyone is getting seated and ready for lift off. The camera comes in close on Solo’s ruggedly handsome face, but suddenly, our eye is distracted by something else. Some mysterious passenger has found their way on board of the Millennium Falcon. This stranger appears to be wearing green (or is green perhaps) and they linger just in the corner of the camera. Once they realize their intrusion may have just ruined an entire film franchise, they shuffle away out of sight, surely never to work in Hollywood again.
2. Han Won’t Give Anyone A Solo
You know that one scene which has Leia jumping into Han’s arms because she’s scared of the space worm? Well, apparently Harrison Ford really wanted Leia’s solo because when she says, “being held by him isn’t quite enough to get her excited,” Ford follows along with her, mouthing the entire line. Perhaps Fisher was too messed up to remember her lines that day and Ford was simply helping her out, or maybe Ford was confused and thought no one could see what he was doing. Or maybe, just maybe, Ford is one of those people who follow along with what you’re saying or finish your sentences for you. Man I hate those people. Maybe, you’re one of those people. If you are, stop it. Stop doing what you’re doing. You’re not impressing anyone. You’re just finishing our words faster than we are.
1. Ghostly Luke
In A New Hope, R2D2 goes off and Luke follows after to find him. Back at his home, Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen find out that Luke is gone, but maybe he was there the whole time, in spirit. Or maybe George Lucas just mucked up a shot because in one of the scenes at Luke’s homestead, we’re made to believe that we’re seeing a rolling video of the property, but really it’s a still photo. How do we know this? Well, there’s a faint image of Luke in the upper right doorway, like a ghost haunting his family. This little screw up might actually be a blessing later on for the newer Star Wars films to use. Maybe Luke dies in one of the subsequent films and comes back as a force ghost, visiting his family’s home while they’re out. Called it first.