I’m sure there are some Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and even Avengers fanatics out there who will disagree with me, but when it comes to sci-fi and fantasy movies, the Star Wars franchise remains the most popular, the most enduring and the most universally beloved of them all. And no, Star Trek Fanboys, you guys don’t count; your franchise will always be more about the TV shows than the movies- sorry. It’s not difficult to see why Star Wars has been at the top of the galaxy for so long. The storyline can’t be beat, it started strong with perhaps the most legendary badass villain in movie history, and it just touches such a universal chord of good and evil, love and hate, victory and defeat in viewers. I mean come on; Darth Vader is just a stand-in name for “Dark Father.” It doesn’t get more basic than that.
So it goes without saying that Star Wars fans are ever-present, always rabid, and ready to argue about the mythos of their universe at any time. Which leads me to a personal theory about the franchise, namely-maybe that’s the reason why there are so many gaping plot holes in the movies- plot holes you could pilot an Imperial Starship through. Think about it for a moment. Do you really think George Lucas and his successors aren’t aware of all of these plot holes, continuity errors, and just plain mistakes in their canon? Of course they are. They just want to make sure there’s plenty of fodder for the message boards, Reddit, FB groups and film critics. It all helps to keep the franchise front and center in the public consciousness. Or at least that’s my personal theory. On the other hand, maybe a mistake is just a mistake. Whatever the reason for them, here are 15 of the biggest issues Star Wars has, from Episode IV all the way to Rogue One. Yeah, I just listed them by order of release. I’m old school. What are you gonna do about it- stick me in a garbage smasher on the detention level?
So we’ll start off with probably, no certainly, the most famous mistake in the history of the Star Wars pantheon. Why not? It always deserves repeating because it’s so nuts. I’m of course talking about the famous boast by Han Solo in Episode IV: A New Hope (or just Star Wars to old guys like me who refuse to change) that his ship, the legendary Millennium Falcon, can do the infamous Kessel Run in “less than 12 parsecs.” Yeah, Fanboys, you know where I’m going with this. As everybody except George Lucas knows (don’t ya just love 20/20 hindsight?), a parsec is a measurement of distance, not time. The Kessel Run was an 18 parsec long (think of parsecs as a measurement of light years, if it helps) smuggling run. There’s no way Han’s ship could do the run in less than 12 parsecs because it’s 18 freakin’ parsecs long. Han’s boast makes no sense! There are definitely those who think this was Lucas’s way of interjecting a time-traveling element to Han in this line. I don’t buy it- it was a mistake in terminology, straight up.
14. R2D2’s Silence
Here’s a truly weird, giant plot hole from A New Hope (damnit, I’ve already stopped calling it just Star Wars) which relates back to earlier events. I’m talking about big, important earlier events, which is what makes this one so unsettling to me. So, we all know that Obi Wan and R2D2 worked together during the Clone Wars, right? Of course we do! After all, the two of them worked together to rescue Emperor Palpatine. That doesn’t seem like the sort of thing you would forget; it would be like the Lone Ranger not recognizing Tonto or Captain America asking Iron Man if they had met before. So what’s the deal with old Ben saying he never owned a droid? He doesn’t even acknowledge that he knows R2. I mean, I guess, technically, he didn’t own R2 but still, the dude worked really, really closely with the droid and ought to remember him. Either Ben Kenobi is way more senile than we ever thought he was or Lucas had no idea what he was doing.
13. No One Cares About 3PO
Speaking of the whole “No love for the droids theme” I’ve got going on here, how about the truly baffling amnesia Uncle Owen displays regarding C3PO. I submit to you, first of all, that you access your neural net memory nodes and recall that a certain dude named Anakin Skywalker built the droid. When he took off from the backwater that is Tatooine, he left C3PO behind. So when his mom married, C3PO ended up working with Owen Lars, her stepson. Yeah, the guy you know better as “Uncle Owen.” So you mean to tell me that Uncle Owen doesn’t remember the droid his Black Sheep step-brother built and that he knew for years? I call BS. I really do. It’s like George Lucas didn’t think any of this stuff through in advance. I mean, for all the other changes he made to the films, you’d think he would have resolved the whole droids issue- these are not unmemorable characters, after all.
12. How Many Sith Can There Be?
When you have a popular series about made-up worlds, be it LOTR, Harry Potter or even freakin’ Thomas the Tank Engine, for that matter, what the actual creator(s) of that world says is considered “canon.” That is, their word is final, no matter how many fan theories, speculations, or just downright disagreements there are between people. The guy who made it up gets to say what it is. That seems pretty simple, right? Well, apparently, wrong. I’m talking about Yoda’s pretty major statement in the prequels that there can only ever be two Sith at a time, which seems to make sense in that context. However, in the later context of Episodes IV-VI, that just doesn’t work. Why, you ask? Because the emperor and Darth Vader are actively trying to get Luke to join them! Two Sith? Canon. Three Sith? Also canon. My head hurts. This is what happens when you make prequel films…
11. Luke Who?
OK, I’ll admit it- this next one has always bothered me. A lot. In fact, I’m getting a little worked up at how dumb it is right now as I type this and start thinking about it again. So, what’s the first thing you might do if you’re hiding out and not trying to draw attention to yourself? The first thing I would (after buying a pair of sunglasses- they always work in the movies) is change my freakin’ name! But does Luke do that? Oh no, he just wanders around Tatooine, the same planet his Dad was from using his Dad’s original surname. OK, “Vader isn’t really a surname as much as it is a title- but you get my drift. It seems beyond stupid for Luke to be parading the name “Skywalker” around. Wouldn’t somebody notice, even in a sh*thole like Tatooine? Wouldn’t somebody get the connection- somebody with nasty intent, like the whole goddamn Empire? But no, Luke is just fine hiding out using his full, real name. Even Frodo used a fake name in Fellowship and he wasn’t that bright.
10. “It’s A Trap!”
Here’s one of the most famous lines in Star Wars history. Let me see if I follow the logic here. The Rebels have the plans to the Death Star because the Emperor let them get them. They assemble the biggest attack fleet they can find in hopes of destroying said Death Star. Luke, Leia, Han- the whole gang is there, ready to go in for the kill. And then the Empire unleashes their trap (hence Admiral Ackbar screaming the line) in hopes of destroying the entire Rebel Alliance in one fell swoop. So why on God’s green earth would the emperor give the rebels the real plans to the Death Star? Why wouldn’t he just give them schematics that looked close enough for government work, as the saying goes. I mean, seriously, this is just engaging in pointless stupidity on the Emperor’s part. Or such extreme hubris that I can’t even begin to fathom it. If you set a trap aren’t you going to do your darndest to make sure it’s successful?
9. R2D2’s Secrets
Everybody but everybody loves the little droid. You may hate on C3PO for being the most annoying thing to ever walk on two legs, you may hate on Han for being the most arrogant thing to ever walk on two legs and you may hate on Anakin (well, actually both Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen, truth be told) for being the most wooden thing to ever walk on two legs. But no one hates on R2. But what we don’t remember is that the little guy was a playa’ too. He was around for pretty much every seminal event in the prequel trilogy. He knows everything about the Skywalkers. Yet he never utters a damn beep or whistle to Luke about any of his family’s history. Or to Leia either, for that matter. Of course, he only utters beeps and whistles so maybe there was no one around to translate for him. Oh, wait…never mind.
8. Rey The Jedi Master
I’ve gotta get away from these darn droids for a moment- they’re making me crazy. So let’s jump ahead a bit, shall we, say to Rey’s sudden and impressive use of the Force? I remember seeing The Force Awakens in the theater and thinking, “How the hell did she become a Jedi so fast?” It was also a major topic of conversation as people were leaving after the movie. I mean, Anakin was Obi-Wan’s apprentice for years and he became one of the most powerful Sith ever. Luke looked like a total fool the first 100 times he tried to use the Force and needed to travel to Dagobah- not a top vacation spot, people- to learn how to control it better. Then there’s Rey, who just waltzes onto the scene and seems to not only know an awful lot about how the Force works, but is also more powerful than just about anyone else who’s ever used it. So what gives? It seems to stretch the bounds of credulity just a bit, doesn’t it? Unless Rey is the daughter of Yoda and Obi-Wan…
7. No Force For You, Luke!
Speaking of using the Force, we saw Luke struggle with learning how to use it to his own advantage and then we saw him begin to use it effectively when he needed it most desperately. Everyone remembers the scene in Empire Strikes Back when Luke is trapped by the Wampa and needs his lightsaber, right? Obviously he gets it or- no Luke. So what gives in Return of the Jedi when Luke needs to push a simple button to kill the Rancor and, instead of using a Force “Push,” has to throw an old skull at it. Or, how about later in the same movie when Luke has ask Han to give him his lightsaber, rather than just use the Force to retrieve it, as he has already proven he can do. It doesn’t make any sense. If I had mastered the force I would never even open a door with my hands again, let alone be asking people to hand me my stuff.
6. Those Darn Droids Again
It’s like everyone involved in creating official Star Wars canon could give a sh*t about C3PO and R2D2. These are major, major characters in the films and sentient beings, to boot. You can’t just manipulate their existence in the canon so blithely and not expect people to notice. Here’s just an absolutely ridiculous plot hole involving the two. We all know that the two droids are, for lack of a better term, “friends.” They look out for each other and spend most of their time together in Episodes IV-VI. So how does it add up that, in the climactic battle in Rogue One, the two droids apparently know each other but, in the same freakin’ battle in A New Hope, they don’t seem to have ever met. That just seems weird to me. And frustrating. Maybe I need to open up a Droid Relief hotline or something ‘cause these guys are getting to me.
5. Death Star or ‘Duh’ Star?
If you look for Star Wars plot holes long enough you’ll come across this one over and over and over. It’s almost as famous as the whole “Kessel Run” thing. Here’s the premise. The Death Star destroys planets. That’s its job, that’s what it’s designed to do, that’s what it’s supposed to do. We’ve even seen it do just exactly that. Grand Moff Tarkin, the creepy commander of the damn thing, certainly knows this. It’s why he’s taking his little toy to destroy not just a rebel base but the entire planet of Yavin IV where the base is located. So why, why, why, for the love of all that is holy, does he have to drive the Death Star around another planet in the way of Yavin IV, giving the rebels enough time to attack him? Why doesn’t he just blow the unnamed planet the hell out of the way? It just doesn’t make any sense. My brain hurts.
4. Who Trained Obi-Wan?
Remember when Obi-Wan learned everything he ever needed to know about how to be a Jedi Knight from his master, the awesome and totally cool Qui Gon-Jinn? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure I remember that whole storyline in the Phantom Menace prequel- I don’t think I’m crazy. But the filmmakers and scriptwriters apparently didn’t do their homework when they made that movie. Because, if you remember, in The Empire Strikes Back, Obi-Wan (well, his ghost), tells Luke that Yoda trained him. His direct quote? He was “The Jedi master who instructed me.” So is Obi-Wan’s ghost even more senile than Obi-Wan was? That’s a definite possibility, based on some of Obi-Wan’s other gaffes. Or is he just trying to get Luke to Yoda, the only Jedi left, any way he can? I certainly hope so because otherwise Phantom Menace is a revisionist mess.
3. Leia Hated Han
I bet I got your attention with that one, didn’t I? Good, ‘cause this little plot problem kind of drives me nuts every time I watch the “original” trilogy. We all know that Han owed Jabba the Hutt a sh*t-ton of money. How do we know that? Because, practically from the first time we ever see Han, he’s obsessing about paying off his debt. And why wouldn’t he? Jabba’s a badass. So, when Leia offers to pay off Han’s bounty, the matter should have been closed, right? Wrong. Apparently, princesses don’t always keep their word. For the entire movie, Han sticks around the rebellion because Leia wants him to and uses her, shall we say, “feminine wiles,” to keep him there. But she never even sends a droid to pay off Jabba- nobody. Empire Strikes Back happens three years later and Han is still on the lam from Jabba. We all know what happens next. Thanks Leia.
2. Maz Kanata Ain’t That Bright
At first I couldn’t stand Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens. She seemed like one of those weird, little alien creations George Lucas (and Jim Henson) reveled in making. You know the ones; they speak in some messed up language no one should ever have to learn, look like rejects from an old Dr. Who episode and add nothing to the storyline. Then I started to think she was pretty cool- another “almost-Jedi” running a haven for all kinds of enemies of the Empire. I mean, she’s basically got her own planet squirreled away. But, then… I’m back to thinking she’s useless again. Why, you ask? Because she’s supposed to be this all-knowing, Force-sensitive badass who can see into your soul and yet she doesn’t even sense all of the enemy agents in her own stronghold. What a joke. She would have been better off in the band on Tatooine.
1. The Empire Sucks
Let’s face it; half of the problems we have with plot holes and mistakes in the franchise stem from the fact that the Empire seems to be run by a bunch of half-drunk guys hanging out down at the Elks Lodge. First of all, Obi-Wan Kenobi mentions that Stormtroopers are very “precise” with their fire. Umm, no, no they’re not. For a bunch of badasses dominating the galaxy they’re actually awful shots. Then, as I mentioned, the leadership doesn’t seem to know how to operate things like their own Death Star properly. And finally there’s ridiculous, arrogant, lazy BS like the Empire letting the droid’s escape pod, well…escape. Why would they do that? They know there are stolen plans somewhere on Leia’s ship; they know the rebellion, just like they do, uses droids. Just blow the damn escape pod up and go home. Of course, then there would be no franchise for me to complain about. Maybe these guys knew what they were doing after all.