Ever since the 1977 release of what we now call Star Wars “Episode IV – A New Hope,” a fan base of millions has wondered about, reveled in, and picked giant holes in George Lucas’s science fiction world. Today, there are countless videos, board games, spin-off shows, clubs, groups, and experts devoted to his mystical Star Wars “expanded universe.” But an overriding obsession for the franchise’s followers seems to be with what isn’t believable or consistent within the films, otherwise known as “Plot Holes.” Some experts view finding plot holes as their life goal, whether in relation to the science of motion in space or the propensity for a universe to have so many livable planets.
In reality, Star Wars is not reality, and compared to something like Star Trek, it is even less than reality. It’s a true make-believe setup, and in essence, we’re asked the entire way through not to overthink things. Put simply, it’s a series of battles between good and evil, great light shows, explosions, and peril. As someone once said it’s a “pulp” entity, with lots of action but very little cerebral input. Ergo, warning: trying to find hard facts in Star Wars will leave you with a headache.
Fortunately, the Star Wars stories we know from the big screen extend far and wide into what’s been termed Lucas’s extended universe, namely a whole raft of comics, novels, and video games, and they go a little further than the films in addressing notable plot holes. Here are 15 of the biggest filled in with the help of some imaginative writers.
15. Why Didn’t You Say Something?
Talented chief engineer Galen Erso designed the DS-1 Orbital Battle Station, otherwise known as the Death Star. He was doing great until he realized that something housing over a million personnel (including the spark-hungry support droids) was going to need a great big exhaust funnel. Naturally, it couldn’t be an obvious pipe because anything with access to the reactor core was a perfect target for a medium-sized rebel attack.
Erso came up with the idea of the exhaust port buried in a maze of channels on the surface of the Station, but he still knew it was a flaw in the big plan. In so realizing, Erso hinted at the danger in a message to his daughter Jyn and rebel Saw Gerrera but fell short of explaining where the Achilles heel was. It wasn’t until later that the weakness was explored. His reason for keeping quiet? If he had said anything more about the exhaust, it would’ve been plugged by the Empire.
14. It’s All About Having The Right Knack
“Without the midi-chlorians, life could not exist, and we would have no knowledge of the Force. They continually speak to us, telling us the will of the Force. When you learn to quiet your mind, you’ll hear them speaking to you.” [Qui-Gon Jinn, to Anakin Skywalker]
While Anakin Skywalker — the Chosen One — had more midi-chlorians coursing through his blood than any other, it didn’t mean his Force was greater. That’s because the presence of midi-chlorians doesn’t equate to the power of the Force; it only explains why those who had the Force were able to use mind-tricks and move things by telekinesis. According to experts in the field, their presence simply allows a person to communicate with the Force. What they do with that communication is reliant on their morality and intention.
13. Sorry, And You Are…?
Anakin Skywalker, as most avid fans are aware, was an expert mechanic; some say an “engineering prodigy.” He built his own podracer while a slave on Tatooine, and seeing the young boy’s potential around the house, Obi-Wan Kenobi freed Anakin from slavery.
As a child, Skywalker also built the protocol droid C-3PO, which was an engineering feat, even for him. But build it he did and forgot about him he would until meeting up with his little Pinocchio as the fully wretched Darth Vader in an extended universe comic called “Thank the Maker.” The question has always been in the minds of fans since “Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” when Vader walks straight past his droid seemingly not recognizing him. But in the comic, a wave of nostalgia passes through the mind of the evil one after C-3PO is dismantled.
12. Gungan Gooly Gotcha
Making its debut in “The Phantom Menace,” the “Gungan shield” was found either in handheld form or elevated to protect an entire army. It was used at the Great Grass Plains by the Gungan Grand Army as they battled the droids. Whether large or small, the shields used Gungan plasma technology (not yet available on the high street).
The question raised at the Great Grass Plains battle, though, was how battle droids and Kenobi could breach one of these shields by merely walking through it. After all, if it repels Force lightning and the blasts from handheld weapons, surely they would have just bounced off of it or been vaporized. Simple, really, when you think about it: they block light energy but not physical objects — presumably acting in a similar way to sunglasses… blocking UV but not the rest of the light spectrum. Just a thought.
11. Chewbacca Passed Over
In the final scene of “A New Hope,” Luke Skywalker and Han Solo are presented with medals by Princess Leia. Everyone seems happy, even Chewbacca, which is odd because he doesn’t get a medal. Fans were initially confused by this apparent oversight, especially after the huge part Chewie played in the whole saga had been acknowledged. After all, if it weren’t for his sharp shooting and bear hugs, the rebellion would have languished.
Thankfully, this injustice has recently been rectified in issue #5 of the “Star Wars: Chewbacca” comic book series. According to legend, Chewie befriends the family of a young girl called Zarro who was living on an Outer Rim world. Having worked some chores around their house and saved Zarro’s father from some hooligans, Chewie gets bleeped by Solo to help him with the Falcon’s hyperdrive. Before he leaves, he hands Zarro his medal… the very one he was given by Leia… which no-one saw happen.
10. There’s No Easy Way To Say This…
It’s a massive moment in “The Empire Strikes Back” when Darth Vader explains to Luke about the uncomfortable similarities in blood group — massive, too, for the saga and one which more or less ties everything together. But before all those revelations (which must have gotten the Child Support Agency excited), Vader has two close encounters. The first time, he doesn’t even realize that he’s trying to blow his own son to bits as he follows in his TIE Advanced x1 fighter, but he does sense the Force. It’s not until the sequel that he starts to really enjoy those feelings.
What happened in the intervening time? How does Vader not twig whom he can sense but then suddenly knows Luke is among the approaching rebel rabble? Simple, according to Marvel’s Star Wars comic book #2: he enlists the help of the ever-keen bounty hunter Boba Fett who truckles him with news of his son’s existence prior to the second meet.
9. You Can’t Fool Us
Despite meeting R2-D2 in Episode 3 “Revenge of the Sith,” Obi-Wan Kenobi lies to Luke about ever owning or knowing droids of any kind. He certainly doesn’t recognize R2-D2 — no sir, no way, never seen it in my life — but this is blatantly an untruth and from the mouth of such a trustworthy Jedi (ahem).
Fact is, Kenobi is lying as he always has (let’s not forget the bigger whopper about knowing Vader is Luke’s father! It could have come in useful, that little nugget.) But for the sake of the narrative, there’s a justification of sorts. R2-D2, having been around for three films previously, knows everything. He was there when Anakin met Padme, probably when they conceived Luke and Leia (shudder), and certainly when Anakin went off the rails. It all had to be hushed up for a while, hence Kenobi’s reluctance to say anything.
8. You’ve Done That Before
Here’s a fine pickle for the plot-holers among us. Finn was a Stormtrooper under the First Order; he was known to his friends as “eight-seven.” He was an ace shooter as a Stormtrooper and top of the class, but the lure of the Resistance was overpowering. He left to join Han Solo and Chewie in their fight against oppression.
Having never picked up a lightsaber he ended up fighting (with friend Rey) ex-Jedi Kylo Ren in “Episode VII: The Force Awakens” and did surprisingly well. In fact, for someone who was trained only at a firing range, he not only managed to hold his own but also, in the end, killed the ex-Jedi. So what gives? Finn didn’t have the Force nor, as far as we know, kept any midi-chlorians in his bum bag. Answers, as always, are there, if a little sketchy. It would seem from previous bouts that a lightsaber is not all that difficult to use. Who knew?
7. A Feeling I Had… No, It’s Gone.
Without wanting to spoil the ending of “Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith,” Padmé Amidala gives birth to twins, namely Luke and Leia Skywalker. This leads the audience nicely to the next trilogy in the saga.
In one of the last sequences of “Return Of The Jedi,” Leia and Luke talk about their mother. She says she remembers her, but many wanted to know how, if according to Ep III, she dies in childbirth. Actually, she doesn’t say she remembers her walking to school or baking cakes; she just says her mother was “very beautiful. Kind… but sad.” All true. In addition, in one of Lucas’s Princess Leia comics, it’s said that Leia, on a trip to her mother’s planet of Naboo, gets the oddest feeling that one of the statues of her mother is actually following her as she walks.
6. And The Turncoat Award Goes To
In the last episode of the original trilogy, “Return Of The Jedi,” Darth Vader watches as his son Luke is zapped by Force lightning; the poor lad is subjected to immense pain and close to being killed — justification enough, one might think, for Vader to turn on his master and save his son. But don’t forget that throughout all six films, Vader (previously Anakin) had played the loyal servant.
There doesn’t seem to be any reason for the eventual turnaround except a moral choice, which we all thought Vader was beyond making. But according to the Darth Vader comic book series, the big man was not always as loyal as we might think. He’s shown making shady deals behind Palpatine’s back and putting sugar in his coffee just to bust his chops. So with all that in mind, it shouldn’t come as a shock that Vader literally had had enough of the crusty old prune.
5. I Speak Wookie. I Even Smell Like One, Watch…
Marooned on the planet Jakku as a child, one of the main characters in “The Force Awakens” is called Rey. She soon becomes involved with the Resistance’s conflict with the First Order. Along with her friend, Finn, she is able to defeat ex-Jedi Kylo Ren in a duel. In contrast with her Stormtrooper friend, Rey is Force-sensitive and, according to The Wall Street Journal, “a woman warrior with the stylish ferocity of a kung-fu star.”
This might explain why she’s able to fight Jedis but not how she ended up talking fluent Shyriiwook, the language of Wookiees. Apparently, the answer lies hidden in an extended universe overshoot book called “Rey’s Survival Guide.” Throughout her time on Jakku, she felt it necessary to learn the language of the Wookiees, just in case she met one (which she did, called Chewbacca).
4. Double Trouble
In the original trilogy, Emperor Palpatine had big plans for Luke. Actually, most of them involved having him kill his father (Vader) and rule the empire as his next young apprentice. Vader wasn’t wise to this even though he was well aware of the age-old Jedi “rule of two,” which stated quite categorically, “Always two there are, no more, no less: a master and an apprentice.” Basically, this rule referred to the Sith, the sworn enemy of the Jedi. But there were already two Siths: the Emperor and Vader!
So why didn’t Vader make plans knowing the Emperor’s love of the double-cross? Truth is, the Rule of Two was never meant to be taken literally, according to the 2008 novel “Darth Bane: Rule Of Two.” There could feasibly be ten Siths (if one could hack the egos), but any more than two was forbidden by law.
3. Have We Met?
In the original 1977 film, “A New Hope,” Luke Skywalker talks to his aunt and uncle about the new R2 unit they purchased from the Jawa. A small holographic figure of Princess Leia is displayed in front of it, mentioning the name “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” and Luke asks his uncle whether this relates to local odd-bod “Old Ben.” The reference hints at the fact that Kenobi mooched around Tatooine since delivering Luke to Beru and Owen in the early days.
But if Luke knows his name, how much more does he know about him and how much contact had they had? Very little, if an officially licensed Star Wars webtoon has anything to do with it. According to the narrative, Kenobi only once rescued the teenage Luke from a sandstorm and had then remarked before disappearing into the desert, “I am Ben Kenobi. You can call me Ben. I’m an old friend of your father’s.”
2. Hey, You Ever Seen My Red Arm?
That R2-D2 unit seems to bleat endlessly, and if we’re honest, his true purpose in the franchise was nothing more than a mobile toolbox. But after shutting down all the garbage mashers on the detention level and delivering the occasional Electroshock prod to the Jawa, he was a fond favorite of fans. However, there was one thing he couldn’t do and that was connect C-3PO’s arm back on after it was shot off.
As the brand new trilogy got underway, fans noticed in “The Force Awakens” that their favorite protocol had gained a new red arm. Questions were asked about its additional purpose (which weren’t answered), but in terms of why it was there, a simple explanation was given in a one-shot comic called “C-3PO: The Phantom Limb.” We learn that before “The Force Awakens,” a doomed droid mission to rescue Admiral Ackbar ended in a great deal of oil-shed. In fact, 3PO was lucky to have only lost an arm. The replacement was salvaged from one of his dead comrades.
1. You Never Visit
One last word on Kenobi. Many fans are still deliberating over why Kenobi never visited Luke. Living on the same planet, it wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility, and though we’ve already heard of Luke’s first contact with the Jedi master, there’s still some confusion as to why he wasn’t a regular visitor.
The hint comes in the original film when Luke talks to his uncle and aunt. In the same conversation, Uncle Owen’s response to Luke’s talk of “Old Ben” is: “That wizard’s just a crazy old man,” and the way he delivers the line suggest a less than perfect relationship. This is backed up by a Marvel’s Star Wars comic and a scene in which Owen meets Kenobi, argues with him, and blames Obi-Wan for Anakin’s death. “Haven’t you killed enough Skywalkers, Kenobi?” It might explain why there were never any visits.