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A Chewbacca Defense for Star Wars:

I don't think it's possible to justify all the plot holes and internal contradictions in the six Star Wars movies, particularly those in the, ahem, less-than-stellar, Episodes I-III. However, this is an interesting effort to address at least some of them (hat tip:co-blogger Tyler Cowen). In particular, the author explains how it is that Chewbacca is a high-ranking Wookie leader in Episode III, yet has fallen to the level of a sidekick for an impecunious smuggler by the time of Episode IV.

However, there are just far too many holes in the Stars Wars for even the most impressive Jedi mind tricks to patch up. This analysis ignores two of the biggest ones:

1. At the end of Episode III, Obi-Wan and Yoda try to hide the existence of the twin children from their father, Darth Vader. Unless they have gone over to the Dark Side themselves, why would the supposedly wise Jedi masters even consider "hiding" Luke with his uncle and aunt (Vader's only living relatives, so far as he knows) on Tatooine (Vader's home planet) and having the child live under his own name? It's as if Osama Bin Laden tried to hide from Bush by renting an apartment under his own name next door to the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas. Hiding Leia with Senator Bail Organa on Alderaan seems smart by comparison, but it's pretty boneheaded as well. Organa is a prominent political opponent of the Emperor's and he's going to be under constant surveillance by the Empire even if they don't suspect that he's hiding one of Vader's children. Given that the Sith can detect even latent force abilities at a great distance, Leia should have been found very quickly indeed (though not as fast as Luke!).

2. Given the above, it's totally inexplicable that the Emperor and Vader fail to find the two children in the twenty-plus years that pass between Episode III and Empire Strikes Back. In the original Star Wars, Vader even interrogates and mind-probes Leia, but still fails to figure out that she is his daughter, or even that she has Force abilities (even though in Episode I and Return of the Jedi we learn that any competent Jedi or Sith can detect such abilities even at a great distance). The Emperor and Vader were either 1) complete morons (In which case, who would want to bring back a Republic so pathetic it could be overthrown by the likes of them?) 2) actively trying to sabotage their own government, or 3) handicapped by an incompetent screenwriter.

Although clever and original, this Chewbacca defense will convince only the weak-minded.

For a more comprehensive takedown of the Stars Wars movies, see these essays by science fiction writer David Brin. To paraphrase Darth Vader, Brin is not as forgiving of Star Wars as I am.

UPDATE: Although I ultimately don't agree with most of their points, I am impressed with the ingenuity of many of the commenters who have made valiant efforts to defend George Lucas' handiwork and reconcile the seeming inconsistencies. I wish that I could get law students to work this hard on analyzing case law:).

In the end, however, the big problem with elaborate, after-the-fact explanations of the plot holes in Star Wars is that there is little if any hint of these explanations in the movies themselves. For example, if it is indeed true that Vader failed to detect Luke over the twenty year period from the Episode III to the Empire Strikes Back because he deliberately broke off all connection with Tatooine and his old family, it would be nice if there was at least a brief line in which Vader or someone else says so. To my mind, a plot hole that can only be explained away through an elaborate post hoc rationalization that is not mentioned in the film itself, is probably a hole that can't be explained at all.

fffff:
These are not the plot holes you're looking for.
1.31.2007 5:55pm
Ilya Somin:
These are not the plot holes you're looking for.

I find your lack of faith disturbing.
1.31.2007 5:57pm
fffff:
The more you tighten your grip, Somin, the more continuity errors will slip through your fingers.
1.31.2007 6:00pm
Apodaca:
How can any thinking person take this discussion seriously when the term "Wookiee" is misspelled?
1.31.2007 6:01pm
StevenK:
Clearly there's only one solution. A new trilogy set in-between the two trilogies to explain everything.
1.31.2007 6:06pm
Ilya Somin:
How can any thinking person take this discussion seriously when the term "Wookiee" is misspelled?

This is the correct spelling in the WookieE language. That's my line and I'm sticking to it.
1.31.2007 6:08pm
Jake (Guest):
I've got a bad feeling about this.
1.31.2007 6:15pm
James Dillon (mail):
1A) No defense on the Luke issue. That's no moon, that's an enormous plot hole.

1B)Well, it's not as if they had a lot of choices as to whom to leave Leia with. They had relatively few allies, and needed to find someone quickly whom they could trust with Leia's true identity. Bail Organa could reasonably be viewed as the best available choice. I don't think that Sen. Organa had revealed himself as an enemy of the Emperor as of the end of Ep. III, but in any case, despite the surveillance issue, Leia would surely be safer with an enemy of the Empire than with a loyalist, wouldn't she?

2) Is it ever suggested in the movies that Leia has Force powers? I don't believe so, and even in the novels, her powers are significantly less potent than Luke's. It's also not clear that the Force can be used to detect familial relationships-- a more plausible interpretation is that it can detect individuals with whom the Force user has a close personal connection. That would generally include close family members, but, where Vader believed his child was long dead, and she herself was unaware that she was Vader's daughter, it's not clear that his Force abilities would reveal her true identity to him. It's also clear, even in Ep. IV, that Vader's ability to mind-probe Leia is quite limited. He has to use the torture droid to inject something, presumably some kind of truth serum, to get anything out of her at all, and even then she doesn't tell him much.
1.31.2007 6:22pm
Thales (mail) (www):
Can we assume that when Darth Vader learned of Padme's death in Ep. III, he also assumed the unborn child(ren) died too and simply wasn't looking for them (didn't he also not know there were twins)? Not that I have any wish to save the series from itself, but that seems to be a fairly unproblematic assumption compared to the ones it would take to patch up other continuity problems.
1.31.2007 6:22pm
Ilya Somin:
Can we assume that when Darth Vader learned of Padme's death in Ep. III, he also assumed the unborn child(ren) died too and simply wasn't looking for them (didn't he also not know there were twins)?

Yes, he did assume this. However, he would keep track of his uncle and Bail Organa anyway, and in doing so quickly detect the presence of Luke and Leia, especially since Luke is actually living UNDER HIS OWN NAME.
1.31.2007 6:28pm
Ilya Somin:
Is it ever suggested in the movies that Leia has Force powers?

We know from Episode I that it's a genetic trait. So she would have inherited it from her father. Moreover, she uses force abilities to sense things in Return of the Jedi. Also, if she has no force abilities, it makes no sense for Obi-Wan to describe her as a potential alternative "hope" for the Alliance to Luke.

It's also not clear that the Force can be used to detect familial relationships

Yes it is. It's how Vader figures out that Luke is his son, in Empire Strikes Back - even though the two were at a much greater distance from each other than he was from Leia in Star Wars.

Well, it's not as if they had a lot of choices as to whom to leave Leia with. They had relatively few allies, and needed to find someone quickly whom they could trust with Leia's true identity.

This is a good point. But, on balance, it would be safer for her to be raised by a trustworthy family that DIDN'T know here true identity. Also, Yoda has extensive experience raising children with force abilities, and so could serve as a foster father himself.
1.31.2007 6:32pm
PersonFromPorlock:
It's like a bowl of GREAT greasy tex-mex chili in a hole-in-the-wall chili joint; you'll be happier if you don't look at the ingredients too closely.
1.31.2007 6:35pm
Tucker (mail):
In defense of poor Mr. Lucas:

It's not inexplicable that Vader and the Emperor aren't looking for Luke and Leia, for as far as Vader knows, they were never born. He's under the impression he killed Amidala, remember? For Vader to start looking for them, the Emperor would have to fess up that the whole bit about him killing Amidala was a fib, or at least a gross exageration (she did die of a broken heart, broken by Anikin). "Well, Darth, in fact you didn't really kill Amidala, she died of a broken heart because I tricked you into the Dark Side... but she didn't die until she delivered your children, whom I've conspired to hide from you" Might cause a bit of a pause in the dinner-table conversation.

I also recall that Qui-Gon didn't suspect Anikin's immense presence in the force until Anikin's abilities (at racing, remember) hinted at them. From orbit, he didn't shout out, "There's a great presence in the Force on Tatooine!" Once he had the suspicion, he had to do a midichlorian test to confirm. Is it likely Vader or the Emperor would run around the galaxy administering midichlorian tests to infants? They do seem able to detect someone trained in the force, as Vader is able to detect Luke, but not someone w/ a latent or undeveloped talent, as Qui-Gon is not able to detect Anikin, or Vader Luke or Leia.

As far as hiding Luke on Tatooine, it was probably the best place to hide him. Technically, they're his Aunt and Uncle, yes, but they're Anikin's step-brother and step-brother's wife. Anikin had only met them the one time he went back to Tatooine to try to save his mother.

I doubt he'd go home for the holidays, and wouldn't be at all surprised to find out, after the horrible end to his mother, that he had no desire to ever to back to Tatooine. Which is, remember, a complete backwater; he's not likely to go their by accident. That's why Han Solo's there, to hide from the Empire, after all.
1.31.2007 6:42pm
James Dillon (mail):

"We know from Episode I that it's a genetic trait."


How do we know that? Qui-Gon determined that Anakin had strong Force potential due to his "midichlorian" count, but does that indicate that Force ability is a genetic trait? Wikipedia, which seems as authoritative a source as any for this kind of thing, defines midichlorians as "microscopic life-forms that reside within the cells of almost all living things and communicate with the Force," and notes that "[i]n order to be a Jedi or a Sith, one must have a high concentration of midi-chlorians in one's cells." None of that suggests to me that Force abilities are necessarily genetic; it only shows that there are some cellular traits by which Force sensitives can be identified.

If Force powers are genetic, it also wouldn't make a lot of sense for the Jedi to prohibit marriage and procreation within their ranks; presumably the Jedi had a sufficient grasp of biological evolution to understand that they would eventually breed themselves out of existence with such a rule.

"So she would have inherited it from her father."
Not necessarily; even if Force powers are genetic, there's no guarantee that any particular genetic trait will be passed from one generation to the next. Maybe Force genes are recessive?


"Moreover, she uses force abilities to sense things in Return of the Jedi."

I don't specifically remember that, but it's been a while since I've seen that movie. She did hear Luke's psychic call for help when he was hanging from Cloud City after his fight with Vader, but that could plausibly have been a matter of one-way projection by Luke to a person with whom he, by then, had a close personal connection.


"Also, if she has no force abilities, it makes no sense for Obi-Wan to describe her as a potential alternative 'hope' for the Alliance to Luke."

That statement was pretty vague; it could have meant anything. In any event, as we learned in Episode III, it doesn't take a Force user to kill a Jedi, or, presumably, a Sith. So I don't take this as conclusive proof.


"Yes it is. It's how Vader figures out that Luke is his son, in Empire Strikes Back - even though the two were at a much greater distance from each other than he was from Leia in Star Wars."

I don't think it's clear how Vader suddenly knows that Luke is his son, but I didn't get the sense that he was just figuring it out when he saw Luke in Cloud City-- I think he already knew. An equally plausible theory is that, during the time between Ep. IV and Ep. V, Vader had heard the name "Luke Skywalker," discovered where Luke came from, and put two and two together. As you pointed out, it would have been pretty obvious to him when he learned that Luke Skywalker had been brought up by Anakin's uncle.


"This is a good point. But, on balance, it would be safer for her to be raised by a trustworthy family that DIDN'T know here true identity. Also, Yoda has extensive experience raising children with force abilities, and so could serve as a foster father himself."

True-- it certainly would have made more sense for Yoda to raise Luke than for Uncle Owen to do it. However, to the extent that Yoda and Obi-Wan saw the Skywalker children as the potential saviors of the Old Republic, it makes some sense that Yoda would have wanted at least one of them to be brought up by someone like Bail Organa, rather than in a swamp, to learn the skills of leadership and statecraft that they might later use in the rebellion and in the New Republic.
1.31.2007 6:53pm
Ilya Somin:
It's not inexplicable that Vader and the Emperor aren't looking for Luke and Leia, for as far as Vader knows, they were never born. He's under the impression he killed Amidala, remember? For Vader to start looking for them, the Emperor would have to fess up that the whole bit about him killing Amidala was a fib, or at least a gross exageration (she did die of a broken heart, broken by Anikin).

This might reduce Vader's incentive to look for the children, but it actually increases the Emperor's (since he knows that Amidala didn't really die at the time he claims). Moreover, Vader would still have reason to keep track of his uncle and aunt and of Bail Organa.

They do seem able to detect someone trained in the force, as Vader is able to detect Luke, but not someone w/ a latent or undeveloped talent, as Qui-Gon is not able to detect Anikin, or Vader Luke or Leia.

Vader detects Luke's force abilities in Episode IV (before he has received any training at all), and in Episode V (when he as received only minimal training from Yoda. Qui-Gon does indeed detect Anakin in Episode I once Anakin does things (in the race) that use the force. Growing up bulls-eying Wombats on Tatooine, Luke would have been doing such things all the time. And Leia would surely have at least subconsciously exerted her force abilities when she tried to resist Vader's interrogation.

I don't think it's clear how Vader suddenly knows that Luke is his son, but I didn't get the sense that he was just figuring it out when he saw Luke in Cloud City-- I think he already knew. An equally plausible theory is that, during the time between Ep. IV and Ep. V, Vader had heard the name "Luke Skywalker," discovered where Luke came from, and put two and two together.

Maybe, but of course that only heightens the problem of why he didn't "put two and two together" during the twenty previous years, when even the laxest possible surveillance of the Skywalker family would have detected Luke's presence and enabled Vader to draw this conclusion. If Vader did figure out who Luke was afte Episode IV, it's not clear why he didn't try to pursue Luke after Hoth, instead going after teh far less important Millenium Falcon.

Moreover, in Empire it seems clear that Vader determines Luke's identity at least in part by using the psychic Force-based connection between them.
1.31.2007 7:08pm
Cornellian (mail):
I read a David Brin article a while back that did a really good job of completely shredding Episode I, basically demonstrating pretty convincingly how the whole movie lacked any point or logic whatsoever.

Still, while reading this blog entry I couldn't help but think that it should have ended with a link to the Weird Al Yankovic video "White and Nerdy" mentioned in a recent VC post.
1.31.2007 7:10pm
Vader's long lost nephew:
Is it ever suggested in the movies that Leia has Force powers?

This is definitively answered in Return of the Jedi:

"Luke: If I don't make it back, you're the only hope for the Alliance.

Princess Leia: Luke, don't talk that way. You have a power I don't understand and could never have.

Luke: You're wrong, Leia. You have that power too. In time you'll learn to use it as I have. The Force runs strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. And... my sister has it. Yes. It's you, Leia.

Princess Leia: I know. Somehow, I've always known."
1.31.2007 7:18pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

I read a David Brin article a while back that did a really good job of completely shredding Episode I, basically demonstrating pretty convincingly how the whole movie lacked any point or logic whatsoever.


Really? I read a couple of articles written by David Brin attacking Star Wars and trying to promote Star Trek in which he based his arguments on such egregious factual errors, I had to conclude that he has never actually seen any Star Wars movies and probably hasn't seen much Star Trek either.
1.31.2007 7:20pm
Tucker (mail):
OK, 2 more points: the Emperor doesn't think Luke's a threat to the Emperor. In the last movie, his plan is to replace Vader w/ Luke, and, if that doesn't work out, w/ Leia. He's not worried about the Skywalker kids tossing him out, they're just more fodder for the Sith... and Vader's getting old.

Why would Vader have any interest in keeping track of his step-family on Tatooine? They're moisture farmers, and he's only met them once... There's no blood relation, and they can't possibly be a threat.

As an aside, for all we know Skywalker's like Smith on Tatooine...
1.31.2007 7:21pm
James Dillon (mail):

Luke: You're wrong, Leia. You have that power too. In time you'll learn to use it as I have. The Force runs strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. And... my sister has it. Yes. It's you, Leia.

Oh yeah; I forgot about that part. Ok, I retract that argument.
1.31.2007 7:23pm
Ilya Somin:
OK, 2 more points: the Emperor doesn't think Luke's a threat to the Emperor. In the last movie, his plan is to replace Vader w/ Luke, and, if that doesn't work out, w/ Leia. He's not worried about the Skywalker kids tossing him out, they're just more fodder for the Sith... and Vader's getting old.

If Luke is so important to the Emperor that he views him as a future replacement for Vader, that is all the MORE reason to keep track of him, and probably also to supervise his upbringing.

Why would Vader have any interest in keeping track of his step-family on Tatooine?

Because they're his last living relatives (so far as he knows) and also the last link to his mother.
1.31.2007 7:28pm
Elliot Reed:
What are these "Episodes I-III" you speak of?
1.31.2007 7:30pm
Doug Sundseth (mail):
Wombats? Wombats?! I assume you mean Womp Rats (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Womp_rat)*.

Noob.

8-)

All I have to say on the subject of Episodes I - III is that by the end of Revenge of the Sith I was rooting for Palpatine. To my mind, the Dark Side was a lesser evil than the Jedi Council. Not to mention more competent.

* Sorry about the lack of a link; it seems that standard html is disallowed, though it's allowed in the preview window.
1.31.2007 7:30pm
Elliot Reed:
Doug - for some reason this thing seems to think that

rel="nofollow" href="blahblahblah.com"

cannot have any spaces in it. That's your problem.
1.31.2007 7:36pm
Q the Enchanter (mail) (www):
Anyone who can harmonize these plot points deserves to be Chief Justice.
1.31.2007 7:38pm
Tucker (mail):
I think we're well down the path of interpretation here... and lacking footnotes, all we're left w/ is opinion. Ilya makes some good points, which I don't happen to agree with, but they're well thought out.

Brin, on the other hand, shreds Lucas, and I wholeheartedly agree w/ his take. If you like Star Wars, and like SciFi, go read that article. He makes a lot of points that have always troubled me about Star Wars (Vader being 'forgiven' at the end). He definitely deserves credit for tossing the Emperor, but does that outwiegh all the innocents he's killed? Not in any world I'd want to live in. The only way that ending makes sense is, as Brin points out, if you don't give a damn about the 'little people'.

I don't see how one could rebut Brin's argument, and I enjoyed all six movies.
1.31.2007 7:39pm
SAN:
Unfortunately, Brin's analysis has to be seen through his "populist vs despots" rant about Star Wars vs Star Trek. Given that both have rather significant ugly bits to them (a visible racist despot vs a theoretically benign, military dominated communist society), his neutrality isn't exactly taken for granted

I can understand Leia not being discovered because she never showed any Jedi powers in the movies at all. So she never showed up on Vader's or Palpy's radar screen. Putting Luke with his uncle was inane - as a conspirator, my first guess would be that Vader would wipe his remaining family out just for completeness sake. But, these are plot holes - every movie has them. Just with 6, you have them being more visible.
1.31.2007 7:42pm
Michael Barclay (mail):
The Mad Magazine satire of Episode III had a lot of fun with point #1. When Leia is placed with Senator Organa, someone comments (this is a paraphrase):
"That's pretty stupid, putting her with the leader of the rebellion. At least you didn't do something really stupid, like putting her on Tatooine under her real name of 'Skywalker.'"
"Ummm, I have some bad news for you."
1.31.2007 7:44pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Brin, on the other hand, shreds Lucas, and I wholeheartedly agree w/ his take. If you like Star Wars, and like SciFi, go read that article. He makes a lot of points that have always troubled me about Star Wars (Vader being 'forgiven' at the end). He definitely deserves credit for tossing the Emperor, but does that outwiegh all the innocents he's killed?


Keeping in mind that contrary to Brin's "article" it was Grand Moff Tarkin and not Darth Vader who destroyed Alderaan, what "innocents" would those be?
1.31.2007 7:51pm
Bruce:
I've read similar attempts at explaining the inconsistencies in the old Star Trek (e.g., in the episode with transporter malfunction that creates 2 Kirks, why don't they just send down a shuttlecraft to rescue Sulu?). But the in-world explanations don't really satisfy like the real ones (because the creators hadn't thought up shuttlecraft yet).
1.31.2007 8:03pm
Cornellian (mail):
All I have to say on the subject of Episodes I - III is that by the end of Revenge of the Sith I was rooting for Palpatine. To my mind, the Dark Side was a lesser evil than the Jedi Council. Not to mention more competent.

I've met a surprising number of fans of Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine. I guess McDiarmid did a really good job playing that role in I-III.
1.31.2007 8:05pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
At the end of Episode III, Obi-Wan and Yoda try to hide the existence of the twin children from their father, Darth Vader. Unless they have gone over to the Dark Side themselves, why would the supposedly wise Jedi masters even consider "hiding" Luke with his uncle and aunt (Vader's only living relatives, so far as he knows) on Tatooine (Vader's home planet) and having the child live under his own name?


Not really, Tatooine was about as backwaters of a world as it got and had at most a limited Imperial presence there. Also whatever ability Kenobi had to mask his presence he would be in a better position to hid Luke as well.

As far as being Vader's only living relatives -- they were SKYWALKER'S living relatives and the reason Skywalker became Vader was to cut himself off from pain and loss. Not only would he have no reason to seek out a stepbrother who he met only once and at the time of his mother's death, he would have every reason in the Universe to avoid them entirely.

Another reason is that when Skywalker became Vader he lost or rather suppressed a lot of the memories he had of his previous life (see the novelization of ROTJ when he starts to remember his childhood while dying in his son's arms). It's entirely possible that he so strongly disassociates himself from Annakin Skywalker that he considers him to be a separate person entirely -- just as Kenobi considered Vader to have "murdered" his friend Annakin.
1.31.2007 8:12pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I've read similar attempts at explaining the inconsistencies in the old Star Trek (e.g., in the episode with transporter malfunction that creates 2 Kirks, why don't they just send down a shuttlecraft to rescue Sulu?).


I thought it was because Sulu was the ship's best pilot.

Or maybe the ever handy ion storm plot device?
1.31.2007 8:14pm
jrman:
somebody said: "I don't think it's clear how Vader suddenly knows that Luke is his son, but I didn't get the sense that he was just figuring it out when he saw Luke in Cloud City-- I think he already knew."

I think that's right. Pretty sure that in ESB the Emperor says something like "The Son of Skywalker must not . . ." after Vader pulls the ship out of the asteroid field while chasing Special Agent Chewie and his straight man. Point is, they figured out who this "Skywalker" dude was after the Death Star.
1.31.2007 8:24pm
FoolsMate:
Keeping in mind that contrary to Brin's "article" it was Grand Moff Tarkin and not Darth Vader who destroyed Alderaan, what "innocents" would those be?

I didn't read Brin's article but Vader's most notable unforgiveable crime was murdering all the Jedi younglings hiding in the council chambers.

Remember the scene? (paraphrasing the script)
Jedi child: "Master Skywalker, there are too many of them. What should we do?"
Anakin: (cut to Anakin's red eyes, Anakin ignites lightsaber)
1.31.2007 8:25pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

I didn't read Brin's article but Vader's most notable unforgiveable crime was murdering all the Jedi younglings hiding in the council chambers.


1) Brin's article was written after Episode I was still in the theaters. The events of Episodes II and III weren't part of his article.

2) The book made it clear that Vader didn't kill the younglings; they were killed by clone troopers.
1.31.2007 8:31pm
FoolsMate:
Oh yeah, and since you've already suspended disbelief and accepted the Force, the physics of lightspeed travel, and Jabba the Hutt to start with, can't you just let the rest go and enjoy the movie? :) I realize it can be fun to find the inconsistencies but please don't take it as serious as this:

http://www.ebaumsworld.com/starwarskidv.html
1.31.2007 8:38pm
curious:
No South Park fans here? There is already a superior Chewbacca Defense.
1.31.2007 8:40pm
FoolsMate:

I didn't read Brin's article but Vader's most notable unforgiveable crime was murdering all the Jedi younglings hiding in the council chambers.


1) Brin's article was written after Episode I was still in the theaters. The events of Episodes II and III weren't part of his article.

2) The book made it clear that Vader didn't kill the younglings; they were killed by clone troopers.


Vader was in command and responsible, whether by his own hand, order, or failure to stop the clone troopers who were there. Obi-wan also sees Anakin kill younglings on the security cam as he later tells to Padme.
1.31.2007 8:48pm
SeaLawyer:
What I want to know is how all of you watched II and III after suffering through Jar Jar in I?
1.31.2007 8:53pm
Orangutan (mail):
En Banc Geek Panel? Frak yeah!

How about this, Luke as precedent for Harry Potter?

Perhaps the custody of both young Luke and young Harry share the same rational? Both are deposited with reluctant family members, but at the same time have powerful protectors close by to watch over them (i.e. Old Ben and Dumbledore, etc.). By grounding the character in a family environment it allows the viewer, especially the young viewer, to see themselves in the hero's place. Perhaps that's why, thirty years later, we still dream of shooting womp-rats down in Beggar's Canyon?

Greedo shot first, dangit!
1.31.2007 8:54pm
Aleks:
My thoughts about Luke at least is that Vader figured out who he was and what had really happened with Padme at some point well before Episode IV. But he went along with the ruse because he too wanted to keep the boy safe-- from the Emperor whom I don't think he ever trusted very well. Vader may have had schemes of his own for Luke; after all he tried to seduce him to the Dark Side and my speculation is that he would have liked to replace the Emperor with Luke. (And in a sense he actually did this) Concerning Leia though he was probably ignorant until the end (I don't think he or anyone else ever knew that Padme was carrying twins; there was a weird lack of obstetric technology in the Star Wars world) As for the Emperor, is it ever established that he knew the chil(ren) survived Padme's death? As for using Luke's real name, who named him "Luke"? Wasn't that name given after he was born, and not by Vader, and certainly not by the Emperor? As for the last name he could easily be passed off (as far as the Emepror knew or cared, which may not have been much,as most likely he would have suspected that the boy was being kept somewhere in secret by Yoda, if he knew he lived at all) as some shirttail relation of Vader's step-brother, who, not being blood-kin, would not be a person of any interest at least as far as Force abilities went.
1.31.2007 9:07pm
pete (mail) (www):

All I have to say on the subject of Episodes I - III is that by the end of Revenge of the Sith I was rooting for Palpatine. To my mind, the Dark Side was a lesser evil than the Jedi Council. Not to mention more competent.


There is also this article that came out right before Episode II came out called The Case for the Empire. Its basic premise is that the Republic was very broken and the Empire ended up being relatively benign. Especially if you do not assume things like Leia is telling the truth about Allderon being a weaponless planet.

After Episodes I-III I went from having no sympathy for the Empire to having some sympathy for the Empire. The republic as portrayed in the prequals is nearly useless and does not provide security for its members. While under the Empire in episdoes IV-VI, except for the rebellion, the galaxy seems pretty peaceful with the Empire content to leave planets alone most of the time.
1.31.2007 9:32pm
FantasiaWHT:
My favorite plot hole is how the hell did the stormtroopers go from crack troops to horrible shots?
1.31.2007 9:34pm
Billy Bud:
I think Brin makes a good point: Not only does the plot in Star Wars make little sense, but its moral "lessons" are fundamentally incoherent and wrong. That doesn't mean Star Wars is a horrible movie; the lightsaber fights are really cool, some of the characters are pretty endearing, and the Luke-Vadar father-son plot is pretty interesting. But, as Brin argues, the Star Wars movies would have been better if they had stuck to these things and not tried to be so preachy. Lucas may be a great storyteller, but his moral/philosophical/political views just make no sense when you think about them.
1.31.2007 9:50pm
James Dillon (mail):

2) The book made it clear that Vader didn't kill the younglings; they were killed by clone troopers.

No way. Novelizations may be considered canon where they don't directly contradict the movies, but the clear and unambiguous implication in the film was that Anakin killed the children (let's avoid the euphemistic "younglings"). You can't blunt that point by wishing it away in a novel.
1.31.2007 9:53pm
James Dillon (mail):

Especially if you do not assume things like Leia is telling the truth about Allderon being a weaponless planet.

I don't think we can just go around not assuming things to be true that are clearly intended to be true. Besides which, Alderaan was well-known to Vader and Tarkin; Leia had nothing to gain by lying because they obviously would be aware whether Alderaan had a military. Since her claim is not contradicted anywhere else in the series, I think we have to assume that it is true.
1.31.2007 9:58pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
No way. Novelizations may be considered canon where they don't directly contradict the movies, but the clear and unambiguous implication in the film was that Anakin killed the children (let's avoid the euphemistic "younglings"). You can't blunt that point by wishing it away in a novel.


"Wishing" has nothing to do with it. As you yourself stated the scene in the movie "impli[ed]" but never showed Vader actually striking down any younglings only igniting his lightsaber. In the book it says who he actually fought and it wasn't the younglings.

Possibly OT (oh hell it's a Star Wars thread) -- if Jedi were trained as warriors at a very young age and they were armed, would these qualify as non-combatants? Keep in mind that in the context of the Star Wars universe, age nine is considered "old" for a Jedi padawan and at age fourteen you can be elected as the ruler of Naboo.
1.31.2007 10:15pm
pete (mail) (www):
"I don't think we can just go around not assuming things to be true that are clearly intended to be true."

But how do we know this is true? Leia had every reason to lie as it held the only hope of preventing Tarkin from destroying her home planet, short of betraying the rebellion. She did in fact lie about the rebel base being on Dantooine right afterwards, which the Empire figured out was a lie soon enough. She had also lied about her knowledge of the rebel plans and was pretending to be on a diplomatic mission, when in fact she was a rebel spy as Vader quite accurately accused her of being. Why assume she is telling the truth about this one issue when she was so quick to lie about so many other things?
1.31.2007 10:23pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

Why assume she is telling the truth about this one issue when she was so quick to lie about so many other things?


Because (a) there was never evidence shown of Alderaan having any sort of defense system except for the armed guards aboard Leia's blockade runner. Also (while not canon) in one of the Han Solo novels, he visits Alderaan and marvels at an entire world with any sort of weaponry. It's probably not canon but the SWEU (unlike the Star Trek novels) do manage to stay pretty consistent with each other in part because Lucas did keep greater control over the licensed material.
1.31.2007 10:28pm
Mike Keenan:
Well, I didn't read all of the comments, but you are mistaken in one important respect. Vader knew about Luke early in Luke's life, but knew nothing about Leia. He didn't look for Luke until ordered to do so by the Emperor.

And Leia didn't know she was Vader's daughter. Why would he discover that through mind-probing.

In any case, it was poorly done. It truly seems that the idea of Vader as Luke's father was an afterthought after the first movie was made.
1.31.2007 10:40pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):


In any case, it was poorly done. It truly seems that the idea of Vader as Luke's father was an afterthought after the first movie was made.


I disagree, the name "Darth Vader" was a pretty good example of foreshadowing.
1.31.2007 10:42pm
Lev:
The Force acts in mysterious ways, and has clouded all your... .... ..... minds.
1.31.2007 10:55pm
Orangutan (mail):
By far the most egregious, cringe-inducing Lucas misstep was having "Queen" Amadala be elected. It's so, how do you say, forced? Rips me right out of the movie.

That and the horrible Jedi blood-sugar test nonsense. Oonta toonta?
1.31.2007 11:04pm
jack (mail):

By far the most egregious, cringe-inducing Lucas misstep was having "Queen" Amadala be elected. It's so, how do you say, forced? Rips me right out of the movie.


Oh come on, you don't like the democracy + monarchy? (Demonocracy?)

My favorite plot hole defense ever is the Kessel Run quote -- in Episode IV, Han says something about how the Millenium Falcon can do the Kessel Run in less than X Parsecs. Of course, parsecs are a measure of distance, so this doesn't really make sense . . . unless you know that Kessel is surrounded by black holes, and so the shorter the route, the closer you're going to a black hole. Ergo, the Millenium Falcon must be really fast!

Did Lucas think of any of that when he directed the first Star Wars? Unlikely.
1.31.2007 11:20pm
bornyesterday (mail) (www):
retconning for the loss
1.31.2007 11:47pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
I love legal blogs.

I loved the original trilogy up to the point that Luke was suddenly Leia's brother. Turns those feelings of Luke in the first Star Wars suddenly incestuous. The problem is that Lucas had no idea how to resolve the Luke/Leia/Han triangle so he invented the worst possible solution. Sort of a "Good Twin" counterpart to the "Evil Twin" soap opera plot. With equally good results.
1.31.2007 11:53pm
Bruce:
Yeah, the only good Star Wars movies were the first two. The third was mediocre, and the rest were just ocre.
2.1.2007 1:15am
crane (mail):

My favorite plot hole is how the hell did the stormtroopers go from crack troops to horrible shots?


Replicative fading!

If you remember the episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in which they encountered a planet populated only by 5 actors clones of 5 original colonists, who had developed a culture that found sex repugnant and reproduced only by cloning, but had neglected to preserve tissue samples from the originals, you may recall that they found repeated cloning of clones produces an effect not unlike repeated copying of copied videotapes - each successive round of copying introduces more errors, which after several generations results in seriously defective clones.

I realize that:
a) it's from Star Trek,
b) only about twenty years pass between the competent clone army and the half-blind storm troopers,
and c) those geneticists were way too smart to not keep original tissue samples around for future cloning use.

But as long as we're filling Lucas' plot holes, why not?
2.1.2007 1:17am
James968 (mail):
So some kid shows up with your Last Name, has family similarities (i.e. strong force, etc ) and he's with the guy last seen with your pregnant wife b4 she disappeared and supposedly died???

Run a few checks on the kid, his parents have the last name Lars, but his name is Skywlker.

Chances are pretty good Vader and the Emperor figured out who the kid was as soon as Imperial Intelligence gave them the kids name.
2.1.2007 1:30am
plunge (mail):
The real problem I have is the character of Yoda.

It takes Yoda precisely ONE TRY at killing Sidious in which he ALMOST SUCCEEDS to decide to give up COMPLETELY and retire to a swamp. The children, who supposedly have this great potential are then hidden, presumptively FOR some reason.

And yet, in the first trilogy, we find a Yoda who has obviously taken no interested in training these powerful new potential Jedi. Yodi instead bitches that Luke is too old for the training. WELL WHOSE FAULT IS THAT???

It just makes no sense, as a character. Yoda comes out looking like a complete and utter fuckup: not only lazy, but wrong about all the important insights, like whether Luke should go to save his friends in Ep 5.

"My favorite plot hole is how the hell did the stormtroopers go from crack troops to horrible shots?"

According to Aqua Teen Hunger Force, when you keep on cloning things, it's molecular structure starts to break down, and then the entire city of Boston goes bat shit insane in a panic.
2.1.2007 2:19am
George Lucas (mail):

For example, if it is indeed true that Vader failed to detect Luke over the twenty year period from the Episode III to the Empire Strikes Back because he deliberately broke off all connection with Tatooine and his old family, it would be nice if there was at least a brief line in which Vader or someone else says so. To my mind, a plot hole that can only be explained away through an elaborate post hoc rationalization that is not mentioned in the film itself, is probably a hole that can't be explained at all.



Actually, the explanation is that Greedo actually shot first.
2.1.2007 2:23am
John_R (mail):
2.1.2007 2:52am
Craig D.:
As for Vader not finding Luke, I'm fond of the simplest explanation.... by the time he did find out about Luke's existence, Vader was in a position where ignoring Luke was the best thing he could do (both for Luke, and more importantly for himself). Better to leave him safely under the eye of Darth Kenobi...
2.1.2007 8:25am
Alex Bensky (mail):
This is all by the way. With one photon torpedo tube tied behind its back, Star Fleet could wipe out both the Rebel Alliance and the Empire. Darth Vader's powers would wither under a Vulcan mind meld.
2.1.2007 8:28am
SWGeek (mail):
There is an obvious reason why Vader and Palpatine were not searching for Luke and Leia for twenty years: they were too busy consolidating the Empire and killing off the rest of the Jedis. As you recall, not all of the Jedis have been killed off at the end of Episode III; Obi-Wan and Yoda warns many of the Jedis not to return to Coruscant to save them. So the Empire had bigger Jedis to fry at the time.

Finding two babies who may or may not receive the proper training to become a Jedi -- remember that even those strong in the Force need constant training at a very early age -- was not a high priority. It was only after the Death Star was destroyed that perhaps Vader and the Emperor realized that there may be a looming threat to their power.
2.1.2007 9:30am
James Dillon (mail):

"Wishing" has nothing to do with it. As you yourself stated the scene in the movie "impli[ed]" but never showed Vader actually striking down any younglings only igniting his lightsaber. In the book it says who he actually fought and it wasn't the younglings.

I'm still not buying it. The movie didn't show Anakin actually killing children simply because Lucas didn't have the balls to include such a disturbing scene-- much like he didn't show Anakin actually slaughtering the Sand People in Episode II. The implication is clear, and it can't be retconned away by a novelization.
2.1.2007 9:51am
plunge (mail):
Yeah, I didn't have any doubt that he killed younglings. The implication is pretty frickin' clear, and he only half-heartedly even denies it.

Besides, if you break into a place with a bunch of troops under your command and they start executing the children under the orders of the guy you worked for and then continue to work for for decades, are you really off the hook anyway?
2.1.2007 10:07am
PubliusFL:
"Oh come on, you don't like the democracy + monarchy? (Demonocracy?)"

It's called "elective monarchy" See "Poland."
2.1.2007 10:43am
Prigos:
With one photon torpedo tube tied behind its back, Star Fleet could wipe out both the Rebel Alliance and the Empire. Darth Vader's powers would wither under a Vulcan mind meld.

It will take me three words to prove that Star Trek is just as poorly managed as Star Wars.

Star Trek: Enterprise

In either case (or for the perennial runners up such as Babylon 5, Battlestar Galatica, etc.) coherence and continuity are hardly high priorities for the writers, so I'm never sure why some people make them such a big deal. Enjoy them for the mind candy that they are.
2.1.2007 11:11am
Kurt2 (mail):
DOUG
Hi. Question for Ms. Bellamy. In episode 2F09, when Itchy plays Scratchy's skeleton like a xylophone, he strikes the same rib twice in succession, yet he produces two clearly different tones. I mean, what are we to believe, that this is some sort of a... (sniggering) magic xylophone or something? Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder.

BELLAMY
Uh, well, uh...

HOMER
I'll field that one. Let me ask you a question. Why would a man whose shirt says "Genius at Work" spend all of his time watching a children's cartoon show?

DOUG
(embarrassed) I withdraw my question. (eats a chocolate bar)
2.1.2007 11:31am
DG:
Since it must be said...

Best Volokh Conspiracy Thread, EVER.

/comic book store guy
2.1.2007 12:02pm
Enoch:
Yeah, I didn't have any doubt that he killed younglings.

And WHY did he kill the younglings? They could all have been turned to the Dark Side, and with Vader's care and training, could have helped rule the Empire...
2.1.2007 1:26pm
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
Mike Keenan wrote:

In any case, it was poorly done. It truly seems that the idea of Vader as Luke's father was an afterthought after the first movie was made.

Shortly after the Original Star Wars (AKA Episode IV) came out, I read an interview with Lucas in which he mentioned that he had built up an elaborate backstory for the Star Wars Universe. In particular, he continued, if he had been able to make a four-hour movie he would have included a scene that he could see vividly in his mind: Luke's father and Darth Vader duelling to the death at the edge of an active volcano. Both fall in; the elder Skywalker is killed, but Vader survives, horribly maimed and disfigured.

Even though many people (including David Brin) consider The Empire Strikes Back to be the best movie of the bunch for artistic reasons, I've long believed that Lucas should have quit after the first movie and gone on to do other things. The Empire Strikes Back violated its predecessor in too many ways. In Original Star Wars, Luke succeeds because he has talent and a good spirit, even though he's a nobody from a backwater planet. In the next movie we find out that, oh yeah, you have to have royal blood, too. The budding romantic tension between Luke, Han, and Leia gets short-circuited by the whole incest thing. And aside from the derring-do and the cutting-edge special effects, the other movies just aren't fun.

Did Lucas get too wrapped up in Joseph Campbell's "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" and decide that he had to include more of the tropes from Epic Myth? Or was it that Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett, two wonderful scriptwriters, just couldn't resist the idea of making Like and Leia long-lost siblings? (Wikipedia claims that "Lucas hired Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett to write the screenplay based on his original story treatment," so I guess it's the former.)

And Han shot first, dammit.
2.1.2007 1:28pm
plunge (mail):
Is no one even going to TRY to explain Yoda's bizarre plan to topple the Empire, which seems to involve, briefly trying once, solo, and then lying wait in a swamp until he dies and becomes an annoying nagging ghost?
2.1.2007 1:30pm
quaker:
Tucker: "I doubt [Darth Vader] would go home for the holidays"

Curse you, Tucker. Now all I can think of is Thanksgiving at the Skywalkers:

Owen: So. Anakin. Gee, long time no see. How have you been? You look... well.
Vader: *hiss hiss*
Beru: What are you working on nowadays?
Vader: *hiss hiss*
Beru: Here, have some celery and olives.
[long pause]
Vader: Ooh, is that shrimp cocktail?
2.1.2007 2:05pm
NY (mail):
Plunge:

Maybe Yoda wasn't planning to topple the Empire; the Empire was Yoda's weapon against the hubris of the Jedis.

Remember all the nonsense about restoring the Balance to the Force in Ep. 1? Qui-Gon believing Annakin would restore the Balance? What was all that about? That's like saying "90% of criminal trials end in convictions, let's restore the balance and let half the defendants go. More than half the people in America live above the poverty line, let's tax them right down into it." But that's the implication, the "Light" was too much in the ascendancy; and since none of the other Jedis would willingly turn "Dark" or commit suicide to rachet down their dominance, they had to be forcibly removed. It was all part of Yoda's plot to destroy the Jedi!

Notice that in Eps IV - VI, there are only two evil Force-wielders, the Emperor and Vader (Grand MOff Tarkin "You, my friend, are all that's left of that [paraphrase]"), balanced by a dying Yoda and Kenobi, who must also die and be replaced by Luke, and hinting at Leia.

How else can you explain Yoda's "blindness" to what Annakin would become? Yoda thinks Vader will grow to be over-powerful, but initially refuses to train him at all, then gives him to a relative newbie like Kenobi to train, great. You can sense pain and death from billions of miles away but fail to see the relationship between Padme and Annakin, which can only lead to jealousy, to fear, to anger, to hate, to the Dark Side, wonderful. You can sense the future and yet not make the obvious prediction that a young man-boy losing his mother, in slavery!!, dying of Gaia-knows what those nomads were doing to her, what her loss would mean to an impressionable young man without a solid moral center, something which a Jedi can correct instantly, perfect.

I think Brin points out the curious timing of that big fight in the Arena in Ep II; as soon as Yoda found out he had the clone army, he sends his Jedis into a stand on low ground surrounded by higher, entrenched enemies; suicide missions are a nice way to get rid of people you don't like.

You say it's mere negligent oversight, I say it's a calculated attempt to wipe out the Jedi, and restore the Balance. Once Yoda saw what he unleashed, that he had over-corrected the Jedi problem, and probably worried that the Sith will go after him, he attempted to get rid of his mistake by assassinating the duly elected Imperator, failing that, he comes to a truce, and merely accepted the new world order: let Palpatine and Vader annihilate the remaining Jedi, leaving 2 Sith and 2 Jedi.
2.1.2007 2:49pm
NY (mail):
Anakin, sorry
2.1.2007 2:50pm
Aeon J. Skoble (mail):
I'm with Mike G in Corvallis. The troubles don't begin in Ep I, they begin in Empire Strikes Back. Mike G makes excellent points, and there's more: Empire, as is typically the case with sequels, suffers from needing to outdo its predecessor and tripping itself up in the attempt. Example 1: In Empire and RotJ, we see that Vader can "zap" people with the force. So why, in the original film, does Vader need the syringe-wielding torture droid to interrogate Leia? Why doesn't he just zap her? Wait, why does he need to torture her at all, if he can read minds? Others have asked upthread why Vader would already know that Luke is his son but not know that Leia is his daughter. He finds this out by reading Luke's mind. (If he can read minds, why does he need a torture droid? Indeed, why can't he read Capt. Antilles' mind when he wants to find the stolen plans?) Ok, example 2: just how much telekinesis does the Force provide? In the original film, just a wee bit (I find your lack of faith disturbing). In Empire and RotJ, we're levitiating spaceships and throwing furniture around the room. But if the Force enables the level of telekinesis, why not throw furniture at Kenobi? We even see "force-choking" of remote persons. If you can force-choke someone over the phone, why does the emperor even need Vader? He could kill everyone from his living room. As another commenter noted, the in-world explanations are all doomed to be unsatisfactory if the real-world explanation is that the writers make up new stuff as they go along. Like some others, I was never happy with retconning Vader to be the father in the first place, chiefly because that makes Kenobi in the first film a big fat liar.
2.1.2007 2:50pm
plunge (mail):
"Maybe Yoda wasn't planning to topple the Empire"

So he risked his life attacking Sidious... why?

"let Palpatine and Vader annihilate the remaining Jedi, leaving 2 Sith and 2 Jedi."

Except he made ZERO effort to ever try and train those two Jedi. Remember: Luke came to HIM and when he did, it was YODA that whined about him being too old!

Why couldn't Yoda just have raised Luke, for that matter if you have to start young?
2.1.2007 3:23pm
Adeez (mail):
Here's one that got me: I never knew how long elapsed between Ep. III and IV. Someone mentioned 22-yrs., and that makes sense.

So, why in IV did Han Solo not even believe in it? Remember when he first took Luke into the ship and Luke began to practice the lightsaber? He mocked the idea of Jedis and the Force, as if it were the equivalent of Atlantis. If it had happened so recently (in his lifetime), why the incredulity?

Also, why would cloned humans be technologically superior to killer robot droids (Ep. I)? I'll answer my own speculation on this one: Lucas felt there was too much death in the earlier flicks, so he decided to use inanimate objects to "kill" in order to make it more consistent with the child-friendliness of that horrible film.
2.1.2007 4:15pm
chanceH (mail):
naaw, naw, I got it all figured out :

1) Both Vader and Emperor know both kids lived, and
exactly where and who they are.
2) Emperor doesn't know Vader knows.
3) Vader doesn't know Emperor knows.
4) Emperor doesn't want Vader to know, he's afraid Vader will try to team up with Luke and overthrow him (which he does try, so its a well founded fear).
5) Vader doesn't want Emperor to know, cause people with the force who hang out with Emporer tend to lose lots of body parts and generally have crappy lives.

Therfore, in an effort to not draw attention to them, Vader and Emperor both are forced to pretend to believe the others lies, and ignore the twins.
2.1.2007 4:16pm
markm (mail):

My favorite plot hole is how the hell did the stormtroopers go from crack troops to horrible shots?

The emperor and Vader turned training over to some bureaucrat and never checked back on what he was doing. The bureaucrat discovered that firing practice is very, very expensive, so he canceled it and used the money to re-decorate his office. Even genetically ideal troops won't be able to shoot straight after 20 years of no practice.

There actually are real-world precedents. Any reader of C.S Forrester should know that in the period of the Napoleonic wars, the British Admiralty was remarkably stingy when it came to allocating powder and shot for ships to conduct live-fire practice with their cannon. It showed during the War of 1812; the American navy was outnumbered about 100 to 1, but won most of the individual ship to ship fights, and better shooting was a substantial factor in that. (That some of our frigates were twice the size of their frigates was another factor, of course - but smaller American ships still gave a good account of themselves as long as they could avoid being overwhelmed by numbers.)
2.1.2007 4:52pm
jallgor (mail):
I wanted to comment on the notion that Vader should not have been forgiven for his crimes. I always understood that the dark side was something that takes possession of you. He ceased to be Annakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. The real Anakin, the good person, is still inside but stifled and trapped until the sight of his son being killed allows him to break free. So it's not Vader who is redeemed in episode VI it is Anakin who is redeemed because he has defeated the evil side of himself. And remember he is not really to blame for allowing that evil side to take over because we know that it can happen to any Jedi and is something that all Jedi greatly fear. An analysis on potential prosecution of Anakin for Darth's crimes would make a great Crim Law exam hypo on mental capacity.

I always found it odd that the all-wise Jedi council is so concerned about Anakin's youth and his potential for rash and angry behavior and yet they manage his emotions in such a ham handed way that they essentially drive him right into Palpatine's hands.

I also didn't think they made it clear why Yoda was so quick to give up after his one attempt to kill Palpatine. The one explanantion I can muster (which is not really told to us in the movie) is thatt he must have decided he had one chance to strike the emperor while he was relatively lightly guarded and having missed his chance he had to go into hiding or be hunted down and killed. I see the Yoda from Empire II as a defeated shell of his former self who has given up on the rebellion and still wallows in his failure.
Jar Jar Binks was an abomination and I also found the simpering, psuedo-japanese trade alliance characters really annoying. In all the first three movies they needed a lot more alien languages with subtiles and lot fewer aliens speaking enlish with corny accents.
2.1.2007 6:03pm
FoolsMate:
Yeah, I didn't have any doubt that he killed younglings.

And WHY did he kill the younglings? They could all have been turned to the Dark Side, and with Vader's care and training, could have helped rule the Empire...


The Sith operate always as only two, master and apprentice, because in greater numbers they kill each other off because they are power hungry ambitious evil dudes. When they organized themselves along the lines of the Jedi, their internal divisions rendered them ineffective and vulnerable to beat downs from the Jedi. So no use for the younglings there.

Also, Palpatine's instructions to Vader included something to the effect of "destroy the jedi, leave no one alive, only then will u be strong enough in the dark side to save padme" implying that slaying all the younglings would yield the benefit of increasing his dark side force powers (at least it left me with that impression).
2.1.2007 6:50pm
plunge (mail):
"The one explanantion I can muster (which is not really told to us in the movie) is thatt he must have decided he had one chance to strike the emperor while he was relatively lightly guarded and having missed his chance he had to go into hiding or be hunted down and killed."

It just doesn't hold up though, does it? Yoda is clearly capable of infiltrating places quietly (by knocking out or mind controlling all humanoids along the way) as well as taking down entire legions of troopers (him and Obi Wan fight their way into the Temple for instance) and the security around Sidious doesn't seem any stronger at any point after his first attack.

There's really just no excuse for his character's actions given in the movie, and little sense linking his character from the first trilogy to the one in the second.

Plus, why is Yoda so excited about being able to turn into a Force ghost? At the end of Ep3, he's almost like "yeah well, the whole galaxy is going to pot, but hey, who gives a shit: now I can live forever just like I always wanted!"
2.1.2007 8:15pm
Davidj:
A couple of notes to throw in. First of all, Kenobi's presence on Tatooine acts as a sort of blocking mechanism for Luke. Further it is in the pirate region of the galaxy which were still being cleaned up in the beginning of IV. In a similar way, Yoda goes to Dagoba to hide since a great Sith lord had died there and thus created a sort of black hole for the force, allowing him to avoid detection by Vader. There definitely are ways to mask the force. Doesn't really explain Leia though there are hints in the movies and elsewhere that it can truly be a latent development. One that essentially doesn't exist unless triggered.
2.1.2007 8:34pm
MarkW (mail):
Just a general observation:

Virtually all action-adventure movies, from the Douglas Fairbanks classics down to the present, are full of plot inconsistencies, contradictions, downright holes, etc. The success of any action film depends on the viewer's "willing suspension of disbelief," to borrow Coleridge's phrase. Good action films induce that suspension, plot holes or no. Star Wars and Empire work because, in various ways, they succeed in that essential mission.

Not trying to interrupt the fun or anything, just commenting. :)
2.1.2007 8:50pm
Eric the .5b (mail):
My thoughts about Luke at least is that Vader figured out who he was and what had really happened with Padme at some point well before Episode IV. But he went along with the ruse because he too wanted to keep the boy safe-- from the Emperor whom I don't think he ever trusted very well.

Ehn, you'd think Vader would avoid having his foster parent slaughtered, then.

My favorite plot hole is how the hell did the stormtroopers go from crack troops to horrible shots?

Well, the stormtroopers had their growth accelerated. Maybe they aged and died faster as well. After the Clone Wars, maybe they decided conscript troopers would be more efficient. After all, nothing in the original trilogy indicates that the Stormtroopers are clones - and they don't have New Zealand accents.

So, why in IV did Han Solo not even believe in it? Remember when he first took Luke into the ship and Luke began to practice the lightsaber? He mocked the idea of Jedis and the Force, as if it were the equivalent of Atlantis. If it had happened so recently (in his lifetime), why the incredulity?

Jedi were very rare in the Republic, then wiped out. Solo might never have even met someone who met a Jedi while they were around, and the Empire wouldn't have been encouraging belief in the Jedi or the Force - probably quite the opposite.
2.1.2007 8:52pm
Ilya Somin:
Kenobi's presence on Tatooine acts as a sort of blocking mechanism for Luke.

To the contrary, Obi Wan's presence would itself tend to attract imperial attention, since Vader and the Emperor would be able to detect his Force powers. Obi Wan's decision to stay on Tatooine actually makes things MORE dangerous for Luke.
2.1.2007 10:00pm
Bored Lawyer:

This is all by the way. With one photon torpedo tube tied behind its back, Star Fleet could wipe out both the Rebel Alliance and the Empire. Darth Vader's powers would wither under a Vulcan mind meld


Not according to this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNxhrPaaCA4
2.1.2007 10:36pm
Victor Krueger (mail):
As far as who beats who, I think that Dahak (David Weber _Mutineer's_moon_) alone could beat Star Fleet, the Klingons, the Romulans, The Empire, and the Rebel Alliance all together.

Star Wars (NOT ep IV, and Han shot first) was a decent movie, as were TESB and ROTJ. Original Star Trek series was decent tv. The Star Trek movies mostly sucked other than Wrath of Khan.

When all is said and done, printed text on dead trees SF beats motion video SF (TV or Movie) up one side and down the other.
2.2.2007 12:54am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Here's one that I've always wondered: in SW (ie. IV), Vader says, "The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force."

Is there any point in any of the six movies where we see anything to back that up?

Sure, the Force is useful, but I mean, if it were really that powerful, couldn't one Jedi have wiped out the entire droid army? And why would they need to engage in hand-to-hand (er, light saber-to-light saber) combat against non-Jedi foes?
2.2.2007 10:42am
James Dillon (mail):

Here's one that I've always wondered: in SW (ie. IV), Vader says, "The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force."

Is there any point in any of the six movies where we see anything to back that up?

I think that perhaps what he meant (or at least could plausibly be deemed to have meant) by that is that the Force is a more subtle and nuanced means of achieving one's ends as compared to the big blunt object of a planet-destroying space station, not that one could actually destroy a planet with the Force. He may also have been implying that the transcendantal insights inspired by meditation on the Force are more awe-inspiring than mere state-of-the-art technology (much like real-life religions sometimes make similar claims about the awesomeness of God in comparison to the works of man).


And why would they need to engage in hand-to-hand (er, light saber-to-light saber) combat against non-Jedi foes?

Light sabers make absolutely no sense except for the fact that they look really cool on screen. I would think that "real" Jedi duels would be nothing more than staring contests-- with the loser suddenly flying across the room.
2.2.2007 10:55am
Seamus (mail):

Original Star Trek series was decent tv. The Star Trek movies mostly sucked other than Wrath of Khan.



WTF? About the only things in the original series that were worth a damn were "I, Mudd," "Mudd's Women," and "Trouble with Tribbles" (IOW, those few times when the series wasn't taking itself, and it's "pay any price, bear any burden, to bring JFK's New Frontier to the farthest reaches of the galaxy" shtick, too seriously).
2.2.2007 11:53am
Seamus (mail):
Good action films induce that suspension, plot holes or no. Star Wars and Empire work because, in various ways, they succeed in that essential mission.

Wrong. Only the original 1977 movie worked. Lucas brilliantly evoked all those old adventure-action movies, especially those that ran as Saturday-afternoon serials, and did them better than the original. (He deserves credit, if for nothing else, for getting 20th Century Fox to bring back Alfred Newman's fanfare at the beginning of its movies, reversing the trend of all the studios, starting in the late 60s, to cut their logos back to about 2 silent seconds--does anyone still remember that awful stylized lion that introduced MGM's "2001: A Space Odyssey"?) He succeeded when he was painting a miniature, but the muse deserted him when hubris got hold of him and he decided to try to paint a canvas covering an entire wall.
2.2.2007 12:08pm
Orielbean (mail):
I don't know about those last two comments...I think the prequel movies do a better job w/ the combat aspects of those knight-errant Jedi. Anakin and Obi-Wan kick a whole lot of droid ass pretty much anytime you see a droid bot say "roger roger"...I mean, they run around unopposed for the majority of those fight scenes, evading traps and shielded droids and so on... Obi Wan beats the general who gets 6 damn lightsabers... And the movies make the point that the saber is an extension of the force, so they would not use it any less than the telekinesis or mind-reading - staring contests would be fighting with a hand tied behind your back. The Dooku vs Yoda fight is an excellent example of the hybrid fighting style of saber &TK. I think that Vader doesn't his saber often more as an expression of contempt - he is powerful enough to stir your brain pan with a thought.

In support of the Force being better than a Death Star - it makes sense. If I can influence the President to agree with me and sign an unconditional surrender, I get all that stuff he has on the planet there, and a new ally to my cause...If I blow it up, I get nothing more than a debris field and monthly electric bill for laserbeams...and inciting other neutral agencies into action.
2.2.2007 12:52pm
James Dillon (mail):

And the movies make the point that the saber is an extension of the force, so they would not use it any less than the telekinesis or mind-reading - staring contests would be fighting with a hand tied behind your back. The Dooku vs Yoda fight is an excellent example of the hybrid fighting style of saber &TK.

Yeah, except that, whatever the movies might say about it, that doesn't make any sense. The light saber/Force combination might be useful for the limited purpose of blocking blaster shots, but if you're really capable of hurling your opponent around from across the room or scrambling his brain with a thought, or, for that matter, choking him via video phone, what's the point of melee combat? Again, the only purpose I can see is that it looked really cool.
2.2.2007 2:12pm
Jay Myers:
Thorley Winston:

Another reason is that when Skywalker became Vader he lost or rather suppressed a lot of the memories he had of his previous life (see the novelization of ROTJ when he starts to remember his childhood while dying in his son's arms). It's entirely possible that he so strongly disassociates himself from Annakin Skywalker that he considers him to be a separate person entirely -- just as Kenobi considered Vader to have "murdered" his friend Annakin.

And the Emperor did tell Vader that "Skywalker's son" still lived. Vader doesn't believe this until he examines his own feelings and he didn't know there was a sister until Luke's feelings betray that fact on the second death star. That seems fairly conclusive evidence that Vader never knew that Padme gave birth. We have no way of knowing what the Emperor knew or when he knew it. It's possible that he knew of the children but figured that they wouldn't be a threat without a Jedi to train them and by letting them live he could have the option of replacing Vader with one of them.

It's not unbelievable that Luke and Leia hadn't been found earlier through the force since there must be plenty of people in the galaxy with an untrained talent for the force and that by itself wouldn't seem suspicious. Once Luke began Jedi training he would become far more noticable although not necessarily as Vader's son. Luke's relationship to Vader was only found out by Vader once the Sith lord knew what question to ask the Force and even then he didn't find out about Leia because he didn't know to ask about a second child. That's also why didn't Vader discover Leia as his daughter when he was interrogating her: he didn't ask the Force that question and she didn't know it in order to spill the beans herself. Who knew that the Force was subject to GIGO?

Although Ilya's supposed plot holes don't bother me, one that I do find troublesome is why Obi Wan was never detected hiding on Tatooine. Both the emperor and Vader knew he had escaped so why didn't they ever find him when they were hunting down all of the other Jedi? Yoda had to go to great lengths to find someplace where he would be inconspicuous to Force location techniques.

Oh, someone asked why Vader couldn't use telepathy on Captain Antillies or Leia to find the stolen plans. I think that R2 was the only entity on the ship that even knew that the Death Star plans were being transported aboard it. The message Leia gives indicates that she believes her mission is only to retrieve Obi Wan from retirement. That means her own father sent her on a dangerous mission as a stalking horse without even telling her. It's funny how the Jedi and their allies are such deceitful and despicable people that the Sith can use the truth as their most potent weapon.
2.2.2007 3:30pm
Aeon J. Skoble (mail):
Jay Myers: no, you need to watch the movie again. Vader _asks_ Capt. Antilles where the stolen plans are when he's holding him by the throat. That's but one of sevral places where a character in the first movie does (or fails to do) something he or she clearly would have no reason to do (or not do) given the story-enhancements from ESB and ROTJ. Here's another: why does Kenobi have to make the risky walk on the ledge to turn off the tractor beam, if Force telekinesis works as it does in RotJ? He could have moved that lever from 10 yards away.
Also: it's definitely not the case that R2 was the only one that knew about the stolen plans. Leia's message to Kenobi _says_ that she has given the plans to R2. It's clearly not the case that she was working in ignorance.
2.2.2007 4:04pm