Star Wars is, without a doubt, the biggest entertainment franchise to ever exist. Out of seven movies (thus far), twice has the film series managed to become the highest-grossing domestic movie ever: first with George Lucas’ original Star Wars film in 1977, and again with J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015.
On top of all that, Star Wars helped influence an influx in merchandise, home video, and theme park ticket sales, which propelled The Walt Disney Company to set a record-breaking revenue haul of $52.5 billion in 2015 — and they’re only getting started. With more movies, merchandise, video games, and theme park lands on the way, fans no longer have to wait three years between saga installments to get their Star Wars fix; they can now get it by playing Star Wars Battlefront, watching Star Wars Rebels, or perhaps even visiting Disneyland.
The thing is, with a franchise as far-reaching and expansive as Star Wars, there are bound to be some confounding aspects that even longtime fans may find bewildering. And now, with the franchise getting bigger, and with more people flocking to a galaxy far, far away, misconceptions are starting to pile up.
So, we thought we’d clear some of them up. Here are the 15 Things About Star Wars Everyone Gets Wrong.
15. The Death Star in Rogue One is just not another Death Star
One of the biggest misconceptions making the rounds on the internet right now is that the Death Star in Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is yet another Death Star. To the uninitiated, the Death Star in Rogue One may appear to be the fourth of its kind in the Star Wars saga, but that is not the case.
Rogue One is Lucasfilm’s first anthology film, and it’s set between the events of George Lucas’ Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and Lucas’s original Star Wars film (later renamed Episode IV – A New Hope) — but closer to the latter.
The focus of the film is on a group of rebels who steal the plans for the Death Star, the same plans that Luke Skywalker and the Rebels use in A New Hope to destroy the giant space station. That means that the Death Star in Rogue One isn’t new, but rather old. In fact, it’s the same Death Star from the original movie.
14. George Lucas did not have three trilogies planned from the beginning
As previously mentioned, with a franchise as big as Star Wars, things are bound to get confusing at some point, of which the main confounding point is the chronology of the entire saga. Why is the first movie numbered the fourth episode? In what order should people watch the movies? When does Rogue One take place? These questions are perplexing to a number of people because the franchise started in the middle of an overarching story that required a prequel trilogy.
When the first Star Wars film released in 1977, it was simply titled Star Wars. There wasn’t an episodic number or subtitle. It was only when George Lucas began writing the script for The Empire Strikes Back — and fleshing out story elements, such as Darth Vader being Luke’s father, Han Solo being frozen in carbonite, and the Emperor being a Sith Lord — that he renumbered the smash hit sequel Episode V. He then retroactively renamed Star Wars to Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.
13. Lucas did not direct all six movies in the OT and PT
George Lucas will always be remembered for creating the Star Wars franchise, and while he’s been behind the wheel of the saga the entire time (at least until Disney’s acquisition in 2012), he hasn’t always been the director for each movie. It’s a common misconception, mostly among newer fans to the franchise, that Lucas directed all six movies in both the original and prequel trilogies.
He, of course, directed the original Star Wars film, as well as the entire prequel trilogy, but he did not direct Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back nor Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. Instead, Irvin Kershner directed the fifth episode while Richard Marquand helmed the sixth.
People wonder why Lucas chose not to direct the entire original trilogy, which he would later do with the prequel trilogy. While there are several possible reasons, many of which may not be known to the general public, one thing Lucas consistently mentioned is his dislike for directing. He couldn’t abandon Star Wars, but at the same time, he felt he was more effective at producing.
12. The Death Star in ROTJ is not the same one from A New Hope
As previously mentioned, the Death Star in Rogue One is the same one that the Rebels destroy in A New Hope. However, the Death Star audiences see and the Rebels fight in Return of the Jedi is not the same one as in A New Hope. It’s understandable for people, especially franchise newcomers, to be confused by all of this.
In the first Star Wars film, the Empire had finished construction on their new superweapon, one that would cement their status as the dominant force in the galaxy. With the Death Star, no one could — or would — oppose them. However, thanks to an open exhaust port, the Rebels were able to destroy the moon-sized station.
Since the Empire needed this superweapon, they immediately began construction on a second Death Star. This time, however, it would be far more powerful than the first, and the Emperor himself would be overseeing its development, which is why when the Rebels attack it in Return of the Jedi, it is still under construction.
11. Not all Dark Jedi are Sith
One of the most common misconceptions in Star Wars is that people consider all Dark side users, Dark Jedi, or frankly anyone who isn’t a Jedi and uses the Force (and possibly has a red lightsaber) to be a Sith. The fact is, not all Dark side users are Sith. For example, Kylo Ren is training in and using the Dark side of the Force, yet he is not yet a Sith. The same goes for the Nightsisters of Dathomir in The Clone Wars TV series, and possibly even Supreme Leader Snoke.
Canonically, the ancient Sith Lord, Darth Bane, established the Rule of Two over a thousand years before the Clone Wars, after becoming the sole survivor of a war between the Sith and Jedi. The rule states that there can only be two Sith at a time: a master and an apprentice. An example of this is Maul, who used to be Darth Sidious’ apprentice, aka Darth Maul, until Obi-Wan nearly killed him on Naboo. After that, Darth Sidious took on Count Dooku as his new apprentice.
10. Not all Stormtroopers are clones
In the prequel trilogy, there was an importance placed on clone troopers, elite soldiers who were created on Kamino for the Grand Army of the Republic, under the authorization of Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas. They were all genetic clones of the famed bounty hunter Jango Fett (Boba Fett’s father). Throughout the Clone Wars, the clone troopers fought for the Republic, alongside the Jedi. However, when Chancellor Palpatine enacted Order 66, the clone troopers not-so-willingly betrayed and killed the Jedi.
Since the clone troopers share similarities with the stormtroopers the succeeding Galactic Empire employed, it only made sense to assume that stormtroopers were newer models of the clone troopers, but that is patently false. While clones temporarily operated under the Empire, they were later replaced with volunteers and draftees when their aging process accelerated, thus deteriorating their skills in combat. This is evident in The Force Awakens, with John Boyega’s Finn, as well as in the Star Wars Rebels animated series.
9. Stormtroopers don’t always miss
Knowing that clone troopers were highly skilled soldiers, who had undergone intensive training regimens, it would make you wonder why the Galactic Empire would choose instead to hire volunteers and conscripts instead of continuing the clone program. After all, if we’re going based solely on the stormtroopers’ skills in the original trilogy, they aren’t good shots. Over the years, one misconception that is constantly being perpetuated is that stormtroopers always miss. But do they really?
In the opening sequence of A New Hope, the stormtroopers slaughter the Rebels without many casualties. Later, Obi-Wan speaks very highly of stormtroopers’ combat skills, especially their marksmanship. So it’s a wonder why they always seem to miss their target when they’re shooting at our heroes. Well, since we’re talking about Star Wars here, there are numerous theories as to why the stormtroopers are always missing their targets. One of the more fun (and acceptable) theories is that there was a grand plan going on behind-the-scenes, which is why the Rebels were able to escape easily.
8. Star Wars is not set in the future
Holographic recordings, land speeders, intergalactic travel, and lightsabers, among other things; these are technologies that humans haven’t yet achieved, and may not do so for many years to come, if at all. So, it makes sense why people would think Star Wars would be a science fiction saga set in the future. But the fact is, it isn’t new or futuristic, but rather old.
Thus far, in each saga episode, before the movie begins, and before the iconic opening crawl appears on screen, the films are prefaced with a light blue text, saying, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”
That’s right, “a long time ago,” meaning the movies are set in the past, not the future. Furthermore, the text also says the movies are set in a “galaxy far, far away.” Unfortunately, that means lightsaber-wielding Jedis and incredibly fast spaceships don’t exist in our immediate galaxy — at least not yet.
7. Force-users aren’t the only people who can wield lightsabers
Everyone knows what a lightsaber is, and virtually every Star Wars fan out there would love to get their hands on one. It is the weapon of not only the Jedi but also of the Sith and other Force-sensitive individuals. It’s an “elegant weapon for a more civilized age,” utilizing a Kyber crystal to emit a plasma beam from a metal hilt. The first time we see a lightsaber is when Obi-Wan shows Luke his father’s old weapon in A New Hope.
Later, we see Obi-Wan, Darth Vader, and eventually, the Emperor — all Force-sensitive people — wielding lightsabers. While non-Force sensitive people aren’t able to construct lightsabers, they can certainly wield one. The first person to do so in the Star Wars movies was Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back, when he cut open a Tauntaun. In the prequel trilogy, General Grievous managed to kill and take the lightsabers of several Jedi, and even used several of them in a duel with Obi-Wan.
6. Vader meaning “father” is just a coincidence
As previously mentioned, George Lucas didn’t know he wanted to (or that he’d get to) make an entire trilogy, and then later make a prequel trilogy, until he was working on the story for The Empire Strikes Back. That’s why when the first Star Wars film released in 1977, it wasn’t numbered Episode IV or have the subtitle, A New Hope. Because of this, there are a few aspects of the first film that contradict continuity and are rather confusing.
One of those contradictions occurs when Obi-Wan tells Luke about his father, who was betrayed and murdered by Darth Vader. Then, when Lucas decided to write Darth Vader as being Luke’s father, it contradicted what Obi-Wan previously told Luke. Or did it? In Return of the Jedi, Obi-Wan says what he told Luke was true… from a certain perspective, of course. People believe that Lucas planned the twist all along, especially since Vader means “father” in Dutch, but it was really just a coincidence.
5. It’s not “Luke, I am your father.”
When it comes to movie quotes — or quotes in general — things tend to get misconstrued over time. And one of the most iconic lines from one of the most iconic movies of all time, one that revealed one of cinema’s most iconic twists (we’re not even being hyperbolic here), is when Darth Vader tells Luke Skywalker that he’s his father. If you were to ask someone what Darth Vader said to Luke, the answer would probably be, “Luke, I am your father.”
Unfortunately, that would be wrong. The real conversation is as follows: “Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father,” Darth Vader says to Luke, to which Luke responds, “He told me enough. He told me you killed him.” Darth Vader denies Luke’s statement, declaring, “No. I am your father.” Even though people know the quote is wrong, they’ll still use it, because, frankly, it sounds better, and it can be said as a statement instead of a response.
4. Other Star Wars misquotes
Other than the big “Luke, I am your father” quote, the Star Wars saga is filled with quotes that people either say incorrectly or misattributed who said it first.
For instance, not many people (including Star Wars fans) realize that the first person to actually say the famous “May the Force be with you” quote was General Dodonna, who says it to Luke and the other Rebels when they were preparing to leave for the Death Star mission. People had thought Obi-Wan said it first, when in reality, up until that point, Obi-Wan only said things like, “The Force will be with you… always.” Or, “Use the Force, Luke.”
Another misquote happens in a conversation between Han Solo and Leia, when Han tells her, “Afraid I was going to leave without giving you a goodbye kiss?” After a few banters, she says, “I’d just as soon as I kiss a Wookie.” That quote has frequently been misquoted as Leia saying, “I’d rather kiss a Wookie.” Close, but no cigar.
3. Star Wars is not really Sci-Fi
As previously mentioned, there are many aspects of the Star Wars saga that appear futuristic, especially since humans haven’t been able to achieve such technologies yet. Because of that, and because the entirety of Star Wars takes place in space and has an interplanetary setting, the logical conclusion would be to consider Star Wars a science fiction series.
Sure, it would be inaccurate to say Star Wars doesn’t have any sci-fi elements in it, but it would also be incorrect to say Star Wars is purely sci-fi, or even that it is predominantly sci-fi. Instead, the correct, genre-defining term for the Star Wars saga is space opera, a subgenre of science fiction.
It all boils down to whether there are more science fiction elements or space opera/fantasy elements in Star Wars. In that case, the latter wins. Even Harrison Ford thinks Star Wars is space fantasy more than science fiction, something he said in an interview back in 1977: “It’s a fantasy. It’s not science fiction so much as it is space fantasy, and it’s about people. It’s finally about people and not about science.”
2. Star Wars and Star Trek are not the same
There are numerous things people compare in a “this or that” type of game: Coca-Cola or Pepsi, Marvel or DC Comics, Mac or PC, and of course, Star Wars or Star Trek. Ever since the late ’70s and early ’80s, people have been comparing Star Wars and Star Trek with each other; sometimes even getting into physical disagreements.
The fact is, there are more differences between the two than people realize. Actually, the only noticeable similarity is that they are both set in space. Therefore, it would be more logical to relate Star Trek with movies like Interstellar, The Martian, and 2001: A Space Odyssey than with Star Wars.
Star Trek is hard science fiction. It focuses on technologies that are within our grasp, and everything within the TV shows and movies remain in the realm of plausibility, unlike Star Wars, which is predominantly fantasy-based. While the comparisons have died down in recent years, they still exist, and likely will for years to come.
1. Kylo Ren isn’t his real name
In the new Star Wars trilogy, Kylo Ren is meant to serve as the new Darth Vader while Supreme Leader Snoke is a sort of stand-in replacement for Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious. And just as when Anakin Skywalker turned to the Dark side and took the title of Darth, as well as the name Vader, which was given to him by Darth Sidious, Ben Solo took the name Kylo Ren.
Approximately midway through The Force Awakens, the audience discovers via exposition that Han Solo is Kylo Ren’s father, and that the latter’s real name is actually Ben Solo, presumably named after Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi. When Ben rejected Luke’s teachings and turned to the Dark side, he took the name Kylo and was given the title of Ren. He thus became a member of the Knights of Ren — but not only that, it’s likely he became their leader, too, seeing as how Snoke refers to Kylo Ren as the “Master of the Knights of Ren.”
It’s questionable if the Knights of Ren are actually the Knights of Kylo Ren, or if he is simply their leader. We reached out to Lucasfilm Story Group executive Pablo Hidalgo about it, but Hidalgo hasn’t yet responded, unfortunately. Hopefully, Episode VII will clear things up a bit.
What other common misconceptions surrounding the Star Wars saga do you think fans need to know? Let us know in the comments.