George Lucas is a visionary, whose “galaxy far far away” has become one of the biggest juggernauts in the history of film. Lucas is largely responsible for many moviegoers’ most cherished childhood memories, as well as a truckload of money in merchandise sales. Today, Star Wars is a still a phenomenon—albeit a Disney-run phenomenon, with Lucas out of the picture. Even still, his tenure on the franchise is precious to many despite its highs and lows. The prequels may be disliked (putting it lightly) and the original trilogy is often held in extremely high regard, but both trilogies have their fair share of mistakes and plot holes.
Don’t expect any hatred here, though. This list only serves to poke fun at some of the loose ends in the beloved saga before its Disney acquisition and comeback in 2015. Focusing specifically on the films, anything within canon is up for grabs, excluding The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and any other Star Wars content in the post-Disney era.
Even the most rabid fans know that both trilogies have their faults, faults that, frankly, George Lucas should have noticed long before the editing process was completed. He is a filmmaking genius who created the biggest franchise the world has ever seen and changed cinema forever… but he probably shouldn’t have missed these. Here are 15 Obvious Plot Holes In Star Wars That George Lucas Should Be Embarrassed About.
15. Anakin Has A Force Ghost (Somehow)
Force ghosts (sometimes referred to as “force spirits”) have always been major plot devices in Star Wars. In particular, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s ghost is responsible for quite a lot of exposition, and several of the pivotal choices throughout Luke’s journey. At the end of Return of the Jedi, during the celebration on Endor, Luke is met with the presence of three spirits: Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin Skywalker. This makes for a sweet moment, but how did Anakin become a force ghost?
In Revenge of the Sith (and one of its deleted scenes), Yoda learns this ability from Qui Gon Jinn and tells Obi-Wan that he’ll teach it to him too. Even The Clone Wars animated series explores this concept, but audiences never see how Anakin discovers this special ability for himself. He could have learned it from the Emperor, but there is little evidence to suggest this. There isn’t a specific explanation for Anakin’s force ghost, but maybe that’s for the best. It’s a very minor plot hole for the sake of a happy ending—but a plot hole nonetheless.
14. Luke Isn’t Really Hiding
The Skywalker twins are separated at birth so that Darth Vader may never find his extremely force sensitive children and turn them to the dark side. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Why then, when they are put under this Jedi witness protection program, does Leia get a new name, family, and home, while Luke does not? Leia is placed under the care of Bail Organa and his well-off family—Alderaanian royalty. Luke, meanwhile, is dropped off in the desert to live with the remaining members of Anakin’s family on their moisture-farming homestead. He even keeps the Skywalker name, and somehow lives relatively undisturbed.
Not only is this a terrible hiding place (since Vader undoubtedly remembers where his only living family resides), but it doesn’t even hide Luke’s identity. This may be story aspect that George Lucas was stuck with when writing the prequels—having to put original characters back where they started at the end of Revenge of the Sith—but it still results in one of the sillier plot holes in the Star Wars saga. Besides, making Leia the adopted daughter of a famous political figure isn’t particularly sensible either.
13. Nobody Seems To Recognize The Droids
R2D2 and C-3PO are staples of the Star Wars franchise. They appear in every film to date, and have been present for all of the major film events that propel the saga forward. Is there any excuse for characters like Obi-Wan to not recognize them? He may not have hung out with 3PO much, but Obi-Wan should absolutely know R2. The two met as early as The Phantom Menace, and accompanied each other throughout most of their adventures during the prequels. You would think the span of a decade would be enough time to get to know someone, but Obi-Wan has no apparent memory of R2 in A New Hope.
Similarly, Owen Lars doesn’t remember the annoying British protocol droid that lived on his farm for ten years. Uncle Owen might have been really young at the time, but forgetting someone as grating as C-3PO is hard to believe. In the end, Owen’s memory isn’t as relevant to the plot as Obi-Wan’s, but this still creates a bizarre plot hole in the saga. Perhaps Ben Kenobi’s old age got the better of him?
12. Leia Remembers Her Mother
This one is pretty glaring. In Return of the Jedi, when Luke confides in Leia about their true parentage, he asks if she remembers her mother. Magically, she does remember her — despite her having died during childbirth. Leia says her mother passed when she was “very young” and even goes on to describe her personality to Luke. Really, Leia? She literally died seconds after she gave you your name. This was pretty lazy of Lucas, who undoubtedly knew how important continuity is to the franchise and its fans.
There is, of course, the ace-in-the-hole: the force. Yes, the force can work in mysterious ways. Force visions are rare, but they could explain how she “sees flashes” of her mother and possesses some memory of her essence. Rey has a vision in The Force Awakens, and Leia does have experience with these in the expanded universe. Regardless, this is pretty far-fetched, even if EU canon attempts to justify it. As far as the films go, she should have no memory of her mother at all— but yeah, sure, she remembers her because of “force visions.”
11. Use The Force Luke—Or Don’t, That’s Fine
It’s time for the big one: the force doesn’t make sense. It’s often defined and redefined or given arbitrary rules. Sometimes it’s an energy field. Sometimes it’s bacteria in your bloodstream. Sometimes characters don’t use the force when they probably should.
In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke uses the force to pull his lightsaber out of the snow. So why not use it to open the door to the Rancor pit instead of throwing that rock? Why not pull blasters from your enemies’ hands? Why not use it to escape the Ewok net? Why not use it to turn off other lightsabers? Why can it create ghosts and visions, but other times, it clouds visions?
It’s hard to blame Lucas, since it’s such a great plot device, but the fact remains that the rules of the force are flimsy. The force is mysterious, which is what makes it so wonderful and easy for audiences to suspend their disbelief. Although, if the workings of the force had some sort of consistency, maybe it wouldn’t create so many little plot holes.
10. The Galaxy Forgets the Jedi After Only 20 Years
Look, it’s a big galaxy. Surely some people would have forgotten about the Jedi after their apparent betrayal of the Republic—but to act as if they’re some ancient myth in A New Hope? It hasn’t been that long! In The Force Awakens, the mythological status of Jedi works pretty well. At that point, the era of the Jedi would be at least fifty years prior, and that is a reasonable amount of time to forget about something. Only twenty years, though? There were still plenty of living Jedi after Order 66, and even if some were in hiding, the average person’s memory isn’t so fragile that twenty years would seem so distant.
This is another case of Lucas making sure all the narrative pieces were in place at the end of Revenge of the Sith. Unfortunately, he may have rushed a bit or set the prequels too early in the timeline. This oversight might not disrupt the story much, but lots of people lived through that era and should totally remember the Jedi.
9. The Emperor Leaks REAL Death Star Plans
Emperor Palpatine’s evil plan in Return of the Jedi raises some questions. Over the course of the film, it is revealed that the intelligence the rebels acquired about Death Star II was actually leaked to them by the Emperor himself, in an attempt to stage a massive ambush. The key information in the leak was the location of a shield generator, which protected the Death Star in-progress orbiting above. Sheev, in his arrogance, reveals this to Luke in his throne room. In that moment, it looks like his trap was indeed successful—but why?
Why give them real plans? Why did he even give them the shield generator’s location? He could’ve easily omitted the generator from the leak entirely and given them the Death Star’s weakness to draw them out. It’s not like it had to be the real weakness, either. Without the generator’s location, the rebels would’ve had no forces on the ground, and he could have eliminated them all in space. Instead, they take down the shield, and the rest is history. The ground battle on Endor is a great sequence, but it only exists because of this plot hole.
8. Into Exile, I Must Go
Yoda’s scenes in The Empire Strikes Back are some of the most memorable scenes in Star Wars history. Naturally, Lucas needed to make sure Yoda’s presence on Dagobah was set up appropriately before the prequels’ end. After Yoda loses his battle against the Emperor in Revenge of the Sith, he decides he’s failed everyone and everything and that it’s best to go into exile for twenty years—because that’s not weird or anything.
It’s a terrible excuse, and although The Clone Wars takes some time to justify his exile, it makes little sense in the context of the films. The movie doesn’t contain an explanation, it just sounds like Yoda decides to leave on a whim. The only closure the audience gets is the launching of Yoda’s escape shuttle, and a nostalgia-invoking deleted scene depicting his arrival on Dagobah. Yoda doesn’t truly have a reason to run and hide. This isn’t a major plot hole, but the superficial excuse earns a spot on this list for robbing audiences of what could have been a moving and poignant conclusion to Yoda’s prequel arc.
8. The “Prophecy” Makes No Sense
The prophecy the Jedi refer to in the prequels—the one about the chosen one who brings balance to the force and what not—is vague and serves no real purpose other than to explain Anakin’s proficiency with the force. The Jedi council doesn’t even want to train him when they meet him because they sense a darkness within him. This silly prophecy only exists to justify his training despite that.
Many fans have argued that Anakin simply isn’t the chosen one, or that the prophecy is misunderstood, hence why it makes little sense in context. Even Yoda shares a similar sentiment. In the end, it is both an unnecessary plot device, and a loose end that has never been tied up. Perhaps the one to bring balance to the force (and an explanation) is yet to come, or perhaps it sounded nice to George Lucas when he wrote it. Either way, it lands itself firmly on our list.
7. Force Speed In The Phantom Menace
Remember that one time Qui Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi channeled the (speed)force, sped off into oblivion, and never did it again? No? Boy, that might’ve been useful elsewhere. In the first act of The Phantom Menace, the Jedi are pinned down by two droideikas. After deflecting some blaster bolts, they decide to escape—by running down the adjacent hall like two blurry speedsters. That force power was never seen or mentioned in the Star Wars films until that point, or ever again.
It’s true that Jedi can use the force to accomplish incredible things, like jumping really high or surviving great falls. It’s also true that in some non-canon EU content like Jedi Knight game series, “force speed” could be used to traverse levels and avoid danger. In the films, this is an entire force power—an extremely useful one—that is never seen again. Lucas probably added this to demonstrate the power of Jedi in their prime, but maybe he just forgot about it. It would’ve been especially useful in the fight against Darth Maul. Too bad Obi-Wan couldn’t outrun those laser gates!
6. The High Ground
Here’s another case of George Lucas writing something he thinks is cool, but ends up being more cringe-worthy than anything else once it gets to the screen. In the climax of the battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan, the latter infamously asserts “It’s over Anakin! I have the high ground!” in the hopes of persuading his former Padawan to surrender. Anakin ends up mostly limbless and charred, while fans end up with endless memes. However, what may be seen as bad dialogue can actually be considered a plot hole when given a closer look.
For Obi-Wan to say that line, as if high ground makes any difference to telekinetic monk-swordsmen who can leap crazy heights, is silly. Even then, in Obi-Wan’s most dire moments in combat, he’s succeeded without the high ground. Hanging off a pipe, he manages to leap over Darth Maul and temporarily end him. Hanging off a docking bay, he manages to shoot General Grievous and survive. Sure, fighting from beneath an opponent is not advantageous, but Obi-Wan turned out just fine. It’s a small plot hole, really. All he needed to do to take this off the list was to say something else—literally anything else.
5. Nobody Knew About the Clone Army
In Attack of the Clones, Obi-Wan learns of the clone army commissioned by Jedi Master Sifo Dyas during his visit to Kamino. Apparently, Sifo Dyas ordered the army over a decade earlier, and had since passed away. This storyline is fleshed out much more in The Clone Wars series, but the fact remains that this facility kept cloning away for over ten years without so much as a phone call from or to anyone who might need to know about this. They just kept cloning and kept quiet for over a decade?
Clearly this is a major nitpick, but based on the circumstances, it seems odd that nobody knew about the massive army until Obi-Wan stumbled upon it. Conveniently enough, the Republic had a war to fight. They had no trouble using this mysterious clone army, initiated by a long-dead Jedi for reasons that were unknown to any character in the film. Master Sifo Dyas and his mail-order clones are never mentioned again, earning this convenient and unusual loose end a spot on the list.
4. Obi-Wan Can’t Decide On Who His Master Was
In the original trilogy, Obi-Wan leads Luke to Yoda, who is supposedly the Jedi master who trained him decades earlier. In the prequel trilogy, that is blatantly untrue. He must have forgot about Qui Gon Jinn: his original Jedi Master, teacher, and friend, whom he accompanied on several adventures—one of the most powerful Jedi to ever live. He also witnessed his murder at the hands of a long-time rival, Darth Maul. Must have just slipped his mind.
This is may just be a small oversight on Lucas’ part, who was probably just excited to expand his universe with new characters at the time. Yoda did teach Obi-Wan many lessons; likely both lessons as a Jedi and lessons in life, but Obi-Wan was clearly Qui Gon’s apprentice and not Yoda’s. To be fair, original trilogy Obi-Wan can be kind of a jerk sometimes—at least when it comes to lies of omission. Regardless of Obi-Wan’s intentions, this spot on the list belongs to this blatant narrative error.
3. The Ewoks’ Perfect Dress For Leia
The Ewoks are one of the most unique aspects of Return of the Jedi, and certainly the most adorable. Sadly, they can create a number of plot holes. One of which comes when someone decided Leia needed a wardrobe change after the gang’s arrival on Endor. Instead of keeping her camouflage garb, she dons a dress after befriending Wicket and the Ewoks—a gift.
It’s a pointless wardrobe change that really only helps to create more variants for Leia toys, but why do the Ewoks even have the dress? It’s never explained. Of course, there is one possible explanation not found in the film: the dress may have belonged to another human girl that the Ewoks had eaten.
Did that just ruin Ewoks for you? Don’t forget that they captured the rest of the gang and tried to roast them on a spit at first. Think about it. Imagine how much clothing they have just lying around from previous meals.
2. Leia Never Grieves for Alderaan
Leia’s home world of Alderaan was a thriving planet populated by billions of people, which makes it that much weirder when she never seems too upset about its destruction. In A New Hope, she is shocked at its demise initially, but her grieving is dropped shortly thereafter and never touched on again. The gravity of Alderaan’s loss is only explored by Luke, Han, and Obi-Wan, who are so loosely tied to the planet that it doesn’t yield much of an emotional response other than fear.
At the sight of the destruction of the planet on which she was raised, Leia should be wrought with emotional distress. The loss of her home and her family should probably mean more to her, and clearly it does, but audiences never truly see it on screen.
1. Why Only Two?
The Sith’s Rule of Two is another concept better explored in EU content, rather than in the films. In the prequels, Yoda explains that there can only ever be two Sith— a master and an apprentice. It comes off as another arbitrary rule, and the concept isn’t ever talked about in films again. If this logic is to be followed, then why exactly do Vader and the Emperor try to recruit Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy?
There are a number of explanations for this one, most of which stem from outside the films themselves. Is one of them willing to die so Luke can replace them? Maybe they just decided to do away with Sith rules since they conquered the entire galaxy. Either way, chalk this prequel oversight up on the list.
What are some other Star Wars plot holes you can come up with? There are surely tons that didn’t make the list. Let us know in the comments section!
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