Star Wars is bigger now than ever before. This series has roped in entirely new generations of fans and created a genuinely sprawling mythology of movies stretching back over four decades. Fans have watched these movies countless times and passed that love on to children and to grandchildren.
However, if you watch Star Wars enough times, you're bound to notice some plot holes. Sometimes this involves the insane plots and character motivation. Other times, it has to do with the unpredictable nature of the Force.
Mentors such as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda have tried to explain to Luke Skywalker that he can only understand the Force when he is at peace rather than wrestling with inner conflict. Ironically, the Star Wars movies are a bit like that, too: many “plot holes” that fans think they have found have very simple, very direct explanations.
If you'd like to find out more about these plot holes that aren't really plot holes, you don't need to consult a Jedi holocron or a blue Force ghost. Just read our handy guide! However, be warned that this includes spoilers for The Last Jedi, so make sure you're ready before heading into Star Wars Plot Holes That Actually Make Perfect Sense!
15 Stormtrooper Aim
Perhaps the oldest seeming plot hole in Star Wars is all about Stormtrooper aim. When Obi-Wan Kenobi examines damage to a Jawa Sandcrawler, he tells Luke it must have been the Empire because “only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise.” Later, on the Death Star, the Stormtroopers proceed to miss every single shot they take. However, this “plot hole” has two direct explanations.
The first explanation is that Darth Vader planned for them to escape in order to track down the Rebel base. If the Stormtroopers had killed everyone, there would be nothing to track, so they were likely under orders to miss our heroes. As for later movies, Rogue One's scene with Chirrut Imwe (where the Force protected him from countless blasts) confirms that the Force really does protect our heroes, causing Stormtroopers to miss.
14 Flying Leia
Because of Carrie Fisher's death, everyone watching The Last Jedi was worried General Leia would die too. It seemed like it was going to happen when her ship was damaged and she was sucked into space, but Leia then used the Force to bring herself back to the ship. This caused a fan uproar: how is Leia (who is not trained in the Force) suddenly able to fly through space like Superman?
This has a pretty simple explanation, though: she's in the weightless vacuum of space. Therefore, it wouldn't take much of a Force push or pull to move her a great distance in space. Throw in that we don't know how much Luke taught her before going into exile and Snoke confirming that the Force buffs up the Light Side when the Dark gets stronger, and Leia's survival was downright inevitable.
13 "Hiding" Luke on Vader's home planet
Since we discovered that Darth Vader used to be Anakin Skywalker from Tatooine, fans have wondered why he didn't track down Luke Skywalker sooner. After all, neither Obi-Wan nor Luke's aunt and uncle made any effort to change his last name, so if Vader was looking for Luke, checking if his son was on Tatooine with his family would be Vader's first stop... right?
This “plot hole” has an explanation, and the devil is in the details. First, Vader had every reason to believe he had no children: Palpatine told him he killed Padme before they were born, and for her funeral, her body was made to look like she was still pregnant. Furthermore, Tatooine is a place where family can grow by purchasing slaves. A new kid would most likely be a purchased slave or Owen and Beru's offspring and, again, Vader had no reason to be looking!
12 Force ghosts can touch things?
Everyone was excited to see Yoda return as a Force ghost in The Last Jedi. Our little green friend spouted off his usual collection of ancient wisdom and one-liners. However, he did something that bothered many fans: he was able to physically touch Luke Skywalker. This left many fans asking: since when could Force ghosts touch things in the real world?
The answer to this is “since 1983.” Ironically, this is a “plot hole” that simply answers another fan conundrum. When Obi-Wan's ghost visits Luke on Dagobah after the death of Yoda, he actually sits down on a physical rock. Seeing Obi-Wan's non-corporeal butt on a rock has bothered fans for decades, but The Last Jedi doubles down and confirms that Force ghosts have always been able to interact with the world!
11 "12 Parsecs"
The Millennium Falcon has a very specific claim to fame. Long before it helped blow up two Death Stars, it was known as “the ship that made the Kessel Run in twelve parsecs.” This line has made fans wince for decades, though, because a parsec measures distance, not time. Is this a plot hole? Or just bad writing by George Lucas?
We may never know about the writing, but various writers of the Extended Universe have tried to provide an explanation for this. The most popular explanation is that Han once tried to shave time off his Kessel Run by getting very close to The Maw, a collection of black holes. They distorted time and space and helped him get to his destination in fewer parsecs than anyone else. Other, slower ships would have been crushed by the black holes, which is why Han's so proud of the Falcon.
10 Why not blow up Yavin IV right away?
Everyone remembers the breathless excitement of the Death Star trench run. Our rag-tag group of pilots had to race against the clock to destroy the Death Star before it could fire on Yavin IV. However, after enough viewings, some fans started asking a simple question: why didn't the Death Star fire right away?
This “plot hole” has an explanation given directly by the movie, though it's very easy to miss. Yavin IV actually orbits Yavin, the gas giant. Luck (or the Force) was with the Rebels because when the Death Star came out of hyperspace, Yavin IV was on the other side. The Death Star was forced to orbit Yavin until they had a direct line of fire on Yavin IV.
This simple act of bad timing on the Empire's part may have been the single event that led to their eventual downfall!
9 Kylo Ren Losing to Rey
Towards the end of The Force Awakens, we got the inevitable lightsaber duel between Rey and Kylo Ren. The duel is very fierce, and Rey ends up coming out as the clear winner. This angered and confused many fans: how could someone who had never so much as held a lightsaber before beat a trained and experienced warrior like Kylo Ren?
As it turns out, this has several explanations. First, Kylo is very injured—he's bleeding out after taking a bolt from Chewbacca's crossbow. On top of that, he's conflicted: like a good Sith on the rise, Kylo Ren wants Rey to join him, while she's concentrating on trying to cut him down. Finally, Snoke in The Last Jedi confirms that the Force is going to make Rey (as one of the last light side Jedi) strong enough to balance with the rising strength of Kylo Ren.
Or, as Daisy Ridley succinctly put it: "She's super strong and he's, like, so weak."
8 The Death Star is Too Hard to Destroy
Rogue One was a fun movie for many reasons, but the main one was that it provided answers to a lot of questions fans had asked for decades. For instance, the movie confirmed that Galen Erso deliberately added the Death Star's infamous fatal flaw, allowing the Rebels to destroy it. However, it was so hard to destroy that the Rebels nearly got wiped out. This made fans ask: why didn't he make it easier to activate this mechanism?
Like a few items on this list, this “plot hole” has multiple explanations. First, Galen confirms that if he builds anything too obvious, the Empire will detect it. If he makes it too easy to destroy, it will also be too easy to find. Second, he may well have had alternate ideas on how to activate it, but his holo letter to Jyn was cut off by Imperial attack before he could tell us!
7 Why Does DJ Help Finn and Rose?
The most fascinating new character in The Last Jedi is arguably DJ, the hacker played by Benicio del Toro. He initially helps out Finn and Rose, but when the tide turns against them, he immediately helps the First Order out. Many fans have asked why he bothered to come back for Finn and Rose, though. Why not just take off with his stolen spaceship and have madcap adventures with BB-8?
There are two simple explanations for this. The first is that DJ senses the opportunity for more profit. Why simply escape when he can escape and have a hefty payday lined up? The second reason is that he has already seen how easily BB-8 can subdue his enemies. He may have reasoned that if he tried to leave Finn and Rose, BB-8 would knock him out and go back to get his friends!
6 1,000 Year Digestion
To put it mildly, Jabba the Hutt has weird ideas about executions. We see that his preferred method is to drop his enemies into the Sarlaac Pit, where C3PO elaborates that they will be “slowly digested over a period of a thousand years.” Many fans have wondered what the hell Jabba is talking about here— wouldn't people simply starve or die of dehydration much, much sooner than that?
This is another seeming plot hole that various EU literature has tackled over the years. The predominant explanation is that the Pit has internal secretions that are capable of keeping victims alive for a very long time. Thus, this is part of the torture— Jabba's victims can willingly choose to starve themselves to death or die of old age in darkness, isolation, and misery.
5 Ewoks Beating Stormtroopers
It's impossible to discuss Star Wars plot holes without talking about Ewoks. Emperor Palpatine clarifies that the garrison on Endor has “an entire legion” of his “best troops,” but they somehow manage to get beaten by a bunch of Teddy Bears with sticks and stones. What's going on here?
This isn't a “plot hole” so much as “bad directing.” Lucas has claimed in interviews that he wanted the Ewoks to basically be the Viet Cong—c amouflaged guerrilla fighters who understand the land taking out a bunch of guys in white armor who just landed. And we see from one shot in the movie that the Ewoks are stealing Imperial blasters to use against them. The idea of a small army of guerrilla fighters stealing tech and using it against Stormtroopers makes this fight seem very different, but the movie instead focused on Ewoks as terrible comedy relief instead of as fierce fighters.
4 Luke Skywalker's Accelerated Learning
One aspect of the Original Trilogy that has bothered fans for years is how strong Luke becomes based on very little training. The prequel movies confirmed that Jedi training typically takes a decade or two, but Luke becomes a Jedi after a long weekend with Obi-Wan and a couple of weeks on Dagobah. How did this happen?
First, Luke has an immense biological advantage: what he calls in Last Jedi “that powerful Skywalker blood.” Second, he's doing a lot of training on his own between movies—how do you think he built a new lightsaber? Finally, his accomplishments after becoming a Jedi are relative...he's able to defeat Darth Vader, but Vader is a crippled guy who is decades older than Luke and, deep down, doesn't really want to kill his own son. It doesn't take decades of training to do all this when the deck is heavily stacked in your favor!
3 Snoke Can't Sense His Own Demise
Many fans walked into The Last Jedi assuming we'd find out surprising secrets about Snoke, such as his backstory. Instead, the main Snoke surprise we get is that Kylo Ren is able to use the Force and casually cut his evil master in half. Many fans thought this was a plot hole—why couldn't Supreme Leader Snoke sense this attack coming?
The short answer is that he did, but Kylo Ren outsmarted him. As Yoda said, the future is “always in motion,” so Snoke could only see generalities about Kylo Ren— that he was preparing to use a lightsaber to strike down “his true enemy.” Kylo made Snoke think this meant his own lightsaber striking down Rey, but then secretly used Rey's own lightsaber to kill Snoke. Therefore, Snoke's prediction was true... from a certain point of view.
2 Luke's Sudden Piloting Skills
Luke Skywalker has a hell of an arc in A New Hope. He goes from being a simple farmboy to the hero of the Rebellion in very short order. Pretty soon, his skills as an X-Wing pilot are known around the galaxy, but many fans have paused to ask a simple question: how does Luke suddenly know how to fly an advanced starfighter like an X-Wing?
This “plot hole” has a very direct explanation. Luke has never flown an X-Wing before, but he has flown a Skyhopper (that ship we see him briefly playing with a model of). Both ships are made by Incom— the Skyhopper is a T-16 (the one Luke blasts womp rats with) and the X-Wing is a T-65. There is enough similarity in the controls to help Luke fly the craft, and of course, the Force is with him.
1 Luke Projects His Issues
In some ways, it wasn't surprising that Luke Skywalker died in The Last Jedi. After the death of Han Solo in The Force Awakens, many of us were waiting for this to happen. However, what was surprising was how it happened: Luke died peacefully after distracting Kylo Ren and an entire First Order landing party with a projection of himself, allowing the remaining Resistance members to escape. Afterwards, though, many fans were left to wonder: why did no one notice he was a projection?
There are several explanations. First, he was able to touch things and people when he wanted to, like when he embraces Leia and even offers her Han's dice (which are also a projection). No one will guess he's intangible if he's busy being tangible. Finally, no one had ever seen a Jedi do anything like this before— Luke's gambit was unprecedented, and therefore unpredictable!
Got a Star Wars plot hole we missed? Or an explanation to offer? Head on over to our comments!