Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson disagrees with the claim that Admiral Holdo's maneuver to thwart the First Order creates a plot hole in the wider franchise universe. The maneuver in question occurs towards the end of The Last Jedi as the remaining few members of the Resistance are attempting to secretly flee to their base on Crait, with Holdo acting as a distraction. Thanks to the misguided efforts of Poe and Rose however, the First Order get wise to this plan and begin picking off the Resistance evacuation ships. In a final, desperate attempt to save her people, Holdo turns her own ship towards the First Order fleet and tears through them at lightspeed, allowing a small band of troops to reach their destination unharmed.
While few could argue that the scene wasn't visually impressive, it has been suggested that the tactic creates problems for Star Wars lore. Noting that part of the scene's shock factor comes from the fact that such a maneuver has never been seen before in the franchise, some claim that the scene automatically raises the question of why no one has done this before. This is especially true when considering how effective the act was and how it only required the sacrifice of one person and one ship, rather than an entire squadron, as happened with Poe and his bombers. Another possible plot hole is that previous Star Wars canon has implied that hyperspace jumps occur separately from regular space. In other words, you can only collide with stuff if you land directly on it (or because of a gravity well).
Director Rian Johnson has now addressed this issue somewhat. Speaking to /Film's podcast, Johnson stated:
“First of all, has this been done before, period? I’ve got to reserve the right for [Story Group member] Pablo [Hidalgo] to build it back into canon, if he’s like, "Yeah, this is a thing and they outlawed it." I think there’s various ways you can go with it. But it’s not like it was the plan to do this. It’s a spur of the moment thing. It’s this idea that she gets and she sits down and f**king does, and it obviously takes everybody completely by surprise. It takes Hux by surprise. The fact that Hux doesn’t see it coming means it’s probably not a standard military maneuver. I think it was something that Holdo pulled out of her butt in the moment.”
The plot hole argument, which can be read in full on The Ringer, admits that it delves into full-scale nerd territory and also recognizes that Johnson should be commended for prioritizing visual, cinematic and emotional impact above fitting neatly into a complex scientific and tactical canon. However, it certainly does open up a can of Star Wars worms since the Resistance could have just used old ships set on autopilot to cause widespread destruction to the First Order's forces, theoretically changing the face of warfare in the fictional galaxy.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi was perhaps the most divisive episode in the series thus far and a number of other plot holes have been identified by fans. As such, Johnson's explanation here is unlikely to silence The Last Jedi's detractors, even if it does pave the way for an explanation to be provided at some point in the future, either in Episode IX or within wider canon.
It's worth remembering that one of the original Star Wars trilogy's most famous plot holes was why the Death Star would have such an obvious, exposed flaw that would allow a single X-Wing to blow up the entire station in one shot. Nearly 40 years later, an explanation duly arrived in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Hopefully, it won't take as long for this issue to be put to rest.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017