Star Wars has been, for decades now, one of the most contentious and divided fandoms to be a part of. Beginning with George Lucas' prequel trilogy, the overattentive fanbase has repeatedly torn itself apart over slips in the franchise's quality. After the original Star Wars trilogy became one of the most successful series of films of all time, a heightened level of scrutiny fell on every subsequent piece of media added to the multi-media franchise. And it didn't help that a lot of this hyperactive criticism was well-earned. The prequel trilogy was a bad group of films, with only Revenge of the Sith even approaching the level of quality reached by the first trilogy. But to say that the prequels are the only thing wrong with Star Wars is to ignore decades of bad TV shows and problems with the original films, not to mention problems with the modern era.
Every era of Star Wars has its share of things the franchise would like to forget. Many of these are poorly drawn storylines, arcs and plot threads that weren't good when they first appeared and have been either criticized or ignored in later years. These storylines might be as small as a single scene or so huge they span multiple films, but they are all plot lines that the franchise has turned its back on. Maybe because the storyline was bad, or because the franchise went in a new direction, but for whatever reason, Star Wars wants you to forget these stories ever happened.
It's time for Star Wars: 20 Weird Storylines They Want Us To Forget.
20 The Trade Federation Embargo
George Lucas' continual assertion that the Star Wars films are primarily aimed at kids would hold more weight if the storylines fit that idea. Apparently what Lucas thinks kids want in their entertainment is lengthy conversations about galactic politics and trade embargoes.
We shouldn't have to tell you that pretty much everybody, adults and kids alike, found the plot in The Phantom Menace to be difficult to follow and boring when explained. The Trade Federation was a nebulous organization whose only understandable trait appeared to be that they secretly worked for Darth Sidious. Their trade embargo on the planet Naboo was never interesting, and no one really cared when they were eventually offed by Anakin in Revenge of the Sith.
19 The Kanjiklub Gang
It would be hard to overstate the hype that ensued when fans of Gareth Evans' Indonesian action franchise The Raid heard some of its biggest stars were going to appear in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Imagine one of the most talented stunt crews in the world wielding Star Wars weaponry.
What fans got, however, was the Kanjiklub Gang, an extremely forgettable group of space thugs who got on the wrong side of Han, Chewie, Rey, and Finn. The gang only got about half a minute of screen time in total, as their scuffle over the Millennium Falcon seemed over before it began. After all that hype with such a disappointing payoff, the core Star Wars franchise seems to act like they never hired the actors in the first place.
18 C-3PO, King of the Ewoks
Return of the Jedi is the consensus pick for the weakest of the three original Star Wars films and a big reason for that was the Ewoks, a race of alien teddy bears that help the Rebels take on the Empire. The Ewoks themselves are adorable, but their real problem is that once the movie introduces them, the plot goes sideways.
The best example of this is how C-3PO essentially becomes the god of the Ewoks and the movie seems to think this is hilarious. The whole tribal aspect is awkward already and Lucas trotting out the tired trope of a tribe making a main character their "god" doesn't make it better. Most fans (and certainly the current caretakers of the franchise) would prefer it had never happened.
17 Anakin’s mother
Anakin Skywalker is introduced in The Phantom Menace as the son of a single mother, Shmi Skywalker. We are never shown Anakin's father, only his relationship with Shmi. She is depicted as a good, caring mother, who frets over her son when he goes off to do dangerous things. This was okay in the first prequel film, but it was her end in Attack of the Clones that was really egregious.
Shmi (played by Pernilla August) was taken by Tusken raiders in that second movie, and Anakin failed to rescue her in one of the most maligned sequences in the franchise. Anakin's subsequent attack on the raiders, plus his notorious comments about sand, made it one of the worst storylines in Star Wars.
16 The whole holiday special
Among fans and casual onlookers alike, there is one thing that stands apart as the single worst piece of Star Wars media. Released between A New Hope and Empire, the holiday special follows the film's main cast as they visit the Wookiee home planet so Chewie can celebrate "Life Day" with his family.
It's notoriously awful and so excruciating to watch that it has never once been rebroadcast after its first 1978 airing. Nor has it been released in any kind of home media, and George Lucas seems determined to distance himself from it in any way possible. If the franchise could erase this television special from the collective consciousness of mankind, it wouldn't even hesitate.
15 Bodhi Rook and the Bor Gullet
Rogue One, like many of the recent Star Wars movies, has been somewhat divisive for the fanbase. Some loved the attention to detail when it came to how it related to A New Hope, but others pointed out a similar lack of attention when it came to story structure. One such problem came from Bodhi Rook's storyline, when he was captured by Saw Gerrera and faced the Bor Gullet.
In an elaborate, dramatic scene, we are told that the monstrous Bor Gullet can read minds and is used as a way to get information from enemies who are withholding it. It appears Rook is about to be driven mad, and then the film cuts to another scene and never mentions the monster again. The plotline is simply forgotten and the film would very much like it if fans would forget, too.
14 The made for TV Ewok movies/series
After Return of the Jedi came out, ending the first trilogy of Star Wars films, there was a flood of other media relating to Star Wars. TV shows, merchandise, you name it, it existed. Some of the stories that have aged the worst are the slew of made-for-TV films and series centering on the Ewoks, the koala-like race of aliens featured in Jedi.
Whether it was films like The Battle for Endor or Caravan of Courage or the animated series Ewoks, these are all pretty obvious cash grabs made to exploit the popularity of the adorable little bear aliens. Nowadays, though, it's hard not to look back and cringe and the current filmmakers would like you to forget the franchise ever stooped like this.
13 Luke and Leia’s romance
The fans that were alive to see the first two Star Wars films in theaters remember it as something of a shock that Luke and Leia's romance was dropped so swiftly. Watching A New Hope with no knowledge of their familial connection, one might assume that Luke and Leia were destined to end up together, not be brother and sister.
When that twist was introduced, Luke's romantic angle was dropped entirely and Han became the romantic lead for Leia. Luke and Leia's relationship changed entirely, with the films suddenly ignoring that they had clearly been building them up to lovers, not siblings. Reflecting that, they seemed to conveniently forget that they might have ever been aiming for anything else.
12 Obi-Wan’s relationship with the droids
In Star Wars: A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi is delivered a message from Princess Leia from a small droid named R2-D2. When the droid finally accomplishes its mission, Obi-Wan remarks that he has never seen a droid like it before. Except then George Lucas made the prequel trilogy, where Obi-Wan knows R2-D2 extremely well, interacting with the droid in every movie.
Obviously, the filmmakers behind the two trilogies would like us all to forget that plot hole and just not pay attention to the logical inconsistencies of Obi-Wan's relationship with R2 (not to mention C-3PO, whom he also seems to meet "for the first time" in both the prequels and the originals).
11 The Droids animated series
R2-D2 and C-3PO are beloved characters, droids that we were happy to see in the original trilogy and beyond. But much like the Ewoks, nobody was really clamoring for them to get stories that focused on them exclusively. Only lasting one season, the show was an animated mess despite being created by old Star Wars veteran Ben Burtt.
R2-D2 and C-3PO aren't really protagonist material, as they're mostly there to provide support for the heroes. This led to a show mostly focused on them working with new masters, one after another. It's never a good sign when your main characters frequently aren't your most active characters and most fans have completely forgotten about this show.
10 Jar Jar Binks and the Gungans
Arguably the most infamous misstep in Star Wars history, Jar Jar Binks was actually fairly well liked by the children who first saw The Phantom Menace in theaters. Adults, however, found him insufferable, with some even finding him racially insensitive. Reflecting this, the next two movies in the prequel trilogy saw his role drastically scaled back.
The prequels may have done their best to forget Jar Jar, but he has perplexingly made his way into multiple other parts of the multimedia franchise, appearing in the Clone Wars TV show and miscellaneous video games. Still, the movies themselves largely exiled Jar Jar from the story and for that reason, he makes the list.
9 Han shot first
In the 1997 Special Edition remaster of the original Star Wars trilogy, fans at first didn't suspect that George Lucas would be so bold as to literally change specific plot points. How wrong they were, as a seemingly small tweak became a notorious banner for the aggrieved fanbase - namely, that Han shot first.
Han Solo's interaction with bounty hunter Greedo serves as a kind of introduction for the audience to his character. He basically guns Greedo down in cold blood, without giving him a chance to retaliate. However, in the remastered edition, Lucas changed the order so Greedo shot first, not Han. This was apparently to fit with Han's vibe in the later movies, where he was more heroic. But fans who saw the movie in theaters refused to forget.
8 Luke vs. the wampa
The Empire Strikes Back is widely considered to be the greatest piece of Star Wars media ever made. There isn't much from that film that seems like a good candidate for this list, except perhaps the opening sequence where Luke Skywalker faced off against the man-eating Wampa.
The Wampa wasn't the most inspired Star Wars monster, as it pretty clearly ripped off urban legends about yetis and the practical effects were somewhat lacking. It was only really noteworthy for making Luke use the Force to escape and starting the sequence where Han had to rescue him. All in all, it's not really necessary to the plot or great to look at, so the franchise would be fine if we put it out of our minds.
7 Lady Proxima
Solo: A Star Wars Story has its share of both detractors and fans, but most agree it was a largely middling effort to expand on the mythos of one of the franchise's most popular characters. Honestly, though, most would also agree that the actual story structure is fairly well constructed, with only a few moments that stick out for negative reasons.
That is, except for the very beginning of the movie, where Han and Qi'ra are threatened by Lady Proxima, the boss of the street gang that snatches up orphans and puts them to work. Han escapes by chucking a rock at a window, as Proxima apparently has a weakness to sunlight. The idea that Han had never thought of this before is silly and it feels way too easy that he could have escaped her this way.
6 Rey’s parents
Star Wars: The Last Jedi had the monumental task of picking up all the narrative thread The Force Awakens left hanging and certain fans (you know the ones) have been shrieking that it did a bad job ever since. But perhaps the place it was most at odds with its predecessor is the subject of Rey's parents.
The Force Awakens had heavily hinted that Rey's parents were somehow special, that she was descended from Force users (and many speculated her father would be Luke Skywalker himself). The Last Jedi instead went all in on the more egalitarian idea that anyone could be Force-sensitive, which meant Rey's parents were nobodies. The film closed this plot thread definitively, seemingly pleading with fans to just forget the previous movie had raised it.
5 Senator Palpatine’s political machinations
The central antagonist of the first six Star Wars films, Darth Sidious received much more screen time in the prequel trilogy, not always to great effect. Masquerading as Chancellor Sheev Palpatine, Darth Sidious manipulated the trust of the galactic community and his queen, Padmé Amidala, to rise in the political ranks until he was essentially able to bring down the Republic from within.
This was a powerful arc, especially in Revenge of the Sith. However, even those soft on the prequel trilogy likely forget a lot of the more intricate machinations by the Sith Lord in the prequel movies, as quite a bit of screen time is devoted to his political career. In the end, it's screen time the franchise wishes it had never given.
4 Count Dooku and the Separatists
Fans go back and forth over whether The Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones is the worst Star Wars movie, and one thing that the first prequel has over the second is a better villain. We are given much less information about Darth Maul in Phantom Menace than we are about Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones, yet it is somehow Maul who seems the more fully realized character.
Count Dooku had loads of promise as an antagonist, a former Jedi that led a rebellious Separatist movement, but he never really shone outside of a couple lightsaber duels. His ignominious demise at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith showed that it wasn't just Darth Sidious that had moved on from him, it was the filmmakers too.
3 Poe Dameron’s crash landing
Oscar Isaac's character in The Force Awakens was originally supposed to be very minor, a brave fighter pilot that perished in a crash after coming into conflict with Kylo Ren. However, director J.J. Abrams changed his mind about Poe Dameron late in the game, writing him into the later parts of the movie having miraculously survived his crash.
The movie leaves Poe's fate in the air for a while before his sudden return and it's pretty easy to tell that the crash was originally supposed to be his end. The film does a fairly slipshod job patching that hole, like we aren't supposed to care how exactly Poe survived. Instead, the movie seems to want us to forget he crashed in the first place.
2 Rotta the Hutt’s kidnapping
While Star Wars: The Clone Wars (the TV show) has been generally well received by fans and critics, Star Wars: The Clone Wars (the animated film) was the opposite. Neither the visuals nor the animation was praised, but one of the reasons for its panning might have had to do with its central storyline.
Obi-Wan and Anakin are tasked with finding and rescuing the son of Jabba the Hutt, Rotta the Hutt. Any fans even slightly familiar with the original trilogy were puzzled by this, as everyone knows that Jabba wasn't exactly a friendly face. Why should anyone care about his family? Well, the writers of the film apparently thought they would anyway and that didn't happen. Nowadays, it's hard to find any fans who actively remember this movie.
1 Anakin’s Midi-chlorians
Of all the scenes in Star Wars, the one that has been most heavily criticized is likely the one in which Qui-Gon Jinn takes a reading of Anakin Skywalker's "Midi-chlorians," which he says indicate how adept a person will be at using the Force. Anakin, the Chosen One, has an extraordinarily high reading.
Fans hated this, as the idea that some people just had some sort of chemistry that made them better at the Force felt clinical and boring, compared to the engaging mysticism the Force had been before. These microscopic life forms weren't interesting and felt antithetical to the use of the Force in other movies, but, apparently, if George Lucas had his way, the franchise would have gone even deeper into them. Thankfully, other filmmakers ignored them.
Which of these bugged you most? Let us know in the comments!