Nitpicking Star Wars


George Lucas’ 1977 classic Star Wars is a beloved movie that continues to entertain, but it’s not a perfect movie when you begin to nitpick the logic of it

Star Wars 1977 movie poster

Star Wars – one of the most beloved, most watched, most quoted films of all time. It’s affection has spanned generations and created its own empire of sequels, merchandising and adoration that will never end. Centuries from now people will be strapping on their personalized jet-packs to fly off to work and will probably still be quoting lines from Star Wars.

The original 1977 Star Wars (I call it Star Wars not A New Hope. I grew up with it being referred to as Star Wars and I’m sticking with that) has been watched and scrutinized by millions of fans. So I thought I would ‘childishly nitpick with affection’ some stuff about this classic movie.

I had some fun doing this with Raiders of the Lost Ark, so how about Star Wars too! It’s a natural choice to go all fanboy on it with ridiculous questions and observations. It already has gotten that for the last forty years! There’s been acouple things I’ve always wondered about this tale in in a galaxy far, far away. And remember this nitpicking betrayal doesn’t mean I still don’t love it!

What luck! Searching the desert for full-functioning droids finally pays off for the Jawas!

Star Wars Jawas finding R2D2The Jawas have a pretty strange way of life. They sell off secondhand stolen droids to the farm folk on the desert planet of Tatooine. It’s a tough way to make a living. They probably come across tons of giant snake bones in their travels, but it’s a pretty desolate landscape to go out scouring for hi-tech robots.

How often could they possibly stumble onto a full-functioning droid in the middle of the desert? Really, what are the odds? I imagine finding one would be like Christmas to them. When it happens that night they’re probably inside their Sand Crawler drinking the night away and calling their friends and relatives – “Hey, we found a droid! No, no we’re serious! We told you this wasn’t such a crazy business idea! And it’s all profit! And you said to look for droids in more civilized areas! Ha!”

Imagine their surprise when they find two robots in one day!  Success like that might equal retirement in the land of the Jawas.

What’s with the scenic pause Ben and the gang take on the way to Mos Eisley?

Ok, the Princess is in trouble, the Empire is after them and they have to hire a spaceship to take them to Alderaan. Time is of the utmost importance.

Quick we’ll goto to Mos Eisley spaceport and hire a pilot. “Wait a second, slow down Luke. Yeah, stop right here. Ok, everybody out of the Landspeeder and let’s look out over this cliff at Mos Eisley so I can explain to you that we must be cautious.”

Star Wars Ben Kenobi Luke Skywalker Landspeeder Mos EisleyWhat’s the point of this time wasting moment? It’s like Ben suddenly wants to take in the sights of Tatooine. He could have told everyone that Mos Eisely was a hive of scum and villainy while they were still driving there. He didn’t have to force everyone to get out and stare at the city. And getting R2 and 3-P0 out of that Landspeeder must be a real pain. I guarantee you they’re not hopping out of that thing like Bo and Luke Duke!

Yeah, Jabba wants my neck. I’m thirsty Chewie. Let’s go have a drink in a very public place!

Star Wars Han Solo Chewbacca CantinaHan is wanted by lots of bounty hunters ever since he screwed Jabba the Hutt out of a shipment…of drugs I guess, even though we’re never specifically told that. I imagine it was some kind of intergalactic drugs, but they keep the details vague. They don’t want kids to think it’s cool to be a drug smuggler.

Obviously Han knows he’s a wanted man and needs some dough to “save his neck” before someone comes around to collect and he has to face the music with Jabba. So then why’s he hanging out in a spot that attracts the roughest criminals and aliens around?

He can’t be too surprised when Greedo finds him having a drink in this popular watering hole – on the same planet that Jabba lives on no less! Han must be getting hassled all day long! In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if right before Ben and Luke show up Han had just finished dealing with another bounty hunter, shot him and had to move to a new table.

How is this floating interrogation ball droid supposed to work?

The Empire captures Princess Leia and it’s now time to interrogate their prisoner. Her eyes fill with fear as we see this ball droid with a needle on its side float into her cell.

Star Wars Princess Leia interrogation droidThe way it clumsily floats into the jail cell I can’t see how it could possibly be steady enough to stick that needle into anything. And unless it’s got a lot of power behind it that can thrust itself towards you, I think Leia could easily push it away and she’d be safe from any pointy things this ball droid might have. But who knows.

We don’t get to see what this thing can do or how it works so maybe that needle shoots out or something. I still think it would save a lot of time if Vader just got some bad guys in big helmets to inject Leia with scary needles.

Now that this place is operational – cover up your eyes!

Grand Moff Tarkin informs Princess Leia that the Death Star is working and they can blow up planets with it. Now they decide to test it out on her home planet of Alderaan. That’s really mean!

The workers fire it up, the giant green laser shoots out and the imperial workers….cover their eyes with their arms? Huh?

Shouldn’t these guys be wearing some kind of protective eyewear? Wouldn’t it be a good idea for them to put on some goggles or something? Practically everyone else on the Death Star is walking around with dark gear over their eyes. Vader, the Stormtroopers, the Tie-Fighter pilots. Why didn’t they give these gun guys any safety equipment? They’re standing right next to the thing! It looks like they could easily fall right in front of it too! There’s not even given a railing for them to hold onto.

Star Wars Death Star gun blastI realize this was the first test of the Death Star’s big laser, but they should have planned ahead about the bright light it would give off and the safety for the guys who have to fire it. They’re only a few feet away from the thing! Those big clunky helmets are no help to them.

In fact, these Death Star gunners would have benefited from a helmet that Luke gets….

With the blastshield down how am I supposed to see? Well, why would you want to?

So what’s the point of having a helmet that you can’t see out of? I assume this helmet belongs to Han since Ben picks it up while inside the Falcon. I imagine you would be wearing this helmet to fly a spaceship….since, you know, Han has it onboard his spaceship. Wouldn’t it help when you’re wearing this thing to be able to see where you’re going when you’re flying.

Han is clearly not a fan or a believer in the Force so he wouldn’t be trusting his blind instincts too much. I doubt he’d be trying to impress Chewie with his ‘blindfolded’ flying skills.

I read once in our world helmets with a blast shield are used to protect pilots faces when they have to eject from their aircraft. Now Han might be a little nuts, but there’s no way he’d be ejecting from the Falcon into outerspace wearing only this silly helmet.

Star Wars Luke Ben helmet blast shieldWould there be some kind of circumstances where you would have to pull the blast shield down to protect your eyes so you can’t see in this galaxy? Maybe some kind of cosmic rays that are flashing at you, you flip it down, wait until they pass and then flip the blast shield back up? I’m really trying to come up with something, but it’s always bothered me. It’s like giving someone shoes with no bottoms on them and telling them to walk across Tatooine.

This blastshield helmet would be put to better use for those Death Star gunners. Or it might have come in handy when Luke is staring right into the two suns of Tatooine. He must of seen spots for the next few hours after that scene.

Shrimpy Stormtroopers can be easily ID’d by Leia, but no one else.

Star Wars Princess Leia prisonerYou gotta hand it to Princess Leia – the girl is a smart observant cookie. After being stunned, drugged, dragged around, having her home planet blasted away, getting thrown into a cell and who knows what else you might think she’d be a bit groggy and not as sharp as she usually is. No worries. No matter what she goes through you can’t put anything past her – especially the height of a regulation Stormtrooper.

After waking up from her hazy nap, her cell door opens and there Luke arrives to save her. She immediately sees Luke in his Stormtrooper disguise and says, “Aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper”.

Very impressive Princess! She’s able to pick out a fake Stormtrooper from ten feet away just by his height. The gal is really earning her leadership in the Rebellion. It also shows how stupid everyone else on the Death Star is that Luke is able to walk past hundreds of bad guys and no one noticed this short Stormtrooper or even got mildly suspicious of him.

Save the Princess in the cellblock – screw all the other wrongly incarcerated innocent prisoners the Empire has. 

Star Wars 1977 Death Star detention blockOkay, we know the guys have a mission to save the Princess and there’s not a lot of time to fool around, but does anyone think of all the other prisoners that the Empire locked up and consider maybe freeing them too?

The detention block is pretty big with what looks like a lot of cells. There has to be a few poor innocent souls that also had to deal with the floating ball needle droid. Probably some rebels and poor aliens that got picked up on some trumped up charges.

You could rationalize that they’re collateral damage in this war against the Empire and our heroes have no time to free them. But that still doesn’t stop me from getting a heavy heart when Luke blows up the whole Death Star knowing these captives are inside it.

I hope they had a moment of silence at that medal ceremony for them. The least they could do is dedicate some plaque to these anonymous prisoners that bit the dust along with Grand Moff Tarkin and his cronies.

A monster in the trash compactor – what, huh, how, why?

I always figured the trash compactor monster is something like rats on a pirate ship. Rats can sneak aboard through cargo, they can run up the ropes anchoring the ship. There’s ways for them to get onboard. This trash compactor monster looks awfully big to just stowaway in some crate and manage its way onto the Death Star.

It appears to be a water-living creature too. So unless the Empire is bringing aboard huge aquariums that this thing could hide in the corner of, escape from and somehow manage to find its way to the murky waters of the trash compactor, I simply don’t see how it got there.

Then there’s the fact before the walls start moving in to crush everything some door off-screen opens, the monster goes through it and avoids being squished. I mean, it sounds like some kind of hatch opens or something. Did the Death Star workers want this creature on their ship? What purpose would it serve? Do you they just let it sit in the garbage compactor until it needs to be crushed then they let him move to another garbage room?

Star Wars trash compactor monster scene
The mysterious garbage compactor monster

And how does this monster pull Luke underneath knee high water. What is going on here???

Plus, these Death Star designers are true idiots. We see this time and time again as we move around the Death Star. Who would have thought it was a good idea to put garbage chutes right in the middle of the detention area? The Empire deserves all the escape problems they must have to deal with. I hope some of those innocent prisoners figured this escape route out.

What do you mean you just shot the controls for the bridge?

Star Wars Luke shooting control panelLuke and Leia are on the run with Stormtroopers on their tail. They make a turn and end up in a giant tube room with no bridge to cross over it. These Death Star designers……oh boy.

Luke shoots the control panel to lock the door behind them and Leia asks him to find the controls for the bridge. Well, what do you think just happened to them? They were probably on the same panel that Luke just blasted!

At this point Leia should know that she’s not dealing with the sharpest rescuer and she should have taken charge with this problem. If she can spot a fake Stormtrooper she’s probably more than capable of pushing some buttons to lower the door behind them and then activate the bridge to allow them to cross. This is obviously too complicated for a farmboy. Instead Luke being all flustered goes about shooting anything. Luckily, he manages to swing across the chasm saving them.

I’m not sure how often Stormtroopers use this grappling hook thing on their belts. I’d love to see one of them try this trick. With that armor and that awkward helmet they have to wear must make any swinging they need to do pretty tough.

I’m buying you a limited amount of time to escape and Luke just ruined it!

Star Wars Obi Wan Darth Vader lightsaber duelObi Wan is swinging lightsabers with his old pal Darth Vader. This duel distracts a bunch of Stormtroopers who leave their posts to watch this red and blue light show. As a result this allows our heroes some time to get to the Falcon to escape.

Now wouldn’t it have been better for Obi Wan to put up a longer fight to divert the attention of Vader and the Stormtroopers for as long as he possibly can to give our hereos more time to escape. If he’s going to willingly allow himself to be killed he might as well prolong the fight as long as he can. Apparently not.

Ben spots Luke and his pals about to get onboard the Falcon and decides he’s had enough of being stuck in his old body and let’s Vader make him disappear with one swing of his red lightsaber. He could have waited a little longer to do that, like, when the Falcon is out of the docking bay and hitting lightspeed far away from the bad guys. But to make this even worse poor Ben’s impulsive sacrifice is all for nothing because Luke can’t control himself, yells out and alerts the whole friggin’ space station to where they are!

The first thing out-of-body-Ben really should of said is – “Run Luke run! AND SHUT THE HELL UP!”

They’re tracking us. Let’s go to the Rebel Base anyway!

Leia has been so smart the whole time. And she continues to be. She knows that the Empire let them escape and are now tracking the Falcon. It’s a pretty shifty move on the bad guys part. Unfortunately for Leia Han is too arrogant to listen to her and he dismisses her concern. “Not this ship sister.”

Star Wars 1977 Princess Leia Han SoloOh how wrong you are you old pirate!

So the gang knowingly leads the Empire to the Rebel Base on Yavin. Had Han listened they could have tried to lose the Empire someway.

Perhaps they could have gone to a different planet and switched ships. Or at least attempted a way for Leia and R2 to fly off alone to Yavin. Leia could have given Han an IOU for his reward he was due and paid him later. At the very least they could have called ahead and told the rebels, “Listen we have the Death Star plans and we’re on the way there, but the Empire is following us. You guys need to get prepared! Better get squads and ships ready!”

Instead nothing is done with Leia’s knowledge and our heroes lure the Death Star behind them the whole way to the rebel base where they’re forced to wage a make or break battle against them. I wonder how their history books will describe this great blunder in the war. They’ll probably skip over it.

“I’ve lost R2.” Eh, whatever.

Star Wars r2D2 damagedThe Death Star is destroyed, but this victory doesn’t come without a lot of pilots buying it. Luke, Han and Leia are all celebrating, but the moment is spoiled when the burnt out body of R2 is pulled from Luke’s X-Wing. He unfortunately suffered a head shot during the battle and looks like he’s done for!

Poor 3P0 is very upset and in the midst of our human trio hugging each other tells Luke if R2 needs any spare parts he would gladly give them to him. Luke is awfully dismissive of 3P0’s concern and just tells him, “He’ll be alright.” then goes back to celebrating.

There’s really not a lot of concern coming from Luke here. How can he be so sure that R2 will be alright? He’s worked with and repaired droids before, but I highly doubt any of them took a head shot from a TIE Fighter back at home. He comes off as very uncaring to his little pal. I wonder if 3P0 thinks he’s a jerk and tells R2 about Luke’s snobby attitude later.

A direct shot will blow the whole thing up!

Star Wars Death Star Thermal PortI had to save this one for last since it’s been talked about so much.

So just shoot in that hole and the whole Death Star blows up. They can brag all they want about this space station being operational, but why don’t they ever fix this major design flaw? It’s not like it’s a minor thing, like a conference room that needs a coat of paint. If something goes into that exhaust port the whole place blows up! These Death Star designers didn’t plan out the construction of this place very well.

The Empire’s priorities are all goofed up. At least cover this hole up with some duct tape!


4 thoughts on “Nitpicking Star Wars

  1. YES! It is "Star Wars" and always will be…none of this episode IV malarkey.

    One thing that I've noticed is what on Earth made Han adopt a camp voice when pretending to be a Stormtrooper in the detention centre? He sounds like a Starbucks barista. Did he think that would sound convincing? The voice just comes from nowhere.

    1. I got to defend Han here.

      I think Han was simply flustered. Remember, he didn't want to rescue the princess. He only put on that act because the guard was able to hit a alarm before he got zapped. So in desperation he tried to talk his way out of it. As you noted, he didn't succeed. And the guy on the other end of the comm was suspicious immediately.

      Only someone who was all in on this plan may have reacted better.

  2. Seriously, Hap, we had concurrent reviews on VEGAS VACATION and immediately afterward we had done STAR WARS, with mine being posted on May 30, 2015 and for a specific purpose ( Are we getting the same signals in approaching certain movies or something?

    Of course, my write-up goes beyond a mere review as yours isn't much of a review but another nitpicking assessment, one I enjoyed as much as your one for RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. As for these series of nitpicks, I don't have much of a comment except they were wonderful to read. Hope you like my STAR WARS write up which manages to share your complete outlook in that we look at this film as STAR WARS and none of this NEW HOPE crap. That being said, mine is a bit more incendiary and epic. Chris 🙂

  3. I figured Jawas are general scavengers/junk salesmen.

    Droids may wander off from the farms they came from or get lost.

    Families may pass on in the middle of the wastelands and not have neighbors for miles. Leaving all those expensive droids and equipment behind

    They may steal unattended droids like hubcaps

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