Major spoilers for (nearly) all Star Wars films follow.
Gareth Edwards, the director of Rogue One, recently shot down a purported plot hole in the film picked up by fans. People have spotted that C-3PO and R2-D2 watch the Rebel fleet departing for Scarif, but are later meant to be on Leia’s ship at the battle. “If you listen carefully to the dialogue,” he explained, “they say, ‘We need to contact [fleet commander] Admiral Raddus’, or something. And someone says, ‘He’s planning to fight’ or ‘he’s about to leave’, so he hasn’t left yet. The idea is that [the droids and Leia] would be stopped, saying, ‘You’ve got to help us’, so that includes Captain Antilles [the pilot who is killed by Darth Vader at the beginning of Episode IV] and all that stuff. So it’s technically OK.”
But what about all the other plot holes in the franchise? While everyone digests Star Wars: The Last Jedi we’ve collected common gripes from far and wide, guaranteed to ruin the other eight films so far for pedants:
Episode I: The Phantom Menace
1. Qui-Gon Jinn is Obi Wan’s master
In The Empire Strikes Back, Obi Wan’s ghost tells Luke that Yoda was “the Jedi Master who instructed me”. Unless he means Yoda taught him when he was a youngling – as Yoda is shown to do in Attack of the Clones – this cannot be true in the retrospective context of the prequel films.
2. The Rule of Two is flawed
In the prequel films, Yoda explains the rule of two: that there are only ever two Sith, a master and an apprentice. This works in the prequel films, but in the original trilogy the Emperor & Vader conspire to recruit Luke to their cause. That would make three Sith, surely breaking the Siths’ own rules.
3. Anakin was conceived by parthenogenesis: his mother says he has no father
Come the fuck on.
4. The droids have a hierarchy system
Do droids need corporals and lieutenants? Why don’t they operate from a central server that instructs the lot of them at once? Do they actually have some kind of autonomy? Why? This, like almost all of the entire film, is dumb.
Episode II: Attack of the Clones
5. Padmé instinctively knows where Anakin is somehow
It is never revealed that Padmé has any connection to the Force, nor any geolocational abilities. In this film, her ship is shot down while chasing Count Dooku’s; Anakin’s carries on, following Dooku to a hangar, and Padmé couldn’t possibly know this. But when she exits the wreckage of her ship, she somehow knows Anakin is at the hangar. Magic!
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
6. Existing canon suggested Leia knew her mother
In Return of the Jedi, Leia recalls her mother as “beautiful”, “kind” and “sad”, suggesting she was alive during Leia’s childhood. In Revenge of the Sith, Leia’s mother dies in childbirth. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Episode IV: A New Hope
7. Vader has no idea about his children
Several times in the original trilogy, the Skywalker children are shown to be able to sense one another and Vader is shown to be able to communicate with Luke telepathically. This, presumably, is via some familial or Force connection – or both. Yet at the start of A New Hope, Vader seemingly has no idea that Leia is his daughter, even when he’s torturing her.
8. Luke keeps his dad’s name
Unless Skywalker is the Star Wars equivalent of Jones, it’s probably not the best idea to keep the son of Anakin Skywalker hidden with his relatives on his home planet, while letting him keep his dad’s surname. No matter though – he was never discovered!
9. The imperials should have shot down the droids’ escape pod
Imperial idiots are responsible for this massive plot hole. Because they didn’t detect life-forms on the escape pod carrying R2-D2 and C-3PO at the start of the film, they just let it sail down towards Tatooine. It’s as if they’ve never heard of droids: they didn’t even shoot it for safety, instead assuming the escape pod was faulty. This allowed the Rebels to access the plans to the Death Star, and ultimately bring down the Empire. We can assume P45s were issued swiftly after. Either that or the business end of Vader’s lightsaber.
10. Obi Wan doesn’t recognise R2-D2 – a droid he’s spent three films with – in A New Hope
11. The Death Star faffs around for 10 minutes at the end
At the climax of the film, the Death Star travels to Yavin 4 – a moon – to blow up it and the Rebel base on it. Before it can reach the moon, though, it’s decided it needs to travel around the planet that stands in the way of it and the moon. The Death Star, remember, is a planet destroyer, one which could just as easily just blow up the planet in the way of it and Yavin 4.
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
12. Luke gets past the ‘blockade’ on Hoth without a hitch
Hoth is supposedly surrounded by an Imperial blockade which prevents any Rebel ships from leaving. When Luke leaves the planet, he gets out easily.
13. Darth Vader only disables Falcon’s hyperdrive, not whole engine
In Cloud City, the Millennium Falcon’s hyperdrive is disabled by Darth Vader’s men, but that doesn’t prevent them escaping: why not just damage the engines beyond repair?
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
14. Droid torture scene
Jabba the Hutt has a droid torture chamber in his palace. This would imply droids feel pain like humans, and is demonstrably ridiculous.
15. Luke uses a skull to push a button, instead of just using the Force
When he’s trying to kill the Rancor, Luke throws a skull to push a button to lower a gate and crush its head. Why not just use the Force?
16. Luke asks Han if he can reach his lightsaber instead of just using the Force
Caught in the Ewoks’ net, Luke asks Han to grab his lightsaber. Perhaps it’s just a euphemism – in which case, top work Luke – but otherwise we must ask again: why not just use the Force?
17. The Ewoks have a dress in Leia’s size and they give it to her immediately
No one knows why.
18. The Emperor leaked the real Death Star plans to the Rebellion
The infamous Star Wars line, “It’s a trap!”, was down to this plotline. It was indeed a trap, but not a very good one: the Emperor gave the Rebels accurate Death Star plans so he could lure them out and destroy them for good – but why didn’t he give them the wrong plans? Surely that would have saved him another destroyed space station.
Episode VII: The Force Awakens
19. Poe Dameron inexplicably survives his crash landing on Jakku and magically returns to the Resistance
We will probably never know how.
20. Han has never used Chewie’s bowcaster
Despite spending the majority of their adult lives together, Han and Chewie have never swapped weapons until this film, where Han uses Chewie’s bowcaster for the first time. He then has an ‘I gotta get me one of these’ moment which doesn’t really ring true.
21. Maz Kanata is infinitely wise but doesn’t notice two spies
Maz is a strange figure who can read people from their eyes. She even senses Han Solo in her bar. But the two spies lingering in the corner, who bring in First Order reinforcements? Doesn’t notice them, does she.
22. Rey learns to use the Force just like that
Some fans find this really upsetting, given how much trouble Luke had using the Force in previous films (see above). There are ways to justify it, though: we still don’t know who Rey’s parents are and are yet to see the extent of her powers, plus the title of The Force Awakens and Rey’s moment of awesome, silent fury both suggest she’s a uniquely powerful individual. That said, a lot of fans find it troubling that even Anakin Skywalker went through years of training, yet Rey is essentially able to defeat Kylo Ren within a day of discovering her connection to the Force.
23. Rey understands the Wookiee language
Since she arrived, Rey has never left Jakku, but she somehow understands Chewie. Maybe we can put it down to her unprecedented Force powers.
24. R2-D2 and C-3PO know each other
In the Rogue One scene before they go to Leia’s ship and join the battle above Scarif, Artoo and C-3PO are shown talking to one another. In A New Hope, about 20 minutes later, they suddenly don’t know each other.
25. Leia, an important diplomatic figure, is at the last-ditch and intensely dangerous battle above Scarif
This ties up Rogue One and A New Hope nicely, but why is Leia actually at the battle? She’s not a general, nor is she shown to be commanding any military forces, so her presence there is a crazy risk. This is also problematic because in A New Hope, 10 minutes after the events of Rogue One, Leia tells Vader she is on an important diplomatic mission, despite having literally just left him above Scarif.
Any pedantic plot holes to add or contest? Let us know in the comments section below!