Ah... the Star Wars original trilogy. While I don't consider myself an "O.T. snob" (for all the fanboys out there), I must admit, I do love the original trilogy on a level that the prequels will just never reach. Maybe it's because I was born in 1974, and the O.T. films have just always been there for me. They're like a warm blanket on a cold night... cue the waves of nostalgia washing over me.
But here's the thing. As tightly as I hold the films and as high as their place is in the pantheon of cinema... they aren't without their foibles. I'm not talking about technical mistakes or special effects limitations. I'm talking about the decisions of the characters and the filmmakers. To me there's a bunch of moments that just don't add up and leave me scratching my head.
Before you read the list, let me explain that the criteria for inclusion is how perplexing and/or out of character I feel the issue is. There are "bad" decisions made by many characters in the saga, but that's fine... as long as those decisions are true to the characters that make them. Let's look at an example of that. Grand Moff Tarkin decides not to blow up Yavin (so he can then do the same to the moon with the base behind it), despite the capability of the Death Star to do so. Instead he chooses to orbit the planet to get a clear shot at the moon. While some fans will cry out that this is a head scratcher, I don't believe it is. In the film,Tarkin demonstrates his arrogance and his belief that the Rebels are really no threat to the Death Star. So it makes sense to me that he would take the time to orbit the planet and savor the kill. Plus, if you blow up the planet and eliminate its gravitational pull, the moon probably just skips off into the unknown, possibly allowing the Rebels to escape. Obviously, Tarkin's decision turned out to be a poor one, but it's a decision correctly motivated by character and even some logic inside the film.
Now before I get a hundred emails with people saying, "The answer is: Because these are just movies!"... let me say that I'm fully aware of that. This list in't intended as fanboy whining... quite the contrary. I'm just having some fun here!
How Does Leia Remember Her Real Mother When Padme Died During Childbirth?
Hit List: I know, I know... I'm cheating on this one a little because I'm being informed by the prequels. When "Return of the Jedi" was made, clearly nobody knew who Padme was, but hindsight is 20/20. Leia says she has vague recollections of her real mother. But as we now know, Padme died during Luke and Leia's birth, so unless Leia has some type of abnormal "Force" memory... this one is a head scratcher.
Why Don't Chewie, Wedge and Keyan Farlander Get the Medal of Bravery at Yavin?
Hit List: Okay, your first question is, "Who's Keyan Farlander?" Fair enough. He's the Y-Wng pilot that is seen racing away wth Wedge, Luke and the Falcon as the first Death Star explodes. So why don't these guys (including Chewie as a "guy") deserve some hardware? It remains a mystery. For those who enjoy the expanded universe, Chewie does receive the Medal of Bravery in "The Day After the Death Star" from Marvel UK's Star Wars Weekly 97-99. It explains that Chewie didn't get a medal at the initial ceremony because Princess Leia wasn't tall enough to get it around his neck! And note, according to the expanded universe there were other pilots who survived the battle too... but I'm only going to stake a claim for the characters seen surviving in the film.
Why is Lando Wearing Han's Clothes?
Hit List: I admit I know waaaay too much about Star Wars. But I don't even claim to understand this. They really couldn't find anything else for Billy Dee to wear? I know "A New Hope" was shot on a tight budget... but jeez!
Why Do Luke & Obi-Wan Willingly Leave R2-D2 Unprotected Outside the Cantina?
Hit List: Wouldn't you think that Luke and Obi-Wan would have talked about keeping R2-D2 in sight before heading into Mos Eisley? Despite Luke being young and naive, he's not stupid, and Obi-Wan is as battle tested as they come. Considering the importance of what Artoo is carrying (which they're aware is "vital"), I would think they'd have practically had a leash on him! So it just makes me wonder how they would willingly leave him outside at Chalmun's Cantina. The little guy had to lock himself in a closet with Threepio at one point to evade capture!
Why Doesn't Luke Just Finish Off the Wampa and Stay in the Cave?
Hit List: Choice #1 - Kill the one-arm Wampa and hang out in a relatively comfy cave (except for the skeletons) until your buddies come find you in the morning. Choice #2 - Run out into a blizzard as the sun sets with almost zero chance of survival. I realize Luke did panic (and panic can make anyone make bad decisions), but you don't need to be a Jedi to solve this one! Plus, I gotta think that the Wampa would have made one fantastic fur coat!
Why Don't Han and the Gang Detect Slave 1 on their Sensors?
Hit List: Han, Slave 1 is RIGHT BEHIND YOU! This one really does make me tingle. The Falcon's got sensors galore, and Han is such a great pilot... how in the galaxy does he miss a ship so close on his tail? Makes no sense to me! And I don't want to hear about Slave 1 having a cloaking device. I mean Chewie just needs to look in the rearview mirror... lol!
Why Does Luke Give R2-D2 his Lightsaber Before Going to Jabba's Palace?
Hit List: The answer is to sneak it in. So what's my problem here? Okay... pop quiz: Tell me what Luke's rescue plan is when he goes to Jabba's palace? I cannot believe that his plan was to get captured and end up walking the plank over the Pit of Carkoon. It's just impossible for Luke to have known for certain he'd be on that skiff. But let's give Luke the benefit of the doubt since he's from Tatooine, might have known about Jabba's usual means of killing enemies and could have even glimpsed the Sarlacc via The Force. All those leaps aside, how could Luke have known that Artoo would end up in a position to get him his saber at the critical moment? Who's to say Jabba wouldn't just melt Artoo down before Luke even arrived? Yet he signals R2-D2 as if this was all part of the plan. I just think there's way too many variables in this "plan" - too much left to chance - to not leave me scratching my head.
Why Does Yoda Stay on Dagobah?
Hit List: I've thought about this one a lot, and I just can't reconcile it. Why would Yoda stay on Dagobah? Trust me, Luke could have found space for him in the X-Wing! We know that Yoda is not a coward (far from it), so what motivates him to stay? As Luke leaves, Yoda must realize this is the time he and Obi-Wan have waited for all these years. Even at his advanced age, couldn't the greatest Jedi Master who ever lived help the kid out somehow? Not his fate... grumble... grumble...
Why Does the Rebel Leadership at Echo Base Plan an Escape Route Right At the Incoming Imperial Fleet?
Hit List: The Rebels were smart, cagey military minds. They had to be or else they would have never survived at all. It doesn't take a brilliant military strategist to figure out it's probably not the smartest move to plan an escape route aimed right into the teeth of the incoming enemy forces. Even if that's the way they ultimately needed to head, shouldn't they have gone the long way around? Ion cannon or no ion cannon!!!!
Why Would Princess Leia Head Straight Back to the Secret Rebel Base if She Suspected the Millennium Falcon Was Being Tracked?
Hit List: Fact: Princess Leia is smart and tough. So why on earth would she lead the Imperials directly back to the Rebels' secret base if she even suspected that the Millennium Falcon was being tracked? It just makes no sense for her character. Even morons who rob liquor stores have learned to switch getaway cars if it's possible they were spotted peeling out of the parking lot. The long and short is that Leia put the entire Rebellion at risk. If Tarkin and company had pulled the trigger one minute earlier, it would have been all Leia's fault!
If you enjoyed the Top 10 Star Wars Original Trilogy Head Scratchers please see Galacticbinder's additional Star Wars Top 10 Lists.