Star Wars plot holes that weren't plot holes after all

Despite being one of the most beloved film series of all time, Star Wars doesn't always make a lot of sense. And we're not just talking about farm boys with magic swords or old politicians with lightning hands. Many fans have discovered apparent plot holes over the years, but like a young Padawan learner, we must look a bit deeper for answers. Once we do, we'll quickly discover that the biggest Star Wars "plot holes" aren't really plot holes at all.

Luke should've been discovered

One supposed Star Wars plot hole has been kicking around the galaxy for a long, long time. In Empire Strikes Back, we get the awesome revelation that Luke Skywalker is actually the son of the galaxy's scariest badass, Darth Vader. And we know from both A New Hope and Empire that Vader was surprised to see Luke, meaning the plan to hide the boy (elaborated on in Revenge of the Sith) was highly successful. However, many fans find it highly improbable. After all, they didn't move Luke to a super secret location or change his name. Wouldn't Vader have discovered some new Skywalker had popped up, especially in his former stomping grounds?

Well, this isn't really a plot hole, as there are a variety of factors that would've kept Luke hidden. The first is that Vader believes Luke already died. If you look closely at Padme's body during her funeral, she was made to look as if she was still pregnant. This gruesome attention to detail means Vader will assume that his children are dead.

Luke is also raised on Tatooine, a planet that has a vibrant slave economy. So if Vader finds out about a young Skywalker, he would probably assume it was simply a natural child of one of his relations or a slave that was given the family name. Finally, we know Luke wouldn't have been overtly manifesting Force powers yet, and Vader was busy hunting rogue Jedi and doing other Imperial dirty work over the decades. The truth is, there was far more for Vader to do than investigate some kid without powers in a planet far removed from the Empire's concerns. And since he thought his own kids were dead, Luke being named "Skywalker" would've meant nothing to him.

It takes too long to blow up Yavin IV

One of the things that makes the ending of A New Hope so exciting is that the story has a built-in countdown. The heroes must stop the Death Star before it can blow up the Rebel base. Thus, we end up with all of those scenes where Grand Moff Tarkin is getting updates on whether or not they're in the right position to fire on Yavin IV. However, a lot of people think the Death Star takes too long to get into position. After all, the super laser was going to destroy the entire planet, so why would the position of the Death Star even matter? Why not shoot right away?

However, it's actually made clear in the movie that Yavin IV is a smaller moon near the original Yavin, which is a huge gas planet. Therefore, the Death Star has to orbit around the larger planet until it can have a clear shot at the Rebel base. Now, some fans still don't buy this explanation, believing the Empire could've shot directly through Yavin and hit the moon a lot quicker. So why didn't they?

Well, Tarkin was probably concerned about the outcome. We know from Rogue One that previous Death Star tests were using smaller blasts, making the destruction of Alderaan in A New Hope the first planet that's completely obliterated. And as it turns out, scientists and physicists in real life have determined that the Death Star wouldn't have been able to destroy a gas giant because it would've taken more power in a single shot than the Death Star could produce. In other words, even if they turned off all systems (including life support) to blow up Yavin, they wouldn't have any juice left to blow up the Rebel base.

Luke shouldn't escape Hoth

Empire Strikes Back starts out in a rather brutal fashion, showing the Empire crushing the Rebels' newest base and nearly capturing our heroes. Of course, everyone gets away, but some people think that Luke escapes too easily. After all, the Empire has a huge blockade around the planet, and we see the crazy amount of TIE fighters and Star Destroyers the Empire sends after the Millennium Falcon. Luke, meanwhile, seems to have clear skies. So is this a huge Star Wars plot hole in the center of one of the best movies of the franchise?

Not really. In fact, there are multiple explanations, and they may all be simultaneously true. The simplest answer is that Luke is going in a different direction. As he explains to R2-D2, they are heading to Dagobah rather than rejoining the fleet. Therefore, Luke is far away from other ships, both friendly and unfriendly. We also know that the Empire is focusing most of its attention on capturing Han and Leia, as Vader personally witnessed the Millennium Falcon's dramatic escape and could confirm that two of the highest-value targets were on board.

Vader being on the ground also means there was no one to sense that it was Force-using golden boy Luke Skywalker in the X-wing. In other words, why would the Empire focus on some random X-wing when they know the Falcon has key Rebel leaders aboard? And once you factor in how angry Vader probably was that he couldn't stop Leia, plus his tendency to murder subordinates who fail him, it makes a lot of sense that the Empire would focus so much on the Falcon, allowing Luke to easily get away.

Rey shouldn't be able to use the Force

Overall, The Force Awakens was a major hit. The movie did a good job of bringing back some of our favorite characters, while also introducing the newest generations of heroes and villains. One of those heroes was Rey (Daisy Ridley), a charismatic character who went from having no knowledge of the Force to becoming a master in a pretty short amount of time. She was mind-tricking stormtroopers, Force-grabbing her lightsaber, and she even stopped Kylo Ren from using the Dark Side to mess around with her mind.

A lot of people complain about Rey's sudden abilities, but is this really a plot hole? Probably not. Instead, it's part of the deliberate mystery surrounding her character. We know Rey has some mysterious connection to Obi-Wan Kenboi, as we hear him calling her name during that trippy vision sequence. And we know that somebody dropped her off on Jakku when she was a little girl. What does all of this mean? Some fans speculate that Rey might be Obi-Wan's granddaughter, and that Luke Skywalker may have possibly wiped her mind before leaving her on Jakku. If these two things are true, then she has a very powerful Force heritage, and she probably regained her abilities once more when Kylo Ren was rooting around in her head, accidentally unlocking her powers. While these are just theories at this point, it's certain that the upcoming Star Wars movies will explain Rey's sudden transformation from scavenger to kickass Jedi warrior.

Kylo Ren shouldn't lose to Rey and Finn

At the end of The Force Awakens, the villainous Kylo Ren loses a lightsaber duel against Finn and Rey, a climax that left some fans scratching their heads. After all, we know he's had years of practice, instruction from at least two separate Force users, and he's backed up by the powerful Force heritage of Darth Vader. So why doesn't he swiftly win his duel with Rey near the end of the movie, and how was the untrained Finn even able to keep up with him?

As it turns out, there are several things going on here. When it comes to Finn keeping up with Kylo Ren, it's clear that the dark Jedi is screwing around. Notice how he lazily dodges Finn's wild swings and attacks him with only one hand. And the moment Finn does some mild damage to Kylo Ren's shoulder, Ren immediately disarms his opponent. But why was he even bothering to toy with Finn in the first place? Well, he might've been concerned about damaging Luke's old lightsaber, which Kylo Ren expressed a desire for.

As for the fight with Rey, remember that Kylo Ren is severely injured. Chewbacca shoots Kylo almost immediately after he murders Han Solo. Basically, Kylo Ren starts this fight with a pretty big handicap. Also, Kylo doesn't want to kill Rey. Instead, he volunteers to complete her training, just as Vader did for Luke. So while Rey may be an awesome fighter, the main reason that the injured Kylo lost is that he wasn't trying to win. Rey essentially beat up a Dark Side recruiter who was severely wounded.

Leia shouldn't be in Rogue One

To put it mildly, the Princess Leia cameo in Rogue One elicited mixed fan reactions. Many people were very happy to see the young Carrie Fisher created so perfectly, while others found the CGI magic that brought both Leia and Grand Moff Tarkin to life to be more than a bit creepy. Other fans, however, were caught up with the idea that Leia shouldn't have been in that battle in the first place. She's basically a spy who uses her Alderaanian royalty to cover up what she does for the Rebellion. So why did they take her to a known war zone instead of leaving her safely back on Yavin IV?

However, this is one of those supposed Star Wars plot holes that partially answers its own questions. Leia is there because she's the best possible person to smuggle this secret information. And it makes sense to get her the Death Star data as quickly as possible. (This is a fully active super-weapon we're talking about here.)

But why do the Rebels use Leia in the first place? Well, she presents the Rebellion with options. Ideally, they can take the plans directly to Alderaan or to an Alderaan-friendly planet. If the Empire starts catching up to them, she is one of the only people who knows how to reach hidden resources like Obi-Wan Kenobi (it's not a coincidence that they ended up near Tatooine at the beginning of A New Hope). Finally, we know Leia's character pretty well. She's the princess who grabs a blaster and takes charge of any situation. It's tough to imagine anyone telling such a badass character to sit a fight out, and it's even tougher to imagine she'd listen.

The Death Star should be easier to destroy

Fans have spent decades wondering how something as powerful as the Death Star would be so easy to destroy. Why would the Empire make such a fatal mistake? Of course, Rogue One answers this by showing how Jyn Erso's father, Galen, deliberately put a design flaw in so he could get revenge on the Empire for ruining his life. Of course, this brings up a new question. Why not make the flaw easier to exploit? After all, it took two squadrons of highly-trained pilots sacrificing their lives, as well as someone with access to the Force and a ghostly Jedi mentor, to make this plan work. So why did Galen make all of this so hard?

When it comes to supposed Star Wars plot holes, this is one of the most straightforward ones to explain. In his hologram to his daughter, Galen mentioned how his whole plan centered on long-term deception. Anything he did would have to be small and unnoticeable. He directly mentions this when he describes the flaw in the Death Star as "well-hidden and unstable." Sure, it was hard for Luke to get those torpedoes into that small thermal exhaust port, but leaving a huge hole in the space station that leads right to the unstable reactor is a really good way to get your "secret" plan noticed. Finally, Galen's transmission was cut off by the Death Star destroying the city of Jedha. It's entirely possible Galen would've offered some tips on destroying the Death Star, but his hologram (and later, his life) was cut off before he could do so.

Luke shouldn't escape from Vader

One of the unfortunate side effects of the never-ending stream of Star Wars movies is that later events make us retroactively question what happened in earlier movies. One solid example of this is seeing Vader's full power on display as he takes out an entire squadron of Rebel soldiers at the end of Rogue One. At one point, the guy casually Force-lifts a solider up into the ceiling. Clearly, Vader has no trouble using the Force to levitate a fully-grown human being, which may give you some questions when you rewatch The Empire Strikes Back.

After dropping the "I am your father" bombshell on Luke, Darth Vader offers his son a job as co-ruler of the galaxy. Luke declines the job and dramatically escapes by letting go of the railing and falling away from Vader. Why, then, didn't Vader simply use the Force to grab Luke? Some think this is a Star Wars plot hole, but really, there's a pretty simple explanation. It's important for Vader that Luke willingly come to the Dark Side. If he captured Luke and threw him in an Imperial cell, Luke would've resisted harder than ever. Allowing him to escape, however, lets Luke digest the truth and possibly join Vader willingly at a later time.

In fact, Luke is playing into this hope when he surrenders himself on Endor. Of course, while they don't end up ruling the galaxy as father and son, Vader and Luke do end up overthrowing the Emperor together…something that never would've happened if Vader had yanked his son up back on Cloud City.

Luke is too good with the Force

Luke Skywalker's extreme abilities have puzzled some fans for years. As Yoda points out in Empire Strikes Back (and as we see in the prequels), most Jedi are taken in at a very young age and trained for a decade or more before becoming a Jedi Knight. On top of all that, it takes many additional years and trials before earning the status of Jedi Master. Compare all this to Luke Skywalker, the guy who basically spent a long weekend with Obi-Wan and a month with Yoda. So how did the guy who would've failed Jedi Academy on his attendance record become such a powerful figure in the Star Wars universe?

For one thing, Luke has a natural leg up on many Jedi because he's the son of Vader. While people scoff at midi-chlorians, these microscopic life forms were probably passed from father to son, explaining why Luke has inherited so much of Vader's raw power. He's also trained himself rather extensively. After all, he had to teach himself how to do cool tricks like summoning his lightsaber between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, and he clearly educated himself even more between Empire and Return of the Jedi, as he built his own lightsaber.

Plus, his instructors were also pretty amazing. Obi-Wan had experiences and knowledge that few Jedi ever had, and Yoda was in a league of his own in terms of powers, ability, and wisdom. A little bit of training with these guys is likely better than a decade with someone else, and once Obi-Wan started manifesting his Force ghost, it was clear he could continue to help train Luke. Finally, Luke looks amazing because he's fighting against non-Force users. And when he finally does face down with a Sith in Return of the Jedi, he isn't really trying to kill Vader. After all, it's his dear old dad.

Ewoks can't beat stormtroopers

Return of the Jedi has plenty of awesome moments, but this was also the movie that introduced us to the Ewoks. These cute, fuzzy creatures have been the center of controversy for decades now. Some resent that they were replacements for cooler ideas (earlier scripts called for a planet full of Wookies), while others think they represent George Lucas's alleged interest in selling merchandise over telling stories. Others, however, have focused on the Endor-sized Star Wars plot hole of how a bunch of untrained teddy bears defeat an entire legion of the Emperor's best troops.

But we've got to give the Ewoks some credit, as these little guys had the home-field advantage. They know their planet way better than the Empire does. In fact, Lucas has stated before that the Ewoks are a stand-in for the Viet Cong, a comparison that highlights their combat effectiveness. Basically, they're camouflaged guerrilla warriors fighting on their own turf against soldiers who decided to wear bright white armor, making them stand out among Endor's woody terrain.

Then, with Chewbacca's help, the Ewoks commandeer an AT-ST, using the Empire's own tech against them. And let's not forget Han and Leia are there helping out with a small contingent of Rebel soldiers. Toss in the element of surprise (the stormtroopers definitely weren't expecting to face an army of pint-sized bears), and you have the perfect storm that turns those cute forest-dwellers into dangerous warriors. And let's not forget these guys eat humans. There's no telling how many Ewoks a single dead stormtrooper feeds, so these little guys were probably motivated to kill as many Imperials as possible.