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Headscratchers: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Yoda and Obi-Wan are extremely willing to leave Han and Leia to die in the hands of the Empire because they want Luke to stay and train to stop Vader. Though the biggest reason Luke has a leg up on Vader, that Luke is in any position to threaten Vader is because of his association with Leia in the Rebel Alliance. I don't think Luke would've been able to pose much of a threat to Vader if he were a lower-ranking Rebel.
    • The way I see it, the Emperor implanted an Asskicking Equals Authority order so the institutions by themselves are no longer an inmediate threat with the Senate extinguised and the civil war ravaging and so on, only force sensitive players are able to change anything in the You Kill It, You Bought It sith enforced policy. The movies suggest the Empire is a Decapitated Army without Palpatine, the Rebel Alliance and its assets are of secondary importance there, only capable of tactical victories.
    • As Cracked.com would point out, Luke leaving with R2 to try to save his friends actually helps in the long run. If R2 wasn't there to fix the deactivated hyperdrive aboard the Millenium Falcon, Leia, Lando, Chewie and Threepio would have been captured and killed. In particular, Leia would've been tortured about the location of the Rebels once again before being killed, which would lead to the Rebellion's defeat. So if he didn't leave now, help them he wouldn't, and all they've fought and suffered for would have definitely been destroyed.
    • Jedi are not omniscient and have had a lifetime being taught that dying in the name of duty is not the worst thing that can happen. I'm guessing this leaves them numb to the fact that other people don't think that way (they typically are the ones on the front line, so it's not like they expect anything they don't do themselves).
    • Because they're worried about Luke falling to the Dark Side, which would actually be worse than the Rebellion collapsing. Luke himself realizes towards the end of Return of the Jedi that allowing himself to be killed and thus making it much harder for anyone to depose Palpatine would be preferable to him becoming Sith. Even if Luke had lost the chance to really effectively oppose the Emperor, as a fully-trained Jedi he could still have sought out students in secret and rebuilt the Jedi Order underground. If he left, got captured, and was turned, that was it, Game Over for the Jedi effectively forever, in Obi-Wan and Yoda's eyes.
  • At the Battle of Hoth, the soldiers who were in the trenches didn't do a damn thing. The whole battle was carried by the snowspeeders. For instance, after Wedge and Jansen took down an AT-AT, there was one soldier who saw it and said "Come on!", and started running towards it only for it to be destroyed by another snowspeeder a few seconds later. Even taking into account that this was all a distraction, if you took them out altogether, you wouldn't notice.
    • Given the harsh conditions on Hoth, the Rebels were probably planning on an Infantry assault, likely augmented by TIE fighters. The Rebel speeders had to be modified pretty drastically in order to work on Hoth, so it was likely assumed that the walkers wouldn't be of any use. The shield would prohibit Imperial bombardment, and Rouge Squadron was on hand in case any fighters/bombers were sent in. The problem (as we see) is that the walkers obviously did work, and thus outclassed 90% of what had been prepared for the battle.
    • The whole point of the Rebel defense on Hoth was to buy time for the Rebel members to escape. While largely unseen, I always assumed that there were some Imperial ground troops as well that were prevented from storming the trenches.
    • Also, always remember, they're the plucky underground rebels fighting an extremely rich and militarized empire in a series of pitched battles. This is not two well-armed superpowers duking it out on terms both sides have had a hand in choosing. The rebels are using what they've got, not what they need to be effective. They're firing from ground positions because they haven't read the script and don't know that the snowspeeders will handle everything.
  • As Luke is leaving to go rescue Han and Leia, Yoda comments on how "now matters are worse." Obi-Wan replies that "That boy was our only hope." to which Yoda says, "No, there is another." Obi-Wan's been criticized for forgetting Leia, but isn't he right and Yoda wrong? The two are lamenting that they could lose Luke because he is going to face Vader. And yet, Vader already has Leia, so how is she another hope?
    • Partly, the line was written when Luke's sister wasn't Leia. Also, though Vader had Leia, nobody was aware Leia was Force sensitive at all.
      • He still had her, and wasn't going to release her, so she wasn't much of a hope, even with her Force sensitivity unknown.
      • Leia was a rebel leader and figurehead, but she would still have been much easier for the rebels or (if he got really desperate) Yoda to rescue, since she most likely would have been significantly less well guarded than Vader's own friggin' prodigal son.
  • During the Battle of Hoth, was there any impediment to the snowspeeders flanking the AT-ATs or coming up behind them? Every approach in the movie comes from the front, where they can be easily shot down by those massive forward batteries on the thing's head. Since AT-ATs don't seem to have rear-facing artillery, the speeders could have just flown past them from out of range, turned around, then attacked (or fired their tow cables) from behind.
    • Could be that the walkers came in waves, and with each successive wave the speeders had to approach head-on due to time constraints. 4 walkers don't carry enough troops to attack an entrenched enemy base, especially with walkers being destroyed on the way in.
    • The walkers are heading towards the base. The snowspeeders have to launch from the base. They're thus going to have to come around from the front, at least at the start. It's either that or loop way around, and they don't really have time for that.
  • How long does it take Yoda to train Luke to be a (admittedly partly trained) Jedi? You'd think a few months at least, the length of a Biggest Loser season say, but Luke is trained in the time it takes Han to fly through an asteroid field.
    • Actually, Yoda trained him for longer. The trip to Bespin, according to the EU took quite a while. The main hyperdrive was toast and the backup one was very slow.
    • It's also implied that they stayed on Bespin for awhile (a few days at least) before the Imperials were able to fully spring their trap.
    • I think the point was Luke was not trained enough by the time he left.
  • Good grief, the entire battle of Hoth is one massive plot hole. So the Rebels have their planetary shield up, right? And the Imperials can't fire through that shield to bombard the base. The Rebels, meanwhile, have an ion cannon that CAN fire through the shield (from the inside), and it can temporarily incapacitate a Star Destroyer in a few shots. So...why didn't they just take out the Imperial fleet, then fly blithely out with all troops and technology intact while the Imperials try to regain power? Or, failing that, just take out the dropships that are carrying the AT-A Ts, or just use the ion cannon to shoot the AT-A Ts themselves. Seriously, that ion cannon could have won the battle in like three different ways. Or even, maybe, I don't know, USE THE BOMBERS THAT ARE DESIGNED TO TAKE OUT HEAVY ARMOR, RATHER THAN THE AIRSPEEDERS WITH WEAK BLASTERS AND NO SHIELDS??????? Seriously, the Y-wings would have taken down those walkers easily. Or, even, since it's clear that when there's a clear shot, a few blaster shots can take out an AT-AT when hitting the neck, just fly up to the side, stop in midair (these are repulsorcraft, remember, not fixed-wing aircraft), point at the neck, and shoot! Seriously.
    • Because the ion cannon only incapacitates the Star Destroyers, as you said, temporarily. As in, just enough time to stop them from actually intercepting a ship.

      As for using the Ion Cannon to take out the AT-A Ts or those dropships, did you even see it? It's a giant mounted gun pointed straight up. It simply does not have anywhere near the articulation to hit something near the ground, and was probably only able to hit the Star Destroyers because they're frigging huge.

      As for using the Y-Wings, they're slow as hell (i.e., great targets), and there's a throwaway line about the speeders having to be modified to work in the conditions on Hoth—presumably that's what's keeping them from using the Y-Wings. And there is never anything in the entire canon of the series that ever indicates that Y-Wings, X-Wings, or any other fighters can come to a dead stop in mid-air like you're suggesting.

      So, please, cut it out with the allcaps screaming.
      • Plausible on that ion cannon, but they should have been able to do something with it. Even just shooting it at the ground by the AT-A Ts would at least be worth a try. The bottom line is that the Rebels are given this massively powerful plot device that can apparently do some pretty spectacular things (especially given how terrifying and powerful S Ds are implied to be), and there's no real explanation for why they can't just do any number of other things with it.

        As for bombers — they're not all that slow. Probably not much slower than airspeeders, given that they're spacecraft, not air vehicles. Besides, as I said, they have actual shields, so they could probably take more than half a shot before they fell out of the sky. Not to mention that they more than likely could just lob proton torps at the things from like three miles away. And the cold conditions — we saw X-wings taking off right out in the open with no trouble.

        Speaking of taking off, when X-wings and Y-wings, and I think also T-47s, take off, they're pretty much stationary. It makes no sense for them to be unable to come to a stop, since they use antigravity tech and don't rely on speed to keep themselves up. It's just that they usually don't stop, because it's impractical, because they'd get fried. But in this case there's nothing other than maybe some AT-S Ts on the battlefield that would actually be able to aim at them properly. They probably wouldn't stop entirely, just slow down enough to get in a quick shot or two at the side.
      • Not just "plausible" on the ion cannon—look at the thing. It is physically incapable of pointing anywhere except up into the sky. By its very design, it cannot possibly do the things you're suggesting they should try.

        The X-wings took off and flew straight up into the atmosphere, not stick around close to the ground flying and fighting. They're not specific about just what needs to be done to convert the snow speeders to work on Hoth, but apparently there's something that makes it so that the space fighters don't just work.

        Just because they hover when they take off doesn't mean they can come to a stop in mid-air like you're suggesting. We're never shown any of the fighters be capable of doing that throughout the entire series. Any time they stop, they're within a few feet of the ground.
      • It has a fair amount of freedom, assuming it's mainly limited by the fact that it shouldn't point into the ground. I'm assuming the only reason it's spherical is so it can rotate.

        There's a difference between an airspeeder and a starfighter. Fighters are almost certainly designed to work in all sorts of environments. If they can't work in a cold climate, how are they going to operate in a space battle full of debris or a nebula? (Granted, space isn't actually cold, but some environments these things would be expected to work in certainly are. Air support on freezing planets, for example.) Besides, they wouldn't have to be there for long. All they'd have to do would be to spend a few minutes locking on to the AT-A Ts and lobbing out a few proton torps, and bam! No immediate threat, plan an extended fighter attack on the Imperial fleet, evacuate the base with all personnel intact, and find a new base.

        Wrong. Remember the speeder chase in Aot C? Anakin takes his "shortcut" and they lose Zam, and then they pull up to a dead stop in midair, possibly miles above the ground, and argue for a minute before Anakin jumps. And don't tell me it's a different technology. They're repulsorlifts. They're used in everything. And as I keep saying, it makes no sense for an antigravity system to rely on airspeed.
      • That's a big assumption not supported by what we see in the movie. Look at it. Unless it's going to be rolling, it's not going to be pointing anywhere near where the AT-AT's are.

        It's not nearly that easy to take out one of the AT-AT's. They're still heavily armored, and they have support on the ground—remember those thousands of ground troops in the battle? The empire would be pretty shitty if their biggest assault vehicles were easy to take out with a handful of torpedoes. Since, you know, wading through that kind of fire is the whole reason for an Armored Transport in the first place. And an extended fighter attack on the Imperial fleet? The fleet that has hundreds and hundreds of disposable Tie fighters and enormous ships which dwarf in power most of what the Rebellion has in total, let alone what they have at Hoth? There's a word for that kind of thing: Suicide.

        I said fighters. And, yes, from everything we see in all of the movies, the fighters are not capable of sudden and complete stops in mid-air like you're suggesting. There are a dozen air-combat scenes that would have, and should have, played out completely differently if they were capable of that.

        So, in short, you're saying the rebels are dumb because they didn't make their Ion cannon do something it couldn't do, didn't instantly annihilate the armored transports they could barely dent with capabilities their fighters didn't have, and didn't proceed to commit suicide by head-on attacking a fleet that has them outnumbered and outgunned in every way.
      • The ion cannon prolly couldn't take down the AT-A Ts, but my other points about it stand, given that there's no proof it doesn't have better aim than you think.

        What makes you think an AT-AT could stand up to a proton torpedo or even a concussion missile? They never even tried anything other than ludicrously weak blaster cannons. "That armor's too strong for blasters", not torpedoes. The things are designed to take out shielded capital ships, remember. And oh you mean like they did in the next movie, and won? I'm not saying that it necessarily would have worked, but they would have had a lot more options than they did as it was. They had plenty of bombers, that clearly could have spent enough time in the atmosphere to launch torpedoes on their way up, and while they admittedly weren't likely to be able to defeat the entire Imperial fleet, they could do something similar to what they did, only with lots fewer casualties and more exploding Star Destroyers since they would have all their fighters and capital ships in one place.

        Everything indicates that they can. There is no reason why they wouldn't be able to. You're grasping at straws now. I already explained why fighters don't normally stop during combat, and that's because they'd get shot if they stopped moving, which wouldn't happen here because the only flak is either from AT-S Ts that could be taken out relatively quickly by turrets or speeders, or is only a problem if you're right in front of the AT-A Ts. And you keep saying that I'm thinking they should come to a complete stop, instantly. I'm not. All they'd need to do would be to slow down. Actually all they'd need to do would be exactly what Luke did with that little maneuver before he flew between the legs, only aiming at the neck instead.

        Oh and there's yet another reason they could have won that I'd forgotten about. Luke uses his lightsaber to cut a hole in this thing. That brings up a lot of questions. He has a melee weapon, which would have given him a massive advantage should he have chosen to enter the vehicle and slaughter the snowtroopers in the confined space, then taken control of the thing and used it to eliminate the others. Failing that (operating the walkers apparently requires a lot of physical strength, but still, this is Luke Skywalker we're talking about here), he could at least have taken out some of the others the same way he did while the Rebels were retreating. The fastest way to do that would be to grapple up onto the top of the thing, cut a hole, drop a bomb in, Force/grapple jump to the next walker, rinse and repeat. Granted he'd need more bombs, but seriously.
      • No, the proton torpedoes cannot take down shielded capital ships. They never do, once in the entire series. The only time a capital ship is taken down is after they destroy the shield generators. As for them "winning" in the following movie? Well, no. They won because they blew up the Death Star and killed the emperor—they did not take on the imperial fleet and win ship to ship. They only had a chance because the Emperor specifically ordered his fleet not to attack in full strength, and that was while the Rebels had literally every single ship they could get their hands on.

        Right, no indication that they can't do that, except that they never, ever do that at any point in the series even when it would have been extremely useful. Regardless of how you think they should work, clearly the fighters work on some principle that requires them to move at speed, or at least makes it difficult and impractical to come to a stop in the air. And the writers, as I understand it, admit that the AT-AT blowing up after it topples was a cheat that shouldn't have happened—it was there to indicate the thing was destroyed and out of the fight. Can you imagine how hilariously idiotic it would be if your armored transport completely blew up while standing from just a couple laser shots to the single most obvious vulnerable spot this side of a giant glowing eye?

        "He has a melee weapon" does not give Luke some ungodly advantage. He's not a Jedi yet. The sum total of his training consists of that drone. Instead, it's "he has a melee weapon that's extremely dangerous to its own user, and he doesn't really know how to use it." If he wades into a box full of enemies with laser blasters depending on a weapon he has not been trained with, he is going to die.
      • No, he's not. I don't care if you're a Jedi or not; if you have a sword and you're fighting a bunch of people with combat rifles in a tiny space designed for troop transport, you're going to slaughter them before they even have a chance to fight back, and that's not even taking into account the fact that you have enormous natural potential with psychic abilities, with which you have (very) rudimentary training and with which you have been practicing, albeit mentorless, for three years, you're wielding a sword that can deflect bullets, and the average storm/snowtrooper's aiming abilities.
      • That is completely wrong in every single way. A cramped environment hampers the ability to swing a sword, and you know what else it does? It gives you no room to dodge. The idea that he'd "slaughter" them just because he has a sword is utterly laughable.
      • Not when you have a sword that can cut through anything. Granted it takes a bit of time with heavier materials but still. Suffice to say, if they were expecting a random ambush inside their twenty-foot-high tank, then Luke would lose. If not, he wouldn't. Actually come to think of it, he could just lob in a low-yield grenade to clear the place out, then take out the occupants of the cockpit with his blaster.
      • Completely wrong again. Unless Luke can slaughter everyone in there before they even know he's there (hint: He won't), he is going to, at some point, be confronted with several troopers firing at him at once in cramped confines where he has no room to dodge.
      • I already explained why fighters never stop. They would get shot, because space battles are normally full of laser fire because whoever's in charge of the formation is smart enough, unlike the AT-AT drivers, to cover every angle. Besides, the snowspeeders wouldn't have to be any higher than they are during takeoff to target the neck, and I just said that they wouldn't even have to stop entirely. The only argument that can really be made is that they have some sort of maneuvering thrusters that take time to turn off or something. And as you keep claiming that it would be useful for fighters to be able to stop, it makes no sense for them not to be installed with the same repulsorlifts that power airspeeders like the one Anakin stole. If I were a Doylist, I would just say that it's so they look like aerial fighters, but if I were a Doylist I would have written all this off as bad writing long ago.
      • Stopping would've been great in the Death Star trench—stop, let the tie fighters swing past you, then shoot them down. The only time we see the fighters do any of the sort of maneuvering you're thinking of is when they're landing—probably they switch to something like a landspeeder's drive when they get close to the ground and slow down enough.
      • Don't even get me started on all the problems with the Battle of Yavin. And my point stands: they would have gotten sniped by those turrets at the end of the trench had they stopped. Or the TI Es would have stopped too. Besides, it's pretty much irrelevant in space combat because, y'know, no gravity. Although the Death Star did have some. Here I'm gonna look at repulsorlifts on Wookieepedia. (...) Kay. Repulsorlift range is the six times the diameter of the planet the repulsor is pushing against. Approx. 75000 kilometers for an average-size habitable body. And they're "included on virtually every type of vehicle". It later says that includes airspeeders and starships capable of operating in an atmosphere. They're said to be capable of "levitating" an object, with no mention of speed.
      • Nope again. Remember two things: One, they went into the trench partly because there were fewer turrets up there, and two, the turrets stopped when the Tie Fighters followed them in there. And most of the technical stuff only came years and years after the movies. I'm arguing the movies here, not the expanded universe (which, as far as I'm concerned, can in great quantities be thrown out for missing the point. I'm looking at you, contrived explanations of the Kessel Run).
      • No, it can't be thrown out. You can argue the movies all you like — that's not what I'm doing, and it wasn't from the start. Besides, that brings up even more problems, since most of the ones I haven't mentioned I'm accepting the EU explanations for. And regardless of repulsors, they've gotta be capable of deceleration anyway, because otherwise they'd be completely useless for basically anything. I mean at the very least they must have retrorockets. So they could have used your trick regardless. (They also should have been able to just cut engines, turn around, and fly backwards to shoot at the TI Es, using momentum to keep moving and repulsors to escape the DS's gravity. But hey, another movie, another battle, another Swiss-cheese plot point.)
      • And yes, proton torpedoes are designed for anti-cap-ship use. We see an orphaned torp striking a Star Destroyer in the background during the Battle of Endor (right when that flaming TIE fighter goes past), and shortly afterward, concussion missiles from a pair of A-wings are used to take down the very shields you mentioned by striking the generators. Which brings up another Fridge Logic, that being the fact that you could just have the guided missiles hit the weakpoint — the neck — and be done with it. (If you want proof, Luke's torpedoes obviously curved into the vent shaft at the end of ANH. And that wasn't just him using the Force or they wouldn't have even bothered trying, since at that angle a straight shot never would have gone in. Also the discord missiles in Revenge of the Sith.)
      • The torpedoes weren't guided—remember, the other guy's just struck the surface. I think that was supposed to be something like them getting caught in the vent shaft's suction or something. They can't be guided because Luke isn't using the targeting computer, remember. And all that still depends on A. the AT-AT's having such a glaring and obvious weak point (which they probably don't), and B. the Rebels even knowing about it.
      • It's a vent, not a vacuum cleaner. Those torpedoes would have had no chance of actually going straight down the shaft without guidance. And (Wookieepedia saves the day again) it's confirmed that Rebel fighter-issue proton torps can maneuver. Quite well at that, apparently. As for A/B: the Rebels obviously knew about it, given that they specifically aimed at it after the thing was taken down. Besides, I maintain that a torpedo would completely obliterate those walkers. They're ground armor, not dreadnoughts.
      • Luke turned off his targeting computer, remember. His torpedoes couldn't have been guided, because he explicitly was not using the thing that would have been guiding them. And no, they didn't "specifically aim at it" so much as they straffed the thing with blasterfire. And you're "maintaining" something that you've basically made up. That's most of your argument, really—that you, personally, think that things should be working in ways that we never see them work. That the Rebels should be using tactics and equipment that we're shown will not work at all the way you're suggesting they should.
      • I am not the one saying that repulsorlifts work like wings when there are onscreen examples proving that they clearly don't. You are making stuff up. The protons they were using have onboard guidance systems, and as we saw in ANH, apparently they can maneuver without the aid of a targeting computer, the purpose of which would presumably be to lock on and hone the aim further. Although you do have a point; the targeting computer thing is odd since it really appears that the torpedoes are guiding themselves in, not being Force-manipulated, simply from the way they're moving. However, the plan clearly required homing torpedoes in order to work, or else they would have to have flown straight down toward it. (I know, I know. More fire. But there would have been ways around that, and they were swooping around up there anyway.) Meanwhile, there's no indication that the armor is too strong for anything more than blasters. Torpedoes are heavier weapons. That's obvious simply from the visuals and the way they're portrayed; they're clearly meant to evoke bombs or missiles. Or maybe, y'know, torpedoes. Either way they're clearly more powerful than the bullet-esque laserbolts. EDIT: I checked Wookieepedia again, and it appears the purpose of the targeting computer is to help the pilot aim, not to actually guide the weapons.
      • This troper guesses it's analagous to the reason modern air forces (hell, air forces back to WW2) have specialized ground attack aircraft for close air support as well as air superiority fighters. And if you think for a moment about how frikking BIG space is you realize that there would have to be specialized vehicles like speeders for close air support on a planet. A fighter that can travel between Yavin IV and the Death Star in less than 5 minutes is going to be fast. A pilot trying to take part in a ground battle would be futile, once he hit the throttle on his X-wing, he would blow completely past the battlefield; just like an F-22 doing Mach 2 is not going to be able to strafe an enemy tank with its cannon. That's why we have Apache helicopters- of which the snowspeeders might be the in-universe equivalent.
      • For air support the real-world analogy you're probably looking for is the A-10, not the AH-64. Snow speeders don't hover in one spot.
      • Yes, I wanted to say "A-10" and don't for the life of me know why I didn't. Probably all the talk of "hovering" further up the page got me confused. The snowspeeders are A-10 Warthogs, the X- and Y-wings are F-22s.
  • While checking for lifeforms on Hoth with their high-tech sensors, Luke and Han conclude there's nothing living there...moments before a big, very big, critter jumps up and takes out Luke and his steed. How'd they miss him? And what did such a huge carnivore normally eat on that planet?
    • I just assumed they were checking for prowlers around their base, specifically. As for how they missed the wampa? Beats me. Maybe the radar somehow couldn't pick it up? Wasn't there a blizzard going on at that time? Also, the wampa would have likely been trying to hide from Luke and the tauntan (which is presumably one of its main source of meals).
    • Depends on what the sensors were looking for exactly. I have no idea what kind of life signs could be picked up remotely, unless they were scanning for heat sources. So, the sensors they planted were IR scanners. Now let us assume that the Wampa is a creature superbly evolved to live on Hoth, one whose fur holds body heat in so well that it radiates at almost the same level as the surroundings; in other words, a creature that doesn't show up on an IR scan. Maybe this is a common adaptation for all the native life forms of Hoth, or at least a good many, which would be why it seemed that there "isn't enough life to fill a space cruiser". Or- maybe the wampa hides under the snow, waiting for prey to pass, which would have the same effect. Either way, it didn't show up on infra-red.
  • During the Battle of Hoth, snowspeeder pilots realize that their guns can't penetrate the AT-AT's, so they trip one using a cable. They they shoot at it, and it explodes. So, the snowspeeder guns suddenly got more effective after the AT-AT was tripped. How?
    • It's easier to make a called shot to a weak point on a target that isn't moving any more.
    • The crashing fall might have loosened some of the armor, or damaged the chassis, making it more vulnerable.
    • The neck is the weak point of the AT-A Ts, thus it getting shot at from the neck would cause it to explode.
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