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The Phantom Menace
- Nute Gunray has been convinced to have the Trade Federation orchestrate a blockade of Naboo. This is a not-insignificant expenditure of resources, not to mention something the galactic community would condemn immediately if not for their extremely tight media blackout of the planet.
You'd Expect: Given the guy is running something called the Trade Federation, you'd think he'd be a little more business savvy and not blindly follow the orders of a hologram of a man he's never met or even seen the face of. Even if he knew Palpatine was behind it all, Palpatine couldn't do him any favors considering his position.
Instead: Not only does he do so, but he continues to be involved in a losing effort in a role that just screams "expendable fall guy." Sure enough, he gets arrested and the Trade Federation scapegoats him so they don't lose their empire.
- Nute Gunray has Queen Amidala under his control, and sends her off to be processed at a prison camp called Camp Four.
You'd Expect: Given it's a major plot point that they need to force her to sign an agreement which will make this whole invasion worth it, she'd be under heavy guard at all times.
Instead: He sends her away, guarded by a few droids who are outnumbered by their prisoners two to one, despite knowing that there are two Jedi in the area, unaccounted for and probably looking for the queen. Guess what happens.
- After Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan rescue the queen and her party, they need to escape Naboo and get to Coruscant. The trouble is, the Trade Federation blockade is in their direct path.
You'd Expect: That the pilot would take advantage of space being really, really big to go around the blockade, rather than through it. If nothing else they could leave from the other side of the planet, which the Trade Federation doesn't seem to have blockaded, and go from there.
Instead: They proceed to ram the blockade, sustain damage to the shield generator and the hyper-drive, and need to stop to make repairs, leaving them in a position that makes it very unlikely they'll get to Coruscant at all.
- When they arrive on Tatooine, they need to replace the hyper-drive generator of the royal cruiser. Qui-Gon attempts to buy one off Watto, but he won't accept Republic credits, and he claims that no other dealers stock the part (and possibly will not take Republic credits either).
You'd Expect: Qui-Gon to immediately find an alternate means of transport, considering they are on a schedule of sorts. Tatooine has no shortage of starships passing through on their way to the core worlds that would take a few passengers and could no doubt spend the credits he has, much as Obi-Wan and Luke did with Han Solo and Chewbacca in A New Hope. Heck, since Qui-Gon tried to cheat Watto by using the Force, why not go to a different vendor and Force Persuade them to exchange credits for a currency Watto likes? Note that the non-canon video game adaptation (not the pod-racing one) does a Chain of Deals sidequest to pad its length, and among the available options is the ability to Force Persuade vendors into accepting bad deals, which is what Qui-Gon could have done here. And if you're going to be a sneaky bastard, why not steal the part your spaceship needs from Watto? You're trying to cheat him anyway. Failing all of that, why not simply sell the Queen's ship, then use the money to buy another ship or passage to Coruscant? The ship's hyperdrive may be damaged, but it's still a personal transport of the Queen of Naboo in otherwise excellent working order.
Instead: Firstly, he decides to sit around and wait until another solution presents itself. (Seriously, he actually says that in the film.) Then, after getting to know Anakin, he decides to embark on an incredibly convoluted scheme of betting on a pod race, the success of which depends on a nine year old boy who's never won or even finished a race coming in first. You can literally see poor Padmé's horror and disbelief mount with each fresh twist Qui-Gon throws into his plan.
- The gang has made it to Coruscant, the capital of the Galactic Republic, so Queen Amidala can plead her case of the Naboo invasion to the Senate.
You'd Expect: Amidala to have brought some proof of the invasion, given the only reason the Trade Federation is getting away with this nonsense is how effectively they're blacking out communications. If she had recorded her harrowing escape from the planet, that alone would have been proof enough. If nothing else she could have brought in Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan (who, as Jedi, have a fair bit of clout) as witnesses to confirm her story; also allowing them to bring their own charge against Nute Gunray for trying to kill two ambassadors sent by the Chancellor himself, and actually succeeding in killing the pilots who brought them to Naboo.
Instead: It's Amidala's word vs. Sen. Lott Dodd of the Trade Federation, who uses legal chicanery to drag the process out by demanding an investigation. Palpatine (who is secretly, Darth Sidious, the titular Phantom Menace) then manages to persuade Amidala to vote "no confidence on Chancellor Valorum", which results in him losing his job as Chancellor of the Senate.
The Result: Palpatine becomes the new chancellor, and his evil scheme gets set in motion.
- Qui-Gon reports in to the Jedi Council about the events on Naboo and what happened to them on Tatooine.
You'd Expect: That the Jedi would react more seriously to an encounter with a Dark Side user powerful enough to give a Jedi Master a run for his money in a fight. Also, Qui-Gon's report basically verifies that the invasion is real and the Trade Federation tried to assassinate Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, and did kill the pilots that brought them to Naboo.
Instead: They seem only vaguely perturbed, and wonder if this individual really is a Sith (neglecting the fact that Maul is obviously very powerful and dangerous, Sith or not). Likewise, they seem shockingly disinterested in the Naboo situation and, rigidly adhering to the One Riot, One Ranger trope, only grudgingly allow Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan to return there with Queen Amidala. No other Jedi are sent to assist, even though this is shaping up to the be the biggest political crisis in the Republic.
The Result: Qui-Gon is predictably killed by Darth Maul, whom he'd had to flee from previously. Obi-Wan narrowly manages to defeat Maul, but could not capture or question him. The Jedi ultimately played no role in the larger liberation of Naboo, undermining the perception of the Republic being strong enough to protect its member worlds.
- Queen Amidala decides to go back to Naboo to try and fight the Trade Federation, and Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan accompany her.
You'd Expect: Qui-Gon to leave Anakin at the Jedi Temple or, if the Temple wouldn't let him stay because they don't want to train him, some other place on Coruscant that's safe because why the hell would you bring an inexperienced nine year old into a war zone?
Instead: Qui-Gon chooses to bring Anakin with them.
Then: When Amidala launches her attack on the palace, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan again accompany her.
You'd Expect: Qui-Gon to leave Anakin in a safe place far away from the conflict, watched over by the Gungans who did not partake in the battle, because why the hell would you bring an inexperienced nine year old into a war zone?
Instead: Qui-Gon chooses to bring Anakin with them again.
- Padmé reveals to Boss Nass (and the audience) that she is actually the real Queen, and the girl who everyone's believed to be the Queen for most of the film is actually a decoy, done in order to protect herself.
You'd Expect: That Padmé, the decoy Sabé and (presumably) Captain Panaka would have clued in Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan about the whole decoy set-up long before this point. The Jedi have taken it upon themselves to rescue Queen Amidala and get her to Coruscant, and they'd do a much better job of it if they knew who the actual queen was, instead of, for example, regretfully sacrificing Padmé should it come to a fire fight, needs of the many, etc.
Instead: They continue to keep the switched roles a secret, just for this oh so dramatic reveal — although it's implied Qui-Gon had seen through the ruse in any case.
- A large army of Gungans has massed outside the city.
You'd Expect: The Trade Federation would take advantage of having a fortified position and simply wait for the Gungans try to penetrate it, firing from behind the walls which are a few dozen feet high and look sturdy. Or, perhaps, use this thing called "Orbital Bombardment" to brutally obliterate the army without losing a single droid, using the massive flying spaceship that they have in orbit.
Instead: They engage the Gungans on their terms, leaving defense of the city to engage in an open field where the Gungan weapons are most effective. It also acts as a wonderful distraction for the Jedi operating in town. These guys never read up their Sun Tzu.
- On that note:
You'd Expect: The Federation to maintain the blockade to prevent the Queen from returning, much less bringing allies with her.
Instead: The Federation has abandoned the blockade, leaving a single space station behind, lightly defended. You know, the station that controls the entire Federation robot army. Leaving aside the idiocy of having all of the robots controlled by a single source, why did they abandon the blockade in the first place?
The Result: Some small child manages to blow up the station almost by accident, disabling the entire army and winning the war.
- During the control ship battle above Naboo's surface, Anakin accidentally blows up the ship's reactor, causing it to rip apart. The ship's communications officer reports this disturbance to her superior, Captain Daultay Dofine.
You'd Expect: Captain Dofine to order an evacuation of all ship personnel out of precaution, and the crew to immediately bail the cockpit. He should know full well that any problem with the main reactor should be taken seriously, regardless of the situation.
Instead: The incompetent captain dismisses the report, believing that a starfighter could never have penetrated the ship's deflector shields despite inadvertently letting one (two in the Legends continuity) in while the shields were down, and the crew stays put.
The Result: Dofine and all ship personnel perish in the meltdown.
- Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are about to face Darth Maul in a duel.
You'd Expect: Them to keep the fight at long range and use the Force when possible, as a) they already know he is a very dangerous physical fighter, which is reinforced after he unveils the second blade of his lightsaber in front of them, and b) even if they don't know the extent of his Force powers, from their perspective it's improbable he was strong or skilled enough to overpower them at once in said field, and if he was, they wouldn't be any more screwed than trying to play his rules.
Instead: They both plod forward and engage him in a straight sword fight, keeping it at very close quarters and using no Force whatsoever until Maul himself uses it.
Even Worse: Maul is obviously leading them to the pit room, where he can hope to use the architecture to isolate them in order to handle them individually. They follow him there and put zero care on this possibility, so the Sith executes his game plan successfully.
- Darth Maul has knocked Obi-Wan into a pit, where Obi-Wan is now hanging for dear life from some random outcropping.
You'd Expect: Maul to finish the job and Force-push Obi-Wan to his death. Obi-Wan is in no position to block it.
Instead: He just swings his lightsaber at the edge of the hole, showering sparks on Obi-Wan, until Obi-Wan pulls Qui-Gon's lightsaber to himself and manages to force-jump back out of the pit, bisecting Maul.
Even Worse: Maul just stares while Obi-Wan jumps from the pit directly over him, and doesn't make a single move to defend, or more effectively, attacking him mid air just like Obi-Wan would do to Anakin at the third film. Maul had the high ground!
- Qui-Gon had tried to free Shmi Skywalker along with her son, but Watto wouldn't agree to it, and Qui-Gon didn't have the time or resources to negotiate further.
You'd Expect: That once all the dust had settled and the Trade Federation got kicked off Naboo, Anakin would pipe up about his mother, to either Obi-Wan or Padmé, and they would take steps to buy her freedom. Even if Jedi are supposed to sever ties to their families, Obi-Wan would surely see the sense in making sure Anakin doesn't have to worry about his mother when he's embarking on his new life, and Padmé has already grown close to Anakin, presumably feels gratitude towards Shmi for helping her, and could certainly afford to pay any price Watto might ask.
Instead: They just leave Shmi on Tatooine, presumably without checking up on her even once, and without any explanation given for why they do so. As a result, she eventually gets captured and killed, leading Anakin to brush the Dark Side and become more ambitious and grimly determined to prevent the deaths of those he loves, which leads to disastrous consequences in Revenge of the Sith.
Attack of the Clones
- Right from the start Padmé survives an assassination attempt, so Obi-Wan and Anakin are assigned to guard her.
You'd Expect: Obi-Wan to, first and foremost, arrange a secure accommodation for her.
Instead: She sleeps in a room with a huge window that a flying droid can approach unseen and easily cut through.
You'd Then Expect:Padmé would appreciate how much danger she's in, considering someone's tried to assassinate her twice.
Instead: She's more concerned about Anakin snooping on her and turns off the cameras in her room.
- Jango Fett is hired to kill Padmé.
You'd Expect: That Jango, being an experienced bounty hunter and assassin, would do the job himself.
Instead: He assigns the job to a less experienced and less skilled assassin, Zam Wessell, even though the only reason to do this (making her a patsy) is ruined by working with her directly.
- Now Zam Wessell is on the job.
You'd Expect: Given how many ways death can come in this universe, for her to attempt an assassination method such as having her droid that flies to Padmé's apartment shoot a grenade or fire a laser cannon into her room. There wouldn't be a need to worry about subtlety, as it's already known from earlier in the day that Padmé is targeted for death.
Instead: Jango gives Zam a couple of venomous millipede creatures to slip into Padmé's room. She dispatches a droid which flies up to Padmé's window and releases them inside, and Anakin easily kills them. A thermal detonator would have gone off in ten seconds and vaporized the room.
For Added Stupidity: The droid sticks around to confirm the kill, allowing Obi-Wan to grab the thing and ride it back to Zam. Despite being designed for assassination, the droid doesn't have a single fail-safe in case of capture, such as self-destruction, its own weapons, or deliberately traveling down a wrong path.
- After crashing during the speeder chase, Zam escapes into a Coruscant nightclub to outrun Anakin and Obi-Wan.
You'd Expect: Zam would use her shapeshifting to hide or disguise herself as someone else and leave undetected.
Instead: She exposes herself (without shapeshifting or donning some other disguise) by trying to attack Obi-Wan.
- To protect her from further assassination attempts, the Jedi Council decide to send Padmé back to Naboo. Since Padmé represents her home planet in the Galactic Senate, she'll need to get someone else to be the representative while she's gone.
You'd Expect: Padmé would pick someone who's competent, doesn't let themselves be pushed around, and preferably supports her beliefs of non-militarization. It's not hard to imagine Naboo having such people, considering the planet's pacifism resulted in no standing army in the first film, and it shouldn't be too much of an issue to fly them to Coruscant.
Instead: She picks Jar-Jar Binks, a guy with virtually no experience in politics. Jar Jar subsequently ends up being manipulated into convincing the Senate to approve the creation of the Grand Clone Army of The Republic, the last thing Padmé would have wanted. The only consolation that comes from this is that Obi-Wan got rescued, and eventually would go on to train Luke Skywalker in Episode IV, but nothing else good comes from this.
And You'd Expect: The Jedi Council would send a Jedi with plenty of experience, maybe two, to protect her, since Obi-Wan is going to be busy investigating the mysterious Bounty Hunter. Why not even send Yoda or Windu, if Padmé is worth it? It's not like they have a war to fight.
Instead: They send Anakin, alone and inexperienced, as if there was no other Jedi available around. To make it even worse, Obi-Wan is well aware that his Padawan is infatuated with the person he will have to protect, and that he's been having nightmares about his mother. And yet he doesn't mention it to Yoda and Windu, and just tells them Anakin is too "arrogant". The reactions of Yoda ["many Jedi are arrogant, I don't care"] and Windu ["Anakin is supposed to be the Chosen One, I don't care"] are priceless, especially if you remember how they treated Qui-Gon and Anakin in The Phantom Menace.
- During his investigation, Obi-Wan gets a promising lead when his prospector-turned-diner-proprietor friend Dex tells him about the planet Kamino. When Obi-Wan goes to the Jedi Archives, however, he finds no information on Kamino, so he asks Jocasta Nu, the Archives Master, for help.
You'd Expect: That when Jocasta sees the lack of information regarding Kamino, she might stop to consider any possible reasons why this might be. Maybe nobody in the Jedi knew it existed yet and therefore had no info to enter. Or maybe the info was entered, but...
Instead: She dismissively says that if it's not in the records, it simply doesn't exist. Fortunately, Obi-Wan is too dogged to accept that and goes to Yoda for help, who gets a rather insightful youngling to tell Obi-Wan that the information was erased from the Archives.
And On That Note, You'd Expect: That if a youngling could figure it out, surely an experienced knight like Obi-Wan could do so on his own.
Instead: He doesn't.
- Mace Windu's first appearance on Geonosis shows him being able to sneak up on the viewer's balcony in the arena, without Dooku, the Neimoidians, Poggle the Lesser, or Jango Fett realizing.
You'd Expect: Mace to use this golden opportunity to capture and/or kill quite a few Separatist VIPs.
Instead: He chooses to hold Jango (a hired gun bodyguard) at blade-point. Naturally, it fails to impress Dooku, a squad of super battle droids shows up, and Fett is able to drive him off with his flamethrower after his attention turns to them. Even if Honor Before Reason is in play, he still could've done it better.
For added stupidity: There's no reason why the Jedi bothered to attack anywhere but the balcony. Anakin, Obi-Wan and Padme held their own pretty well, it only took a couple of Jedi to assist them, and forcing the enemy leaders to surrender would've been all the help they'd really need.
Instead: They disperse alongside the arena, and then all move to the open center, where Dooku easily swamps them with tons of expendable droids. Only one knight takes a shot at Dooku, and is instantly killed by Fett.
- During the arena fight, Jango Fett rockets down to confront Mace Windu, who dropped his lightsaber while running from the Reek.
You'd Expect: That Jango, who has in this very battle managed to gun down an armed Jedi that tried to confront Dooku, would simply shoot the unarmed Mace with his blaster pistol, killing him.
Instead: For some reason, he forgets about his blasters and then he dives for the lightsaber, which naturally fails since Mace uses the Force to pick it up first. Jango subsequently gets trampled by the Reek, damaging his jetpack, and dies a ridiculously anti-climatic death by being decapitated by Mace.
- During the Battle of Geonosis, Anakin and Obi-Wan's gunship spots Dooku escaping on his speeder bike, accompanied by a couple of Geonosian fighters. Anakin orders the gunship to shoot Dooku down, but the pilot says, "We're out of rockets, sir.".
You'd Expect: Anakin to order the pilot to use the gunship's laser cannons and laser beam turrets (that were seen blasting droids away during the extraction from the Geonosian arena) and blast Dooku and his Geonosian fighter escort away with them, problem solved, the Clone Wars doesn't have to happen, the end!
Instead: Anakin completely forgets that the gunship has blaster cannons and orders the pilot to just follow Dooku, without any attempt to use the laser cannons to blast Dooku away. Dooku then orders his fighter escort to fire on the gunship which knocks Padmé overboard, and eventually, the fighters shoot down the gunship after Anakin and Obi-Wan track Dooku to the hanger.
- Dooku has bested Obi-Wan and Anakin, but then Yoda arrives.
You'd Expect: That first and foremost Yoda would've taken a moment to disable Dooku's ship so that, however their duel fares, at least the villain wouldn't be able to escape easily. Any of the awesome Force powers he demonstrates (redirecting Dooku's lightning bolts and tossing huge chunks of debries around), would've likely sufficed.
You'd Expect: He completely ignores the ship standing right next to him until they switch from Force powers to lightsabers and then...
- Yoda is dueling with Count Dooku. Realizing that he might not win this fight, Dooku decides to flee, and uses the Force to cause a giant metal cylinder thing to fall towards the wounded Anakin and Obi-Wan, in the hope of distracting Yoda.
You'd Expect: Yoda to use the Force to quickly pull/push Anakin and Obi-Wan out of the way of the metal pillar, before turning his attention back to Dooku. Alternatively, give the pillar a shove so it lands harmlessly to one side.
Instead: He chooses to dramatically lift the entire thing, an action which requires a significant amount of effort and provides ample time for Dooku to run off.
The Result: "Begun, the Clone War has."
- In one of the worst Strangled by the Red String moments in recent memory (also pointed out by RedLetterMedia), Anakin and Padmé's interactions throughout the film. From the moment he meets her as an adult, Anakin comes off as very unprofessional and somewhat creepy. He makes inappropriate and arrogant remarks whenever he's around her, openly defies her authority on at least one occasion - in front of the new queen of Naboo, no less! - makes bizarre, leering gestures towards her, shows open support for dictatorships (stating that politicians who don't agree should be "made to"), and attempts to justify his massacre of the Sand People - including women and children - to her (with her reaction making it look like she's incredibly freaked out by this revelation).
You'd Expect: That, after all that, she'd politely cut off ties from him after the threat is over and avoid him as much as possible, seeing as he's already proven multiple times over that his actions are incredibly inappropriate. Or, if she's attracted to him, wait a few years so the somewhat perverted nineteen year old boy can grow into a (hopefully) more mature adult.
Instead: She not only flirts with him by wearing revealing clothing (and toys with him by saying that she can't love him because she's a senator), but she marries him at the end of the film, after knowing him for about two weeks tops!
- Anakin and Padme are aware that if their wedding is discovered, not only will both of their reputations be heavily tarnished, but Anakin will be kicked out of the Jedi Order.
You'd Expect: Them to either have an affair without getting married (which, according to Word of God, would be more or less acceptable to the Jedi), OR for them to stay Just Friends and become Platonic Life-Partners, OR for Anakin to just leave the Jedi Order altogether-he doesn't have that many friends there, and there are plenty of other ways he could indulge his Chronic Hero Syndrome and/or love of flying in civilian life.
Instead: They have a secret ceremony, which Palpatine finds out about (and, in the EU, pretty much everyone who knows them well suspects), and the rest is history.
Revenge of the Sith
- Count Dooku has just been literally disarmed and is at the mercy of Anakin Skywalker. His master Darth Sidious, who is also Chancellor Palpatine, orders Anakin to execute Dooku on the spot.
You'd Expect: Since they were in cahoots until that moment, Dooku would speak up about the script Palpatine just went off from and out him as Darth Sidious in front of two Jedi Knights. It's clear from the look on Dooku's face that he wasn't counting on this sudden change of plans, but he's still a Sith, and betrayal is kind of their thing. Granted, the odds of Anakin actually believing the guy that helped start a deadly war and who previously sliced his arm off and tried to kill him probably aren't that great, but it could at least plant the seeds of suspicion in Anakin's mind and ultimately help speed Sidious's downfall.
Instead: Dooku keeps his mouth meekly shut and gets his head scissored off by Anakin, allowing Sidious to continue his charade unimpeded.
- Anakin has a terrible dream (possibly a premonition) about Padmé suffering and dying in childbirth, and is convinced that it will come true unless he does something about it. Understandable, due to him once having a similar dream about his mother, who did die.
You'd Expect: That Anakin would ensure that there's no chance of Padmé dying, using methods he should know and understand. He could try and convince Padmé to have an extensive medical check, in case the cause of death is a pre-existing condition they don't know about. He could also arrange to have her give birth and recover from it in secret, if he thinks someone will try to assassinate her when she's having the kid.
Instead: He decides to join up with a Sith Lord, who claims that the Sith have the ability to save people from dying, and that if he follows his orders, which at a very early point include the deaths of children, Padmé will be saved. And Anakin remains convinced of this throughout and never asks himself what any of this has to do with saving Padmé.
Result: Anakin's actions turn Padmé against him, which leads to him force choking her in a fit of rage. Both these things lead to her dying after she gives birth to their kids; he ended up fulfilling the very prophecy he wanted to prevent.
- Speaking of Padmé's pregnancy, there's the entire event of it. Now, as we've been reminded numerous times, Jedi are not allowed to have relationships or get married, and certainly not to Senators. This is the whole reason Anakin and Padmé have kept their marriage secret. Now Padmé has just discovered she's pregnant.
You'd Expect: That Padmé, sadly, gets an abortion. It would be terrible and crush her and Anakin, but it would be much more sensible in the long run. It would just continue to get harder to hide the pregnancy, and as Padmé herself has repeatedly stated, if anyone found out, a massive scandal would ensue, Anakin would be expelled from the Jedi Order, and Padmé would be forced to resign from the Senate in disgrace. Besides, after the war is over, she and Anakin could resign from their duties, go to Naboo and try again for a baby, this time intentionally and major-problem free.
Or Maybe: Just tell Anakin about the pregnancy, and then take a leave of absence to Naboo like she planned and wanted. The Queen would probably be understanding, considering that Padmé is a great senator and deserves a vacation. Yes, there is the whole Palpatine-taking-over-problem, but she could appoint someone to handle that (just not Jar Jar, especially after the last movie's events.) That way, problems solved.
Instead: Padmé never thinks to do any of the above, and continues to hide her pregnancy! Granted, up until pretty much the end of the movie no one finds out, but Padmé has been established as one of the more logical people in the Star Wars Universe, and any reasonable person with common sense would know how insane of a risk that is to take.
The Result: Her husband goes insane with worry and allies himself with a Sith Lord, who then goes and exterminates the Jedi Order and starts the Galactic Empire. Padmé dies, by her husband's hand.
- Palpatine keeps acting and behaving suspiciously around Anakin, like knowing things about the Sith that he shouldn't, prompting Anakin to kill defenseless captives, suggesting he abandon Obi-Wan needlessly to his death and making broad comments about how the Sith were able to prevent people from dying.
You'd Expect: Anakin to take a hint.
Instead: Palpatine does everything but scream in Anakin's ear "I'M A SITH LORD!" before tricking him — not seducing him, but tricking him — into following the Dark Path.
- Anakin has revealed to Mace Windu that Palpatine is the Sith Lord who is behind everything.
You'd Expect: Windu to have Anakin's testimony recorded, and place him under secure guard in case this is a ruse or Palpatine sends someone to kill Anakin for his betrayal. Then present the testimony to the Senate or another lawful authority who can have Palpatine removed from power. Finally, if there is a need to take down Palpatine by force (no pun intended), do everything he can to ensure maximum advantage in combat.
Instead: Windu decides to go remove Palpatine right there and then and rushes to his private quarters in the dead of night with three other Jedi Masters accompanying him. Palpatine kills those three, and while Windu does manage to gain the upper hand, Anakin rushes to the scene and ends up distracting Windu and allowing Palpatine to kill him as well. Afterwards, Palpatine speaks to the Senate and plays the entire thing as the Jedi Order being dangerous fanatics who attempted to assassinate him in order to take power. Which is a very believable interpretation of the events.
* Windu is in a position where he can kill Palpatine, and but Anakin is trying to talk him down.
You'd Expect: Windu to just cut Palpatine's hands off and then take him into custody. They have the technology to replace his hand if he's found innocent, and if he's guilty, they can execute him. Either way, he can't use a lightsaber or force lightning while awaiting trial.
Instead: He doesn't even consider Anakin's point, and instead moves in for the kill, only to get killed by Palpatine with Anakin's help.
- Anakin has just inadvertently helped Palpatine to kill Mace Windu, and now kneels before Palpatine, saying he'll do whatever he wants if the Sith Lord helps him save Padmé. Palpatine then tells him more or less that he lied about keeping people from dying, and utters some bullshit about "finding out together" how to do it.
You'd Expect: Anakin being Anakin, to gut Palpatine like a fish on the spot.
Or: Threaten to kill or expose him if he doesn't provide some substantial evidence that they can find the power and soon.
Or: Return to the temple to warn the other Jedi about Palpatine, and probably say that the chancellor killed Windu.
Instead: Anakin continues to do Palpatine's business for him, slaughtering children, and eventually killing his wife by accident and getting dismembered.
- Palpatine reveals himself to Anakin as the Sith Lord behind the whole conflict and seduces him with promises to save Padmé.
You'd Expect: Anakin to remember that the whole war began with two attempts to assassinate Padmé and one attempt to execute her, put two and two together and realize Palpatine gave the order, and also tried to have her assassinated when she was 14.
Instead: Anakin's fears of Padmé dying, a fear Palpatine seems to know a bit too well, are only alleviated by the possibility of the chancellor's help to save her.
- On Utapau, Obi-Wan tracks down General Grievous, who then surrounds him with a lot of Battle Droids. When he sends his Magnaguard bodyguards to confront Obi-Wan, he pulls down some metal thing from the ceiling and crushes 3 of the droids and beheads one of them. The droids then prepare to fire on Obi-Wan.
You'd Expect: Grievous would just let his battle droids shoot Obi-Wan to death since they've completely surrounded him and outnumber him 20 to 1, like any smart villain would do. Then Grievous can escape and live to fight another day (granted, Obi-Wan's 212th Attack Battalion is on its way to Utapau, but Grievous wouldn't have known that).
Instead: Grievous tells his droids to back away to let him "deal with this Jedi slimeÖ myself", and gets into a lightsaber fight with him, resulting in Grievous losing a couple of his hands to Obi-Wan, getting chased by him, and eventually being shot to death by Obi-Wan by Grievous's own blaster. So uncivilized, indeed.
* When Anakin reveals the truth about Palpatine to Mace Windu, Windu rounds up several Jedi Masters to arrest the chancellor.
You'd Expect: Windu to formulate a "Plan B" in case the mission goes awry, or at least expect severe resistance from the chancellor. Windu should know full-well arresting a Sith Lord would be extremely dangerous.
Instead: He and the masters decide to make the arrest alone, without any perimeter or surveillance of the exits whatsoever, and without being prepared for severe resistance from Palpatine. The results end up being disastrous for all four Jedi Masters, as Anakin's intervention into the confrontation causes the mission to fail and leads to all the Masters dying.
- Near the end, Gunray and other separatists are hiding on a distant planet, Mustafar. Sidious contacts Gunray and promises to send his apprentice to them, who will "... take care of them."
You'd Expect: Gunray would say "Thank you" to Sidious, end the communication and immediately get the hell out from there, seing how he had just been all but told that he had outlived his usefulness.
Instead: They miss the hint and just sit on their butts until Anakin arrives and... well, takes care of them.
- During the climactic duel, Obi-Wan jumps onto the lava bank and shouts to Anakin, "It's over, Anakin! I have the high ground!"
You'd Expect: Anakin would stay on the platform and wait for a better opportunity. It's currently a stalemate, as neither can attack unless the other makes a move. He could always ride the platform somewhere else and start the duel back up later.
Or Alternatively: Use the Force to throw lava or his lightsaber as a projectile at Obi-Wan and attack him from a distance.
Alternatively Alternatively: Simply leap far out of range of Obi-Wan's lightsaber onto the lava bank, as there was ample room for.
Instead: He says, "You underestimate my power.", and after Obi-Wan tells him, "Don't try it.", Anakin jumps at Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan proceeds to do Mou kei, a lightsaber move that takes off as many of an opponent's limbs as possible. If Obi-Wan underestimated anything, he underestimated Anakin's tendency to lose limbs.
- Following the above, Obi-Wan and Anakin's battle has ended with the latter minus every limb but his artificial one, slowly sliding into a lava flow. Obi-Wan senses that Emperor Palpatine is approaching via shuttle.
You'd Expect: He may be on the clock, but Anakin already has one foot in the grave and there are several methods Obi-Wan could use to finish him off in a few seconds. A simple force-push into the lava or thrown lightsaber to the head would finish the job. Obi-Wan may be a Jedi, but surely mercy-killing a guy who is quite literally on fire isn't a Dark Side act.
Instead: He leaves Anakin to a painful death, assuming that it would be left to the will of the Force... and has to deal with the consequences.
- After Anakin is encased in the black armor of Darth Vader, he learns that Padmé — the one character he gave up everything for — died because of his actions. Actions that were spurred by his attachment to the Dark Side of the Force. Which Palpatine taught him about.
You'd Expect: That Anakin, having been thoroughly screwed over by Palpatine in the most complete way possible, would finally realize what has happened: that he was suckered into becoming a Sith and that, effectively, Palpatine turned him into his wife's killer after promising to do the opposite. You would also expect that Anakin, at this point having nothing left to live for after having been forced to betray the organization that raised him and kill the only person he cared about, would probably be a tad bit miffed at Palpatine. A "I'll kill you or die trying" attempt would be a logical result.
Instead: Anakin just sort of decides to go along with it all, blindly following the orders of the man who destroyed his life for another 19-20 years.
- Krennic is being slowly usurped by Tarkin, so he goes to Darth Vader to ask for his help. Not the brightest idea, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Vader is clearly displeased by this intrusion but does not indicate Krennic has been demoted or taken off the project. Krennic then wonders aloud if he's still in charge.
You'd Expect: He'd take Lord Vader's silence as a "yes", thank him for his time and get out of there like his ass was on fire.
Instead: He pushes his luck by asking him to speak to the Emperor as a favor, which naturally pisses Vader off more than he already was. Honestly, he's lucky he didn't fatally choke on his aspirations.
- Just as Jyn is about to transfer the Death Star plans to the rebels, Krennic manages to intercept her and has her at gun-point. He's implied to vaguely recognize this rebel girl though, both from when she was a child, and from seeing her briefly on Eadu.
You'd Expect: That Krennic would shoot her, then ask her who she is as she bleeds out, securing a complete victory for the Empire as with her and Galen dead, any weaknesses regarding the Death Star plans will be lost forever.
Instead: He holds her at gunpoint and wastes time gloating to her about her failure long enough that Cassian manages to shoot him, allowing the two to activate the antenna and successfully transmit the Death Star plans to the rebels, dooming the Empire to their eventual downfall.
A New Hope
- Vader and the crew of his Star Destroyer have captured the Rebel Blockade Runner with Princess Leia and the stolen Death Star plans aboard. An Imperial gunner and his commanding officer detect a jettisoned escape pod with no life readings aboard.
You'd Expect: That they'd blast the pod just to be on the safe side, or at least have it tractor-beamed into an empty cargo bay and send in some Stormtroopers to check it. After all, data is not alive. Leia could have tossed the plans inside and jettisoned it for the Rebels to find later. Or there might be droids aboard.
Instead: The officer orders the gunner to just let it go. Turns out that the plans WERE in there, and they ultimately make it into the hands of the Rebels, giving them a way to destroy the Death Star.
- In the Mos Eisley cantina, Greedo has Han Solo at gunpoint.
You'd Expect: Greedo would make sure that Solo's hand remains in front of the table and would say the line used by everyone who's ever had someone at gunpoint: "Keep your hands where I can see them!" It may be a cliche, but it's used for a reason.
Instead: He strikes up a conversation with Han while not noticing one of Han's hands going under the table. Where his blaster is. One gunshot later, Greedo is dead.
- Admiral Motti boasts that the Death Star with its giant, planet-killing laser cannon is "the ultimate power in the universe." Vader admonishes the Admiral for such hubris by saying "the ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force."
You'd Expect: Motti would smile and nod and avoid saying anything at this juncture that might anger the Dark Lord of the Sith.
Instead: He kicks things off by insulting Vader and his religion right in front of everyone in that meeting room. That alone was highly uncalled for and would very likely get you fired in real life. As if he hasn't already committed an act of monumental douchebaggery at this point, he then insinuates that Vader is incompetent because he has yet to "conjure up the stolen data tapes or find the Rebels' hidden fortr—", which leads Vader to strangle Motti, saying that he "finds his lack of faith disturbing". He's only saved from being telekinetically strangled to death when Grand Moff Tarkin orders Vader to stop.
- When the Millennium Falcon escapes from the Death Star, Leia correctly deduces that the Empire deliberately allowed them to leave (though not without pursuing them briefly with four TIE Fighters that get shot down) and are currently tracking them in an attempt to find the secret base that they've been searching for the entire film.
You'd Expect: Han to take Leia's words into consideration. They could then have Leia to immediately contact the rebels and arrange a drop-off at some remote system, where they could transfer her and R2 to a different, untracked ship before the Empire could catch up to them and pay Han and Chewie a big bonus if they agree to lead the Empire on a wild goose chase. Even though Han is in command of the Millennium Falcon, it still isn't really an excuse to disregard her warning.
Instead: Han disregards her warning, and they fly the Falcon directly back to the rebel base, with the Empire following a few hours behind them.
- During the Rebel attack on the Death Star, one of Tarkin's minions, Bast, comes up and tells him that there is a pattern to the attack and that it might be a good idea to evacuate.
You'd Expect: Tarkin would listen to him. If the rebels are attacking a specific point on the Death Star, that would suggest that there is a weakness of some kind.
Instead: Tarkin tells Bast to shut up, saying, "Evacuate? In our moment of triumph?? I think you overestimate their chances." He ends up dying when the Death Star is destroyed.
The Empire Strikes Back
- The Imperial fleet gets the info that the Rebels are on Hoth. In command of the fleet is Admiral Ozzel.
You'd Expect: Ozzel would have the fleet come out of hyperspace at a good distance that is not too close to the Hoth system, that way, the Rebellion wouldn't be alerted to their presence.
Instead: He has the fleet come out of hyperspace far too close to the system, which alerts the Rebels, who in turn activate their shield generator and ion cannon, thus buying enough time for them to evacuate.
The Result: Darth Vader Force chokes Ozzel to death for this act of stupidity and Hoth becomes a Meaningless Villain Victory for the Empire, as they fail their objective of capturing or eliminating key figures or deliver a decisive blow against the Rebellion.
- Near the end, the Millennium Falcon's escape is stopped dead in its tracks by the still broken hyperdrive. Meanwhile Imperial fighters are shooting at the Falcon. Chewbacca frantically tries to fix the hyperdrive and R2 also goes in to help with repairs.
You'd Expect: 3PO would urge R2 to do his best on the Falcon as R2 is a highly skilled Astromech droid, born and bred to fix starships and that a broken leg makes no difference if the ship you're traveling onto blows up in space.
Instead: 3PO yells at R2 "Let Chewbacca fix it! Come here and reattach my broken leg!" Even more so, R2 even explains to him that he found out the drive had been tampered with - and 3PO for whatever reason disbelieves him.
- After our heroes escape Cloud City, they go to the rendezvous point of the Rebel fleet, so that Luke can get a cybernetic replacement for his hand that got cut off by Darth Vader. After that, time to go rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett.
You'd Expect: The heroes to go straight to Tatooine and rescue Han. After all, Jabba the Hutt does not go anywhere else. Plus, as Vader said earlier to Boba Fett, "You may take Captain Solo to Jabba the Hutt..." And where does Jabba live? Tatooine. Which is controlled by the Hutts.
Instead: They apparently waste a whole year looking at other locations that are not Tatooine.
Return of the Jedi
- Emperor Palpatine clearly desires to turn Luke to the Dark Side of the Force because he basically has all of his father's potential, but not the crippling injuries that make him a Dark Lord on Life Support. To achieve this, he emotionally antagonizes Luke and then gets him and Vader to start dueling to the death. Eventually Luke literally disarms Vader in a fit of rage and has him at his mercy.
You'd Expect: Palpatine would just enjoy watching as Luke "lets the hate flow through him" and kill Vader, taking his place.
Instead: Nope. The Emperor has to open his big fat yap and gleefully tell Luke he's doing exactly what the Emperor wants, forcing Luke to remember that hate leads to the Dark Side. This leads to Luke refusing to kill his father and remain on the side of angels. Then...
You'd Expect: That Palpatine would remember that when he turned Vader in the first place, it was by exploiting his fear of a loved one, his pregnant wife Padmé, dying.
Instead: Palpatine seemingly forgets where Vader's Berserk Button is and assumes that Vader, and Luke, are each willing to kill the other at his bidding.
The Result: When Luke refuses to turn, Palpatine decides to slowly kill him using Force Lightning, while Vader watches! Vader, who has been visibly conflicted and putting up a half-hearted fight at best, refuses to lose another member of his family to Palpatine's schemes and throws his boss into a bottomless pit.
- Meanwhile, although the Death Star is "fully operational" in terms of being able to blow stuff up, the superstructure is still open and the only thing keeping the Rebels from getting inside is the deflector shield.
You'd Expect: That Palpatine would be monitoring the status of the battle and making sure that his forces are defeating the Rebels both in space and on Endor.
Instead: Palpatine has apparently set the comm in his throne room to "Do Not Disturb" and is devoting his entire attention to watching the Father/Son lightsaber fight.
The Result: Palpatine is oblivious to the fact that his forces are losing and that the deflector shield has been successfully brought down. He is so fixated on Vader and Luke that he does not realize his Death Star will soon be blown up.
The Force Awakens
- Poe Dameron and Finn have stolen a TIE Fighter from the First Order and are flying back to Jakku to retrieve BB-8. Finn immediately starts yelling at Poe not to go back, all the while a missile is heading towards them.
You'd Expect: Poe, an experienced fighter pilot, would tell Finn to get a grip and shoot down the missile. Or that Finn, a lifelong soldier and the current tail gunner, would be able to remain calm and focus on the immediate threat.
Instead: They get distracted by their argument and are shot down.
- BB-8 has the map to Luke Skywalker, which the First Order needs so they can find and kill him before the Resistance can get there first (or he decides to come out of hiding).
You'd Expect: Kylo Ren and/or his Stormtroopers would grab the droid when they had the chance and get the map directly.
Instead: Kylo kidnaps Rey instead, leaves BB-8 alone and figures he could simply probe the memory of the map from Rey's head. Even if he can get the info from Rey, the Resistance still has BB-8 and the map. The whole point of snatching the droid was to deprive the Resistance of the map so the baddies can get to Luke, alone. As a result, Kylo ends up awakening Rey's force powers and gets probed himself.
- Kylo Ren has captured Rey and is trying to Mind Probe her for information on Luke Skywalker. However, she is a latent Force sensitive and manages to flip the probe on him. Concerned, Kylo decides to report this to Snoke.
You'd Expect: Given that Kylo knows that Rey can use the Force to some extent, even if she isn't trained, he'd make sure to limit her options in the meantime. She's already restrained, but make sure she's watched closely or leave her alone in the room so she has nothing to work with.
Instead: Apparently not taking into account the possibility of Rey trying to use the Force to pull off a Jedi Mind Trick, he leaves a stormtrooper guard (which are unfortunately weak-minded) in the room, and Rey quickly figures out how to Jedi Mind Trick him into releasing her... and drop his weapon (though it takes three tries to succeed).
- The Resistance have just destroyed the stabilizer in Starkiller Base, not only rendered the weapon completely useless but the planet is literally falling apart as a result.
You'd expect: Colonel Datoo to do the sensible thing like everyone else and make a run for it.
Instead: He tells a fleeing subordinate to return to his post when they all can see the planet's crust crumbling outside the window.
The Last Jedi
- As a result of Leia being unconscious, Holdo now takes over as the temporary Admiral until Leia awakens and both of them had a concrete plan to evade the sights from the First Order.
You'd Expect: That right after a speech introducing herself, Holdo would tell everyone what her and Leia's plans are; to use their main ship as a decoy while the remaining rebels stow themselves inside small cloaked transport ships so that everyone can get to safety.
Or: If for some reason Holdo suspects that there is a risk of the plans being leaked to the First Order or even an outright traitor among them she would at least say that she had a plan on a need to know basis, even if she doesn't go into specifics for the sake of morale if nothing else.
Instead: She does not tell them anything and when Poe objects, she outright dismisses him due to recently being demoted. This ultimately causes a huge amount of mistrust between the two of them, and so Poe sends Finn and Rose off on a disastrous mission that allows the enemy to realize their plans and causes the deaths of hundreds of Rebels, forcing Holdo to sacrifice herself to give the rebels time to escape.
- Related to the above: Poe has decided to send Finn and Rose off on a secret mission that he believes will determine the entire fate of the Resistance.
You'd Expect: He would at least try to suggest it to Holdo: if she approves, it can gain official Resistance support and have a greater chance of success, and if she doesn't, it builds her trust in him because he's shown himself to be more than a trigger-happy flyboy who brushes off authority.
Instead: He decides she doesn't need to know, sending Finn and Rose off alone and without support. Because of how they stand out and because they're on their own, they get arrested quickly, have to rely on luck to escape, and have to settle for DJ, who betrays the Resistance and causes hundreds of deaths. Furthermore, when he finally does tell Holdo, it's hours after the fact, so she's angry, shocked, and refuses to support the plan because he went behind her back.
- Kylo Ren has just attempted to obliterate Luke with gunfire... EXCESSIVE amounts of gunfire. So much so, that it's even lampshaded with a sarcastic remark from Hux, jokingly asking if it was enough. Despite the enormous amount of gunfire, he emerges completely unharmed.
You'd Expect: That Kylo would take the hint that there is something completely off about this. No Jedi has ever survived anything like this before, and in fact no Jedi would even be sane enough to stand in the middle of the field completely open to all sorts of attack, let alone survive it.
Instead: He takes matters into his own hands, and comes face to face with Luke on the battle ground. He decides to try and take him down in a lightsaber fight...only for him to pointedly not die when he successfully swings through his body. It turns out the entire thing was a trick. Luke was trying to distract Kylo by toying with his easily angered emotions and projecting a fake image of himself onto the battlefield using the power of the Force, when the real him was actually still on the deserted planet on the edge of the galaxy.
The Result: Not only has Kylo embarrassed himself in front of his military, costing him much-needed loyalty, but the whole fiasco has caused the whole effort to destroy the Resistance to end in what is likely a Meaningless Villain Victory. The surviving Resistance members have escaped on the Millennium Falcon and are planning to rebuild, and this may be sped along because Luke's actions have inspired rebellion against the First Order.
- Finn and Rose are in jail, and while discussing their mission to find a codebreaker, are approached by D.J., who claims he can do the job they need.
You'd Expect: They wouldn't trust his claim, as he's been imprisoned, and itís a little too convenient for him to be a codebreaker.
Instead: They buy his story and, when the situation turns dire, he betrays them to the First Order.
For Added Stupidity: D.J. made it very clear in his conversation with Finn that he held no allegiance to the Resistance.