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Idiot Plot / Star Wars

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    The Phantom Menace 
  • The Trade Federation:
    • In order to kill the Jedi, they opt for a poison gas approach instead of a more reliable method like, say, sending them back to their ship AND THEN blowing it up. After locking two Jedi in a chamber filled with poisonous gas, they decide to open the doors and send in the oh-so-defeatable battle droids to try to kill them, rather than waiting and confirming that the Jedi are dead before risking them escaping.
    • Then they land their forces on the other side of the planet from their objective, a largely undefended, pacifist city. While it is possible that there was an objective on that side of the planet that needed to be secured, at no point is this ever mentioned or detailed in the movie.
    • After capturing the queen, they decide to send her out of the secure, occupied palace for "processing" rather than making her sign the damn treaty that makes the invasion legal.
    • Once the queen escapes, they send away their entire fleet save for a single droid control ship to hold down the planet for no explainable reason other than to have a climatic battle at the end.
    • Then there's the Droid Control Ship. The Droid Control Ship directs the minds of all the droids on the planet. Fair enough, but for some reason they designed it so that if this ship is destroyed, the entire droid army shuts down immediately, instead of simply becoming autonomous like every other droid in the Star Wars universe. Whoever developed the droid armies of the Trade Federation during Episode 1 should have been shot for so much as suggesting, not to mention implementing, such an idiotic idea. The sequels show that the Separatists removed this glaringly obvious flaw, but it really shouldn't have been there in the first place.
  • Darth Sidious has his own set of critical mistakes extending beyond merely the stupid things his Trade Federation minions do, to the point where he sometimes seems to be doing his best to foil his own plans and make life difficult for himself. Secretly, the whole reason he's orchestrating the crisis on Naboo in the first place is so he can use it to his advantage in his secret identity as Senator Palpatine to get himself elected Supreme Chancellor, meaning that the more public and drawn-out the situation gets, the better things work out for him.
    • However, he repeatedly acts as if he wants the Trade Federation to win efficiently and decisively; he orders the two Jedi killed (and their arrival covered up) rather than sending them back to relay the details of the blockade and impending invasion, disrupts all of Naboo's communications instead of leaving them free to make a fuss to the rest of the galaxy about their predicament, is determined to see Queen Amidala captured so she can sign a treaty declaring the invasion legal, and so on. This could be justified as all part of a long and complex end game that requires precise acting on his part. The Trade Federation would need to think that their benefactor WANTS them to win or else they might realize that they're expendable pawns in Sidious's own greater agenda and therefore not nearly be as willing to go along with it, yet that still doesn't fully explain some of the decisions Palpatine makes where he seems to be helping and hindering the Federation in equal measure.
    • Despite the fact that Sidious manages to track the Queen and her entourage to Tatooine, he doesn't bother to let his allies in the Trade Federation know, or send anyone besides Maul to try and find them. Predictably, Maul takes too long to locate the Jedi (despite the fact that Qui-Gon was filmed as part of the victory celebrations of a major race, featuring a huge upset win, and didn't bother to hide his face) and is seconds too late to stop them from escaping.
    • He also sends Darth Maul to Naboo even though the two Jedi he knows are returning to the planet are doing so for the express purpose of tracking Maul down and getting as much information as they can out of him about the Sith and their plans, and at the same time doesn't send the Trade Federation any advance notice that the Queen or the Jedi are on their way there.
  • Qui-Gon makes his own series of bizarre decisions during the film:
    • Qui-Gon's plan concocted on the Trade Federation ship is just a mess. He decides to warn the citizens of Naboo about the pending invasion... by riding down with the invasion force itself, making his warning utterly pointless. He then opts to leave the Trade Federation starship they're on by having him and his apprentice splitting up and hitchhiking on separate troop transports, without any idea of where they're headed or whether they'll land within a close proximity of each other, which has the added bonus of preventing them from supporting each other if one of two gets into some sort of trouble. As it turns out, he winds up on the wrong side of the planet from where he had intended to be, and it is only thanks to the serendipitous discovery of Jar Jar and the Gungans that he winds up being able to find a vehicle (which he, in essence, steals via Mind Trick) to take him to his objective.
    • On Tatooine, Qui-Gon hatches a convoluted scheme to bet on a slave boy to win a race to win the parts, rather than trying a second vendor, trading his broken luxury ship in for a less ostentatious but functional one, hiring passage on an independent vessel, finding a money changer, contacting Coruscant to send someone to pick them up, or just stealing the parts he needs since he's already willing to abuse his power.
    • Despite emphasizing that it is important that they keep a low profile to avoid being found-out by the Hutts, the Trade Federation, or their allies, Qui-Gon takes an active role in helping Anakin prepare for a hugely popular race that is being broadcast all across the planet (and potentially beyond) and makes no attempt to hide his face when he hoists the boy on his shoulders after a major upset win.
  • The rest of the good guys aren't much better:
    • To escape from Naboo, they fly into the teeth of the Trade Federation blockade, which is neatly lined up on one side of the planet, rather than taking advantage of the third dimension.
    • Padme places herself and the future of her planet at risk by pointlessly keeping up her charade as a handmaiden rather than letting the Jedi Knights who saved her life in on it so a hypothetical future crisis doesn't wind up with her sacrificed to protect the decoy queen.
    • Once the group flees Naboo they are no longer under the Trade Federation's communication blackout, meaning they could have easily sent word to the Jedi Council to come pick them up rather than detour through Tatooine and go through the whole gambit of betting on Anakin winning a longshot race. And it's not like this sort of communication isn't possible - in the very next movie, the Jedi send a message from Coruscant to Anakin and Padme on Tatooine, showing that transgalactic communication between those exact two planets is a fairly simple matter.
    • The Chancellor needs to send a committee to verify the testimony of the Jedi he personally sent to investigate a situation. This also raises the possibility that he acted beyond his authority in sending the Jedi (which raises the question of why the Trade Federation didn't just report the Jedi's presence, since it would have cost Velorum his job).
    • When faced with reports of a deadly potential Sith Lord running around, the Jedi Council sends a single Jedi and his trainee to deal with him even though the Sith was encountered on an entirely different planet and has nothing to do with the Naboo crisis as far as they should be able to ascertain.
    • At a crucial moment during the resulting lightsaber duel, Obi-Wan's failure to employ the superspeed Jedi have earlier been shown to possess leads to his master's death.
    • At no point after the Trade Federation crisis is resolved does anyone think to go back to Tatooine and free Anakin's mother. While she likely would have had limited contact with Anakin going forward, due to the whole "no emotional attachment" rule of the Jedi Order, it seems a bit odd that no one thought of repaying the woman who literally took two Jedi into her home and provided her son as a new trainee by buying her freedom. This is made all the more jarring when it's revealed that Shmi's continued slave life on Tatooine ultimately leads to her death and helps propel Anakin along his path to the dark side.
  • Everything about Anakin's training:
    • In The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn is established to be a bit of a Jedi hippie, defying the Jedi code. Qui-Gon discovers a nine-year-old slave boy who has great potential for power. Qui-Gon goes through ridiculous lengths to free the boy (which itself is part of an above-mentioned Idiot Plot) and presents him to the Jedi Council to request to take him on as his apprentice. The Jedi wisely tell him to fuck off, telling him that he's too old and his attachment to his mother and his past as a slave (which would be traumatic for any child) make him dangerous and a possible threat. Even Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon's apprentice and best friend, tells him that the kid is dangerous.
    • Some shit happens and Qui-Gon gets killed by a Sith Lord, who is himself swiftly killed by Obi-Wan. Qui-Gon's dying wish is for Obi-Wan to train Anakin, based on some ancient prophecy that says someone would rise to bring balance to the Force.
      • Ignoring the fact that there is a good chance Anakin will fall to the dark side, ignoring the fact that there is a Sith lord out there no doubt looking for a new partner (remember, no more nor less than two), and ignoring how the kid is clearly troubled, sweating and scowling during his examinations, the Council decides to let him become a Jedi anyway. Essentially, all these Jedi Masters' instincts keep telling them what a bad idea training Anakin would be, and they repeatedly mention how they don't trust him, how he's dangerous, how sending him off on these missions is risky — but they do it all anyway, so Darth Vader can happen.
      • On top of that, they assign the task of training Anakin to Obi-Wan. This is problematic for two reasons. First, Obi-Wan had been a Jedi Knight for all of three minutes when he became Anakin's teacher. Skill at cutting Sith Lords in half does not constitute skill at teaching, so you'd think the Council would want an experienced teacher to handle a highly talented but troubled trainee. Second, passing responsibility for Qui-Gon's trainee-to-be over to his last protege along with his old lightsaber and his other personal effects is essentially treating Anakin like an inheritance, which is totally the wrong impression to give to a recently freed slave.
      • In Qui-Gon's defence, this is fictionland we're talking about here.
    Attack of the Clones 
  • Obi-Wan impulsively jumps out a window to grab an assassin droid without knowing where it's going, what it's armed with, or it has the capacity to carry the weight of an adult man. The droid flees back to its owner instead of self-destructing or deliberately taking him on a wrong path.
  • A bounty hunter hired to kill Padme subcontracts to a second, less skilled assassin instead of doing the job himself. When pursued into a nightclub, the assassin attempts to ambush and kill the pursuing Jedi warriors rather than getting the hell out of Dodge. (And it shouldn't be too hard for the assassin to escape unnoticed, seeing as she's a shapeshifter.) When witnessing the main assassin killing the secondary one from afar as a means of silencing her from revealing their plans to the two Jedi, they stand there and watch him fly away despite the fact that he could be using this distraction to go back an kill the now defenseless Padme or to at least relay the failed assassination plot to his superiors and in turn tightening up their plans making it harder for them to now be stopped.
  • After this failed assassination plot no one really seems to take more serious precautions of it happening again, or at least to be seriously concerned about it. Even Padme packs her things in front of a open window in broad daylight without any sense of concern of her safety.
  • The Jedi send the young, rash Anakin to guard a woman he already had emotional bonds with and was clearly flirting with.
    • The safest place for the endangered Senator is evidently picnicking in romantic, wide-open areas on her home planet - because if you want someone to remain anonymous, you send them to the place they used to be queen of and are now Senator of, as opposed to some isolated Jedi monastery on the other side of the galaxy.
  • The people behind Padme's assassination attempt make no other attempt to kill her again after failing only twice. They could've easily have hired another shapeshifter or someone of equally inconspicuousness to track her down and once on following her to Naboo then kill her. Boom, problem solved. Although since their ultimate goal in the attempt was to remove the opposing political leadership before a critical vote they may have just called driving her into hiding a win.
  • Obi-Wan is told that the clone army was ordered years ago by someone impersonating a dead Jedi, but nobody investigates where this suspiciously convenient army came from.
  • No reason is ever given as to why the Separatists would keep following behind Sidious. In the second movie the Trade Federation only follows Dooku because he claims to be opposed to Sidious after he betrayed them in the first movie. All of Palpatine's plans seem to rely on every leader of both factions being completely incompetent, to the point of leaving obvious clues that the Separatist leadership commissioned the clone army specifically to be used against them. A lot of the problems in the trilogy could be explained as him making things extra-convoluted for his own amusement, just because he could get away with it. His hologram doesn't even hide his face or change his voice.
  • On Geonosis, Mace Windu has the element of surprise against Dooku, the Separatists, and Jango Fett in the arena. Instead of taking out Dooku right then and there and ending the Clone Wars before it can start, he inexplicably holds Jango Fett (a killer for hire and a otherwise useless bargaining tool to be used against Dooku) hostage.
  • Yoda, arriving after Dooku has easily fended off Anakin and Obi Wan, gets into a light saber fight with him. Seeing as he can't fight him forever, being on a tight schedule, Dooku knocks over a large pillar that will crush Anakin and Obi Wan. You would think that Yoda would force push the pillar into Dooku's ship, killing him or at least immobilizing his ship, but he spends it slowly pushing it off of the two. This allows Dooku time to escape and the Clone Wars to continue unabated.
    Revenge of the Sith 
  • RedLetterMedia points out most of the above problems, and paraphrases Palpatine's addresses to the Senate in Revenge of the Sith as follows:
    But anyway, he tells the Senate that the Jedi (an organization of monks that have been the guardians of peace and justice for over a thousand generations) have suddenly decided to Take Over the World. "Oh, and I just also happen to look and sound like a monster that wants to Take Over the World. Don't mind my creepy black cloak, my horribly evil-sounding voice, or terrifying face. Also don't mind the fact that I'm yelling about creating a galactic empire run exclusively by me. No, no, you see, it's the Jedi that are the ones who tried to take over. And that warranted them all being executed by the army that I control by myself without any kind of trial in the courts to prove what I'm saying is true. Yup, we just killed them all! Including the children! And then we burned down their temple, and you're all just gonna have to take my word for it. Trust me, look at my face! Would this face lie to you? You see, I've successfully eliminated the only opposition I might have had to form my own galactic empire. Please continue with the applause. So remember to vote Palpatine in the next election that will never happen. Because I said so." [This might not be considered an Idiot Plot considering the sheer number of times it has actually happened in human history - e.g. ancient Rome, 19th century France, modern day Venezuela, modern day Turkey, modern day China, etc.].
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall, Obi-Wan blurts early in Sith: "How did this happen? We're smarter than this!"
  • In an attempt to turn Anakin to the dark side, Palpatine tips his hand and reveals his Sith nature to Anakin. This leads to Anakin fleeing back and informing Mace Windu, who was already intent on making sure Palpatine divested himself of the emergency powers he had been granted now that the war was over. Palpatine was clearly aware that the Jedi were on their way and were at risk of killing him, as his telepathic message mentions, but instead of fleeing the scene and issuing Order 66 from the safety of a more secure location, he inexplicably remains at his office despite there being absolutely no reason for him to do so. Unless Palpatine knew that he could kill off three of the Jedi, fight Windu to a stalemate and goad Anakin into intervening, his actions make no sense.
  • Tying into the point above in Attack of the Clones about the Jedi never bothering to question the extremely convenient nature of the clone army or look more into who ordered it commissioned and for what purpose, the clones had Order 66 - a Jedi eradication order - hard coded into them as part of their training. That no one loyal to the Republic ever discovered this in the years that the Clone Wars raged is astounding, bordering on unbelievable. One would think that after the immediacy of the Battle of Geonosis passed, the Jedi would dedicate at least some resources to understanding the clones, how they were being manufactured/trained, and who was behind them, yet there's zero evidence that they ever did.
  • Mace Windu telling Anakin "Now you have earned my trust" after having observed his training and loyalty for nearly 10 years. First, this reveals that the Jedi Council still don't trust him, despite everything he's done to serve them. Second, it means Anakin is now privy to this lack of acceptance. This is just one more thing to add to the pile of evidence that proves Palapatine's claim that the Jedi Order is corrupt and self serving. Plus, Windu seems completely oblivious at just how pissed off Anakin is after hearing that.
    The Last Jedi 
  • After being put in a trap with diminished forces, Leia and Holdo decide to evacuate the main cruiser to a secret rebel base keeping this dubious plan secret from the crew. In fact, they refuse to acknowledge that they have any plan whatsoever. It involves taking the four ships the Resistance had left, limping away in a Stern Chase, burning out the last of their fuel to limp to a base holding little more than a bunch of rusted, antiquated, salt-corroded equipment to hold a Last Stand. This is while it's known the First Order can track them. This secrecy results in a mutiny and a pointless adventure of Finn and Rose that almost gets a lot of people killed, and it lets the support ships get picked off like flies and ends with what's left of the Resistance forces as sitting ducks.
    • The First Order gets in on the action as well, unfortunately. There's no justifiable reason why they don't unleash all their TIE fighters against a fighterless Resistance fleet after calling back Kylo Ren; *he* may be too valuable to lose, but two TI Es managed to blow open the bridge without any preliminary attack and there's no fighter force to counter them. A Zerg Rush of such TI Es would almost certainly either annihilate the entire remaining fleet or cripple it early.
    • Finn and Rose park their ship on the beach outside Canto Bight, and don't move it when told it's illegal to park there, making it the only reason for authorities to be alerted and their mission to fail.
  • While the Emperor was overconfident to the point it killed him at least he kept the lightsabers in his sight, and unlike Snoke he couldn't read minds. One ends up needing a Heroic Sacrifice and achieves Near Villain Victory while the other gets blindsided not even half-way through his plan.
  • Rey expecting Kylo Ren to rejoin the light side falls apart when you realize that not once in their entire subplot has he expressed any desire to do anything remotely in that direction, not even to express regret or contrition for his actions in The Force Awakens. In fact, he agrees with her accusation that he's a monster, and even his version of the night in the hut years ago with Luke admits that he was already a pretty dark force user, and he never even attempts an explanation for his massacre of some of his fellow students. Rey, meanwhile, starts to ignore everything he did to her and her friends in The Force Awakens after he agrees he's a monster, making her look like an incredible idiot to expect anything different in him from last film.