The Star Wars films have a galaxy's worth of stupid moments.
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- Nute Gunray has been convinced to have the Trade Federation orchestrate a blockade of Naboo. This is not an 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 gets orders from Darth Sidious to kill Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan immediately.
You'd Expect: Nute Gunray would fill the waiting room with poison gas, seal the doors, then wait for several hours until they were good and dead. Eventually, someone could go into the room and dispose of the corpses.
Instead: After pumping said gas into the room, Gunray waits about ten seconds before ordering his Battle Droids to open the door themselves and "destroy what's left of them." Who knew that opening the door after such a short amount of time would provide an easy escape route for two armed Jedi?
- 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 small squad of light Battle 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 that 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 instead of going 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 claims that no other dealers stock the part (and possibly will not take Republic credits either).
You'd Expect: Qui-Gon to immediately try to 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 like Obi-Wan and Luke will do with Han Solo and Chewbacca in A New Hope.
Or: Since Qui-Gon tried to cheat Watto by using the Force anyway, go to a different vendor and Force Persuade them to exchange credits for a currency Watto likes. Which is assuming there isn't some kind of dedicated moneychanger around; there might not be one, but it's still worth looking.
Or: Qui-Gon to take out his lightsaber, shove Watto in a closet and steal the hyperdrive (and possibly the kid for good measure). If this sounds a bit savage, it must be noted that Qui-Gon has already tried to manipulate Watto by full-fledged mind control rather than simply physical coercion, and it is improbable this will count as a bigger infraction of the Jedi Code. Moreover, it's not like Watto wouldn't deserve it.
Or: Failing all of that, Qui-Gon to sell the Queen's ship and 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. Considering that the Queen was willing to let Qui-Gon use it as a betting chip, selling it would hardly be off the table.
Or: Qui Gon tell Obi Wan to send a message to the Republic and/or the Jedi Council informing them of the situation and requesting a lift.
Or: Qui Gon to tell Watto, "I'm afraid that Republic Credits are all I have. But you were right about me being a Jedi. I am also an ambassador for the Republic on a very important diplomatic mission to Coruscant on behalf of the people of Naboo. Many lives are at risk. Now, I promise that once my mission is complete, I will return and pay you back ten times what the part is worth. And you'll be in very big trouble if you obstruct me".
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 has 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, should have a fair bit of clout) as witnesses to confirm her story, which would also allow 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 versus Senator Lott Dod 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 in Chancellor Valorum", which results in him losing his job as Chancellor of the Senate.
The Result: Palpatine becomes the new chancellor of the Republic 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, including their encounter with Darth Maul.
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 by the news and wonder if this individual really is a Sith (neglecting the fact that, Sith or not, Maul is obviously very powerful and dangerous). 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. As for the murdered pilots, the Council basically doesn't give a crap.
The Result: Qui-Gon is predictably killed by Maul, whom he'd had to flee from previously. Obi-Wan narrowly manages to defeat the villain, but fails at capturing him alive for interrogation, so the Jedi are left just as in the dark about this new Sith resurgence as they were before Maul appeared. Also, the Jedi ultimately play 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 boy 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 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 or was at least suspicious about it.
- 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 Battle 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 Trade Federation to maintain the blockade to prevent the Queen from returning, much less bringing allies with her.
Instead: The Trade Federation has inexplicably abandoned the blockade, leaving only a single space station behind and lightly defended. You know, the station that controls the entire Trade Federation robot army. Leaving aside the idiocy of having all of the robots controlled by a single source, which is actively absurd given that they have an entire fleet of similar ships, why did they withdraw their fleet 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 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 swordfighter, reinforced after he unveils the second blade of his lightsaber in front of them, b) even if they don't know the extent of his Force powers, it's improbable that he is strong or skilled enough to overpower them at once in said field, and c) if he was, they wouldn't be any more screwed than trying to engage him in a lightsaber contest.
Instead: They both plod forward and engage him in a straight sword fight, keeping it at very close quarters and using no Force whatsoever aside from for jumping around.
Even Worse: Maul is obviously leading them to the pit room, where he can hope to use the place's Malevolent 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.
For Added Stupidity: Maul uses the architecture to his advantage, while they don't seem to even consider trying to do the same. Force pushing him off of the catwalks seems a pretty intuitive option to try in order to soften him up (or downright finish him by Disney Villain Death given the depth of some of the nearby falls), particularly because, as said above, it would be improbable that Maul could block them both at it. However, for some indiscernible reason, they prefer to attack him with lightsaber slashes and nothing more.
- 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: Darth 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 in order to shower sparks on Obi-Wan. Eventually, Obi-Wan pulls Qui-Gon's lightsaber to himself and manages to force-jump back out of the pit, bisecting Maul.
Even Worse: Darth 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 attack him mid-air just like Obi-Wan would do to Anakin in Revenge of the Sith. Maul had the high ground!
- Qui-Gon had promised to Anakin that he would get him in the Jedi Order as his own padawan. However, he is killed in action against Maul, so Obi-Wan steps forward to fulfill his promise. At the end of the film, Anakin is a new aspiring Jedi.
You'd Expect: Obi-Wan to realize he might not be the best option to tutor Anakin. He has been just appointed Jedi master at the insistance of his own, has zero experience as a mentor, is not old enough for him to be easily seen by Anakin as an authority figure, and his personal qualities (especially after witnessing Qui-Gon's death and the return of the Sith) aren't ideal for the task. As if it was not enough, Anakin himself will be surely challenging as a student, given that he has started his instruction much older than most padawans, has already shown hostility and strong emotions as a consequence of his baggage and lack of training, and is effectively a Force prodigy, meaning the result of his trajectory will surely impact the Order. Due to all of this, Obi-Wan should step aside and ask an experienced master to do the job, preferably one specialized in emotion management and/or unusual apprentices. It doesn't mean Obi-Wan has to disappear from Anakin's life, as he will still have a lot of chances to work with him as a fellow Jedi and look after him informally.
Instead: He continues his career with Anakin as his padawan. As a result of all the previous, Obi-Wan becomes more of an Aloof Older Brother figure to Anakin than a true mentor, especially due to his own insecurity as a master leading him to overcompensate, and while he succeeds at making Anakin a strong and determined Jedi, he fails decisively at instigating him respect for authority, self-control and caution against dark influences. The consequences of this are the birth of Darth Vader and the rise of the Empire.
- Also, 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 and move her to a safer living place. 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. If he or the Jedi order cannot legally do it, Padmé has already grown close to Anakin and presumably feels gratitude towards Shmi for helping her, so she 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.
- After having miraculously escaped from the Naboo Crisis with his job intact, Nute Gunray is contacted by Count Dooku to join his Secessionist Movement. Gunray, however, wants revenge on both the Republic and former Queen Padmé Amidala, who is now a Senator opposed to the Republic's militarization.
You'd Expect: Gunray to consider that, thanks to the Separatists's gigantic military power, Amidala is actively giving his side the advantage by opposing the Republic from gathering a matching army. He should join Dooku and company and propose to secretly support Senatorial pro-peace movements while at the same time getting the Separatist navy ready for their invasion of the defenseless Republic, which will allow him to eventually get his hands on Amidala and destroy all she loves and cherishes without risking his own power.
Alternatively: In the unlikely case the Separatists lose interest in waging war against a peaceful Republic, Gunray to arrange for Amidala's death by himself. He has enough money and resources to hire competent assassins and make it look like a work by another of Amidala's growing list of enemies, and now he would operate from the safety of the rising Confederacy of Independent Systems, ensuring the Trade Federation heads would not be legally investigated again. Expanded materials inform that it was rumored Gunray had already put a price on Amidala's head, so he really only needed to be a bit more active if he wanted her dead.
Instead: Gunray demands Dooku to get Amidala killed as a condition to join the movement. Dooku complies because he knows Palpatine will lead the Republic to war with or without her opposition, but from the Separatist perspective, Gunray is shooting them on their collective foot by driving the Republic to be overriden by militaristic movements and make things much harder for the Separatist plans. However, not a single complaint about this is heard in their council.
- Jango Fett is ordered by Dooku 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 certainly less skilled assassin named Zam Wessell, even though the only reason to do this (making her a patsy) is ruined by her knowing about him and him working with her directly where he can be seen.
- Right from the start, Padmé survives the first assassination attempt by Wesell, 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. Unless she's claustrophobic, a room without windows might be fine for starters.
Instead: She sleeps in a room with a huge, unguarded window, where 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 is more concerned about Anakin snooping on her and turns off the cameras in her room.
- With her first attempt failed, Zam continues with their job.
You'd Expect: That given how many ways death can come in the Canon, 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 everything in 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.
Even Worse: Up to her attack, she had gone completely unnoticed by Obi-Wan, meaning she could have perfectly disappeared without leaving a trace. Instead, she blew this possibility by choosing to attack an opponent she should have known she couldn't defeat easily (which is why she was fleeing from them in the first place).
- Watching Zam get captured from the top of a building, Jango decides to silence her.
You'd Expect: Him to shoot her with a blaster, a rocket or a grenade, anything but a rare kind of weapon that can be tracked.
Instead: Apparently counting on the uncertain possibility that nobody in the Republic's contact list could recognize Kamino's rare facture, he shoots her with a Kaminoan poisonous dart, which basically leaves on Zam's corpse a clue leading unequivocally to Jango's home.
You'd Also Expect: Him to retreat in a stealthy way.
Instead: He flees spectacularly away with his jetpack directly in front of Anakin and Obi-Wan. This eventually clues the latter further that the suspicious Kamino-based bounty hunter with a jetpacked armor in his storage room is definitely the man they are searching for.
- 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 back in The Phantom Menace and it shouldn't be too much of an issue to fly them to Coruscant.
Instead: She picks Jar-Jar Binks, an idiot 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 A New Hope, 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. Considering Padmé had already been targeted by the resurgent Sith in the past, why not even send Yoda or Windu? It's not like they have a war to fight (yet).
Instead: They send Anakin, who is alone and inexperienced, as if there was no other Jedi available around in the entire Temple. To make it even worse, Obi-Wan is well aware that his Padawan is infatuated with the person he will have to protect and he has 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 back 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: Boasting a shockingly unwise confidence on the Archives, Jocasta dismissively says that if it's not in the records, it simply doesn't exist. Fortunately, Obi-Wan is too dogged to accept such pedantry and goes to Yoda for help.
- Mace Windu's appearance on Geonosis shows him being able to sneak up on the viewer's balcony in the arena without Count 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. He's behind them and completely unnoticed by them, not even by the Force-sensitive Count Dooku, so he's in such position that he could behead them all with a single lightsaber swipe. Even if Honor Before Reason impeded Windu from butchering all the tribune from behind, he could take Gunray, Poggle, or even Count Dooku himself as his hostage.
Instead: He chooses to hold Jango, a random hired gun bodyguard, at blade-point. Naturally, it fails to impress Count 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. At least one later book lampshades this by having Mace consider this My Greatest Failure.
- A Jedi contingent has managed to infiltrate the Geonosian arena. Come the right moment, they uncover themselves.
You'd Expect: Them to capitalize on the golden opportunity of having the Separatist leaders gathered together in a single tribune. The Jedi should divide in two groups, the first of them going up to the balcony to assist Windu in the capture of the leaders and the second going down to free the hostages (and get Padmé to safety as soon as possible, given that she is a valuable Galactic Senator and considerably more vulnerable than a Jedi). They don't even need more than a couple of Jedi for the latter task, as two of the three hostages are Jedi too and all have been holding their own pretty well, not to mention that forcing the leaders to surrender would stop the battle in the first place.
Instead: Upon uncovering themselves, they disperse erratically around the entire arena without any visible strategy beyond "free the hostages and fight any bad guy on sight." Aside from Windu, who has his own problems, only one Jedi decides to go alone for the tribune and is killed as a result.
- During the Geonosian 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 Count Dooku, would simply shoot the unarmed Mace with his blaster pistol in order to kill 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 (which damages his jetpack) and dies a ridiculously anti-climatic death by being decapitated by Mace.
- The Jedi are being overpowered by sheer numbers in the arena and cannot hold on.
You'd Expect: Now that they have Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Padmé with them, the best they can do is calling for a disbandment in all directions and run for the tunnels of the arena, where they will be safe from open enemy fire and will have the advantage thanks to their lightsabers and the narrowness of the corridors. They have infiltrated the arena through them to begin with, so they already know at least a bit of the place's architecture.
Instead: While the battle progresses, they move voluntarily to the open center of the arena, which is the worst place imaginable as it has almost no cover for them and in turn allows the enemies to encircle the heroes and shoot at them from all angles. As a consequence, Count Dooku easily swamps them there and forces them to surrender.
- Yoda and the Clone Army had arrived, so it is time for the Separatist leaders to leave. Count Dooku and the Neimoidians reach an hangar where the latter group has prepared a spacecraft.
You'd Expect: Count Dooku to get aboard the ship and leave with them. His solar sailer is manned by at least one droid, so it is safer for him to call it, order it to take off towards one of the Separatist battleships in orbit, and recover his ship from there later.
Instead: He grabs an open, unarmored speeder bike and, accompanied by two light starfighters, heads to the hangar where his ship is located, which happens to at the other side of a kilometers-wide open field relatively nearby to where the Clone Army is wreaking havoc. As a result, he attracts the attention of their forces and is chased by Anakin and Obi-Wan, and eventually, Yoda.
- During the Battle of Geonosis, Anakin and Obi-Wan's gunship spots Count Dooku escaping on his speeder bike and being accompanied by a couple of Geonosian fighters. Anakin orders the gunship to shoot Count 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 the Separatist droids away during the extraction from the Geonosian arena) and blast Count Dooku and his Geonosian fighter escort away with them. If they cannot be used for some reason, a few blaster rifle shots from the gunship's side doors would be enough to snipe Count Dooku down, as the latter is driving an exposed bike and cannot parry blaster fire due to having his hands occupied with the handlebar. Bang, problem solved, the Clone Wars doesn't have to happen, the end!
Instead: Anakin completely forgets that the gunship has blaster cannons and other weapons and he orders the pilot to just follow Count Dooku without any attempt to use any weapon aboard to blast Count Dooku away. Count Dooku then orders his fighter escort to fire on the gunship which knocks Padmé overboard and the fighters eventually shoot down the gunship after Anakin and Obi-Wan track Count Dooku to the hangar.
- Count Dooku has bested Obi-Wan and Anakin in a lightsaber duel, but then Yoda arrives.
You'd Expect: That first and foremost Yoda would've taken a moment to disable Count 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 debris around) would've likely sufficed, especially considering Count Dooku's ship is an unarmored yacht that would not take much damage to end up disabled.
Instead: He completely ignores the ship standing right next to him until they switch from Force powers to lightsabers and then...
- Yoda engages in a lightsaber duel against Count Dooku. Realizing that he might not win this fight, Count 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 Count Dooku. Alternatively, give the pillar a shove so it lands harmlessly to one side. Or, to be completely callous, ignore them and go after Dooku. This after Yoda has constantly stated that personal matters were secondary and that they should focus on the mission.
Instead: He chooses to dramatically pick up the entire thing, an action which requires a significant amount of effort and provides ample time for Count 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, Anakin and Padmé's interactions throughout the theatrical 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 theatrical film after knowing him for about two weeks tops!
- Anakin and Padmé 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 acceptable to the Jedi as long as they thought it was strictly a physical affair), OR for them to stay forcefully Just Friends, OR for Anakin to just leave the Jedi Order altogether for her - 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, especially given the incoming war.
Instead: They have a secret ceremony, which Palpatine finds out about, and the rest is history.
- Due to the oncoming war, the Senate is forced to accept the Kaminoan clone army as the Grand Army of the Republic in order to counter the military might of the Confederacy of Independent Systems.
You'd Expect: The Jedi Council and/or the Senate to start an investigation about the origin of the clone army. Being desperate enough to accept it as a gift from heaven for wartime doesn't mean they should ignore all the shady circumstances surrounding it, the main ones being not only the contrived timing of its arrival, but also that the clones's genetic donor happens to be a hired gun who formed part of the CSI court while being still stationed in Kamino. Even if the army cannot be ultimately proven to be anything other than a fortunate measure taken by the defunct Force prophet Sifo-Dyas, the fact that there was a double agent on the top circle of the project should raise concerns that Dyas (who is conveniently dead), his mysterious collaborator Tyranus (conveniently unknown) or even the Kaminoans themselves (conveniently unaware, or so they claim) might have a hidden agenda or be pawns for someone else. Only by investigating the Kaminoans and finding about the clones's secret control bio-chips, the Republic would meet the decisive truth that someone didn't want them to know the clones can be remote-controlled into turning against them.
Instead: Those questions are never investigated in depth, and as a result, the possibility of the entire clone army being secretly a trap is never entertained seriously aside from the standard assumption that the Sith are staging the entire Clone Wars. The only time in which the truth slips out by itself, the accidental activation of clone trooper CT-5385's control chip, happens fortuitously and is quickly covered up by Sidious himself. By the time of Revenge of the Sith, the questions remain untouched, allowing Sidious to catch the Republic off guard by taking control of the clones and executing Order 66.
- 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 Count Dooku on the spot.
You'd Expect: Since they were in cahoots until that moment, Count Dooku would speak up about the script Palpatine just went off from and out him as Darth Sidious in front of two Jedi. 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. It's also clear from the look on Count 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.
Instead: Count Dooku keeps his mouth meekly shut and gets his head scissored off by Anakin, allowing Sidious to continue his charade unimpeded.
- The entire event of Padmé's pregnancy. As it has been reminded numerous times, Jedi are not allowed to have relationships or get married (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 gets an abortion. It would be admittedly terrible for 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 that 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 events that occurred in Attack of the Clones). That way, problems solved.
Or Even: As Word of God from Lucas himself confirmed that while Jedi can't get married, they can have sexnote , come forward and admit Anakin is the father, but claim it was just casual and neither her nor Anakin have any feelings for one another. Obi-Wan and the Jedi Council might come to have suspicions that it isn't the case, but Anakin would have all the Plausible Deniability at his side unless they decided to Mind Probe him, which is not probably a casual measure in those affairs.
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 theatrical film no one finds out, but Padmé has been established as one of the more logical people in the Star Wars canon and any reasonable person with common sense would know how insane of a risk that is to take.
The Result: Her husband Anakin 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 as a result of her husband's actions.
- Anakin has a terrible dream (possibly a Force premonition) about Padmé suffering and dying in childbirth and becomes convinced that it will come true unless he does something about it, which is 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 via 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) and get ready a discreet private medical center to take her to at the first sign she gets ill. He could also arrange to have her give birth and recover from it there 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 (a concept so unspecific that it sounds suspiciously word by word like what Anakin would want to hear). Palpatine states that if Anakin follows his orders, which at a very early point include the deaths of children, Padmé will be saved. There is also the fact that 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 of these things lead to her dying after she gives birth to their kids; he ended up fulfilling the very prophecy he wanted to prevent.
- Palpatine keeps acting and behaving suspiciously around Anakin via knowing things about the Sith that he shouldn't, prompting Anakin to kill defenseless captives, suggesting that they should abandon Obi-Wan needlessly to his death, and making strangely phrased 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 succumbing to the Dark Side.
- On Utapau, Obi-Wan tracks down General Grievous, who then surrounds him with a lot of Separatist 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 Separatist droids and beheads one of them. The Separatist droids then prepare to fire on Obi-Wan.
You'd Expect: Grievous would just let his Separatist 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 almost right there, but Grievous wouldn't have known that.
Instead: Grievous tells his Separatist droids to back away to let him "deal with this Jedi slime... 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 with Grievous's own blaster. So uncivilized, indeed.
- Master Yoda has arrived to Kashyyyk, the Wookie homeworld, to help fight off the Separatist invasion of the planet. The opposing forces have established their land bases at both sides of Kachirho city and its lagoon.
You'd Expect: Given how fond are Separatist tacticians of the good ol' droid Zerg Rush, Yoda and Commander Gree to avoid the lagoon's large beach plains, which have no real covers aside from a few low walls and would just make the Separatists's droid waves more effective. Only by placing their forces a bit behind, near the gigantic wroshyr trees, the Republic could have excellent fortified positions to snipe down the droid charge. Moreover, the Republic also has the advantage of their massive A6 Juggernauts, so they should place them at the front of their formations in order to shield the native infantry and the more fragile AT-AP artillery behind.
Instead: The Republic commits here the same mistake as the Trade Federation in Naboo and voluntarily meet the Separatists in the middle of neutral terrain. Also, oddly enough, the Republic forces are positioned in the least intuitive order: first the Wookie infantry, then the AT-AP charging forward, and only then the A6 following by. As a result, the clash ends up being an uphill battle for the Clones and one of the bloodiest fights ever for the Wookies.
- Palpatine reveals himself to Anakin as the Sith Lord behind the whole conflict and tempts 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 either directly or indirectly 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.
- Mace Windu openly states to the Jedi Council: "I sense a plot to destroy the Jedi. The Dark Side of the Force surrounds the Chancellor."
You'd Expect: Windu and the other Masters to take preventative measures to ensure the security of the Order against a threat that they now expect. They should evacuate the Padawans from Coruscant to some secret location, increase defensive measures around the Temple, and order all their available spies to discreetly investigate the Chancellor and his closest political allies. Many Jedi are away fighting in the Clone Wars, but there should be still some staff in the Jedi Temple who could do some intelligence work with the help of their Force powers.
Instead: Despite knowing that the threat exists and who it is likely coming from, they do nothing to prepare for it, seemingly assuming that Windu is just imagining things and that the Temple is sacrosanct and nobody would ever think to attack it directly.
- 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 him placed under secure guard in the Temple in case this is all a ruse or Palpatine sends someone to kill Anakin for his betrayal. Then to present the testimony to the Senate or another lawful authority who can have Palpatine removed from power, all while seeking proofs of his Sith allegiance, which shouldn't be terribly difficult to find now that they know where to look. Finally, if there is a need to take down Palpatine by force (no pun intended) at that precise moment, he should do everything he can to ensure maximum advantage.
Instead: Windu decides to go remove Palpatine right there and then and rushes to his private quarters in the dead of night with just 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.
- Having chosen the last option of You'd Expect from the previous point, Windu rounds up several Jedi Masters to arrest the chancellor.
You'd Expect: Windu to expect severe resistance from the Chancellor, as he should know full-well arresting a Sith Lord can be extremely dangerous, and thus to take any available measure to ensure the mission doesn't go awry (or at least to stay in a position of force regardless of the arrest's outcome). Aside from his three Jedi, Windu should take with them a clone trooper contingent, or to prevent any possible struggle in the chain of command given Palpatine's authority, an assault team of any non-governmental allied force they can find (it would be shocking that the Canon Jedi Order has no armed support staff to guard its temple and many properties, so those could do it), which they should also use to watch out the exits of Palpatine's house. Of course, they should make sure the whole arrest is recorded and registered in order to prevent the incident from being played any other way in a legal courtroom. As a just-in-case measure, he should send out a message to as many Jedi as possible that the Chancellor may be compromised and to expect the worst, since if things go wrong, then they'll all be fugitives. Having someone doing Mission Control from the Jedi Temple and being in radio contact with them would be useful too to alert the order if something goes wrong.
Instead: He and the masters decide to make the arrest alone, without any surveillance, support, warning or register whatsoever, and judging from the three Jedi's attitude and skill, without being prepared for severe resistance from Palpatine. They also don't bother giving out any alert to the Jedi stationed across the galaxy about the Chancellor's possible ties with the Sith. The results end up being disastrous for everyone; three of the four Jedi Masters die within seconds, Anakin's intervention leads to Windu's death and the failure of the mission, and Palpatine capitalizes on the clumsiness of the incident to play it like the Jedi tried to murder the chancellor. On top of that, the truth dies with Windu, leaving every Jedi in the galaxy off-guard for Order 66.
- Windu is in a position where he can kill Palpatine, but Anakin is at his side trying to talk him into taking him alive.
You'd Expect: Windu to remain serene and try to calm Anakin down, as the latter is visibly flustered and could commit a mistake fatal for both of them. Windu could propose cutting Palpatine's limbs off and taking him into custody: Palpatine would be rendered unable to use a lightsaber and severely impaired to use the Force in an offensive way while awaiting trial, and in the outlandish case he'd be found innocent despite they have now irrefutable proofs he's a Sith Lord, they have the technology to replace his limbs. Even if Anakin had his own reasons to be nervous, it would have greatly placated his moral scruples about the execution.
Instead: Windu rudely ignores Anakin, forgetting he's still a significantly dangerous Jedi who is openly unsure of his alignment at the moment, and instead moves in dramatically for the kill, which drives Anakin to act reflexively to stop what he sees as a murder. His reaction ends up making Windu lose his arm and his lightsaber, which leaves him open to be killed by Palpatine.
- Mace Windu decides to kill Palpatine on the spot despite Anakins protests. The future of the entire galaxy rests on this successful kill and Windu knows that Anakin can be dangerously unpredictable (hes even discussed his lack of trust in Anakin with other characters multiple times), meaning that he of all people should know that there is no room for error here and that time is of the essence if he wants to do this before Anakin has time to mess anything up.
You'd Expect: Windu to just quickly stab Palpatine before Anakin can do anything. No need to waste any time considering whats at stake.
Instead: Windu does an unnecessarily huge dramatic wind-up for about five seconds, pausing long enough for Palpatine to shout please dont! before Windu even starts his downward swing. Easily providing Anakin more than enough time to interfere. Guess exactly what happens.
- Anakin has just inadvertently helped Palpatine to kill Mace Windu and 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 to gut Palpatine like a fish on the spot.
Or: Threaten to kill or expose him if he doesn't provide at the moment some substantial evidence that they can soon find this power, and if he doesn't, to gut him like a fish on the spot.
Or: Incapacitate Palpatine the best way he can come up with, search for any record system he should delete to cover up his own actions, and return to the Temple to warn the other Jedi about Sidious, claiming that the Chancellor killed Windu if they ask too many questions (which is technically true, even if it leaves out Anakin's own role in his death). After all, Anakin has lied to them before (all the time, in fact) and it would be both natural and in-character for him.
Instead: Anakin continues to do Palpatine's business for him, slaughters children, and eventually injures his wife by accident and gets dismembered, despite the fact that he now has zero evidence Palpatine can even fulfill his part of the bargain.
- 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 to say "thank you" to Sidious, end the communication, and have everyone immediately get the hell out from there, seeing how they had just been all but told that they had outlived their usefulness.
Or Maybe: Have Gunray and the other Separatists, already knowing they are marked for death anyway, flee to Coruscant as quickly as they can and reveal to the Senate all that they know of Sidious and his plans. With a bit of luck, further evidence can be found that ousts Palpatine as the one who started the war which caused millions of innocent deaths, destruction of countless planets caught in the crossfire, untold financial strain for the Republic, and murder of the entire Jedi order which included murdering children, not to mention that he had intentions of overthrowing the democratic system in place in favor of imperial one in which he is the sole ruler. With all of this, the Senate could arrange for forces still loyal the their cause (which could include the very Separatist armies now that their leaders know what to expect from Sidious and Vader) to stop the coup and try to hunt down Palpatine and Anakin through any means necessary, ending the threat for good.
Instead: They miss the hint and the several opportunities presented to them and just sit on their butts until Anakin arrives and... well, takes care of them.
- After Yoda and Obi-Wan regroup at the Jedi Temple, they start planning their retaliation.
You'd Expect: That since they must take down two horrendously powerful Sith Lords who are, however, conveniently separated at the moment, the heroes would gang up on Palpatine and then turn their, hopefully still combined, attention to Vader (or vice versa). There is absolutely no need for a simultaneous attack - the worst case scenario has already happened, and even if Palpatine sends a distress signal, it's very unlikely that Vader would be able to come to his aid in time.
Alternatively: While previous experience has proven that number doesn't necessarily improve odds against a single lord Sith, especially when one of the fighters is significantly less powerful than the other two, a 900-year old Jedi like Yoda should be able to concoct a strategy against Sidious without turning Obi-Wan into a load. Having Yoda duel Palpatine to distract him while Obi-Wan sneaks around and jumps him In the Back at the first opening could be a start, and might have been decisive in an instance like Yoda's and Sidious' Beam-O-War from the film.
Alternatively Alternatively: Even if Yoda can't see a way of effectively combining their forces against Sidious, he should still bring Obi-Wan with him to the Senate building. For all they know, sending him to face Anakin alone might perfectly equate to sending him to his death, as they don't actually know whether Obi-Wan can defeat The Chosen One now that he has turned to the Dark Side. On the other hand, Obi-Wan could be useful on Coruscant to eliminate or distract all the guards and soldiers Palpatine could summon to the building, as well as assisting Yoda himself if he is forced to flee.
Instead: They split up and fight the villains one-on-one. Yoda simply loses and Obi-Wan kind of wins, but... see below.
- On Mustafar, Anakin knocks out Padme by force-choking her, believing that she betrayed him to Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan runs to check on her as Anakin starts accusing his master of turning his wife against him.
You'd Expect: He would tell Anakin to stop with the Skewed Priorities; he just tried to choke a pregnant woman. Whatever has happened, they need to give Padme medical attention. Then they can focus on who betrayed whom. If Anakin doesn't listen, Obi-Wan should retreat with Padme to the best of his ability because one person's life is not worth taking down someone else.
Instead: Obi-Wan reluctantly decides to fight Anakin, who has started speaking like a Sith Lord and draws his lightsaber.
The Result: When Padme does get medical attention hours after the battle, she only lives long enough to name her children. Anakin breaks down when Palpatine tells him — and it's half-true, according to the novelization- that he killed his wife and with it, the last hope of his goodness.
- During the climactic duel on Mustafar, 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. Also, as the platform is a mobile vehicle, he could always ride it somewhere else and start the duel back up later. Alternatively, Anakin could use the Force to throw lava or his lightsaber as a projectile at Obi-Wan and attack him from a distance using any one of a dozen applications of the Force. Alternatively alternatively, he could 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". After Obi-Wan tells him "Don't try it", Anakin jumps at Obi-Wan right forward. With Anakin stuck on the momentum of his jump and open to attacks, Obi-Wan finds the perfect chance to do 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 lightsaber duel 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. However, Anakin survives, is rebuilt into a dark cyborg and becomes Sidious's powerful attack dog during the next 20 years of their reign over the galaxy, and Obi-Wan 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 turn 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 Palpatine effectively 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 via blindly following the orders of the man who destroyed his life for another two decades.
- Padme has given birth to twins in Polis Massa's medical center, and now Yoda, Obi-Wan and Bail Organa have the future of the galaxy in their hands. The Jedi sense the twins are strong in the Force, so they must hide them from Sidious's gaze and train them to be one day capable to defeat him.
You'd Expect: Them to raise the twins together in a safe planet like Alderaan and have Obi-Wan train them in the Force since their childhood. They have no real reason to separate the twins, as there are millions and millions of humans in the galaxy and the Empire doesn't know Padme gave birth specifically to a boy and a girl (it actually doesn't know she gave birth, period), so nothing about it is going to lead Vader to them. Also, by doing so, they are providing the best life possible for them and ensuring no clueless innocents like Owen and Beru are needlessly endangered. Training them from childhood would increase exponentially their chances to survive and their usefulness to the Rebel Alliance, and would allow Obi-Wan and Yoda to avoid the mistake committed by training Anakin when he was too old and angsty.
Alternatively: If raising them in separate planets is really indispensable, they have a lot of options to keep them safe that way. An influential politician like Organa could not only adopt one of the twins himself, but also have some other family of his trust adopt the other and bring him up in another system, preferently one discreet like Alderaan but not a wasteland like Tatooine. Obi-Wan could still train both by seasons, possibly trading the job with Yoda in Dagobah, and still have time to train himself to become one with the Force.
Instead: Organa adopts Leia and raises her in Alderaan, while Kenobi takes Luke to Tatooine and basically forces Owen and Beru to adopt him (without even changing his surname from his father's). Understandably, the latter action creates a great measure of distrust in Owen, who actively opposes Luke from having nothing to do with his legacy through his life, fearing he could become another Vader. None of the Skywalkers receives any word of the Force until certain events drive Luke to become a Jedi at his twenties with all his own emotional baggage, thus taking a much greater risk with him than they had taken with Anakin (and Yoda of all people has the nerve to complain about this). Even worse, despite not having Leia trained, Organa still has her involved with the Rebellion anyways, which puts her in the Empire's sights without any of what would have been her best advantages against it.
- Most of the Jedi Order has been wiped out and the newly christened Empire sets about exterminating the survivors.
You'd Expect: Yoda and Obi-Wan would try and make contact with other Jedi survivors, regroup in a secret location, gather up as many Force sensitive individuals as they could find, and start training a new Jedi Order in secret. They may not have the numbers and resources they had beforce, but it's absolutely critical to preserve the knowledge of the Order by passing it on. Moreover, the newly formed Rebel Alliance could surely use any help they could provide.
Instead: They both go into exile as self imposed punishment. While it's noble of them to admit their failures, this is of little help to the rest of the galaxy. Palpatine is largely unopposed and secures the Empire very quickly, while the Rebels can barely hold their own in a pretty hopeless guerrilla war. Meanwhile, the other Jedi are hunted down by Vader and the Sith Inquisitors without Obi-Wan and Yoda doing anything significant to impede it, leaving the remnants of the Jedi Order to wither and die. By the time Obi-Wan and Yoda decide to finally train Luke, not to mention to do something remotely useful for the Alliance, he's literally the last Jedi left (except for Ezra Bridger, who is still a Padawan, and Ahsoka Tano, who is lost beyond time and space), and the Order nearly goes extinct.
- Imperial director Orson Krennic arrives to planet Lah'mu to capture Galen Erso and make him continue working for the Empire. Watching the Imperial shuttle land, Galen's wife Lyra alerts their Partisan ally Saw Gerrera and runs into hiding with their little daughter Jyn.
You'd Expect: Galen to go hide with his family and wait together for Gerrera's forces to arrive, ambush Krennic's entourage and throw their corpses to some ditch. The Imperials have weirdly landed a kilometer afar from the Erso homestead and are traveling there on foot, so the Ersos have clearly got a lot of time to act. If waiting in their secret bunker doesn't sound good for them, they still have a sparsely populated planet with many forests and mountains, so it should not be hard for the family to evade the small Imperial contingent outside for a time.
Instead: Galen sends Lyra and Jyn to hide behind a nearby rock formation and gives himself up to the Empire, who will force him to finish the Death Star.
You'd Also Expect: Lyra to remain hidden until the Empire forces are gone and/or Gerrera arrives. From her position, she can see an entire Death Trooper platoon is here with Krennic to take Galen, so there's just no way a single civilian woman can impede the arrest. Moreover, she knows well the Empire wants Galen alive and able to work, so there's no overt reason to worry for him in the short run.
Instead: Idiotically, after sending Jyn to the bunker, Lyra comes out and shoots Krennic with a blaster. Not being a trained shooter, she only hits his shoulder, and being in plain sight, the Death Troopers promptly gun her down. The result, therefore, is Lyra losing her life for absolutely nothing.
For Extra Stupidity: Judging for Jyn's looks when she is pulled out of the bunker, Gerrera and his men showed up pretty quickly, which means any of the previous expected actions would have given the Partisans time to arrive, ambush Krennic and their men, dump their bodies in some ditch, and recover the Erso family.
- Krennic and the Empire now have recovered Galen. They put him in the Tarkin Initiative to work on the Death Star project.
You'd Expect: Them to remember that Erso already defected once, is in disagreement with the Empire's superweapon policies, and had to be brought in chains. Galen should be permanently watched over to avoid any treason, with a couple loyal Imperial engineers examining his work at all times to prevent the possibility of an internal sabotage.
Instead: He is left free and without any supervision, which allows him to secretly put an intentional weak spot on the Death Star that will destroy the entire station if hit by a single starfighter. This ends up costing the Emperor billions of credits on a battle station and the life of a valuable Grand Moff.
Even Worse: Galen attests the Empire has enough brainpower to finish the Death Star without him, which means they were all the time in position to understand his work and detect any sabotage he could attempt.
Worse Still: Krennic later executes the rest of his board of engineers out of spite, even after learning it was Galen (surprise, surprise) the one that betrayed the Empire. This ensures the Empire has no access anymore to the Death Star think tank, making any future attempt to revise the designs much more difficult.
And, Let's also not forget: Nobody bothered to stop Galen from deliberately slow-walking the development of the superweapon. Even with all the teething troubles such a complex system would present, it has been stated that Galen was going as slowly as humanly possible in developing the superlaser to delay its deployment for as long as possible. Imperial security REALLY sucked at their job here.
- Speaking of Galen, he is now working to complete the Death Star and intends to add a fatal weak spot.
You'd Expect: Him to remember he is not a military strategist and might not have the knowledge to create an external vulnerability that can be believably targeted by an enemy fleet. Thus, him to stick to what he knows and concoct a weakness based on the Death Star's internal workings. Being in charge of kyber energy crystal system that fuels the superlaser leaves Galen with many opportunities to sabotage the weapon, so he could rig the system to overload and blow up when it tries to fire its superlaser, for instance.
Instead: He designs a thermal exhaust port in the Death Star's hull that leads directly to an intentionally fragile reactor, creating a way for enemy proton torpedoes to blow the battle station up inside out. This forces the Alliance to directly attack the Death Star directly with its small starfighter fleet, which is not in position to absorb important losses like those it would surely receive in such a near-suicide mission. In fact, the port in question takes shape of a relatively small blowhole, making it so difficult to hit that only a Force sensitive managed to score after several veteran pilots died trying.
Even Worse: Galen wants the Alliance to have the Death Star's plans so they can learn the weak spot, but he cannot smuggle them out himself despite having enough access to personally name the file. As a solution, he gives the file a codename that will make it identifiable for the Rebels among the many Imperial archives in Scarif. Only one thing: it is a pretty generic space codename that only his daughter could recognize as his term of endearment for her, which would equate to nothing for any Rebel mission that happened not to have Jyn Erso on it.
- After a life fighting for Gerrera and making a living as a petty criminal, Jyn Erso gets captured by the Empire and sent to the Wobani labor camp. Sixth months later, a Rebel force rescues her and brings her to the Yavin IV base, as they believe she can help them to restore communication with Gerrera.
You'd Expect: The Rebel leaders to treat her with some recognition, given that she is already a sworn enemy of the Empire with many years of experience, and to try to gain Jyn's trust in order to ease things during the mission. Even if they have secretly planned to assassinate her dad and discard her afterwards, they gain nothing by alienating her from the Rebel cause from the very start, aside from compromising her cooperation; knowing her previous allegiance, and having witnessed first-hand how she attacked her own rescuers in Wobani out of sheer street-wisdom, they should be aware that a distrustful Jyn is perfectly able to betray them and seriously screw the Rebellion if given the reasons and chance.
Instead: They somehow scorn her for her criminal activities (overlooking the little fact that she committed those crimes against the Empire, the very enemy of the Rebellion) and for being the daughter of an Imperial scientist (now overlooking that she is obviously estranged from him since childhood and that she was a Partisan for many years, meaning she could hardly share any possible Imperial allegiance with him), and turn this into the standard reply against Jyn every time she opens her mouth. Naturally, any possible rapport between Jyn and the Rebels is killed right there. While she never betrays them outright, their bad relationship ultimately leads to the Rebellion's decisive inaction during the film's third act.
- Saw has received Galen's message and plays it to Jyn.
You'd expect: That Saw, having been a rebel all his life, would have a copy just in case and at least think to give it to Jyn when the Death Star hits.
Instead: He only plays a recording, leaving Jyn with no solid evidence to back her claims up. The Rebel Alliance laughs in her face and General Davits Draven still wants Galen dead. Despite Cassian disobeying Draven's order, Galen does end up dead because the Rebel forces on Eadu don't have any orders to extract or at least spare him, and Jyn has to rely on a ragtag bunch to fulfill her father's wish.
- Speaking of the devil, General Draven wishes to kill Erso because he is a prominent Imperial scientist. He has been informed by Cassian Andor that he is held in an Imperial facility in Eadu.
You'd Expect: Him to send a starfighter squad from the start and bomb the facility to pieces, the only safe way to ensure Erso dies without leaving too many traces the Empire can find. By doing so, they will take out some other Imperial scientists and officers as well.
Instead: He orders Cassian to go assassinate Erso personally, despite he is just a single agent with little to no support, facing the perspective of storming an Imperial base guarded by an entire garrison, and currently accompanied by Jyn, the supposedly unreliable criminal who happens to be Galen's own daughter and believes they are out to rescue him. Predictably, although Cassian receives a shockingly convenient chance to snipe Galen down outside, it soon becomes a messy battle by a combination of Cassian's doubts in the heat of the moment and Jyn's inopportune intervention, and the chance is lost. For their part, only after the Rebellion lose contact with Cassian they realize it would be better to send a starfighter squad instead.
- 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.
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 choked on his aspirations.
- With Cassian having informed the Rebellion that the Death Star exists and actually performed a test firing on Jedha City, Jyn tells them her father was secretly working against the Empire and wants them to obtain an information node in Scarif.
You'd Expect: Them to at least believe Cassian, not only because this is what they ordered him to investigate in the first place, but also because he's still a veteran Rebel captain that witnessed its attack himself. If they fear Cassian might be hallucinating things, all they need to do is checking out K-2SO's memory, as he was present in Jedha too, or just trying to contact Jedha City by radio to see if someone picks up the phone. With that certainty, they can now ponder what to do with the Death Star and its mighty power: to leave it free to allow the Emperor bully entire systems into submission, or to take any chance to destroy it in order to leave a spark of hope for those who oppose the Empire.
Instead: The Rebel council elects not to believe the inform, with General Draven himself suddenly turning skeptical about it despite he is precisely Cassian's superior (as well as the one who seemed convinced the most of the existence of the superweapon) and Senator Vasp Vaspar bringing again the absurd logic that they cannot trust Jyn because she is a criminal and an Imperial scientist's daughter. The possibility of having tangible proofs of it in K-2SO or Jedha is never brought up, neither by Jyn nor by the council, and the topic remains unproven by the end of the session, ultimately fueling the Rebellion's already existent internal divisions and moving it not to act. As a result, Cassian and Jyn are left to start an unsanctioned mission with a cadre of volunteers.
Even Worse: Admiral Raddus eventually makes up for it by sending the Alliance fleet to back the Rogue Squad during the Battle of Scarif, but by then it's too late to devise any plan or strategy with them, and all the fleet can do is initiate a direct space-and-land brawl to buy Cassian and Jyn some time to finish their ploy. As a result, even although the Rebellion achieves an improbable success by escaping with the plans, roughly half of its fleet ends up destroyed (and Raddus himself killed in action) in a stunt that could have been avoided with a proper coordination.
- During the Battle of Scarif, Krennic learns from a lieutenant that the data vault, where the Death Star's plans are located, has been breached. Deducing the Rebels are out to steal the plans, he goes to the vault.
You'd Expect: Him to take a hefty escort with him, if anything because he doesn't know how many attackers are there nor what weapons they have. Krennic is just an executive with a background in architecture, not a trained soldier, so this measure should be a given for him if he really wants to get personally involved in a shootout and come out alive.
You'd Also Expect: Him to order a nearby TIE to destroy the antenna on top of the tower just in case, as it is likely the Rebels will try to use it to transmit the stolen plans to their fleet above. While there is already an orbital shield that impedes any communication attempt, the presence of a space battle directly on top of it is a direct threat to its functionality, so it would be better to make it sure the signals don't leave Scarif in any way.
Instead: Krennic takes with him two guards, apparently trusting more on his own blaster than anything else, and gives no more orders at all. He is lucky that the intruders are two as well, but they happen to be much better shooters, with the result that his escorts are killed and one of the Rebels manages to flee. Also, the orbital shield ends up destroyed, allowing the Rebels to transmit the plans.
- 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 (or not to ask her and just forgetting about it). This would secure 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 speaking to her gloating to her about her failure, long enough that a recovered Cassian manages to reach him and shoot him In the Back. This allows the two to activate the antenna and successfully transmit the Death Star plans to the rebels, dooming the entire station.
- Thanks to the efforts of Jyn and Cassian, the transmission with the Death Star's plans is finally on air.
You'd Expect: The Rebel fleet to try to receive it in as many ships as they can, so they could obtain many copies of the plans. Although they have momentarily the advantage in the battle, Imperial reinforcements are probably already on the way and the Rebels could be scattered and pursued in any moment. In that case, having multiple ships loaded with the plans would increase the chances for some of them to reach Yavin IV and deliver the precious info.
Instead: Apparently, only the cruiser Profundity had its communication system open at the time of the battle, because it is the only Rebel ship that receives it. Now fatidically, it also happens to be the fleet's flagship, which causes the Imperial reinforcements led by Darth Vader's Devastator all fall on it on short notice while several other minor Alliance ships manage to sneak away safely but pointlessly. The crew of the Profundity has just enough time to move the plans to their only docked ship, the corvette in repair Tantive IV, and send it away desperately before being destroyed. As a consequence, the fruits of the entire Battle of Scarif and the labors of Galen Erso and Rogue One end up in a single, damaged ship, which the Devastator sets to chase.
- Tarkin learns about the Battle of Scarif and realizes that the Alliance is trying to obtain the plans of the Death Star, presumably deducing they will use it to sabotage or find weak spots on the station. He orders the Death Star and its surrounding fleet to travel to the planet.
You'd Expect: Him to concentrate fire on the Rebel fleet to wipe it out, which should ensure they don't escape with the Death Star plans regardless of whether their land forces manage to transmit them or not. After the battle is concluded, Tarkin should also initiate an investigation to discover how could have the Rebels have capitalized on the plans. Arranging for a team of loyal engineers to immediately revise the designs (either the re-captured ones or any duplicate the Empire can find), find all possible weaknesses and refit the station to correct them should be a priority.
Instead: He orders the Death Star to fire on the planet and destroy the Scarif base, where Imperial forces are still fighting and a valuable data vault is located. As a result, the data vault is lost with all its stored scientific treatises, bureaucratic memoranda, and weapons schematics, including projects War-Mantle and Stellar Sphere. Worsening things, this ends up failing to impede the plans from being transmitted, and in turns gives the Rebel fleet enough freedom of movements to load the item on a starship and fleeing the battlefield.
Even Worse: Tarkin eventually captures the ship and the plans, but he forgets all about the implications of the Battle of Scarif, apparently believing that the Rebels were pursuing a ghost and that the Death Star is invulnerable just as it is. He prefers to let the intact plans go as a bait for the Rebel Alliance, not realizing that, if the Rebels really had a way to capitalize on them, he has just advanced decisively their plans.
- 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.
Also: He would walk Han out of the cantina and conduct their conversation in an alley or any other nearby lonely place. The cantina is dimly lit and very crowded, and it is unclear that Han is alone there in the first place, so there is a very real risk than an ally of his (or an enemy of Greedo) notices Han is being held at gunpoint and comes to do the same with Greedo from behind.
Instead: Greedo strikes up a conversation with Han, comfortably sitting at the table, while not noticing one of Han's hands going under it. Where his blaster is. One gunshot later, Greedo is dead.
- Admiral Conan 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 to nod, compose an apology, and avoid saying anything at this juncture that might anger a Dark Lord of the Sith. Even if he thinks Vader's words are silly mumbo jumbo, Motti should know Vader is pals with both Tarkin and Palpatine and thus has the right connections to destroy anybody's career if he feels offended. Moreover, even without considering Vader's connections, Motti should have been wary of mocking a nearly seven-feet tall cyborg who uses a laser sword that can cut through almost anything.
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, if not for the usage of rude language, surely for the overt and deliberate act of religious discrimination. As if he hasn't already committed an act of monumental douchebaggery at this point, he then insinuates that Vader is incompetent by saying he has yet to "conjure up the stolen data tapes or find the Rebels' hidden fortr—", which leads Vader to strangle Motti on the saying he "finds his lack of faith disturbing". The Admiral is only saved from being telekinetically strangled to death because Grand Moff Tarkin feels like ordering 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 weak TIE Fighters, probably to give credibility to their ruse) 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 and he believes Leia isn't anything more than an annoying aristocrat, it still isn't really an excuse to disregard a very reasonable warning on the situation.
Instead: Han disregards her warning and they fly the Millennium 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, General Moradmin 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 to consider it. If the Alliance is attacking a specific point of a moon-sized battle station with only a light squad of fighters and bombers, it is painfully obvious that the rebels believe there is a structural weakness of some kind and are trying to exploit it. While it is admittedly reasonable to think this might be a Batman Gambit to get the station's commanders out and gun them down while they are vulnerable, the Death Star surely contains enough fighters and ships to escort Tarkin's personal spacecraft and protect it from any attack until it can get to safety. Meanwhile, if the weak spot attack turns to be real and the Death Star blows up, Tarkin will die inside no matter what.
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.
- In the final moments of the Battle of Yavin, Vader is finally about to shoot down Luke Skywalker. Just as he opens fire on Luke, though, Han Solo shoots down one of Vader's wingmen by surprise.
You'd Expect: The other wingman, knowing that Vader has a clear shot at Luke, to stay put and let Vader finish the job. If he is a particularly loyal man, he should even let Han shoot him down so that he can have Vader buy time.
Instead: The wingman clumsily attempts to protect Vader by flying over him, but ends up hitting Vader's fighter instead, causing Vader to lose control and veer off the Death Star trench wildly. The wingman ultimately ends up hitting the side of the trench and blowing up, which kills him pointlessly. This clears Luke of any possible hostiles in the trench run, allowing him to launch the proton torpedoes into the exhaust port and thus destroy the Death Star.
- The Imperial fleet gets the info that the Rebels are on Hoth. In command of the fleet is Admiral Kendal 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.
- Captain Lorth Needa aboard the Star Destroyer Avenger encounters the Millennium Falcon and is attempting to capture it.
You'd Expect: Needa would tell his men to keep their comms shut unless he desperately needed help to capture the Falcon, and let Vader know only if they were successful. Vader has a terrifying reputation as a Bad Boss and everyone in the fleet would know about him killing Ozzel for his idiocy.
Instead: He or one of the crewmen under his command sends a message to Darth Vader aboard the Executor about encountering the Falcon while they're still trying to capture the ship.
And Then: Han gets the bright idea of swinging close to the superstructure of the Avenger and parking right on top of the garbage disposal shaft, which is a blind spot. Lord Vader demands a status update.
You'd Think: Needa, who says out aloud that the Falcon is too small to have a working cloaking device, would think that it's hiding on a blind spot or something of the sort, and in any case tell Vader that he's still in pursuit in order to save face. Star Destroyers like the Avenger have a squadron of TIE fighters on board, and Needa could order his fighters to inspect all the blind spots around his ship to make sure the Falcon isn't hiding on his own hull.
Instead: This never occurs to him, and he goes to the Executor to personally apologize to Vader, who kills him.
- Luke gets a Force vision about Vader torturing his friends. Yoda warns him that it's a trap.
You'd Expect: For Luke to listen to the guy who's been training Jedi for centuries and kinda knows what he's talking about, continue his training, and hope like heck that his vision is actually a potential future rather than a certain one. He can always run the the X-wing over to the nearest technologically advanced planet and comm Han and Leia (if he cannot just do it from the starship's radio system), or even try and reach Leia through the Force, maybe asking Yoda for help (granted, he doesn't know she's Force-sensitive, but he does succeed later in the film). In any case, even if the vision is true, his best chances to save his friends are precisely becoming good enough to defeat Vader.
Instead: He runs straight into Vader's hands, and loses one of his own, as well as completely failing to rescue either of his friends (since Leia and co would've managed without him).
- Vader alters the deal between himself and Lando by having Solo turned over to Fett after Skywalker was captured (and forcing Leia and Chewbacca to be confined to Cloud City permanently), but after he tries to take custody of Leia and Chewbacca after freezing Solo in carbonite, Lando has finally had enough of Vader and his broken promises, so he decides to free the rebels.
You'd Expect: Lando would explain this to the cooler-headed Leia before freeing Chewbacca from his restraints. Wookiees are well known for their ill temperament over matters as trivial as losing board games (Solo himself remarked about their propensity for pulling peoples' arms out of their sockets when they lose), so one can only imagine how angry a Wookiee would be about having their best friend betrayed and then kidnapped.
Instead: Lando frees Chewbacca from his restraints before bothering to explain what he's up to, and predictably, Chewbacca proceeds to choke the life out of him. If Leia hadn't been nearby to listen to the explanation he barely managed to get out, there's a very good chance Chewbacca would have probably snapped Lando's head off in a murderous rage.
- 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.
- 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. Apparently assuming that Vader and Luke are each willing to kill the other at his bidding, the Emperor has to open his big fat yap and gleefully tell Luke he's doing exactly what the Emperor wants, forcing Luke to realize Palpatine's plan and remember that hate leads to the Dark Side. This leads to Luke refusing to kill his father and remain on the side of angels.
- Luke has defeated Vader yet he refuses to turn.
You'd Expect: That Palpatine order the fallen Vader to be carried away and Luke to be captured and taken to a containment place. There Palpatine can freely torture him until he becomes a servant of the Dark Side or dies trying to resist. In any case, he has just watched Vader being visibly conflicted and putting up a half-hearted fight at best, and the good emperor should remember that when he turned Vader in the first place, it was precisely by exploiting his fear of a loved one, his pregnant wife Padmé, dying. Thus, he should act carefully in order to prevent a betrayal.
Or: Him to kill Luke quickly. Palpatine may not carry his lightsabers with him anymore, but he could summon Luke's (which Luke cast aside after refusing to turn) or Force push him down the reactor pit. Or Force choke him before Vader can get back up.
Instead: Palpatine seemingly forgets where Vader's Berserk Button is and decides to slowly kill Luke using Force Lightning while Vader watches!
The Result: The conflicted Vader refuses to lose another member of his family to Palpatine's schemes and throws his boss down the Death Star's reactor shaft.
- 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. If he discovers that his fleet is being trounced and the Death Star II is threatened, he can always throw Vader and Luke into a starship and sail to safe Imperial territory, where he can continue waging war and playing his family mind games.
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.
- Down on Endor, the Imperial forces are slowly turning the tide on the Rebel and Ewok forces, when Chewbacca and two Ewoks manage to commandeer an AT-ST. They bring it to the entrance of the shield generator bunker, which Han and Leia have been trying to break into with no success. Han then uses the AT-ST's radio to impersonate an Imperial officer, falsely claiming to the personnel inside the bunker that the Rebels and Ewoks are in retreat, and requesting reinforcements to hunt them down and wipe them out.
You'd Expect: The bunker's commander to refuse the request, given that all they need to do is hold the bunker. If the Rebels' and Ewoks' attack genuinely has failed then they won't be able to get reinforcements, given that the Rebels can't land starships due to the shield still being up, so the best thing for the Imperials to do is reinforce their own position.
Instead: He opens the bunker's door and sends out a batallion of troops... right into the reaches of a small Ewok army and the guns of the commandeered AT-ST.
The Result: This one act of stupidity almost single-handedly turns the tide of the entire Battle of Endor, as Han is able to get inside the generator complex and blow the whole thing up, bringing down the shield and allowing the Rebel fighters to enter the Death Star II's superstructure and destroy the station. Granted, the Emperor and Darth Vader would have still died, and possibly the Executor would have still been destroyed, but the Death Star II's still being intact and operational would at best have forced the Rebels into retreat, and at worst wiped them out completely.
- In the film's background, an Imperial remnant named the First Order has risen from the Unknown Regions and started opposing the New Republic.
You'd Expect: The New Republic Senate to remilitarize and immediately dedicate all its efforts to deal with it. It is painfully evident the First Order is a menace for the their young democracy: it officially spouses the Empire's totalitarian ideology and openly intends to restore the Empire's glory by any means necessary, has already broken the terms of the Galactic Concordance treaty, and has access to massive resources, troops, fleets and possibly even superweapons (and even if their members tried to keep any of this a secret from the Republic, it's doubtful they could have fooled an investigation in depth of their territories and fleets, as the Resistance's activities proved quickly). In any case, the New Republic should gather all its remaining military might, demand the First Order to dissolve and disarm itself, and get ready for a new galactic war in the very probable case the terrorists refuse. The risk of not doing so is letting the First Order develop freely and make their move first, endangering many worlds and the very existence of the democracy they fought so hard at the Galactic Civil War to achieve.
Instead: Not at all. Despite countless and very accessible proofs of the opposite, most of the New Republic Senate doesn't consider the First Order a serious menace, preferring not to think on the possibility of an armed conflict even although it is obviously within the intentions and capability of the First Order, and those like Leia Organa who dare to consider military action are shunned as extremists and paranoids. Leia is forced to cobble together a clandestine movement with little hardware and even less funding in order to try to counter the First Order.
The Result: The unprepared New Republic is crippled when the First Order launches an attack that destroys its capital in Hosnian Prime, wiping out their Senate and most of their fleet.
- R2 has remained in a self-imposed low power mode since Luke left the New Republic. His history and status have protected him from being turned into spare parts, so he's left in a corner of the Resistance base.
You'd Expect: Considering that R2 has always been a valuable ally to the Republic not only in virtue of being a skillful astromech, but also due to his programming and experience, the Resistance to task some technicians with accessing to R2's memory system just in case there is something inside him that can help them, especially given that he was Lukes droid and might know something about where did he go. Memory checks and deletions are an usual part of droid maintenance given what we see through the saga.
Instead: They completely forget about R2 and wait for him to reactivate for himself, with only C-3PO and BB-8 remembering he is there in the first place. It turns out the vital information they needed to complete the map to Luke was inside him all the time, which they get quite late due to events, and nothing indicates they could not have extracted it had they known about it.
- Lor San Tekka, an explorer working for the Resistance, has finally discovered the planet Luke has exiled himself to.
You'd Expect: Him to return to the Resistance and tell them exactly the planet's location. As seen in the prequel comics, Tekka borrowed a starship from the Resistance base in D'Qar to investigate, so there's no reason given about why he could have not simply traveled back to them. Even if something impedes him from returning to D'Qar, there should be many ways for the Resistance to transmit secret information, given that they are a clandestine network after all. Finding any informant who could communicate with the Resistance and send them the vital info should not be too difficult for someone who works for them.
Instead: Tekka contacts the Resistance, only not to send the location, but to ask to meet with a messenger in a remote place so he can hand him a physical map leading to it. This just multiplies the risks of losing the information and doesn't make it any safer or more secret for the Resistance, as proved by the arrival of Kylo Ren.
You'd Also Expect: If Tekka really wants a personal rendezvous, he should choose a densely populated planet, preferently in an urban environment, where a few people can easily lay low, have a secret gathering, and scatter among the crowd if discovered. Even if the bad guys discovered the meeting and tried to crash it, the First Order causing an armed disturbance in a public place would forcefully attract the attention of the New Republic and help to validate Leia's claims about their terrorist activities. Moreover, a very populated planet would also be convenient in case either Tekka or the emissary lost their means of transport, as there would be probably plenty of available ships and pilots for hire to get them out. Finally, Tekka should also give them a complete map so the Resistance doesn't waste time in finding Luke before any leak could lead the First Order to him as well.
Instead: Tekka chooses Tuanul, a small, pauper village isolated on the desert world Jakku, whose meager population is composed of miners and squalid scavengers with few means to leave the planet. The place is so insignificant that a First Order strike team can cause a massacre there without anybody in the Galaxy realizing or caring, and when they take out the Resistance emissary's starship, the receiver of the map ends up unsupported and lost in a desert nowhere to go. Even worse, the map Tekka has brought is not even complete, so the Resistance is still in the dark even after recovering it.
- The Resistance has been contacted by Tekka from the planet Jakku, where he asks for a messenger to give them a piece of a map leading to him.
You'd Expect: The Resistance to send a small squad of fighters. They would still few enough to go unnoticed and could watch from orbit and provide a diversion for one of them to flee with the map if the First Order arrives. Even if the Resistance fleet is severly undermanned, this particular mission has the utmost importance for their goals, and sending more than one starship is essential to ensure the map leaves Jakku and reaches them.
Instead: They send one man with a droid in a single fighter. The meeting is effectively discovered and attacked by the First Order while their messenger is grounded, and even worse, a rogue shot disables his starship by sheer bad luck, leaving him effectively stranded on Jakku and without a way to communicate with the Resistance.
You'd Also Expect: The Resistance to make sure Tekka remains safe from the First Order's clutches after the meeting, as he knows too much and could endanger the search for Luke if he is captured afterwards. He is also a valuable ally to the Resistance thanks to his experience and knowledge of Jedi lore, not to mention a personal friend of the Skywalker family, so they have a lot of reasons to protect him.
Instead: By what can be inferred, Poe's mission was just taking the map and forgetting about Tekka. He doesn't even ask what are the explorer's next plans or how will he depart from Jakku if that's his intention. In fact, if Tekka happened to have a starship or a contact hidden somewhere in Jakku, it could have been immensely useful for Poe and BB-8 to know.
- First Order forces are attacking the village of Tuanul in Jakku, where Poe Dameron has just received the map from Tekka. His X-wing is disabled, but he has not been spotted by any enemy (that he has not killed with his fighter's tail blaster), so he has time to give BB-8 the map.
You'd Expect: Poe to go with BB-8 and try to escape into the night with it. He has no conceivable reason to stay and fight: the attackers are too many, they have a Knight of Ren among them, he needs to ensure that the map reaches the Resistance, and there's just no way he can change the villagers's fate with his blaster rifle. He has no reasons to think the First Order will stop searching for the map if they capture him either, especially after they check up he doesn't have it on his person and his X-fighter's astromech droid is absent.
Alternatively: If Poe is really that convinced they will not search for BB-8 at all after they find him, he should stay around the X-wing, make it quickly look like he destroyed some small item to make them believe he just disposed of the map, and finally eat his gun to ensure he will not be interrogated and the secret will die with him.
Instead: He stays and fires a few shots at Ren, which accomplish just nothing, before being instantly immobilized and taken.
- Kylo Ren is in charge of the forces attacking Tuanul. His Stormtroopers have secured the area and captured Tekka, who is now face to face with Ren himself.
You'd Expect: Kylo to Mind Probe Tekka to get all his information about Luke Skywlker's whereabouts, or at least take him to his Star Destroyer, the Finalizer, where he could work on him more comfortably. The First Order wouldn't even need the map if Tekka happened to know where it leads to, which should be the case given that he was who investigated it in the first place (a knowledge that is confirmed in the prequel comics). Moreover, taking Tekka alive to interrogate him would be useful in any case, as he is still an ally to the Resistance who might know other interesting pieces of info.
Instead: He executes Tekka on the spot, after just a lame exchange of taunts. As a consequence, the First Order is left completely in the dark, depending strictly on a single item which they don't have.
- After killing Tekka, Kylo and company capture Poe, who was charging recklessly against them.
You'd Expect: Kylo to mind-probe Poe at the very moment in order to know what's up with him and where's the map. Poe might have destroyed it, buried it under some rock or passed it to some accomplice in the village, anything other than having it on his pocket while dealing a potentially suicide attack. Ren should also order his Stormtroopers to register the X-wing and scan all the surroundings to be sure. The fact that Poe's astromech is absent from his fighter should raise a few eyebrows by itself.
Instead: After making the Stormtroopers merely register Poe's clothings, Kylo orders him to be taken away without barely looking at him. It seems they even abandoned the X-wing or never realized BB-8 wasn't in its socket. Only in the Finalizer Kylo decides to probe his mind, only to discover that the map is still in a droid rolling through Jakku and that the First Order has wasted a precious amount of time to catch it before it reached some possible contact (which is exactly what happens next).
Even Worse: Sending away the desired info in an astromech droid and hope it to be neglected by their enemies while acting themselves as a decoy should not be an unexpected trick to Kylo of all people: his own mother used it to smuggle the plans of the Death Star I and achieve the old Rebel Alliance's first major victory against the Empire.
- Poe is imprisoned in the Finalizer by Kylo Ren's orders.
You'd Expect: Kylo to order him to be held under maximum security measures. A closed cell with a team of guards instructed to answer only to Kylo himself are the least he should arrange for.
Instead: Poe is guarded in what appears to be an open compartment and by a single, uninformed guard, who doesn't doubt for a second when a suspiciously alone low-ranked Stormtrooper comes claiming to carry superior orders to take the prisoner away. He doesn't even radio his superiors for confirmation before handing Poe to him.
- Poe Dameron and Finn are stealing a TIE fighter from the First Order.
You'd Expect: Poe, an experienced fighter pilot, would remember to unplug the fuel line. It should be an intuitive part of their escape to check that the fighter's tank is full - they aren't going anywhere if they grab a dry starship!
Instead: He either doesn't check the TIE's fuel at all or does it yet misses the fuel line, and their escape almost stops there.
- Poe and Finn are now 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.
- Unkar Plutt, the trader of scavenged pieces, sees Rey come with a valuable astromech droid and gets interested on it.
You'd Expect: Being the seedy bastard he is, to ignore the droid for now and send his thugs to steal it from Rey later. He doesn't even know if the droid is even for sale, not only because it is a kind of droid people in the galaxy use for assistance and companionship, but also because it's not a secret that Rey considers Plutt a money-grubber and might have even considered to seek another purchaser for the droid.
Instead: He tries to buy it outright, even breaking a basic rule of bargaining (namely, not to let your seller know you are strongly interested on something) by offering her a quantity that judging for Rey's awe is clearly more than she has been ever offered, which could have made her suspicious of the droids value. In any case, Rey ultimately refuses to sell BB-8 out of pity, and only then Plutt decides to call his thugs to steal the droid without more trouble.
You'd Also Expect: His goons to either whack Rey unconscious from behind or one of them to hold her in gunpoint while the other grabs the droid. Alternatively, given that there seems to be little to no law enforcement in Jakku, they could simply sneak on her and stab her on the back with a vibroshiv it's not like she is a great source of income for Plutt anyway.
Instead: One of them distracts her while the other throws a blanket over BB-8, both apparently unarmed, in plain sight and right next to her. When she realizes and kicks him away, the first just attempts to awkwardly restrain her in a feeble bodylock, allowing Rey to bite her way out and club them with her staff.
- 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 for no real reason, and figures he could simply probe the memory of the map from Rey's head. Even if he can get the info from Rey, which is unclear given that he doesn't even know for sure whether she has ever read the map, 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, despite their difference in training, she even manages to flip the probe on him! Concerned, Kylo decides to report this to Snoke.
You'd Expect: Given that Kylo now knows that Rey can use the Force to some extent and is certainly dangerous even if she isn't trained, he'd make sure to limit her options in the meantime. She's already restrained, but it would be good to have her either watched by many guards so she cannot influence them easily or alone in the room so she has nobody to work with.
Instead: Apparently not taking into account the possibility of Rey trying to use the Force to pull off a rudimentary Jedi Mind Trick or something else that might help her escape, he leaves a single stormtrooper guard (and not an elite one, but a regular footsoldier who barely seems motivated for the task) in the room, and Rey ends up figuring out how to mind-trick him into releasing her... and drop his weapon.
- After Rey is captured by the First Order in Takodana, Han, Chewbacca, BB-8 and Finn travel with the Resistance to their base in D'Qar. The first three are known to the Resistance, while the fourth is not.
You'd Expect: The Resistance members aboard to immediately check out Finn's identity and involvement with the recent facts. After learning he is a First Order deserter, they should lead him to a cell or containment place in the base, where they can interrogate him and keep him isolated (and protected) until confirming within their possibilities whether he is really on their side. Poe himself, if his name is called, shouldn't be so quick to trust him only because Finn helped him to escape in already shady circumstances. In any case, Finn should remain there for the rest of their mission to Starkiller Base in the perfectly possible case he is a spy sent to infiltrate their headquarters in D'Qar. The possibility should always remain, given that Stormtrooper desertions are stated to be rare and the Resistance doesn't have Force users who can probe his mind.
Instead: Nobody takes a single precaution, apparently fully believing him the first time they asked who he was, which causes the interesting situation that a virtual stranger to the Resistance is left to roam their secret base all alone and unwatched. When he casually finds Poe, he is taken to Leia herself, who is not even a bit wary about him. This ends up being unimportant, because Finn happens to be exactly whom he claims, but had he been a spy or a suicide agent sent to assassinate Leia, he would have accomplished his mission neatly.
Even Worse: Again, Leia of all people should have a lot of reasons not to immediately trust Finn's and Poe's great escape, given that she was part herself of a similar Imperial scheme in order to find the Rebel base in Yavin IV.
- The Resistance have just destroyed the stabilizer in Starkiller Base, not only rendering the weapon completely useless but also making the planet literally fall apart as a result.
You'd expect: Colonel Erich 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.
- An angry Kylo Ren ready to fight stops Rey and Finn in the forest and cuts their escape route. After some talk, he sends Rey flying towards a tree with a Force push, knocking her out.
You'd Expect: Him to do the same with Finn. He should be an even easier prey to his eyes, as while Rey has proved to be an inexplicably powerful Force user who had at least a slight chance to parry the attack, Finn has not. With both of them knocked out, Ren would have enough time to recover his beloved grandfather's lightsaber, cut the unconscious Finn and Rey in small pieces (or try to drag Rey alive as per Snoke's orders) and go away before the planet explodes.
Instead: He just stares at Finn, whom Kylo had been verbally ignoring up to that point, while the latter goes to check up on Rey and arms himself with her lightsaber. Kylo then decides to take up Finn's challenge and locks himself in lightsaber combat with him without using any Force whatsoever, even although Finn is clearly holding his own and pressing on him. As a consequence, the brawl gives Rey time to wake up, recover and come again at Kylo, even more inexplicably powerful than before.
Even Worse: Ultimately dominating Finn by stabbing him in the shoulder with his cross guard, Kylo knocks him down with a slash in the back, but he then contents himself with leaving Finn lying alive and breathing instead of finishing him off for good.
- Kylo duels Rey moments later. She is giving him serious trouble, but he manages to corner her in a Blade Lock with her back towards a large cliff.
You'd Expect: Kylo to understand that the situation has got out of hand and that he cannot capture Rey alive or gain his grandfather's lightsaber anymore. He is wounded, tired and facing a foe that seems to become stronger with every minute passing. She has just beaten him in a Force contest for her lightsaber, now is pushing him to his limits in swordfighting, and it's probable she will end up dominating him, if not fair and clean, at least by sheer attrition. In that situation, he should capitalize on his only moment of superiority and immediately try his best to push her (Force or otherwise) to her death down the cliff. Snoke should reasonably approve that he killed her to save his own life, and Kylo can always lie to him about what happened really in the duel, possibly even claiming that she took her life before being captured, which would be the truth From a Certain Point of View.
Instead: He wastes time proposing We Can Rule Together, even although by this point it is clear Rey hates his guts and only wants his head on a silver platter. As a result, she has enough time to get a brief moment of focus, which enables her to become even more powerful with the Force, escape from the lock, come back at Kylo, and give him a beatdown.
- After so much suffering, the Resistance now has the exact location of Luke Skywalker, and it's time to send someone to meet him.
You'd Expect: Leia to go herself with Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon. The next film proves there are officers in the Resistance who should be able to take command for a short time, so she doesn't have to worry about abandoning her underlings. Besides, it's known that Luke exiled himself out of depression for his failures, which means that, by all reason, sending out people who know him well and used to have a strong bond with him is the Resistance's best option to convince Luke to return. Finally, a wise leading general like Leia should surely know a bit about how to instigate some moral back on someone who has lost the will to fight.
Instead: The Resistance sends Chewbacca chaperoning Rey, a random Force sensitive girl whom they barely know, who has no relation to Luke, and whose personality and experience don't make her exactly the best person to bring a bitter old man out of his shell. As a result, as shown in the next film, Rey's presence is met with skepticism by Luke, creates a big deal of conflict between both (not only due to her utter lack of psychology, but also due to her pleads for Luke to train her, as her absurdly high Force levels only revive Luke's worst fears), and actually foils things when Luke had improbably decided to help (as it turns out that Snoke was using Rey's and Kylo Ren's minds to manipulate each other, which scares and enrages Luke upon discovering it). At the end, it's ultimately more due to Yoda's timely intervention that Luke eventually returns to battle, after a long string of drama that could have probably been avoided.
- The First Order launches an attack on the Resistance's main base. Fortunately for the First Order, their attack force arrives before the Resistance has finished evacuating. Hux's aide even comments on this. The First Order intends to use the powerful siege cannons of the dreadnought Fulminatrix to destroy the Resistance. However, the cannons take a long time to recharge after every salvo they fire. The Fulminatrix has two targets: a mostly empty ground base and the Resistance fleet that is overseeing the base's evacuation.
You'd Expect: For the First Order to fire on the Resistance fleet. After all, destroying the fleet effectively grounds the Resistance and prevents them from fleeing. Besides, it's not like the planetary base is really going anywhere. There's even the possibility that the base may have some valuable intel that the Resistance was unable to erase due to their hasty evacuation.
Instead: The dreadnought fires on the Resistance ground base. All this accomplishes is the destruction of an already abandoned base along with any information stored there. Additionally, the Resistance is able to complete its evacuation in the time it takes for the cannons to recharge.
- The Fulminatrix just blew up the Resistance ground base and is now (finally) taking aim at the Resistance fleet. Poe has devised a strategy with a bomber squadron to go against it.
You'd Expect: That Poe, a seasoned military pilot and squad leader, is aware of the slowness and fragility of his bomber ships, not to mention their highly volatile load. He should send them in a loose formation in order to dilute enemy fire and avoid the entire squad from being caught in a catastrophic chain reaction in case some of them blows up, itself a quite intuitive possibility. Flying right forward in a full frontal attack is a bad idea nonetheless, but those details would at least avoid a worst case scenario.
Instead: He sends them forward in a dense, tight formation in which the bombers can almost touch each other. Thus, the destruction of one of them initiates a chain reaction that wipes out the entire squad save for one.
For Added Stupidity: The design of the Fulminatrix concentrates its point defense weapons on the topside, and its colossal autocannons, its primary weapons, on its underside. At least some of the bombers could have approached it from below and taken out the autocannons without risking at attack from any of the point defense weapons, allowing the rest to attack the dreadnought's weak spot freely with the reassurence the Fulminatrix will not be able to blow up the Resistance's fleet anymore.
Instead: Poe sends all the bombers to attack the dreadnought from the very side that it has its heaviest defenses, and has to go through all the needless trouble of attacking the point defense weapons on the dreadnought and face all the fighters that are being launched in that direction as well.
- Leia objects to Poe leading the bomber squadron on a frontal assault against the Fulminatrix. Poe turns off his commlink and proceeds with the attack.
You'd Expect: Leia, being the one in command at this particular battle, to issue direct orders to the bombers to ignore Poe and break off the attack.
Instead: Leia either doesn't come up with the above solution or decides to treat this as a teaching moment and allow the attack to proceed in order to see it fail in Poe's face. She then has the nerve to discipline Poe afterward for losing all the bombers.
For Added Stupidity: The very introduction of the bomber squad shows that, for all their slowness, they are already pretty far from the Resistance fleet and approaching the First Order contingent. This obviously means that the bombing plan started a comparatively long time ago before Leia ordered it to stop. If she wasn't comfortable with how the attack was going to be handled, she could have perfectly intervened before the squad reached the damn middle of the battlefield and became vulnerable to both enemy attacks and stupid(er) orders.
- Still unwilling to just order Poe's squad back herself, Leia watches it happen.
You'd Expect: Leia to order the rest of the fleet to make the jump without them. All of the bombers and fighters in the Cobalt Squad happen to have their own hyperdrives, meaning they can follow the main Resistance fleet after finishing their task. Even in the case they could not reach the fleet's hyperspeed, Leia may possibly think on organizing a brief rendezvous in some nearby system to recover them. (Granted, they were being followed through hyperspace by Snoke's ship, but nobody in the Resistance knew that.)
Instead: Leia opts to wait for the squadron to return to the fleet's current location, even though she has no discernible reason to do so. As a result, the Fulminatrix has enough time to lock its gigantic autocannons on the Raddus and only the improbable success of the Cobalt Squad saves barely the latter from being destroyed or crippled.
- Captain Moden Canady, the commander of the Fulminatrix, sure sounds cool for acting like he's Surrounded by Idiots, but he isn't that competent himself. He's in charge of a dreadnought with an ample complement of fighters and his vessel is approached by a single hostile ship.
You'd Expect: For him to order the fighters to immediately intercept.
Instead: He sits idly by while the ship's pilot comes too close, mocks his higher-up, and starts clearing out the dreadnought's surface cannons, and then complains they should have given the order to scramble the fighters "five bloody minutes ago" as if he wasn't the one in command who should have given it himself. (The Expanded Universe reveals this one is not on the captain, but on Hux, who overrode him on deploying fighters in an attempt to give the Resistance a lesson. "What an Idiot!" perfectly summed up Captain Canady's own opinion on Hux regarding that.)
You'd Still Expect: That when he sees the rebels evacuating to a single cruiser, he'd blast the cruiser and leave them stranded.
Instead: Canady only thinks of doing that when he's already under attack and his cannons are recharging.
At Least: When in possession of a dual cannon, each barrel of which can fire twice with a single charge, he should leave it halfway charged and ready for a surprise blast if necessary.
Instead: The cannon fires a total of four rounds on the base, even if a single blast is seen obliterating it, and then cannot fire on the cruiser and cut the rebels off on time.
- The First Order has found the route of the Resistance fleet thanks to a special tracker in Snoke's flagship, the Supremacy. Now the rebels' gas reserve is the only thing that impedes them from falling in the First Order's clutches, as their ships happen to be not much faster than the cumbersome Supremacy and can only keep the pace in the chase.
You'd Expect: Snoke to order the many Star Destroyers that follow his flagship to speed up and catch the Resistance fleet. In the improbable case they cannot do so, Snoke to order them to jump to hyperspace to a faraway point and return to intercept the Resistance fleet from any other direction in a pincer movement. If not, order any other First Order space force in the galaxy to do the same.
Instead: Snoke keeps deliberately playing cat and mouse by chasing them at the Supremacy's cruising speed, which barely keeps up with the Raddus, apparently expecting to catch them by attrition alone. As a result, the Resistance has time to reach Crait and execute a plan to save them (well, some of them, as it turns out).
- Due to 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 the 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 escape inside small cloaked transport ships. Even if she suspects there is a risk of the plans being leaked to the First Order through spies or deserters, this is simply not a situation where secrecy can be held; any possible spy could still leak the plan during its very execution, when the crew is going to aboard the escape transports and Holdo cannot keep them in the dark anymore, and they would be exactly as screwed if caught. (In fact, although it is due to an external leak, it is exactly during the plan's execution when it ends up happening.)
Alternatively: If Holdo is that determined to keep it secret, she could at least proclaim that she has a great plan that needs the crew's trust, for the sake of morale if nothing else. She seems to be known to the Resistance as a great tactician, so they have no reason not to believe in her good judgement with a few clues. Moreover, the claim would still be unspecific enough to impede any spy from learning anything decisive for now.
Alternatively Alternatively: Even if she is right to withhold her plan from Poe, Holdo should at least try to keep him in check. Poe is a loose cannon and has a tendency to break rules, so if Holdo genuinely distrusts Poe and wants to maintain order, she should just lock him up in the brig or order someone to keep an eye on him.
Instead: She refuses to tell them anything until the very last possible moment. When Poe objects to this apparent lack of options, she outright dismisses him with a staggering display of rudeness due to him recently being demoted. This ultimately causes a huge amount of mistrust between the two of them, and so Poe, being all free and unchecked, sends Finn and Rose off on a disastrous mission that allows the enemy to realize their plans and provokes a mutiny that wastes a lot of precious time for the Resistance - all of which forces Holdo to sacrifice herself to give the Rebels time to escape.
For Added Stupidity: When Poe starts a mutiny against Holdo, believing she's going to get them all either killed or sold to the First Order, his partisans (which might actually compose the majority of the Resistance staff, given that no visible crewman in a crowded hangar opposes or objects the mutiny) include lieutenant Kaydel Ko Connix, one of the very bridge officers of the Raddus, who had previously been in command of the evacuation of the D'Qar base. The implication of this is that everyone in the chain of command that wasn't Leia, Holdo and maybe her senior officers was completely left in the dark too, including those that would probably be in on a need-to-know basis, therefore inevitably prompting everybody in the ship to believe they were being led to their deaths. This makes their mistrust towards her and their frustration by the continued deaths a perfectly reasonable reaction, which highlights further that Holdo massively mishandled the situation.
- 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.
You'd Also Expect: Given the first destination of the mission, Poe to have someone knowledgeable in infiltration and familiar with the galactic high class accompany Finn and Rose. Any mistake could end up with them arrested in a planet full of scumbags and probably First Order sympathizers, or even worse, captured in the very First Order flagship, any of which could compromise the already precarious current state of the Resistance. After all, Poe's in a ship with the entirety of the Resistance and it's later shown he has many loyal men among them, so it would be surprising there's absolutely nobody in his command who could do the work.
Instead: Poe sends Finn and Rose entirely alone and in their own, despite they are respectively a former Stormtrooper with No Social Skills and a lowly mechanic, none of which is trained in spywork or has ever been in a place remotely resembling Canto Bight. As a result, they commit a stupid mistake right after landing and are captured without ways to get to the Master Codebreaker. Speaking of such mistake...
- Finn and Rose arrive to the planet Cantonica in a Resistance ship. Upon landing on a Canto Bight beach, a fussy alien named Slowen Lo screams to them that they are not allowed to leave their ship there.
You'd Expect: Finn and Rose would be smart enough to know that they are not going to start well by getting in trouble with the local law enforcement. Thus, they should try to find out where they can leave their ship without breaking any law. If they have no way to do so, one of them should keep the ship in the planet's orbit while the other enters the casino and contacts the Master Codebreaker so they can extract him.
Instead: They ignore him and head to the casino while leaving the ship ilegally parked. As a result, Lo informs the Canto Bight Police on them and has them arrested and jailed, potentially stopping their mission on its tracks.
- Finn and Rose are in jail in Canto Bight, and while discussing their mission to find the Codebreaker to infiltrate the Supremacy, are approached by DJ, who claims he can do the job they need.
You'd Expect: Them not to trust his claim, due to the sheer improbability that they happened to be imprisoned next to a man with exactly the unusual type and level of skills they are looking for. Even if he shows to be able to hack a cell door lock system, it is still a relatively common skill in the galaxy (heck, R2 does it every film) and doesn't mean he is necessarily qualified for the job they need him to do. Thus, after escaping, they should use their stolen yatch to return to Canto Bight (hopefully this time without parking on a forbidden zone) and sneak into the casino to meet the Master Codebreaker. If DJ wants some payment for helping them up to this point, the codebreaker looks like a healthy man and could surely afford to pay him as a favor to Maz, remembering to tell DJ to keep his mouth shut about what little he knows by this point.
Instead: They buy DJ's story and continue the mission with him instead of the Master Codebreaker, trusting the mission on a random rascal with no connections to the Resistance and only minimal proofs of his competency and loyalty. Shockingly and luckily for them, DJ's claims about his skills end up being true, but when the situation turns dire in the Supremacy, he betrays them to the First Order.
For Added Stupidity: DJ made it very clear in his conversation with Finn that he held no allegiance to the Resistance. He does not even lie about the fact he is a potential turncoat. And even knowing it, Finn conducts a radio conversation with Poe about the Resistance's status with the speakers on in all the yacht, allowing DJ to overhear it.
- Finn, Rose and DJ have infiltrated the Supremacy by impersonating First Order officers.
You'd Expect: Them to remember that BB-8 sticks like a sore thumb with them. The First Order astromechs and most of its gear are painted black, while BB-8 sports the Resistance's orange and white colors, and they doesn't have a quick way to safely camouflage it. In that case, they should leave it hidden somewhere, carry only their radios and recover it later before escaping the flagship.
Instead: Finn empties a paper bin and drops it on top of BB-8 to make it resemble a MSE-6 repair droid. Naturally, BB-8's resultant camouflage is flimsy at the best, as it even hits a random Stormtrooper in his way for being unable to see clearly. As expected, a First Order astromech notices it and sees through the disguise, alerting the First Order on them.
Even Worse: Rose and DJ have somewhat of a free pass because they are presumably unfamiliar with First Order equipment (not to mention DJ might secretly not give a crap about being captured, as he has vital info he could use for bargain), but Finn is a former First Order stormtrooper himself. He should be the least probable of the three to believe such a ruse was going to work.
- Leia and Holdo finally reveal their plan: to evacuate the Raddus in cloaked pods while the main ship acts as a decoy. The downside is that, the ship apparently lacking autopilot, someone has to stay in the cruiser in a Heroic Sacrifice to keep it going and maintain their façade.
You'd Expect: Them to leave an expendable droid in charge of the ship, or to ask a volunteer among the crew to do it, anything except the captain Going Down with the Ship. Given that the Resistance is severely undermanned and lacking specialized staff, preserving all of its strategists and high-ranking officers should be a priority.
Instead: For some fathomless reason, Vice-Admiral Holdo decides she has to do it herself, despite this means the Resistance will lose one of their (supposedly) best tacticians in their direst times with all it entails. Her futile sacrifice will be also yet another blow to her friend Leia, who has just lost her husband at the hands of their corrupted son.
Even Worse: This is not the first time the Resistance has pointlessly lost a commander, as the captain of the medical frigate Anodyine similarly elected for no reason to stay in his completely evacuated ship and died there when the ship was destroyed.
- As the Supremacy is destroying the Resistance evacuation transports, a sensor officer reports to General Hux that the Raddus, a ship that only has Holdo on board, is preparing to jump to lightspeed.
You'd Expect: Hux to become suspicious of Holdo's intentions and order the officer to monitor the Raddus, leading him to realise that the Raddus is aiming at the Supremacy and that Holdo is about to pull off an extremely destructive Heroic Sacrifice.
Instead: Hux completely and utterly misreads Holdo's intentions and dismisses it as a distraction, probably because he has no concept of self-sacrifice given that Evil Cannot Comprehend Good.
The Result: By the time he realises what's about to happen, it's too late. He can scream "FIRE ON THAT CRUISER!!!!" all he wants, they're not going to get an opportunity to destroy it in time because the weapons are trained on unarmed escape pods heading in the direction the Raddus isn't in, and there's no time to take evasive action. Because Hux wasted his opportunity to prevent this, the First Order's flagship is irreparable and has to be scuttled, around twenty Star Destroyers have been reduced to scrap, and Holdo has probably taken a lot of First Order soldiers with her.
- The Resistance is huddled at the Crait Rebel base while the First Order brings a large siege superlaser to smash through their front doors. However, Poe and company discover thirteen functional V-4X-D ski speeders which they can use to attack and destroy the First Order's siege equipment.
You'd Expect: Them to execute anything but a frontal attack. The ski speeders are few, unarmored and only lightly armed, while the First Order is employing a Veers Formation with all their AT-AT, AT-M6, AT-ST and air support fighters pointing all their humongous firepower forward, which effectively turns the Resistance forces into sitting ducks. Moreover, unlike the slow bombers from the film's beginning, the V-4X-D are actually pretty fast and could believably perform some agile flanking maneuvers to distract their enemies and avoid their artillery.
Instead: The Resistance charges forward without any complex strategy. As a result, although they do score some kills, the speeders are eventually wiped out and their pilots die for nothing.
Even Worse: Before the squad's complete destruction, Finn has improbably managed to avoid fire enough time to direct his ski speeder towards the superlaser's barrel, which will hopefully destroy it from inside at the cost of his life and ensure the squad's sacrifice was not in vain. Only that, by virtue of questionable philosophical reasons, his partner Rose decides to impede it, destroying both of their vehicles in the process and blowing off the Resistance's last chance to destroy the superlaser.
- In a deleted scene, but a rather lapse of judgement of Phasma's part. She and her troopers have Finn cornered on all sides. Finn then calls out Phasma for shutting down Starkiller's shields, then covering it up to save her own skin.
You'd Expect: Phasma to outright deny it and call Finn a lying traitor attempting to save himself, or just order her troopers to kill him.
Instead: Phasma asks, "Who would believe a story like that?", which doesn't sound like denial and in ear shot of her troopers.
The Result: The troopers begin to consider Finn may be telling the truth, so Phasma is forced to kill them all, eliminating her own backup and giving Finn the time to literally disarm her, leading to her death.
- 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 insane enough to stand in the middle of the field completely open to all sorts of attack, let alone survive it. Even if it somehow happened to be the case, nothing should make Kylo believe he can do with his lightsaber what a ton of AT-AT gunfire has just failed to do.
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.
- Rey's parents want to hide their five-year-old daughter from her grandfather.
You'd Expect: Them to seek a densely populated planet, preferably with a human population so the girl can grow unnoticed and at least adequately cared for. Or take her to Luke Skywalker, who's training new Jedi and defeated Sidious years before.
Instead: They dump her in Jakku, a desert scavenger world, directly in the hands of a petty merchant like Unkar Plutt. As a result, she lives in a miserable, abused state for 15 years.
For Added Stupidity: Growing up abused, powerless and unloved leaves her much more vulnerable to the Dark Side than if she'd been raised in a loving and stable environment, even though this is precisely what her parents wanted to avoid.
- Ochi, in service to Darth Sidious, is tasked with finding his granddaughter and bringing her to Sidious's hideout on Exegol, a planet that is extremely hard to find without the coordinates or a Sith Wayfinder, of which there are only two in the entire galaxy.
You'd Expect: Sidious to either give Ochi the coordinates or direct him to the relatively accessible Wayfinder on Mustafar.
Instead: Ochi's only means of reaching Exegol is being given a knife with directions to the other Wayfinder in the wreckage of the second Death Star. And by "directions" meaning the knife points to roughly where in the wreckage, via its shape loosely conforming to the wreck's shape if one stands at a specific hill. If the wreckage deteriorates further by the ocean waves around them, or if he stands at the wrong hill, or if the Wayfinder is taken by scavengers before he gets there, or if the indicated location is still so broad that Ochi ends up looking several miles away from the right spot, then he's got no way to complete his mission.
- As Ochi is attacking Rey's parents, her mother suspiciously denies that Rey is on Jakku.
You'd Expect: For Ochi to follow up on that clue and thoroughly search the desert planet for Rey.
Or: To stop and interrogate her for more information, either by himself or with Sidious, who can read minds.
Instead: He ignores what she said and murders both of them. He later dies on the planet Pasaana, failing to find Rey.
- Palpatine has an enormous fleet with planet-killing capabilities in Exegol which he plans to use to conquer the Galaxy.
You'd Expect: He would keep this a secret. He should communicate with the First Order discreetly about it and not make public the knowledge of his fleet until it has already deployed and spread through the Galaxy.
Instead: He sends a transmission to all the Galaxy gloating about it, all while the fleet is still stationed in Exegol, a planet whose atmosphere renders them stupidly vulnerable by making their takeoff and usage of shields difficult. As a result, the Resistance and their subsequent reinforcements receive an excellent chance to defeat them.
- Palpatine's plan involves being killed by Rey so his undead spirit can possess her.
You'd Expect: Him not to tell her, and just let Rey butcher him thinking she is just finishing a Dark Lord on Life Support. Boom, Rey possessed, The Bad Guy Wins.
Instead: Unable to keep his big mouth closed for five more seconds, he (guess what) gloats about his brilliant plan to transfer his own mind and all the other Sith into Rey. Naturally, she refrains to do so, ruining the plan. You would think he would have learned after his last death.
- Palpatine and Rey are having their ultimate showdown. The Sith Lord throws Force Lightning at her, only for her to start directing it back at him thanks to her two lightsabers.
You'd Expect: Being an experienced Force user and duelist who has already suffered from the same technique, he would stop shooting lightning at her. There are many techniques, like telekinesis, which he can use to recover the advantage. Even barring that, he could have stolen Leia's lightsaber or whipped his own one out of his robes and struck down Rey in seconds.
Instead: He just keeps and keeps trying, allowing Rey to send the totality of his humongous power back at him, vaporizing his body.
- General Pryde, commanding the Steadfast Star Destroyer in low orbit, hears that his ship is being boarded. The Resistance fighters are using horses to traverse the outside of the ship, instead of anti-gravity speeders.
You'd Expect: Pryde to order his ship to tilt or turn upside down, causing all the boarders to fall off to the planet below.
Instead: He tries to clear off the boarders with infantry, who predictably are easily repelled by the good guys.