*Warning. Spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution.*
At the risk of angering a plurality of Star Wars fans, it must be said: While the Star Wars universe does a fantastic job of weaving together a disparate universe thrown into chaos by war and strife, there have been far too many plot holes and vague situations that have never really been effectively tied up or explained.
One might point to the ever-present argument about whether it was Han Solo or Greedo who shot first in that seedy corner of the bar on Tatooine. Lucasfilm attempted to answer this nagging question back in 1997 when the company released a “Special Edition” of the original Star Wars trilogy, which updates that scene to show Greedo indeed pulling his trigger a half second before Han. The hardest of the hardcore fans have roundly rejected the Special Edition’s change, instead opting for a purist stance on toward the original version. This invariably means that for some fans, the argument lives on. And for some, a plot hole cannot be so easily explained away.
Does it matter? Of course. Vague, unanswered questions like that have far-reaching consequences for characters and plot. If Han Solo did indeed shoot first, it alters our perspective of him as a character. He moves far more in the direction of a villain. Of course, one might say that if he did if he shoot first, it’s only because he knew it was kill or be killed. The life of a smuggler is hard. You’re either about that life, or you’re dead.
A Universe Full of Inconsistencies
But in the grand scheme of things, whether Han Solo shot first is a long, long way from being earth-shattering, so to speak. It doesn’t necessarily alter our understanding of the wider Star Wars plot, and it’s not going to make or break the Star Wars universe.
In 2015, the Huffington Post ran an article titled “40 Unforgivable Plot Holes in Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. Among these are things like Rey speaking Wookie, despite having grown up alone on a planet where there are no Wookies or the fact that Kylo Ren can sense his father’s presence anywhere in the galaxy, yet can’t find Han when Han is only a few feet away from him. These are certainly amusing, but hardly the plot holes you were looking for.
No, perhaps one of the most pernicious plots hole in the Star Wars universe has been one of design, or rather, faulty design: the weakness in the Death Star. For years, we have been led to believe that the greatest minds in the nameless galaxy far away somehow, inexplicably, were able to build a death machine the size of a moon, and that is of inconceivably intricate detail, yet somehow allowed a glaring and easily exploited design flaw in the system. In truth, it was a flaw of such epic proportions that all it took was one Force-enabled shot to take it down, blowing up the entire thing.
No one captured this issue more succinctly or humorously than Dorkly. Enjoy the following video:
Dorkly answers the mysteries behind the exhaust port plot hole by explaining it away in another fashion. It wasn’t poor design, says Dorkly, it was space magic. To be fair, Dorkly has a point. Luke Skywalker’s shot was all kinds of impossible. But pretty much anything in the Star Wars universe can be explained away with the Force. It’s a fair response, but it’s simply too convenient, if not lazy. Yes, Luke’s shot was miraculous and relied heavily on the Force to actually work out. But the Force cannot account for the fact that the original Death Star had a plot hole that was a literal hole that should have been accounted for by a good engineer.
The Plot Hole You Were Looking For
This nagging problem sat unanswered for decades, passed over and ignored by Lucasfilm. Few of us likely expected it to ever get answered effectively in film (fan fiction is another matter). That is, of course, until Rogue One just shut down that argument for good.
Rogue One focuses on telling the untold story that directly preceded Star Wars Episode IV, in which a desperate princess Leia is seen in a recording pleading for Obi-Wan Kenobi. He is, after all, their only hope in getting the plans for Death Star’s weaknesses into the right hands to get the job done. What we were never told in the intervening years is how she really got that information.
In Rogue One, we learn that it was one Jyn Orso, the movie’s heroine who dies not long after getting the information to the rebellion. And more importantly, we learn that it was her father, Galen Orso, a key Death Star engineer and Rebellion sympathizer, who not only leaked the information of the Death Star’s weakness but purposefully built the weakness into the system in order to bring down the Death Star from the inside.
In 133 minutes of film Rogue One ends a long-standing problem for the Star Wars universe, doing so in the most Star Wars way possible: massive blaster battles, tons of death and a lot of heart. Not only does Jyn steal the plans that reveal the weakness in the Death Star as her final, Imperial-defying act, she steals a place in the Star Wars history books as the person who finally put to rest one of the biggest plot holes introduced in Star Wars.
Now if only Disney can use its newly-acquired license to help us understand why Obi-Wan somehow forgot that he was there when Leia was born.