6 Logic Hurdles Luke Jumps to Destroy The Death Star

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I love Star Wars and I love Star Wars: Episode IV a New Hope. However, even as a kid it bothered me that Luke could just get into an X-Wing and fly his way to victory. Of course it’s something you’re supposed to accept or else the movie would have ended much differently. I thought it would be interesting to consider the logical leaps we must either accept or ignore in order for the ending to be believable.

1. T-16 Skyhoppers Must be Cheap as Hell

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How does Luke own an aircraft when the moisture farm isn’t making enough money for him to leave for the academy? Or how about the fact they own the Star Wars equivalent to a car that isn’t selling for shit on the secondary market? Even in a world where space traveling is commonplace a vehicle like an aircraft would have to cost a fair amount of money. Where did he get the money to pay for this thing? Wouldn’t Uncle Owen need it for his shitty water farm? Seriously, they have to barter with Jawa junk traders in order to get droids to fix their farm equipment, it would seem like money would be a bit scarce for the Skywalkers. Luke getting a dirtbike for his 15th birthday? Yes. Fancy aircraft? Hmmm

2. The Rebels Had an Extra X-Wing

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The Rebels must have lost a pilot due to space AIDS, because how else would they have an unmanned X-Wing waiting for some newb to pilot? There’s no way they would have cut a more experienced pilot in favor of this farm kid, even with a good word from Biggs.

Any rebellion against any government is going to face extremely scare resources. If anything the Rebels would be short space fighters and have too many pilots. And even if there was a pilot shortage, it’s hard to imagine that they’d give the greenest pilot in the galaxy control of one of their precious star fighters. You’d think that they could have handed him the keys to a cargo type vessel for their escape attempt and freed up whomever normally piloted that type of ship. Then again, did the Alliance even attempt to get any resources off Yavin during the attack? They seemed pretty content to stick around to have an elaborate awards ceremony. Despite the fact the Empire knows exactly where they are.

3. Flying in Space is No Big Deal (NBD)

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Okay, so Luke is flying down canyons in his T-16 shooting small animals all day long and he’s damn good at it. Fine, I can accept that. However, in the Star Wars universe making the transition to flying in the atmosphere to flying in space must really be no big deal at all.

And in fact, the evidence on screen shows that this the case. In the Star Wars universe ships fly around like WWII fighter plans, complete with banking maneuvers and all of that. Can you imagine if space combat in Star Wars was like that in Babylon 5 where a ship could turn 360 degrees as it kept its forward momentum? Luke would have been blown away or crashed into someone almost immediately.

4. Luke Figures Out All the Controls

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While the movie itself doesn’t address this issue, numerous pieces of expanded universe material make it very clear that the T-16 Luke mentions has a very similar control scheme as the X-Wing. These external sources have to go out of their way, because otherwise Luke can’t pilot the X-Wing.

Still, you have to imagine that the X-Wing has numerous controls that the T-16 would not have. I suppose Luke could tell R2 to take them into hyperdrive, but you’ve got weapons systems, the targeting system, the shields, and you’d better hope that locking the S-foils into attack position is on a clearly labeled button.

5. Luke can Handle Flying in Formation, and Squad Tactics

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Luke probably screwed around with all his other friends that could all somehow afford flying machines on that piece of shit planet Tatooine, but did he practice flying formations? Much less practice in full scale aerial combat? Seems doubtful. From all the EU material I read he spent most of his time hot dogging and not much in military-like actions.

6. Womp Rats are Like Thermal Exhaust Ports

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At least shooting thermal ports with missiles is a lot like shooting a small moving target with lasers.

  • I think Skyhoppers are the SW equivalent of getting a dirtbike. I’d guess they’d had it for a long time and Luke was allowed to use it after fixing it up…and paying for gas.

  • Lamar The Revenger

    I was expecting something else with this article… Very pleased! Never thought of the extra X-Wing..

  • Interesting list! I agree about the extra X-Wing.

    Also — to say they fly around like WWII fighter planes is an understatement!

  • I don’t think R2 had to go hyperdrive, the Death Star was approaching the moon.

  • True. Well, that was just an explanation for one thing Luke probably wouldn’t have to do.

  • Mario Lopezzz

    Luke had the force so don’t be asshole so sgo e respect!

  • Mario Lopezzz

    Ha ha I just teasing you preppie.

  • Wallace

    1. – Yes, T-16s are cheap as hell. Seriously, it’s like owning a dvd player today and you need a good dvd player to get around on a moisture farm. What do you think Luke used to tend the water when Owen & Beru went into town to get some more blue milk?

    2. – I feel like this one is the most plausible. The rebellion has got to be losing pilots left and right because everyone is doing multi-duty (pilots doing ground missions and making contacts in cantinas – leading to shootouts and captures). I’m guessing they had someone else that they could have labelled as a “pilot” (Porkins, anyone) but it’s much better to have a force-user that is naturally talented at flight.

    3&4. – Didn’t you see how simple their maneuvers were in the attack? It involves flying toward the death star into a straight on-trench run, or circling around in big loops overhead. Wedge is the only one that does any real fancy flying, except Han & Chewie. Luke is also a naturally talented pilot, and I’m sure he has played tons of fighter sims back on Tatooine (“video games” as the kids call them today). R2 did everything but steer and pull the trigger anyways, Astromechs do a lot more than calculate hyperspace jumps.

    5. – Since Luke was the lead of his 3 fighters, “formation” involved flying straight at the death star parallel to a bunch of other ships, and then letting his two wing men flank him. Yes, he did have to “lock S-foils in attack position” but R2 could probably do that too.

    6. – Luke was using a size analogy, not saying that a thermal exhaust port WAS a womp rat. Obviously the issue here is dealing with the trajectory of a proton torpedo instead of a direct laser shot, which is why everyone else was having problems with it. Luke used the force BITCH! This is how he made the shot, otherwise his torpedo probably would have just impacted on the surface as well, just like everyone else.

  • Zanshin

    Well for number one, I would guess that the Skyhopper is a second hand piece of junk that Luke some how manages to keep flying, like a crappy car a young kid might have.

    It might also be some kind of necessity owned by his uncle, perhaps being that the closest town is quite far away (we have NO idea how long it took Luke and Ben to travel to Mos Eisely, but when first Ben first suggested it, he scoffed, like it was a considerable distance and too far for him to take Ben to) Still it seems unlikely that the Skyhopper would be of any use around the farm, and the hold appears so small, it doesn’t look like it would be large enough for moving any kind of cargo.

    For number 2, you would have to guess the rebellion had a number of those second hand X-wings, and barely was able to keep them in the air, and they were facing a shortage of pilots. If Han were to have gone into the battle with the Death Star, would he have been piloting an X-wing as well?

    As for the other items on this list, they don’t really feel like glaring mistakes to me. Still, I appreciate the list, as it was a fun read and somethings to think about.

  • Thanks for the comments.

    One thing I probably didn’t make clear is that I’m not saying that Luke wouldn’t find himself in the pilot’s seat blowing up the death star because it’s illogical, rather I’m just listing things that would have to happen for him to be able to get there.