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