False facts about Star Wars you always thought were true

Star Wars is truly a film series that links generations together. Fans of the original showed their children the prequels, and some of the children who loved the prequels are now taking their younglings to see The Force Awakens and Rogue One. With these generations of Force-loving fans, it would be easy to think all the Jedi secrets have been shaken out of a galaxy far, far away. Along the way, though, fans have made many assumptions about their most beloved movies and characters that aren't true … even from "a certain point of view."

Stormtroopers are terrible shots

This misconception dates all the way back to the first Star Wars movie. Obi-Wan Kenobi serves as a hype man for Stormtroopers and their accuracy when he determines that Sand People couldn't have killed the Jawas in the desert. "Only Imperial Stormtroopers are this precise," he said. However, when our heroes rescue Princess Leia from the Death Star, the Stormtroopers seemingly can't land a single shot, leading to four decades of jokes about these "precise" troopers having absolutely terrible aim.

However, this is proven false by a major plot point of the movie. Princess Leia speculates (and Grand Moff Tarkin confirms) that their escape was "too easy," and that the Empire simply let them go. This is true, of course, with our heroes unwittingly bringing a homing beacon back to their hidden base. The heroes obviously can't lead the Empire back to the base if the heroes are fried to a crisp like Luke's aunt and uncle. Therefore, all those Stormtroopers had to deliberately miss the main characters, in order for the plan to work. Instead of joking about their bad aim, viewers should really be congratulating them on their solid improvisational acting abilities!

Luke would never join the Empire

Here's another misconception that stems from the first movie. Most viewers assume that Luke would never have joined the Empire. In fact, he practically says so himself, telling C-3PO about how much he hates the Empire, and showing clear enthusiasm for stories about the Rebellion.

Luke gives a bit of a mixed message, though, when he argues with his uncle about being able to join "the Academy" like his friend Biggs did. Canonically, this academy is an Imperial Academy—Biggs joined the Empire before defecting with several others, which is a similar story to Wedge Antilles. This is made clear in some of the deleted scenes from the first movie, as well as some of the extended universe material that later came out. To be fair, it's entirely possible that Luke would have ended up defecting like his friends did, but the truth remains that, if his uncle had been more lenient, Luke would have been wearing a TIE pilot uniform before he ever flew down a Death Star trench as a Rebel pilot.

"Less than 12 parsecs" was a mistake

Han Solo drove nerds crazy when he bragged about making the Kessel Run in "less than 12 parsecs." As almost any sci-fi fan will tell you, a parsec is a measurement of distance, and not time. Therefore, this claim doesn't work in the "how fast can you win the race" sense, because it instead means Han somehow completed this run in less distance. Must be a plothole, right?

Not really. Multiple writers and fans over the years have successfully taken to writing both Han Solo and George Lucas out of this particular corner. The most accepted explanation comes from Star Wars: The Essential Atlas. These books explain that the Kessel Run itself runs really close to a series of black holes known as "The Maw." The normal run was typically 18 parsecs long, but pilots could get close to the black holes to effectively cut parsecs off their run.

In one particular misadventure, Han pilots right through the heart of the Maw and emerges on the other side. Thus, the nature of his boast is twofold, as it proves his superiority to other pilots (most of whom wouldn't dare get so close to the black holes) and the power of his ship (it obviously takes some powerful engines to skirt black holes without falling in).

Of course, the science of skimming so close to a black hole also means that, realistically, Han Solo would have time-traveled decades into the future due to time dilation. If you're feeling generous, this does bolster its claim, as going 40 years in a day really does make the Falcon the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy!

Leia was a beloved character from the start

As far as most fans are concerned, Leia Organa is an absolutely beloved character and always has been. She's a take-charge, badass woman who rescues others as much as she gets rescued, and doesn't take crap from anybody. There's a reason that Leia's a feminist icon — even when she's put in a weird gold bikini to be an alien slug's slave, she ends up choking the actual life out of him.

Thing is, according to no less than Carrie Fisher herself, Leia being a beloved icon from Scene 1 on was not the case. In a 1983 interview with Rolling Stone magazine (the one with possibly the greatest cover of any publication in the galaxy), Fisher revealed that the writers struggled to make Leia easy to relate to. Because she had lost her planet and everyone on it, Fisher said "all she has is a cause" and that for the writers, the "only way they knew to make the character strong was to make her angry."

Therefore, the same strength that many fans love about Leia left a lot of early fans cold, and Fisher said they thought she was "some kind of space b****." According to her, Return of the Jedi involved very deliberate reinvention of her character, where she "gets to be more feminine, more supportive, more affectionate." (This would explain her more pronounced romance with Han, friendship with Ewoks, empathy with Luke, and so on.)

The ironic downside to softening her character, however, is that because these movies were presented as "basically boys' fantasies," the filmmakers felt they couldn't fully feminize Leia without having "her take off her clothes" — hence, the infamous gold bikini was born.

Ewoks are cute and harmless

Ewoks are some of the most reviled aliens in all of Star Wars fandom. Some fans resent what might have been (originally, Return of the Jedi was going to feature Wookies instead of Ewoks), while others resent that they are a clear marketing ploy to children (for instance, the word "Ewok" is never used in the movie, but the never-ending bevy of merchandise and crappy cartoons made the word universal).

Perhaps above all, fans resent that the Ewoks are presented as cute and harmless. Here's the deal, though: Ewoks aren't cute and cuddly at all. Canonically, they hunt and eat other living creatures, like humans, which is what they tried to do to Han (as shown here) — C3PO even tells Han that the smuggler will be "the main course at a banquet in my honor." Remember the cutesy scene at the end, with the Ewok drumming on those Stormtrooper helmets? He almost certainly cooked and ate that soldier before doing a Stomp routine with his armor.

If that's not enough, Lucas revealed on the commentary to the 2004 re-release of the Star Wars movies that the Ewoks and their guerrilla fighting are modeled after the Viet Cong. In addition to the uncomfortable fact that this basically makes America the Empire, it means that those cutesy teddy bear creatures are modeled after a military force that killed nearly 60,000 trained soldiers. Next time someone tells you Ewoks are cute, ask them how they can casually admire an alien metaphor for cannibalistic Viet Cong soldiers.

Vader said "Luke, I am your father"

Darth Vader's famous for many things, perhaps the biggest being the revelation that he is Luke Skywalker's father. Hence, everyone working their best Darth Vader imitation voice and uttering the famous line, "Luke, I am your father!" Like you just did. It's OK to admit it.

There's just one problem here: Darth Vader never said that. Joining the ranks of quotes like "Beam me up, Scotty," the line "Luke, I am your father" has been misremembered and misquoted by countless people for decades. The actual line that Vader utters is, "No, I am your father."

Now, in the context of Empire Strikes Back, the real line makes a lot of sense, as it's a retort to Luke accusing Vader of betraying and murdering his father. The misquote, on its own, also makes sense because people saying "no" unbidden is very confusing, while adding "Luke" gives an otherwise out-of-place quote some much-needed cultural context. Or, if you subscribe to the online cult of the Mandela Effect, Vader did say "Luke, I am your father," and people are simply experiencing shared memories from a parallel universe.

C3PO was always completely golden

When The Force Awakens came out, audiences were happy to see the return of C3PO, even though when he was on screen, it was clear that something had changed. Specifically, he now had a red arm, instead of his typical golden appendage. Many fans were surprised, as they remembered C3PO as being entirely golden in the Original Trilogy. However, that's not true at all.

In the Original Trilogy, C3PO actually sported a silver leg throughout his adventures that broke up his otherwise-uniform golden body. Older, non-canonical stories attempted to explain that his original golden leg was blown off by a bomb and then replaced, but it's far more likely that the droid — like everything else in the original movie — was meant to have a "used" look that contributed to the feeling of a lived-in universe (which contrasts starkly with the pristine look of the Prequel Trilogy).

Visually, the presence of that replaced limb also helps prove his claim to Luke that he and R2D2 have been traveling around the galaxy in the company of Rebels, which is a very dangerous occupation. Also, the prequel revelation that C3PO was actually created by a young Anakin Skywalker, from the various parts he cobbled together, helps explain that the character has always been a bit of a patchwork creation that gets additions and replacements from time to time.

Boba Fett was introduced in Empire Strikes Back

Somewhere along the way, Boba Fett became a bona fide cultural phenomenon. For someone with so little screen time and so few lines, he has captured the public imagination enough to be the star of countless comic, literary, and video game adventures. In fact, he very nearly got his own solo movie, and diehard fans are still waiting for that to happen as part of Star Wars' expanding cinematic universe. Given all that, it would make sense that most of Fett's fans know where he made his debut. It must be The Empire Strikes Back, right?

Actually, no. Boba Fett has the ignominious honor of being introduced in an animated short inside the highly forgettable Star Wars Holiday Special. This special was broadcast one time and never released officially on VHS, DVD, or any other format. It can be found in certain corners of the internet and is famous for being a hot mess, with intensely unfunny skits, awful music, and huge stretches where Wookiees communicate in growls, with nary a subtitle in sight.

Relative to all this, Boba Fett's short is actually pretty decent, assuming that the viewer can get over the highly stylized heavy metal art. Fett was very similar to his later appearances, as he was a bounty hunter working to find the Rebels for Vader. Fans who missed this animated appearance could still see Fett before Empire Strikes Back came out, as he was a special figure fans could receive via mail. The Fett hype train began as fans wondered who this neat character was, and the train hasn't stopped since.

Jedi can't have sex

The idea that Jedi aren't supposed to be having sex seems pretty hard-coded into most people's understanding of Star Wars. After all, wasn't this why Anakin and Padme snuck around, kept their marriage a secret, and fretted about Padme's pregnancy possibly destroying their careers?

The answer to that, in appropriately cryptic Jedi fashion, is "yes and no." As Anakin awkwardly and woodenly mentions in Attack of the Clones, Jedi are forbidden from a number of things adjacent to sex and romance, such as "attachment" and "possession." Plus, as Yoda likes to point out (and Anakin likes to be the example of), attachment is dangerous because when a Jedi's loved one is threatened or killed, it can easily lead them to the Dark Side. So, the attachment and possession of marriage is definitely forbidden.

So, what about just plain sex? As many people figure out from a young age, the actual act of sex doesn't require attachment or possession. A Jedi sleeping with another living being doesn't mean that they must get married and settle down. Anakin even seems to hint to this, when he gives Padme his best bedroom eyes and points out that Jedi must have "compassion," which he defines as "unconditional love," and thus the Jedi are "encouraged to love" other people.

While this may all sound like speculation, it was actually confirmed by George Lucas himself. During a 2002 interview in London, Lucas clarified the typical understanding that Jedi are sexless warrior monks by pointing out, "Jedi Knights aren't celibate — the thing that is forbidden is attachments — and possessive relationships." Suddenly, Obi-Wan's familiarity with Tatooine's bar full of sexy strangers makes a lot more sense.

Alderaan was not a military target

The primary act meant to cement the Empire's evil in A New Hope is the destruction of Alderaan. Leia begs Tarkin to not destroy her peaceful planet, insisting that they have no weapons and that there's no reason to destroy it. She offers up the fake Rebel base location of Dantooine to attack, but Tarkin decides to destroy the more populated and well-known location of Alderaan to demonstrate the power of the Empire. Thus, viewers walk away thinking that the Empire destroyed a planet full of peaceful hippies just to make a point.

However, that's not entirely true. Alderaan certainly qualified as a "military target," to use Tarkin's words. Leia is Alderaanian royalty who uses her position to run weapons and information for the Rebellion. Before that, the prequels make clear that her father the Senator used his resources to hide Jedi and other enemies of the Empire. If that's not enough, there has even been a re-branding effort by Disney to call the "Corellian Corvettes" by the name "Alderaan Cruisers" instead, meaning that Leia's failed getaway ship with the Death Star plans was provided by Alderaan. And none of this even touches on the comics and books of the extended universe that show even more Alderaanian military collaboration. So, while blowing up an entire planet remains something of an overreaction, Leia's assertion that her peaceful planet is not a military target is completely wrong.

Luke shouldn't be able to fly an X-wing

This one is short and sweet. Many people over the years have wondered how Luke is able to even fly an X-wing at the end of A New Hope. How realistic is it that an outsider farmboy wanders into a high-level military meeting and is handed control of a deadly war plane? How realistic is it that he would even know how to fly something it takes others years to master? Is there an answer, people wonder, aside from "the Force" or "he's the hero, get over it?"

The answer lies with Luke's toy model. Audiences see Luke play with a model ship earlier in the movie. Canonically, this is the T-16 that he has mastered flying, the one he uses to shoot womp rats. The T-16 is manufactured by Incom, the same company that makes the T-65 X-wing. So, if Luke has spent years learning how to fly one Incom machine, then it makes sense he would be able to handle himself in another ship that likely uses very similar controls.

The wampa attacking Luke was to explain Luke's scar

One of the first things that happens to Luke Skywalker in Empire Strikes Back is getting hit in the face by a Wampa. While this serves to prove the guy with magical powers and a laser sword is still vulnerable and untrained, many fans over the years have assumed this scene has an ulterior motive: that it serves to explain Mark Hamill's scar from a nasty car accident.

Hamill indeed crashed his car in 1977, during that delicate period in-between Star Wars wrapping up filming but before the movie premiered (AKA, before he got too famous for anyone to care). The accident left Hamill with a fractured nose and cheekbone, and many fans believe evidence of this accident is visible on Hamill's face during Empire, particularly as he recovers from the Wampa attack. Hence, the very popular theory that the attack was written to provide an "in-universe" explanation for his appearance.

According to Lucas, though, this is simply not true. On Empire's Blu-Ray commentary track, Lucas says that he knew Hamill would look a bit different after his accident, but felt it actually made sense, plot-wise. As he explained, "some time had passed, they've been in the Rebellion fighting, that kind of thing, so the change [in his appearance] was justifiable." Thus, while the Wampa scene may represent a dangerous day in the life of a Rebel, it was really written "to keep the film suspenseful at the beginning while the Empire is looking for them." See? Sometimes, even Lucas has good ideas.

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