Imperial Stormtroopers are precise in exactly which galaxy far, far away?

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If you have ever watched the original Star Trek TV series, you know that anyone on an away team wearing a red shirt was doomed to die. Except Scotty – Scotty is invincible.

And if you’ve seen the original three Star Wars movies (Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Return of the Jedi), you’ll know that Stormtroopers can not hit anything. Combine these two foibles and you get the SF fanboy/girl joke at right.

Which brings me to my point.

In Star Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker come across a destroyed jawa sandcrawler and slaughtered jawas. The jawas that sold C3-PO and R2D2 to Luke’s uncle. Here’s what Obi-Wan says in the scene:

Luke Skywalker: It looks like the Sandpeople did this, alright. Look, there’s gaffi sticks, Bantha tracks. It’s just, I never heard of them hit anything this big before.

Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi: They didn’t, but we are meant to think they did. These tracks are side-by-side. Sandpeople always ride single file to hide their numbers.

Luke Skywalker: These are the same Jawas that sold us R2 and 3PO.

Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi: And these blast points, too accurate for Sandpeople. Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise. (emphasis original)

Anyone else see the problem here?

Star Wars demonstrates – repeatedly – that Imperial Stormtroopers are unable to hit anything they aim at. Yet Obi-Wan says that the blast damage is too accurate and precise for Sandpeople and that only Imperial Stormtroopers are that good.

What the actual fuck?!

I see a few options that could be consistent with the evidence as we know it. First, Sandpeople could be such poor shots that they can’t even hit their own mouths with a fork, never mind a large stationary object with a blaster (like, say, the broad side of a barn sandcrawler). Given we see at least two Sandpeople alive and riding a bantha on Tatooine, we can probably rule this one out. Unless they’re zombies, at which point we bring Bruce Cambell into the equation and all hell breaks loose (no, wait, that’s Buffy….)

Second, Obi-Wan could be lying or an old, senile idiot. Given Obi-Wan allowed himself to be cut down by Vader, we could certainly make an argument that Obi-Wan was an idiot, but death certainly seems to have worked out in Obi-Wan’s favor, so we can probably rule out “old, senile idiot.” But we’re stuck with the option that Obi-Wan could have been lying, especially since we know that Obi-Wan lied to Luke in Star Wars and then justified the lie in Return of the Jedi.

Third, there’s a chance that the Stormtroopers actually are accurate and precise. This would imply, however, that the Stormtroopers aren’t actually trying to hit the heroes, but are instead aiming at, and hitting, the objects around the heroes but aren’t actually interested in killing the heroes themselves. This raises a number of questions. Might Stormtroopers be suicidal? Or are they secretly rebels themselves who are sacrificing themselves to Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Chewbacca in service of some secret prophecy? Maybe Stormtroopers really, really, REALLY hate mosquitos for some reason? Or were they instructed to lose on purpose by the Emperor because the Emperor was playing an even longer game than we knew? The Emperor’s body was never recovered after Vader threw him into the power generator, after all….

While I like option three the most because it’s crazy and fun to give the full tinfoil hat treatment to Star Wars, there’s probably a much simpler explanation. Namely Lucas screwing up the dialogue or had to resort to what has become known, and usually mocked mercilessly, as “plot armor.” Basically, the heroes (or anti-heroes, or even key villains) can’t die too early or else the story dies too. You know, like how the protagonist does something that should mark them as too stupid to live, but they still do anyway for no reason other than they’re the protagonist? Yeah, like that.

Oh well. I still love Star Wars, Star Trek, Babylon 5, Stargate SG-1, Warehouse 13, and many, many more, even if they’re occasionally dense enough to collapse into a black hole composed of stupid energy. Given I’ve watched The Core (unobtanium, anyone?) something like four times, I can’t really criticize.

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