No, Not Blowing Up the Escape Pod and the Droids is Not the Plot Hole in A New Hope

Posted: December 19, 2017 in Fiction, Movies

So… The new Star Wars film has everyone talking about plot points that don’t work/don’t make sense. I’ve seen a number of the defenders of the new film point out the plot holes or gaps of logic in A New Hope. One that I’ve seen brought up multiple times now in various lists of logic gaps/plot holes is the ever popular one about the Empire not blowing the escape pod R2 and C3PO are in to hell when they see it.

Of course, and I always slap my head when people trot this one out, everyone who cites this gap/hole gets it 110% wrong when talking about it.

The complaint is always that it made no sense that the troopers working the gun station didn’t blow the pod up because there were no life signs on the pod. After all, the plans thrown on the pod would have registered no life signs and this was a world where people were used to droids that would also give off no life signs the scans could detect. Therefore, they say, the gunners should have pulled the trigger. Not blowing the pod to hell because it had no life signs, they say, just makes no sense at all.

Looking at the basic plot of the opening of the film, those people are wrong. No, they should not have pulled the trigger. If anything is wrong with that scene at all, it’s the dialogue. It’s not the actions of the troopers when it came to making the shoot/don’t shoot call.

They’re trying to find the plans, not make themselves wonder if maybe they might have possibly blown up the plans instead or maybe they weren’t on this ship at all. If the goal was just blowing the plans up because they absolutely knew the plans were on the ship, they could have simply blown the entire ship to hell to begin with rather than running it down and boarding it.

They’re searching the entire ship. They want the plans recovered for whatever reason. Blowing the escape pod up creates a question. If they didn’t find the plans on the ship after a few tries, how do they know if the plans aren’t just still hidden or if they blew them up? How do they reasonably know when to stop looking? How do they know if the plans were on that ship after all? How do they know whether or not they can discount the idea of someone in an Imperial uniform working for the other team slipping away with the plans during the boarding and search of the ship?

They’re not going to blow up the escape pod. Not blowing it up was never an issue. They can’t blow it up because then they con’t rule out the idea that the plans were perhaps elsewhere all along.

The problem (besides the dialogue used in the scene) was letting the pod escape as it did to begin with. Anything that could not be contained by the tractor beam’s field should have been intercepted by any of the number of smaller ships carried on the Star Destroyer. Anything that could not be intercepted should have been followed to the surface of the planet as it descended in order to grab the plans before someone else gets to the escape pod or to intercept anyone who may have been on it the second they got out of it.

The Empire was supposedly a military power with smart tacticians and such. They would have worked that stuff out. That’s your logic gap/plot hole for the entire scene, not them not blowing up the pod. If you’re going to bitch about that scene for 40+ years, try to bitch about it right.

  1. Sean says:

    What I’m about to say will upset the Rogue One fans in the audience, but tough. The Emperor is a decidedly underused character in Star Wars. If there is one thing the Emperor can do is steer a situation to get what he wants. Why during the whole escape are the stormtroopers lousy shots? Because they have to let them go to find Yavin IV’s moon. Why doesn’t the star destroyer just splatter Echo Base once the sheild is down? I can think of two reasons. He either knew Luke was Bratakin’s son and wanted to see what he was capable of, or he wanted to throw the Alliance into disarray and confusion so the Bothans would have an easier time hawking the death star plans. The fight between Vader and Ben showed that Vader wasn’t at his best—no Imperial extended warranty I guess—but Luke is all pristine. If he could be turned, it would be Sidious’s first apprentice since Maul that wasn’t in crap shape.

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