SPOILER ALERT: This article may contain spoilers to Rogue One.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is out and people have flocked to see it–including me, my wife, and our oldest child. If you haven’t seen it and don’t want to risk reading any spoilers (yeah, good luck with that if you’re on social media), check out my other articles.
Otherwise, let’s keep going . . .
I will not be giving a full review of the movie, though there are plenty out there you can read or watch. Rather, I want to look at one aspect of this new film as it relates to Episode IV.
The Good: Rogue One Filled Plot Holes Created by Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars fans readily recognize that the films contained countless plot holes. Two of the biggest I’ve seen come right from Episode IV:
- Darth Vader’s not very threatening. When we first see him, Vader is tall, has a deep voice, and is very strong. Later we discover he can choke someone using the force. When it comes to his skill with a lightsaber, Vader is clumsy and slow. That’s about it. He doesn’t do much that’s all that intimidating. So why does everyone fear this slow guy who can choke you?
- There’s a convenient hole that allows the Death Star to be destroyed. Even without the prequels, it’s clear that constructing the Death Star required years of meticulous planning and work. So, why did they leave it so vulnerable? One hole at the end of a canyon that led to the reactor. All it took was one torpedo to go down the hole. That seems like a major oversight!
Rogue One Shows a Ferocious Vader
I’ve heard all sorts of explanations for these two plot holes. Regarding Vader’s skill, the most reasonable one I’ve heard was that he was older, injured, and the suit hampered him. That makes sense. He would have reigned for a while and, it seems reasonable, that he earned his reputation a ruthless monster.
Near the end of Rogue One, we finally get to see the Vader we’ve all wanted: a ruthless, unstoppable killer! We saw some of this in the prequels, but that was before Anakin was in the suit. We got to see Darth Vader deflecting laser blasts, throwing people around, slicing people. He was vicious and extremely threatening. Now we have a greater appreciation as to why everyone was terrified of him.
Rogue One Explains the Hole
Episode IV tried to offer an explanation for the whole hole issue. In the film it is said that the base’s defenses were designed for a massive assault, not for small craft attacks. Okay, I can buy that. However, why that hole?
Well, Rogue One answered the hole issue: it was designed that way intentionally. Jyn Erso’s father hated the Empire. However, in order to help the rebels and protect his daughter, he agreed (was coerced) to finish his work overseeing the design and construction of the Death Star. As such, he installed a design flaw that the rebels could exploit that would cause the base’s destruction.
That makes perfect sense to me! It answers one of the biggest plot holes in the Star Wars saga.
However, the Rogue One, in attempting to answer these plot holes created an even bigger one.
The Bad: Rogue One Created a Giant Plot Hole for Episode IV: A New Hope
Rogue One did something I’d not seen before in that it ended right before Episode IV begins. There’s probably minutes or maybe hours between the ending of Rogue One and the start of Episode IV. Rogue One ends with Princess Leia, aboard Tantive IV, receiving the Death Star plans. Her ship then takes off with the Star Destroyer pursuing right behind. Episode IV stars with Tantive IV being chased by the Star Destroyer.
This means that the time between the movies is miniscule. Like I said, minutes or maybe hours at the longest. This point is very important.
And the end of Rogue One, Darth Vader is fairly nimble, highly skilled with a lightsaber, and very powerful in the force. He’s ferocious and extremely dangerous.
A few minutes or hours pass. Enter Episode IV.
Tantive IV has been captured by Vader. He walks onto the ship and imposingly stands there. Then he physically lifts a guy. No force, but with his hands.
What happened to the skilled, ruthless villain of a few minutes ago? It gets worse, though.
Obi-Wan, Luke, and company make their way to the Death Star, where we see Vader in a lightsaber duel with Obi-Wan. During this fight, Vader uses both hands, barely swings his lightsaber, and is slow. My question is how much time passed between when Tantive IV arrives at Tatooine and this Jedi duel? Days, maybe a week?
So, you’re going to tell me that in a matter of days or a week, Darth Vader went from a cruel, skilled fighter who moves freely, kills at will, and uses his lightsaber with refined skill (and using only one hand) to a slow, clunky old man who can barely hold his weapon? Really?
I don’t know about you, but that’s one giant plot hole.
However, would I change that scene at the end of Rogue One? Absolutely not! It’s probably the best scene in the entire film. It’s the Darth Vader we’ve been waiting for! Nevertheless, it does make you wonder who that guy is who fights Obi-Wan Kenobi a few days later.