The Star Wars movies have captured the hearts and imaginations of movie-goers for more than 40 years. The galaxy far, far away is full of compelling characters, fantastic locations, and epic battles between good and evil. Fans have fallen in love with the stories of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, Rey, and so many others that inhabit that world. Their struggles to realize the good in themselves and save the galaxy keep fans coming back.
Stories are built on characters, but they also require some plot points and playing on the audiences expectations to be truly memorable. If a story plays out exactly as the audience expects it to, it wouldn’t be very interesting. Some of the best stories have mysteries to keep the audience on edge until the answers are revealed – or they have twists and turns that keep raising the stakes or changing our understanding of the characters and the conflict.
Star Wars is no exception. In fact, the Star Wars franchise has some of the most famous twists and turns of any movie series. There are mysteries about events leading up to the original trilogy that fans waited decades to have answered in the prequel trilogy. Even the original trilogy itself had game changing twists about the relationship between the protagonist and antagonist – and the sequel trilogy is continuing the streak of playing with audiences expectations.
However, not all the twists and turns have served the movies well. Some seem poorly thought out or poorly executed.
Here are 10 Plot Twists That Hurt Star Wars (And 15 That Saved Them)!
25 SAVED: DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW DURING BEN SOLO’S TURN TO THE DARK SIDE
Rey learns a lot from Luke on Ahch-to. One of the mysteries that she hopes to find answers to is how Ben Solo fell to the Dark Side. When Luke first tells her about it, he makes it sound like Snoke had turned Ben before Luke could stop it. Through her mysterious connection to Kylo Ren, Kylo says that Luke tried to snuff out Ben prematurely.
The harsh truth is that Luke momentarily meant to end his nephew and Ben saw Luke’s drawn lightsaber before Luke could reconcile the situation.
This revelation makes Luke so much more flawed and complex than the legend that Rey grew up with. It also makes Luke’s redemptive sacrifice more heroic.
24 HURT: CHANCELLOR PALPATINE IS THE SITH LORD
Perhaps this reveal would have worked better if Episodes One, Two, and Three hadn’t been prequels. However, most Star Wars fan already knew that Ian McDiarmid’s Chancellor Palpatine would become Emperor Palpatine and that Anakin Skywalker would fall to the Dark Side.
So watching Palpatine chew the scenery, tempting Anakin so obviously, is a hard sell. It’s also hard to believe that the Jedi were suspicious of Palpatine but never suspected that he could be the Sith Lord that they were warned about. Who else could hold sway over hundreds of senators?
23 SAVED: KYLO REN IS HAN SOLO’S SON
When Snoke casually reminded Kylo Ren that Han Solo was his father in The Force Awakens, it was a pretty big reveal to the audience. We had no idea what sort of relationships any of the new characters may have with the Original Trilogy veterans.
Kylo Ren’s parentage was further evidence of how strong the Force was in the Skywalker family. It also set up a dramatic contrast between Kylo Ren, the Force-sensitive son, and Han, the non-Force-sensitive father. Kylo Ren got one hell of a villain establishing moment when he suddenly ignited his lightsaber into his father’s chest.
22 SAVED: DARTH MAUL IS THE LEADER OF THE CRIMSON DAWN
Darth Maul was such a popular character in The Phantom Menace that the franchise had to bring him back. Most of his subsequent appearances have been in the Star Wars animated shows, The Clone Wars, and Rebels.
Maul had never reappeared in the movies, as the sequel trilogy took place long after his time.
However, the Star Wars Story films could find a way to bring Maul back to the big screen. It must have been quite a treat for Clones Wars and Rebels fans to see Maul as the true head of the Crimson Dawn, even in hologram.
21 HURT: THE ORIGINS OF THE CLONE ARMY
Star Wars fans surely wondered where the clones in the Clone Wars came from. It was a mysterious even that the prequel trilogy promised to explore. While the clones are militant and inscrutable in and of themselves, their origins are still a bit confusing.
It all has to do with Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas. When Obi-Wan arrives on Kamino, they tell him that Sifo-Dyas commissioned the creation of a clone army for the Republic. It’s treated like the audience should know who Sifo-Dyas is just from the movies, but he was never mentioned before that moment.
20 SAVED: YODA REAPPEARS TO GUIDE LUKE
In The Last Jedi, Luke struggles to measure up to the role of mentor for Rey. Right at the moment when he seems bound to fail her, Luke’s own old mentor reappears through the Force to knock some sense into him.
Yoda is just as mischievous and wise as we remember him from the original trilogy. First, he pranks Luke by burning the ancient Jedi tree library himself. Then, Yoda tells Luke that instead of wallowing in his faults and failures he can learn from them. “We are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.”
19 HURT: THE TIMING OF LUKE AND LEIA’S BIRTH
Why did George Lucas make such egregious changes from what he already said happened in the original trilogy? In Return of the Jedi, Leia says her real mother passed away when she was very young and Luke says he has no memory of his mother at all. However, in Revenge of the Sith, Luke is actually born first and we see him interact with his mother, however briefly, more than Leia.
It was enough of a noticeable difference to distract fans from what should have been part of the emotional climax of the movie.
The cheesy explanation that Padmé succumbed because she “lost the will to live” also took away from the film.
18 SAVED: THE CLONES BETRAY THE JEDI
Obi-Wan tells us in A New Hope that Darth Vader helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights. However, we could have known the shock and horror of actually watching the Great Jedi Purge.
Each of these Jedi, seen throughout the prequel trilogy, are suddenly betrayed by the clones they led into battle.
The clones’ true loyalty had been predetermined long before they ever fought for the Republic. Their loyalty to Palpatine, Chancellor or Emperor, was absolute. The violent images and the operatic music make Order 66 one of the most powerful emotional moments in the whole franchise.
17 SAVED: DARTH VADER WAS ALREADY AT CLOUD CITY
In the second act of Empire Strikes Back, the Millennium Falcon evades the Empire repeatedly. They lose their pursuers in an asteroid field and trick their Star Destroyers into thinking they vanished. However, they weren’t clever enough to fool Boba Fett.
We see Boba trail the Falcon, and we get hints that something is not right on Cloud City. However, it was still quite a shock to see Darth Vader right on the other side of that door, for the audience and the heroes. Vader flexed his Force powers and proved that he was one step ahead this time.
16 HURT: “SOLO” ISN’T HAN’S REAL NAME
Solo is as iconic as any character name in the Star Wars franchise. His enemies call him by it. The name carries a reputation for luck, skullduggery, and a heart of gold. However, did you ever think that “Solo” might not be Han’s real name?
At least according to the events of Solo: A Star Wars Story, Han didn’t have that name when he started out. Some imperial recruiter thought it up when Han had no surname to enter in his application. There is a precedent that great legends start out as unceremonious or random details, but this origin of the name Solo feels like a letdown.
15 SAVED: THE EMPEROR LURED THE REBELS INTO A TRAP
The Rebellion put a lot of effort and resources into uncovering the secrets of the Empire’s second Death Star. Many Bothans sacrificed their lives to let the Rebels know the Death Star II’s location, and that the Emperor was personally overseeing the project.
Luke and the Rebels believed that they had to upper hand in the fight this time, but they were mistaken.
The Emperor had deliberately let the Rebels learn the Death Star II’s location. He kept the Imperial fleet and army lying in wait to ambush the Rebels. These were appropriately dire stakes for the climax of Return of the Jedi.
14 HURT: MISCOMMUNICATION BETWEEN POE, LEIA, AND HOLDO
A lot of fans have complained about the dynamic between Vice admiral Holdo and Poe Dameron in The Last Jedi. The movie paints Poe as reckless and naïve about the role he has to play in the Resistance. However, Holdo really doesn’t take the best course in alleviating Poe’s concerns.
She doesn’t tell him that they aren’t just blindly running until they are caught, and she doesn’t tell them about leaving the cruiser behind while the Resistance sneaks away on board the transports. That might have stopped Poe from staging a mutiny while the First Order was on their tail.
13 SAVED: ALL THE HEROES OF ROGUE ONE SACRIFICE THEMSELVES
A lot of Star Wars fans didn’t know what to expect from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The movie introduces a whole cast of characters with a wide range of backstories and moral stances. However, they all come together to win a farfetched victory against the Empire.
It doesn’t come without a cost, though. Throughout the whole battle of Scarif, one hero after another sacrifices themselves to achieve a crucial objective for the mission. Even after Jyn and Cassian get the Death Star plans to the Rebel fleet, they are trapped on the surface as the Death Star fires upon the base. It’s a bold, unusual, dramatic move for a Star Wars movie.
12 SAVED: KYLO REN TURNS ON SNOKE
Even in The Force Awakens, there was some tension between Kylo Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke. Dark Force users have always plotted against each other. Snoke heavily implies that Kylo is an unworthy apprentice in the first half of The Last Jedi.
A few factors make Kylo Ren’s turn on Snoke stand out. He takes down Snoke right at the moment when he’s expected to take down Rey instead.
However, it’s not really a turn for him. He doesn’t suddenly decide to save the Resistance fleet like Rey pleads with him to. He immediately seizes more power for himself and urges Rey to join him.
11 HURT: PADMÉ IS THE ACTUAL QUEEN
For most of The Phantom Menace, the audience is lead to believe that Queen Amidala is played by Keira Knightley (yes really, remember that?). In the meantime, we got to meet one of the Queen’s unassuming handmaidens, Padmé, played by Natalie Portman.
When the Naboo seek out the Gungans, Padmé reveals herself to be the real Queen of Naboo. Keira Knightley’s Sabé was playing a decoy to keep the Queen safe during the invasion by the Trade Federation. It’s a little hard to believe that not even Qui-Gon Jinn or Obi-Wan suspected the true Queen’s identity.
10 SAVED: YODA’S TRUE IDENTITY
Luke first hears about Yoda from Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan described him as the Jedi master who instructed him. The audience had only ever met Obi-Wan as a Jedi Master. You could expect Master Yoda to be impressive and dignified, even more so than Obi-Wan.
The first person Luke actually meets on Dagobah is a tiny creature with a cane, a strange way of speaking, and no sense of personal space – and this doddering little thing is the great Jedi Master Yoda? He totally subverts Luke and the audience’s expectations. Yoda’s great wisdom is just as memorable as his funny quirks.
9 HURT: NOT THE CODE BREAKER THEY WERE LOOKING FOR
The fact that DJ wasn’t the code breaker that Rose and Finn set out to enlist makes the Canto Bight storyline feel random. It also cheapens the only plot point that Maz Kanata appears in the movie for. She couldn’t do it herself and Finn and Rose couldn’t even get the guy she recommended. So the movie introduces this random new character.
Then he turns on Finn and Rose to save himself.
Not only that, but he exposes the Resistance transports. Finn, Rose, and Poe got most of the Resistance taken out because their ad hoc plan back fired.
8 SAVED: HOW HAN SOLO AND CHEWBACCA MEET
Han never had any great loyalty to the Empire. However, they seemed the only ticket in town for making a life for himself as a pilot. When he got stuck in the infantry, he tried to blackmail his way into the criminal gang led by Tobias Beckett. This backfired and the Imperials threw Han in a cage with a “beast,” as the Imperials expected Han to get eaten.
However, this beast was none other than the Wookiee Chewbacca. Thanks to a little Shyriiwook, Han convinces Chewie to team up with him and escape. It’s a simple but effective subversion of expectation to introduce the audience to an old friend.
7 SAVED: WHERE THE DEATH STAR’S WEAKNESSES CAME FROM
Galen Erso was a brilliant scientist and expert on kyber crystals. He had studied and began his career during the days of the Republic. When the Republic transformed into the Empire, Erso’s colleagues pressured him into joining the weapon development programs. The crown jewel of their research would be the Death Star, and orbital battle station with enough power to annihilate an entire planet.
However, Galen Erso would not let his morals be totally compromised. Thinking of his beloved daughter Jyn, Galen built in a secret flaw in the Death Star’s design – aflaw that would let a single light fighter destroy the entire station. It wasn’t hubris, it was a father’s love.
6 HURT: TAKING OUT VAL AND RIO SO EARLY
Rather than sticking with the Imperial Army, Han Solo talks his way into Tobias Beckett’s crew. Beckett’s two partners are Val, played by Thadie Newton, and Rio Durant, an Ardennian voiced by Jon Favreau.
Val and Rio were each interesting, unique characters, but the movie cuts them off on the very first assignment that Han has with the gang.
If they had stayed, it would probably have been too many characters in the second and third acts. However, we should have gotten to know at least one of them a little better somehow.
5 SAVED: LUKE TRICKED KYLO REN ON CRAIT
All hope seemed lost for the remnants of the Resistance on Crait. Kylo Ren and the First Order were closing in. However, out of nowhere, the legendary Jedi Master Luke Skywalker returned to confront Kylo Ren.
Luke does a masterful job of taunting and toying with Kylo. He stalls Kylo and forces him to come forward and face Luke one-on-one, and just when it seems like Luke is prepared to accept a final sacrifice to buy the Resistance time, Luke has one last trick to play. He was never there at all. Kylo Ren wasted his chance to finish the Resistance by fighting a projection of his hated uncle.
4 HURT: JAR JAR BINKS CONVINCES THE SENATE TO GRANT EMERGENCY POWERS
The reaction to Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace was immediately vitriolic. Whatever plans George Lucas may have had for the character in the rest of the prequel trilogy, fans will likely never get to see them.
His one major contribution in Attack of the Clones was to convince the Senate to give emergency powers the Supreme Chancellor. This let Palpatine take one step closer towards becoming the Emperor. Not only that, but Jar Jar’s actions go against Senator Amidala’s stances on the military creation act and she trusted him to act in her stead.
3 SAVED: REY REALLY IS A NOBODY
The original Star Wars trilogy trained us to expect secret familial connections between the main characters. Why else would Luke’s family lightsaber have called out to Rey? By the events of The Last Jedi, it becomes clear that the old paradigm of monastic, diametrically opposed Force orders doesn’t have to be the rule.
The Force can manifest in anyone – including an in-universe scavenger who happens to be in the right place at the right time.
Rey is more interesting because of the connections she makes to the original trilogy characters herself.
2 HURT: LUKE AND LEIA ARE TWINS
The first act of Empire Strikes Back hinted that a romantic relationship may be developing between Luke and Leia – or maybe Leia just kissed Luke in front of Han to annoy him or make him jealous. Then, in Return of the Jedi, Obi-wWan confesses to Luke that he and Leia are twins.
What was George Lucas going for when he wrote this romantic undertone to Luke and Leia, knowing that they were twins? Some fans were still probably hoping that Luke and Leia would end up together before Obi-Wan told Luke the truth.
1 SAVED: DARTH VADER IS LUKE’S FATHER
The most iconic twist in sci-fi movies certainly helps The Empire Strikes Back itself. Luke had been lead to believe that Darth Vader betrayed and took down his father. However, Vader laid an expert trap for Luke on Cloud City to confront him with a terrible truth.
Vader, the main antagonist of the Star Wars trilogy and embodiment of the dark side, was actually Luke’s father. This one revelation totally transformed our understanding of the characters and relationships in the Star Wars franchise. It brought the themes of family and redemption into focus for Return of the Jedi and it was an unforgettable movie moment.
Are there any other twists that hurt or saved Star Wars? Let us know in the comments!
2018-10-03 03:10:28 – Michael Graff