In the original Star Wars movie, the Rebels almost didn't make it. Despite the fact that Han and Luke saved Leia, they stupidly led the Empire right to the rebel's doorstep. But they saved the day, right? Luke blows up the Death Star mere moments before it ends the rebellion in a single shot of sweet lasery explosiveness.
But if it weren't for one random imperial TIE fighter pilot, evil would have won the day.
The savior of the Rebellion. Recognized only slightly less than Wedge Antilles.
Let's see how well you remember the climax. Luke had just turned off his targeting computer and was listening to voices of dead Kenobi; 90 percent of the rebel attack squad was blown up; and Darth Vader was a well-placed shot away from living every parent's dream: success at the expense of their kid's. In fact, he had already shot R2-D2 through the head and was lining up his next shot to take out Luke and any chance the rebels had of destroying the Death Star.
At that moment Han Solo shows up shoots Darth Vader's TIE fighter, sending it spinning out of control. So Han saves the day, right?
Nope. That's not what happened. See for yourself:
What happened was Han shot another TIE fighter, one that wasn't doing anything.
Vader's the one in the middle, not exploding.
At that moment, Darth was still free to blast Luke from existence. And that's when our nameless TIE fighter pilot comes in. He's the one on the right up there.
At the sight of another ship getting blown up (in a battle where that has happened dozens of times already), he panics...
... and crashes into Darth Vader.
He literally shouts "Look Out!" before swerving directly into Vader's fighter. Vader goes spinning off into space...
...the fighter pilot crashes into the trench, and Luke is free to fire his torpedoes and save the day.
None of that was due to anything the Rebels did right. Even if he thought he was in danger of being shot after losing a wingman, the TIE fighter pilot had room to fly in any direction. The trench was pretty wide, and he had the entire infinity of outer space above him. Instead, the direction he chose was "directly into the boss." We're going to assume his family did not get his pension--the Empire is probably pretty strict about panicky idiots winning the war for the other team.
Incidentally, this also brings to light the fact that Han Solo had a once-in-a-lifetime shot to take down the Dark Lord of the Sith and squandered it on a wingman. Apparently stupid goes both ways, since if you have a three-man formation and the guy in the center has a completely different vehicle, odds are pretty good he isn't just some grunt being escorted to the Imperial Birthday Party Wing of the Death Star while a battle rages around him. Han had the element of surprise and apparently his total pick of who he was going to shoot, because it was an instantly lethal shot.
"I knew there was more to you than money!" "Yeah, weed. I totally shot one of those guys. Got any food?"
So Who Was This Nameless Pilot?
So what quirk of fate lead Darth Vader to wind being escorted by literally the worst pilot ever shown on screen in the original trilogy? He hand picked him. OK, hand picked him, at random, because he happened to be in the hall at the right time. Right before Vader takes to his TIE fighter, he walks into the hall, approaches what appear to be two random pilots and says, "Come with me."
Does Vader even know this guy? Was he even a pilot? Based on his decision making capabilities, it seems more likely that he was a trainee. Or a Stormtrooper who accidentally grabbed the wrong uniform in the locker room. Or Grand Moff Tarkin's nephew. The point is, just because someone is standing around in a uniform doesn't mean he is qualified to fly.
Of course, if any of those things were true, there was no way for Vader to know. One thing he should have realized though: TIE fighters are being sent out en masse to intercept the Rebels and this guy was standing around in the hallway. Vader, we think they left him behind for a reason.