7 Classic Star Wars Characters Who Totally Dropped the Ball
Here at Cracked we don't hesitate to hold our leaders accountable for bad decisions. Even if those leaders are childhood heroes. And are entirely fictional.
For instance, such decisions abound in the original Star Wars trilogy, to the point that the entire plot is basically driven by people using the worst judgment possible. How else can you explain...
Admiral Motti Insults Darth Vader
In Episode IV, Admiral Motti, riding high on the whole "Death Star" thing, finally decides he's going to tell Vader off just like he practiced over the phone with his mother. After bragging that he's not scared of Vader, he tells him that his "sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the rebels' hidden fortress...." Clearly Motti doesn't realize that he was only named for the sake of the action figure packaging and will not be returning for any of the sequels.
Why It Was a Bad Call:
Relative Anonymity: Ages 4 & up.
Even though Darth Vader is a seven-foot-tall bionic killing machine with a sword that can cut through anything, making a personal attack against the man's religion is totally uncalled for. Any manager, be it of the Galactic Empire or Dunkin Donuts, is probably going to fire you if you interrupt a board meeting to call him the equivalent of "a fucking Jew." Even if you were partially responsible for an incredible new product with limitless planet-destroying potential.
What did you think we were talking about?
Of course Darth Vader, being that seven-foot-tall bionic killing machine, has a definition of "fire" that is more in line with the common definition of "strangle to death". If Grand Moff Tarkin hadn't told Vader to stop, he probably would've thrown Motti out the goddamn window like Patrick Swayze in Road House. As it stands, we're pretty sure the Admiral had been promoted to cleaning toilets on the detention level by the time Luke blows the place up at the end.
The point of the scene seems to be that somehow Motti didn't know Vader had magic telekinetic strangling abilities. But even so, and even if an Imperial officer like Motti somehow also missed the memo on what not to say to a Dark Lord of the Sith, that still means that he thought Vader only had about 37 different ways to instantly kill him instead of 38 (most involving a lightsaber neatly carving through his groin).
What we're saying is that Motti was hired not for his tactical acumen but purely for his ability to sneer.
Everything Jabba the Hutt Does
For an intergalactic gangster, Jabba the Hutt seems to be about as much of a criminal mastermind as Robin Williams in Jack. He holds a Rebel officer prisoner, enslaves the Rebel princess and laughs in the face of a Jedi Knight. This would be a sterling approach if Jabba were trying to go to war with the Rebellion, but seeing as how he's just a sleazy racketeer whose entire operation amounts to little more than a hotel/casino on Tatooine, he probably could've used a few more advisors.
Why It Was a Bad Call:
Preferably one that doesn't look like a vampire penis.
First of all, Jabba holds two high-profile prisoners but never demands a ransom of any kind, and in fact refuses money when it is offered to him. Unless he funds his operation with bounced checks and jellybeans, this is counterproductive. Keeping the prisoners brings the Jedi heat to his palace, which in turn leads to the worst decision Jabba makes in the film: refusing Luke's offer.
Surprisingly poor strategist.
Luke tells Jabba up front that if the prisoners aren't released, he will kill everything that moves and take them anyway. A Rancor and a porcine guard later, this offer is generously repeated, at a point where it is now clear that Luke is not just some dumbass in a stolen Jedi robe. But again, Jabba opts for the prideful route, which makes us wonder how he ever managed to succeed in organized crime in the first place.
About seven minutes later, every member of Jabba's operation has either been exploded, stabbed, shot, strangled or tossed into a giant sand vagina. Clearly he was never meant to manage a Domino's Pizza let alone hold the reigns of an underworld empire.
Related: Why Does Anyone Fear The Hutts?
Lando Uncuffs a Seven-Foot Wookiee Who Wants to Kill Him
After Vader reveals he is turning Han over to Boba Fett and will be taking Leia and Chewie with him, Lando sets about freeing them to try and intercept the bounty hunter before he loads Han onto Slave 1.
However, he neglects to explain his rescue plan before removing Chewie's handcuffs, and as far as the wookiee and Leia know, Lando is still just the guy that dimed them all out to the Empire.
Why It Was a Bad Call:
Snitches get stitches. Also, we strangle them.
See above. Chewie is an alien monster roughly the size of a doorframe with murderous rage tap-dancing around in his brain. We're surprised he didn't just start bludgeoning Lando to death with his manacles as soon as the Imperial guards were dispatched.
Leia is about a remark away from telling Chewie to snap Lando's head off like a Pez dispenser when he finally manages to gurgle out his plan to save Han. Had Lando simply gone over this before unchaining Chewbacca's giant meathooks, the "throttling" faux pas could've been avoided.
And that's a crucial point, because while Chewie chose the slow strangling method, perhaps because he wanted to see Lando's eyes pop out of his skull like one of those rubber squeeze toys, we know that he could just as easily have knocked Lando's head off his shoulders like a toddler smacking a baseball off a tee.
Lando's trilogy-saving explanation would have been left gurgling from a ragged neck stump.
Leia Leads the Empire to the Rebel Base
Leia rightfully thinks that her bold rescue and subsequent escape from the Death Star at the hands of Han and Luke were too easy. She's suspicious that Vader and Tarkin let them get away in order to track them to the rebel base on Yavin IV, so in a stunning display of leadership, she has Han go there anyway, because fuck it. The Empire was going to find it eventually.
And really what's the use of a secret base when you're trying to subvert a powerful regime?
Leia has seen the Death Star blow up her home planet like Bruce Vilanch in a microwave, so she knows the thing is no joke.
Somewhere down there, Jimmy Smits is burning to death.
And we know she's got some serious steel because with her entire planet under threat, she lies with a straight face about where the Rebellion is. So why in the Dooku does she leave the Empire a trail of space breadcrumbs to the only home she has left in the galaxy?
Or couldn't she have called ahead to let them know the Imperial fleet was on its way with their giant murder ball? At the very least, Leia could've had her underlings turn off all the lights in the base and pretend like no one was home. As it stands, the Rebels emerge victorious, but we have to believe that if Leia hadn't led the enemy directly to them, more than two pilots might have survived the assault.
His fat, sweaty blood is on your hands, Princess.
Tarkin Parks The Death Star, Waits to Shoot The Moon
Meanwhile, when the Empire does arrive to bring the hammer down on the Rebellion, Tarkin stops the Death Star on the other side of Yavin, the gas planet the Rebel moon is orbiting. There he waits for the moon itself to pop into view.
It's like interstellar whack-a-mole with a huge, population-melting laser, and it gives the rebellion time to mount their counter-attack.Why It Was a Bad Call:
First, we already know the Death Star is perfectly capable of destroying a planet. That's all it does. Second, if you're trying to destroy a moon, you know what's really effective? Blasting the tits off of the planet that it orbits, which will send it careening off into space like Gary Busey on a motorcycle. So why wait?
Anybody not killed by flaming debris from the planet-slaughtering explosion will quickly freeze to death or suffocate in the sudden lack of atmosphere, and any ships that manage to escape would be vaporized by the Death Star. This is a fantastic plan and it would've brought the house down like Whitesnake.
Seeing as how no one in the Star Wars universe ever succumbs to making sense, Tarkin instead elects to throw the parking brake on the Death Star and just wait for the moon to come to him, which would've been a good idea if A) the Rebels didn't already know he was coming, and B) space was a jungle and the Death Star was Rambo.
This decision ultimately results in his death, the destruction of the Death Star and a massive Imperial Job Fair due to the sudden loss of about 500,000 employees.
"We feel it's only fair to tell you that you may be exploded by lasers."
The Empire Outsources Their Most Important Project to the Worst Location Possible
After not even putting so much as a pair of mittens on the first Death Star, the Empire makes the perfectly reasonable decision to encase the new model in a formidable defensive shield, the power core of which is nestled in a wooded glen many thousands of miles away, for absolutely no reason.Why It Was a Bad Call:
OK, we get that this was presumably a temporary measure while the Death Star was under construction. But one would think getting the on-board shields running would be higher on the "to do" list, since the whole operation is vulnerable without them. Couldn't one of the Death Star's barbershops or a newsstands have been delayed until this was taken care of, especially when the whole grand plan involved tricking the rebels into attacking.
Instead the crucial shield generator is stashed behind one locked door on a moon full of hostile natives, inside a small building that seems like it could have been pretty easily bombed from orbit by the rebels (and the shield generator's shields didn't protect the generator itself, obviously).
It didn't help that to support the absolutely vital shield generator protecting their superweapon, the Empire decides against building anything that resembles, say, infrastructure or a road, instead asking their crack troops to weave through a maze of redwoods at 200 miles per hour on the backs of oversized divining rods. It's like outfitting loggers in the Pacific Northwest with Kawasaki Ninjas.
The Empire Doesn't Fire on an Escape Pod That Might Have Death Star Plans Inside
It's one of the first scenes most of us ever saw in the franchise, and boy does it set the tone for all the bad decisions to come.
Seeing as how he chases down the Blockade Runner and dispatches a violent boarding party to commandeer the ship for the Empire, Darth Vader seems pretty fucking confident that the stolen Death Star plans are somewhere inside. He even forgoes his normal practice of choking people with his mind to choke a dude for real.
"Yeah, I've been working out, no big deal."
When an escape pod is launched from the ship and goes rocketing past Vader's Star Destroyer (a pod we know contains C-3PO and R2-D2), the Commander on board lets it slide because there aren't any life forms on board.Why It Was a Bad Call:
Stolen parcels of data do not register as life forms.
Forget about the droids for a moment; assuming Vader has seen at least one episode of Miami Vice, you would think he'd be aware that the first thing people do during a raid is dump the evidence, be it flushing cocaine down a toilet or tossing sensitive information into an escape pod and kicking it the fuck into space (knowing it could be recovered later when it crash lands on the planet below).
OK, so maybe the Empire figured if that was the plan, at worst they could go down and retrieve the files themselves from the pod. But then we have the droid problem.
The shiny, gay problem
Saying the pod has no life forms is an utterly meaningless statement in a universe where sentient droids are as common as cell phones are on Earth. It'd be like declaring that a criminal couldn't possibly contact his accomplice because you didn't see him put any letters in his mailbox.
So why were there not standing orders to obliterate or intercept anything that launched out of the captured ship? Hell, with the technology they had in that galaxy, the pod itself could have been programmed with a thinking brain, with its own agenda to transport the plans and fuck the Empire.
This baffling error in judgment brings the two droids to Luke, who takes them to Obi-Wan, who teaches Luke to be a Jedi and leads him to Yoda, who trains Luke to be a master, which gives him the power to defeat Darth Vader and bring him back to the Light Side of the Force, which leads to the death of the Emperor and the fall of the Empire.
Hopefully somebody lost their job over that one.
For more baffling decisions, check tou The 5 Most Needlessly Complex Terror Plots in Film History.
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