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Greetings. I am the Illusive One. For many years now I have been a huge video game player, movie viewer, and book reader. For almost as long, I have been a critic of these things and many people respect my opinions of these things and have often said I belong on G4 doing reviews on X-Play or a similar show. Sadly that is not likely to happen. So instead I shall do reviews for you, uninfluenced by other reviewers, of video games books, movies, and, occasionally, music and political actions. I hope you find this informative and helpful. Thank you for your time.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Explanations for the Plot Holes of Star Wars and Lord of The Rings

            As most of my readers probably know, back in April I did my first Franchise V.S. Franchise post that put the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings film trilogies against one another and is currently my second most popular post.  I have to say, however, the backlash of choosing Star Wars over Lord of the Rings surprised me.  I was expecting a crowd divided in half but I actually found that most people agreed with my decision.  About two thirds of those I asked, emailed me, and commented on my post agreed with me when I choose the original Star Wars Trilogy over Lord of the Rings.  The remaining third was divided.  About half of that third either hadn't seen both trilogies, (that should be a crime), didn't like either, (an even bigger crime!), or were simply undecided.  The remaining half of that third liked Lord of the Rings more.  About three quarters of that half felt that Lord of the Rings was just ahead of Star Wars while the other quarter were just annoying, pissed off fan boys and very vocal about their objections to it and my debates with these fan boys have gone on to this day.
            But honestly, I'm sick and tired of fighting them so I'm offering an olive branch.  It's well known that both trilogies have tons of plot holes, both minor and major and I'm going to address all the ones I noticed and come up with explanations to them.  These are the Illusive One's Explanations for the Plot Holes of Star Wars and Lord of The Rings.

Star Wars Plot Holes

            Before I get this started, I have to say that the plot holes of Star Wars are pretty numerous but they are also very explainable.  With that said, here are Star Wars' plot holes and my explanations to them.

Plot Hole Number One
Princess Leia Leading the Empire
To the Hidden Rebel Base

            Yea, they really dropped the ball on this one.  If Leia knew they were being tracked, the logical choice would have been to ditch Han and the Millennium Falcon and contact someone to pick her up elsewhere before returning to the rebel base.  This probably had more to do with the strained budget George Lucas and his crew was working with more than anything else.  It and the shooting schedule were about the only things that Fox kept a tight leash on while the first film was being made so this plot hole can be blamed on that.  It can also be argued that the Rebels were trying to lure the Death Star to their own territory so they would have a better chance against it but that's still a big risk to take when they don't even know if the plans would reveal a weakness in the Death Star.  Other than that, I don't have anything for this one.  It's explainable, but not convincingly so.

Plot Hole Number Two
The Easy Destruction of
The Death Star

            This one annoyed me when I was doing my Star Wars V.S. Lord of the Rings Post but now I find it very plausible.  When you’re dealing with anything in space, the slightest miscalculation or bad design can cause catastrophic events and the Death Star was no different in this regard.  Even ground side there are many buildings that have been built and are being built where if one thing is hit the right way and with enough force it would cause the entire thing to collapse.  Once again the Death Star is no different in this regard.  It's just a machine/building that can be destroyed if you hit it the right way and there are things that the designers probably overlooked.  My honest guess in this matter is that when the Death Star was first being designed and built it probably had a lot more of these problems and this one was just a screw up. 
            Other people argue that because it was made by the Empire such problems shouldn't have existed.  That's just bullshit.  It's common knowledge that not everything governments make or arrange is top notch.  With such a massive construction like the Death Star, there was no way corners wouldn’t have been cut and many people would probably have been overworked to the point of collapsing.  Thinking that just because the government made it makes it immune to faults is just plain stupid.

Plot Hole Number Three
Apparently Little Time Passing
In the A New Hope

            The explanation to this one is simple.  More time passed off camera then on.  It's as simple as that.  More time probably passed in their trip to Mos Eisley then it was originally implied and the same goes for their trip from Tatooine to Alderaan, along with their time on the Rebel Base.  If you’re not satisfied with that just rewatch the movie and think on it for a while.  That said, let’s move on.

Plot Hole Number Four
The Exploding Walkers
In The Empire Strikes Back

            This really isn't so much a plot hole as it is nitpicking.  Throughout the battle on Hoth, several of the walkers exploded in the most random ways.  For example, they just shoot at one after it's been tripped and it just explodes despite the fact that they say that the walker's armor is too strong for blasters.  Later in the battle, Luke tosses a grenade, (or something like one), into the body of a walker and its head explodes.  I mean what the hell?  It's not really a plot gap but it's something that has bugged me more than any other problem in the original trilogy and not only is there no explanation for it but no one ever seems to address it.

Plot Hold Number Five
The Rebel Ships going into the direction
Of the Star Destroyers despite the fact they
Have infantine directions to flee in.

            This was one I really hadn't noticed until I saw the Family Guy episode Something, Something, Something Darkside.  Basically, the Rebel ships seem to fly in the exact direction the Imperial Star Destroyers are stationed despite the fact that they can flee in nearly every other direction.  This explanation is simple; the Star Destroyers moved off camera to intercept them.  Simple plot hole and a simple explanation to it.

Plot Hole Number Six
Luke Learning the Force from Yoda
In Apparently Little Time

            This is yet another one where it can be implied that more time passes off camera then on.  Some people tried to debunk this argument saying that little time seems to passes while Han, Leia and C3PO flee from the Empire and spends little time on Bespin.  Once again, it can be implied that more time in these places passes off camera then on.  While in space, they were probably hiding from the Empire for several days if not weeks.  Some people try to debunk that argument by saying that they wouldn’t have enough food for the time.  Seriously?  Han Solo is a fucking smuggler!  He has probably gotten into situations where he had to hide out for a while and had the Millennium Falcon stocked up for such occasions.  Where is this food?  Probably in some storage area where camera never went to.  The Millennium Falcon wasn't that small and there were undoubtedly many areas of the ship that we never saw.  Who honestly wants to see a kitchen or a bathroom in a space opera? 
            As far as their time in Bespin goes, they were fixing a hyper drive accelerator, not a bent fender.  Fixing something like that would probably take a few days at the very least and that time passed off camera as well.  The same could be said for their time imprisoned by Vader and the Empire.  It's something that a lot of people over analyzed and I, in turn, have explained it all away.

Plot Hole Number Seven
Lando Wearing Han's Cloths

            This is another thing that really isn't a plot gap so much as a nitpicking thing.  At the end of Empire, for some reason, Lando is wearing Han's cloths.  It's another thing that I hadn't noticed until I watched Something, Something, Something, Darkside and now it's something that I laugh at every time I see it.  The explanation is simple; he needed a change of clothes after all that crap that went down in Bespin and Han wasn't around object.  I'm honestly not sure I would have done any different. 

Plot Hole Number Eight
The Luke/Leia Incest Thing

            This is something that has been way too over analyzed and those who hate Star Wars blow this thing out of proportions.  However, when people argue on this, those who have over analyzed it base all of their arguments on the fact that Leia kissed Luke once on Hoth simply to make Han jealous.  But she did this without knowing Luke was her brother and it's not like they had sex or anything.  It's probably something they would shudder about and try to forget about later but over analyzing douchebags just blew it out of proportions and made into a big deal.  One of the over analyzing douchebags I know actually furthered this argument by using Leia's line “I know.  Somehow I've always known.” in Return of the Jedi.  More than likely, she always loved Luke like a brother and when she found out that he was her brother she just connected the dots.  So there is your explanation.  Now stop overanalyzing this!

Plot Hole Number Nine
Building a Second Death Star

            This is something that I acknowledge as cheep rehashing but it's also something that's grown on me.  The argument against this one was simple: Why built a second Death Star when the first was destroyed so easily?  Well, the explanation to this one was just as simple: Because it was a space station that could destroy an entire planet!  Would they have scrapped the Manhattan Project if the first A-Bomb had some faulty wiring?  Would they scrap an advanced submarine design just because an engineer messed up the way the propellers were supposed to turn?  From a creative standpoint it was a cheap rehashing but from a logical standpoint it makes sense.  It was the most powerful and advanced space station ever created and was something they would want to recreate.  To me the question isn't why would they build another one but why wouldn't they build another one?

Plot Hole Number Ten
Building the Shield Generator for the Second Death Star
On a Planet with a Hostel Population

            Hostel population?  You mean the Ewoks?  Honestly, if you hadn't seen the climax of Return of the Jedi, would you have thought they were a threat?  I mean, come on!  They're knee high and look like teddy bears!  If you had blasters and battle armor, would you really consider them a threat?  The film also seems to imply that before the final fight they hadn't been much more than an occasional annoyance for the Empire.  I admit they were a bit of a stupid solution but one I found plausible as well.

Plot Hole Number Eleven
The Final Space Battle

            This actually entails a number of plot holes that happened throughout the second half of the film, concerning the climax.  The first were the reports of the Rebel Fleet massing at a given location and the Emperor ignoring it.  Think on this for a minute.  He was trying to destroy the Rebel Alliance in one swift blow.  If he had sent the Imperial Fleet after them they would have scattered and avoided any kind of decisive fight, as it was implied that their tactics were mostly hit and run.
            The next issue people point out was the way the Death Star had been constructed, not being entirely finished and not having a shield generator of its own.  This can once again be answered by the ambush tactic the Empire was employing.  The whole idea of the attack was to destroy the Second Death Star while it was still in its construction phases.  If it was complete, it's that doubtful the rebels would have attacked it or have been ambushed by the Imperial Fleet. 
            As far as a shield generator for the Second Death goes, most of its power would probably have gone into its offensive capabilities.  I mean the Death Star has a big and powerful gun that probably would have sucked out most of its energy.  How would they have been able to put in a shield generator that would cover a space station that big without sucking away its fire power?  Once again, it wasn't complete and they were trying to draw the Rebel Alliance into a false sense of security.  The energy emitting from a shield generator of the magnitude would have stuck out like a sore thumb and kept the Rebels clear.

Plot Hole Number Twelve
The Planets Only Having
One Kind of Terrain

            This is yet another nitpicking problem that I have noticed.  For some reason, the main planets seem to have only one kind of Terrain.  Tatooine only seems to be a desert, Hoth an ice world, and Endor a forest.  But it's not like there aren't any planets that aren't like that.  Mars, for example, isn't much more then cold, red, desert and it's plausible that there may be planets out with similar, if not identical, environments.  The same works for Hoth.  There are even planets within our own solar system with entire surfaces covered in ice.  Hoth just took it a step further by adding snow.  As far as Endor goes, just think back to the era before man existed.  Every continent was covered in forests or rain forests with only a few wintery tundras in the north and south and few a deserts here and there to break them.  It's not at all impossible that, given the right conditions, the vast majority of a planet could be covered in woods.  Finally, we only saw a small portion of Endor and it could very well be that it has other terrain features we didn't see.

Plot Hole Number Thirteen
The Ending

            As I mentioned in my Star Wars V.S. Lord of the Rings post, this series had one of the best feel good ending I have ever seen but it still left a lot of questions as to what would happen next.  The original ending only seems to imply that a decisive battle had been won but never gave any indication that the war was over.  As a result, this ending is often discredited as several years of continuing civil war would most likely ensue.  However, this was more or less corrected by then ending in the 2004 DVD edition.  In it, they show added footage of the people of Coruscant, Bespin, Tatooine and Naboo celebrating the end of the empire and this ending felt more complete.  The other ending seemed to imply that the war would continue on for decades while this one seemed to imply it would be over in two years at the most.  It's not really a plot hole but it was something I felt I had to address.  The war certainly wasn't over but the 2004 ending implied that it would be soon, the hardest part of the battle was over and everything will soon fall into place.  And there's my explanation for the ending.          

Lord of the Rings Plot Holes

            Before I get started on this, I have to say that while the major plot holes of these films are less numerous they are a lot bigger and a lot harder to explain away.  That said, let’s move on.

Plot Hole Number One
The Protagonist Being Unaware that
The Mines of Moria had Fallen

            This one, I have to admit, has always bugged the crap out of me more than any other plot hole of any other series.  The argument against this one is simple: how did no one know that Moria had fallen even though the bodies within had clearly decomposing for years, if not decade?  This is one that Lord of the Rings fanboys tend to run to the book for but we are not talking about the books.  This is strictly for the films and as far as this is concerned the books don't exist.  The best explanation I've heard for this is that the dwarves are isolationists and have very little contact with each other.  Ok, but that still doesn’t explain how an entire city, rich of mithril fell to an army of goblins without anyone noticing.  Someone was bound to notice that something was wrong with Moria.  It's possible that no one in the fellowship actually knew about the incident and no one imagined that they would go through the mines.  However, Gimli suggests that they go through the mines multiple times, yet somehow he doesn’t know they fell.  How does that happen?  Wouldn't he have checked up on Moria before subjecting his companions to that hell?  In truth, I don't have a satisfying answer to this one and it's one that bothers me to no end.

Plot Hole Number Two
How did Aragorn Know what the Uruk-Hai are called
Despite the Fact no one Ever mentioned it but Villains
And Only to Other Villians?

            This is just a nitpicking problem and really isn't much of an issue.  But it still is a good question.  How did he know what they were called?  As far as I remember, no one ever called out their names other then Saruman in Fellowship and then all the heroes just seemed to know what they were called in Two Towers.  The only explanation I can think of is that Gandalf heard what Saruman was going to call them before escaping Isengard and told the others off camera.  It's very unlikely but this isn't a plot hole that warrants a loss of sleep.

Plot Hole Number Three
What Happened to the Elves at Helm's Deep?

            This is a question I have asked myself ever since I first saw The Two Towers in theaters.  What happened to them?  They were defending the Deeping Wall and after they retreat from it they just seem disappear.  I know for a fact that they weren't all killed defending the wall because you clearly see them defending the keep facing the Deeping Wall.  The only explanation I can offer for this one is that the remaining elves were killed off camera and I'm not even entirely satisfied with that answer.  I know a lot of my explanations cite events off camera events, but this one still bugs me.  I hope it's a good enough explanation for you because I'm at a loss on this one as well.

Plot Hole Number Four
The Ents just Appearing at the Destroyed
Borders of Fangorn Forest

            The argument against this is simple: where did all the Ents come from when Treebeard decided to go to war against Isengard?  Well, it's not like it was the first time the ents popped out of nowhere.  It just seems to be what they do.  They roam around the forest and just appear when they are needed.  I know it's there, but this is just another problem that doesn’t deserve to much thought.

Plot Hole Number Five
Minas Tirith

            Just Minas Tirith.  That city in itself was a plot hole.  I don't care what kind of technology or magic you have.  Building a city like that is impossible!  Not only that, it's just illogical and not very well made.  As a city it's too cramped and limited in space and as a fortresses, it's too easy to attack with way to many vulnerable positions.  But my explanation to this is simple:  Who the fuck cares?  It looked awesome!

Plot Hole Number Six
Gandalf's Staffs

            Weird sounding, I know, but his staffs are a plot hole of themselves.  For starters, Gandalf loses his staff at Isengard when Saruman takes it and captures him, yet he has it again when he is at Rivendell.  How the hell did that happen?  Did he just make a new one off camera?  One that happened to look exactly like his old one?  Or did it just teleport back to him after he escaped?  And why didn't he have his staff during the later parts of the battle of Minas Tirith?  Well, the extended edition does explain it.  In it the Witch King destroys it but that just opens up another plot hole.  If he destroyed it, how did he have it again at the film's ending?  Did he just make a new one?  I find that doubtful and the films seemed to imply that all of the wizards' power was tied into their staffs and when they lost them they lost their powers.  But still, that's something that is more reserved for the books so let’s just say they can make new ones in the films and there is you explanation.

Plot Hole Number Seven
The Army of the Dead

            The whole army of the dead thing was probably the biggest deus ex machina I have ever seen in any film.  The whole thing would have been ok if it hadn't been for one thing: Aragorn released them before the war was over.  Why would you release an invincible army of ghosts before you defeated a foe that has you out matched in nearly every way?  It's one that annoys me but it's one of the few Lord of the Rings plot holes I think up a good explanation for.  It's simple; Aragon wanted to do the honorable thing and let them go after the battle was done.  It's very possible that he thought this battle was the decisive battle of the war and they wouldn't be needed after.  It's an area where Aragorn really dropped the ball but it's an explainable plot hole.

Plot Hole Number Eight
The Soldiers at the Battle of the Black Gate

            Everything about the soldiers in this battle struck me as wrong.  For one thing, why weren't the Riders of Rohan on their horses?  Well, it is possible that they lost too many of them at the Battle of Minas Tirith.  It's also possible that they didn't think that this would be a field battle, so much as a siege of the Black Gates.  But if that's true they are even dumber then Aragorn for releasing the Army of the Dead before the war was over.  Speaking of Aragorn, where did his horse go?  For that matter, where did all their horses go?  Well, it is possible they let them to run away off camera so that's that issue resolved.  What really bothered me, however, were their tactics.  What kind of a commander lets his army be surrounded like that and why were they bunched together like a damn mob?  This one can be a nitpicking problem or a plot gap, depending on your view but it's one that I haven't heard a good explanation for.  It just irritates the crap out of me. 

Plot Hole Number Nine
Why did all of Mordor Collapse
After the Ring Was Destroyed?

            For some strange reason all of Mordor, a land just as big as Gondor completely collapsed after the Ring was destroyed.  The fortress of Barad-Dur and Mount Doom I can understand but why did an earthquake erupt and consume the Black Gates and all of the orcs in within Mordor?  It's a weird one but who cares?  It was awesome to look at and didn't impede the storytelling in the way the final plot hole does.

Plot Hole Number Ten
The Eagles at the Battle of the Black Gate

            This is the biggest plot hole in the entire series and is one that nearly destroyed the entire series' storytelling credibility.  The whole root of this is centered around one simple question:  Why didn't the fellowship simply fly to Mordor rather than spend a year walking their?  This is one that I have never heard a satisfying explanation to and I have heard them all and debunked them all.  To those of you who may try to explain this allow me to debunk you in advance.  For one thing, no one ever looks up.  Think about it.  How many times do you look up into the sky in day?  Even on the off chance an orc or one of Sauron’s minions noticed them, if the eagles were high enough in the sky and far enough away they probably would have thought they were just regular sized birds flying high.  Visual physics have weird ways of playing tricks on one's eyes when dealing with height and distance.  And even if they did know what they were what would they have done to stop them?  Only the fell beasts could fly and there were only nine of them and the eagles seemed to be able to take them on at the Black Gates. 
            It's one that no one has a credible excuse for.  Even the books, the thing that everyone runs to cover for in the plot gap department, have no plausible explanation for it and it was a major fuck up on Tolkien’s part.   They were really cool to watch and it was a nice little tribute to The Hobbit but it impede the storytelling process in such a way that it made all of the other plot holes I mentioned seem like minor film editing errors in comparison.  It truth, it is the biggest plot gap I have seen to any big film series.  It damn near ruined the credibility of the entire series and it's a plot hole I can't help but rant about.

            I honestly have no idea why so many people rant and nitpick about these plot holes.  Some, I admit, are legitimate questions but if someone is going to put so much effort into pointing out a plot hole and elaborating on how wrong they are, they should put just as much energy into thinking up explanations for them.  While there were plot holes I couldn't explain, I put as much thought and effort into explaining them as I did identifying the problem.  While I did notice these plot holes, (or had them pointed out to me), they never diluted the entire film experience for me.  Ranting and nitpicking about such things is becoming increasingly common, incredibly annoying and it's something that everyone is guilty of and is just wrong.  Is that we critique movies now?  By just ranting and nitpicking about all the things we didn't like? Or do we look at the big picture and how the films impacted our lives and imagination?  Think on this. 
            So until next time this is The Illusive One demanding a stop to ranting and nitpicking and that people focus on the big picture and enjoy films for what they are rather than nitpick the crap out of them.



  1. Well that was a fun read, and at least a few of the holes or inconsistencies are ones that I have noticed. As far as most anything Star Wars related I attribute it to the fact that Lucas really did have to make it up as he went along. Hell, he had not planned or visioned that Luke and Leia were brother and sister until after the second movie TESB. He ultimately made something bigger than himself and his original dreams and visions. Good on him.
    Tolkien was working in a different medium, he wrote books not screenplays. I think his actual continuity of story is a little better and more consistent. As you stipulate though, we are limited to Jackson's superb movies and not the ponderous detailed lore of the books.
    I do find the appearance of the Eagles at the end of LOTR/Return of the King to be consistent and explainable though. Journey, story, and drama aside. (It would have been a pretty boring short story if Frodo jumped on a bird and dropped the ring into Mt. Doom...the end.)The Eagles are under the command or behest of Gandalf THE WHITE not Gandalf the Grey, he has acquired more power/influence over nature and it's magic through progression and travail. Also Mordor is now still realing from a series of defeats and lost it's most powerful Nazgul...the Litch King.
    An aerial attempt on Mordor without the distraction (To turn Sauron's gaze.) of a unified army led by Aragorn rallied at the Black Gate would have failed. It would be like trying to fly a couple fighter planes into a hostile and well defended country with out any ground support or diversion.
    Ultimately both universes and stories therein have enough magic and force to explain away most anything.

  2. they had to sneak to mordor and keep from being seen my Sauron. sauron would have seen the eagles and stopped them. period.

  3. As far as the eagles are concerned, I had a similar question about Gandolf. He one the most powerful wizards. He could have done so much more to help the Fellowship but chose not to. Why?
    My brother, who has read the books many times explained it to me this way - and it makes sense - the actions of our heroes have an effect on the entirety of Middle Earth. Middle earth needed to destroy the ring on its own, without the aid of Gandolf, to help build lasting political relationships and true peace. If Gandolf did too much, then all u have is a series of uneasy alliances, joined against a common foe, then enemies again.
    So simply flying into mirror (if even possible) would not accomplish the overall theme of the story - fellowship.

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  5. actually i read the books and watched the movies. during the first part, sauron's eye was fixed on rivendel. then they tell you his gaze turns to gondor and her cities, so flying the eagles all the way there would be possible because he needs direct eyesight to watch someone, if something can hide you then he cant see you otherwise the moment they set out from the city sauron would have been watching them and attcked them long before they got to moria.

    Also witht he ents marching, when treebeard called to them they just appeared so the ents where close (close enough to see the deforesting of the place) so why didnt the Ents attack sooner? why did it take a midget for them to notice?

    Also the mines of Moria make no sense, because you find out in the Hobbit the dwarves have been there and know what happened witht he goblins and balrog. And the drawves are not isolationists because the iron hill drawves send an army to protect Erobor after they retake it from the dragon so the drawves do talk and help eachother. Also Aragorn is a ranger and knows where everything is and what places to avoid, so are you telling me a ranger knows all these locations but moria is the mystery to him? bull crap.

    All in all, there is about a ton of mistakes that you can clearly see that required a few seconds to fix but they got super lazy.