Ever since Rogue One was announced people have been speculating about whether or not it would attempt to fix one of A New Hope’s biggest plot holes: Why did the Death Star have a conveniently placed hole that allowed for it to be destroyed with a single photon torpedo?
When we found out that Mads Mikkelsen was playing Galen Erso, the chief architect behind the Death Star, fan speculation entered hyper drive. People began announcing with confidence that Galen Erso designed the Death Star with the flaw in mind so that it could be destroyed by the Rebellion. Suddenly the biggest plot hole in the franchise was resolved, or so we thought.
Now that Rogue One is out we finally know the truth and it isn’t what fans were expecting. While it is true that Galen Erso did design the Death Star with a critical flaw it wasn’t the exhaust port. He explains, in a message to his daughter Jyn (Felicity Jones) and the Rebellion, that he had turned the reactor into a fuse that when lighted would destroy the entire Death Star. He made no mention of an exhaust port or how to ignite the reactor simply that any explosion inside it would trigger a chain reaction.
Which is a good thing. For too long the people behind the Death Star have been chastised for allowing such a fatal flaw to make it into the final design. Fans were hoping that Rogue One would finally explain their incompetence but what people don’t realise is that the people who designed the exhaust port deserve the Empire’s praise, not its scorn.
The Death Star is a gigantic super weapon that fires a laser powerful enough to destroy entire planets. A weapon of that size and magnitude would have created a considerable amount of exhaust and the mere fact that they managed to channel all of it through a single tunnel the size of a womp-rat is commendable if not implausible.
The fact that Luke Skywalker was able to destroy the Death Star could not have happened if it weren’t for two key facts: The Rebels had access to the Death Star plans, allowing them to find the exhaust port in the first place which would of otherwise been invisible to the naked eye, and the fact that Luke is a Jedi and was able to use the Force to make his photon torpedo make a sharp 90 degree turn and fly directly down the exhaust port for several hundred miles until it reached the reactor core.
Considering that the Jedi are all but extinct by the time of A New Hope and that the Force is considered by many, including high-ranking Imperial Officers, to be a myth it is understandable that the engineers behind the Death Star didn’t take into consideration the fact that a moisture farmer from Tattooine would use the Force to destroy the Death Star. If anything they should be commended for the job they did at hiding the flaw in the first place.
So next time you’re looking for somebody to blame for the destruction of the Death Star, don’t blame the engineers, blame the farm boy and his space magic.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in cinemas now. Directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, Monsters) it stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen and Alan Tudyk.