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Star Wars is back, and in spectacular style. But while The Force Awakens stands out on its own as the start of a new era, there are six previous Star Wars movies for fans, new and old alike, to watch on repeat ad infinitum.
Doing so means you start to see things you had missed on the first viewing, and even the second or third viewing. Crew members where they shouldn’t be, anachronistic technology, and continuity errors galore.
We have compiled the biggest and best Star Wars mistakes into one article to ensure you spot them for yourself the next time you watch these magnificent movies.
Some would say that probing a movie for mistakes is a way of ruining the whole experience of movies. Others call it a harmless amusement, and have devoted whole websites to spotting such mistakes. To some, it can be a peak behind Oz’s curtain, a glimpse into how our favorite movies are made.
The mistakes listed here are not the only ones you’ll find in the Star Wars movies… far from it. All you have to do is go to the IMDb page of any single one of the films, or search the Interwebs for “Star Wars mistakes” and you’ll find dozens of examples. However, these are some of the biggest, most noticeable errors in the films you really should have spotted but probably didn’t.
Note that this is not in any way a denigration of the franchise. The writers of MakeUseOf are as much into Star Wars as the next group of geeks. Just a cursory search of this site will bring you to articles about celebrating Star Wars Day, the impossibility of lightsabers, the Star Wars canon, and even reading Star Wars fan fiction.
However, no movie is flawless, no matter how many airbrushed “remastered special edition” versions are released to the masses. These are some of the mistakes you won’t believe you missed in the Star Wars movies… and which you will now never be able to unsee. You’re welcome!
Episode I: The Phantom Menace
The first of the prequels, and probably the worst Star Wars movie of all time.
Maybe It Transmits Midi-Chlorians?
During the invasion of the capital city of Naboo, Queen Amidala stands gazing at the enemy forces out of a window, helpless to stop them from harming her people. She is in full costume and make-up, and her ceremonial gown has glowing orange globes near the hem.
While one would think these required no more than a few batteries, apparently the costume needed some extra power, as you can see a power cord snaking around a column towards her dress at the bottom of the shot.
The Birth of C-3P0
When nine-year-old Anakin Skywalker wants to show off for his new friend Padme, he takes her to his room to show her the robot he’s been building. He tells her he’s been building what would become the series’ resident comic relief, protocol droid C-3P0 (though why such a droid would help his slave mother, who works for a mechanic, remains unsaid).
When he turns on C-3P0, he quickly remembers to put in the droid’s other eye. In the shot where he picks up the eye, he raises it to 3P0’s face with his left hand. In the next shot, he’s putting the eye in with his right hand.
Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Arguably a better film than the previous one, but still a long way from being good.
Padme’s Magical Wardrobe
We have all heard the jokes about Padme’s exaggerated costumes. When she was queen, the elaborate makeup and outfits could be rationalized as ceremonial garb or attempts to conceal her decoy, but even as a politician the woman wears some snazzy fashion and demonstrates apparent magic with clothes.
In the scene where she’s packing for a trip with Anakin, she is seen in one shot holding a folded pink garment. In the very next shot, and without ever once being off-camera, she has swapped it for a crumpled, dark blue garment.
Who Uses a Knife and Fork to Eat a Pear?
During their lengthy stay on Naboo, Padme and Anakin enjoy a fruit snack together. Attempting to show off, Anakin levitates Padme’s pear over to his plate, cuts it with his utensils, then levitates it back to her.
Leaving aside the fact that the CGI is so poor that a piece of the fruit disappears into Padme’s mouth before her teeth close on it, the piece which Anakin returns to her isn’t even half the size of the piece he cut two shots previously.
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
The best of the prequels, but still not good enough to set up the originals.
That’s Not How Gravity Works
In the middle of the battle at the beginning of the film, the ship the heroes are on is hit and sent into freefall by the gravity of the planet it’s orbiting. The ship’s artificial gravity somehow redirects to the nose of the ship, meaning the orientation of gravity shifts ninety degrees.
However, artificial gravity is not an hourglass: If it was still active, the floor would still be the floor no matter how the ship was oriented. If it’s deactivated, everyone and everything inside the ship would be freefalling.
How to Hold a Lightsaber
During the big fight on Mustafar between Anakin and Obi-Wan, Anakin almost wins during a clash. He grabs Obi-Wan’s wrist and pushes his mentor’s own lightsaber towards his throat.
In a continuity error all the more glaring due to being in the foreground of two close-up shots, Obi-Wan not only manages to slide his hand up the hilt of the lightsaber, but in the second shot he appears to be holding a different lightsaber altogether.
Episode IV: A New Hope
The movie that kicked it all off, and changed a cinematic genre forever.
Obvious Still is Obvious
The morning after R2-D2 escapes from the Lars homestead, Luke departs to look for him before his Uncle Owen awakes. There’s an establishing shot of the homestead bathed in morning light, just before Owen calls Luke’s name.
Ordinarily you wouldn’t be able to tell that this is a still image, but there’s a blurred Luke in the far right of the screen. Either this is some kind of double exposure or Mark Hamill was in the shot when it was taken. Either way, it’s obvious that it’s a still image.
Extra Crew Member on the Falcon?
Just as the Millennium Falcon escapes Mos Eisley, there is a close-up shot of Han Solo in the cockpit. Just over his right shoulder, you can see the shoulder of a person in a light-colored, possibly green, shirt standing just outside the door, who slides out of the shot within a couple of seconds.
It’s possible that it was supposed to be Obi-Wan or Luke, both of whom are shown to be wearing light robes. But they were buckling up elsewhere on the ship seconds before, so it can’t be either one. So who is that?
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
The film most fans consider to be the best of them all. But it’s hardly flawless.
The unorthodox solution of using tow cables to bring down the massive and implacable Imperial Walkers during the Rebel’s fight to defend their Hoth base was impressive in and of itself. But Luke takes it one step further by using nothing but his lightsaber and a grenade.
We’ll overlook the fact that throwing a grenade into the undercarriage of the Walker somehow caused the cockpit to explode. Luke apparently had help toppling this giant, since you can clearly see a stick pushing up the foot of the Walker, causing it to fall over.
Han’s Vanishing Restraints
This one technically goes across two movies, but begins in Episode V. When Han is encased in carbonite in order to be delivered to Jabba the Hutt by Boba Fett, he is initially held captive with wrist restraints.
When he is about to be lowered into the carbonite chamber, they are removed, presumably because he wouldn’t have attempted escape and risked the lives of Leia and Chewbacca. He does, however, still have a restraining harness on his upper arms and back. This is not on him when he is defrosted in the next movie.
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
The last film in the original trilogy, when Darth Vader’s story comes to an end.
Lando’s Black Gloves
During the battle over the Sarlacc pit, poor Lando gets thrown out of the skiff used to transport the heroes. For a few tense moments, he dangles precariously over the beast’s maw and nearly tumbles in.
Some of the shots were very obviously done with Billy Dee Williams’s stunt double, and you can usually tell by looking at the hands. Lando wears black gloves in some shots, but not in others, and all of the barehanded shots are close-ups of the actor’s face.
Lando can’t seem to stop with the between-shot wardrobe changes. In the Rebel hanger just before the mission on and over the moon of Endor, Han and Lando have a long conversation about the Millennium Falcon.
Initially Lando’s bandolier holster is fastened from his right shoulder to his left hip. When Han walks away and then turns back, there is a shot of Lando saying, “Would you get going, you pirate?” This shot is reversed, as Lando’s holster is fastened left shoulder to right hip, and the insignia is on the other side of his chest.
What’s Your Favorite Star Wars Mistake?
As we made clear at the start of this piece these are by no means the only mistakes in the Star Wars movies. So, the floor is now yours to tell us which ones you noticed that we haven’t mentioned here? Please let us know in the comments section below!