It’s been a while since I’ve discussed Star Wars, and I seem to be of a mood to ask questions lately, so I’ve got one that I’ve never seen answered satisfactorily. If at all. It’s really a series of questions, because one hypothetical answer just leads to another question.

Why Was Luke Allowed to Fly in the Battle of Yavin?

Obviously, Luke was the hero character. He was going to have something to do with the climactic battle of the film. But his participation doesn’t make logical sense in the context of the plot.

So here are the questions I have about it.

The Alliance May Have Had Limited Ships, but They Had Plenty of Pilots

When we get to the throne room where they receive their medals for bravery and heroism, there are a ton of pilots in the audience. Seriously, a lot. You’d be able to hit one throwing a baseball without aiming all that well.

So why didn’t one of them fly in the final battle? At least one of them had to have been a great pilot. Even if not great, then at the very least “he” predated Luke as a member of the Alliance. He’d been training and preparing for battles, even if not that particular one, for longer than Luke had.

The Star Wars Radio Drama, which was considered an authoritative outside source until the Special Editions contradicted it, offered a scene where Luke was pre-tested before he went into battle. They wanted to make sure he was rated on the Incom T–65 (if you have to look it up, I’m disappointed) and so they had him undergo a rigorous simulation. In actuality, it’s a really fun scene to hear.

But Those Pilots Were Veterans by Comparison!

Seriously, no matter how well a pilot tests “off the street,” you mean to tell me that Red Leader was not just comfortable letting Luke fly one of their prized ships, of which they had a limited supply, but passing over a flier he had worked with previously?

Do you think somebody walked in out of the blue and just hopped in a P-38 to shoot down the zeroes? No matter how good he was, wouldn’t they have said, “well, that’s great, but this mission’s already the equivalent of pissing in the wind, and you’ll likely just cost us a ship early in the game”?

For That Matter, What If He’d Been a Double Agent?

The Empire already proved–and probably had many times in the past–that they were willing to throw people’s lives away on a gamble (the tracking device/sentry ship ploy that got them to Yavin). He may have rescued the princess, but no one would entertain the possibility he was a deep–cover agent? For goodness’ sake, a mercenary brought him along and Leia never interacted with Obi–Wan. For all she knew, it was an act.

Good screening process there, guys.

Conclusion

No one can really answer this satisfactorily, and that’s OK. I’m just trying to work out a question in the same way that prequel haters nit–pick plot points and devices in such a way to justify maintaining their hatred.

But I’d like to see anyone answer this adequately. (I have answers in my head already, I’m intrigued to see where other people’s reasoning takes them.)