An Unanswered Question from Return of the Jedi

OK, I guess this is a series now. I have a mind to hit each film with at least one question, then challenge everyone to come up with an answer. I suspect that when I get to the prequels, everyone will be hurting themselves trying to be wittier than everyone else.

Anyway, here’s a question I have from Return of the Jedi.

Why Does Everyone Think Luke Had Such a Convoluted Rescue Plan?

He was simply an excellent crisis manger.

18 thoughts on “An Unanswered Question from Return of the Jedi

  1. Coz he’s (nearly) a Jedi and thinks he is invulnerable.

    I think really though, he wanted to show off. Get Han out of carbonite and show how clever he is.

    I think the best plan would have been to just have Leia go in with the Thermal detonator and lob it then run


    1. Jedi pride? Interesting angle, and one I wouldn’t reject. Though to put a spin on it – perhaps not pride but the desire to test himself? He wanted to see if he could make it out of the worst position possible as his final test. Perhaps, in fact, it’s the moment that made him a real Jedi (he passed his final trial, so to speak).


  2. In response to your suggestions:

    — Showing up with a lightsaber might have kept him from getting into the throne room. Not everyone is as weak-minded as Bib Fortuna(?). There might have even been some force-aware people in there. He doesn’t want to start a fight too soon (though Jabba sort of did).
    — Strafing the place is too much of a risk. There might be existing “nuclear bombs” that are set off by the attack, leaving Han in rubble.
    — Assault team? Didn’t you read my response to your a New Hope post? Resources are limited. No one with an X-Wing (other than Luke) cares. They aren’t sending in the marines for a drug smuggler . . . until they make him general.
    — He did make an offer. He gave Jabba two droids, and Jabba said, “Screw you.” In fact, everyone in the galaxy could have predicted that, and Luke clearly did, so it’s surprising you even suggested it.
    — I refuse to believe that a 20th-century solution is applicable to a society that uses hand-held energy weapons and spaceships. There have to be defenses to things as silly as mustard gas, right?

    So, what’s the reason? It makes for good drama. One of the best parts of RotJ was that it started with a rescue operation that, by itself, could be an entire movie. However, I don’t want to duck the question. Jedi’s operate on instinct, trusting that everything will unfold as needed. Also, it’s perfectly believable that Jabba has safeguards in place, both technological and procedural, to deal with assaults. He’s too big of a target, both literally and figuratively, to have lasted this long without such safeguards. The in-story explanations just aren’t that important. This isn’t Star Trek.


    1. First and foremost, of COURSE it’s just for the drama, silly – and, in the days before everyone had video/on demand, to reintroduce the characters to the audience.

      My counterpoints:
      – Hide the lightsaber. He wasn’t frisked.

      – I’ll accept at this point that strafing is too great a risk.

      – Leia was a pretty important person in the heirarchy. She could have pulled strings.

      – I meant a real offer. And Luke didn’t offer the droids in exchange, but as a token of good will. Meaning he was dicking around with Jabba instead of entering a good-faith negotiation.

      – You’d also think that they’d put blast doors in the tunnels of the second Death Star, just on the off f*ing chance that someone would fly into the superstructure and they could turn the tunnel into a dead end.

      “Also, it’s perfectly believable that Jabba has safeguards in place, both technological and procedural, to deal with assaults.”

      The eloquent argument I can’t overcome is this one. Well done, my fellow geek. Live long and prosper. πŸ™‚


  3. “not to mention sexually assaulted in public with a slug tongue” maybe that was all Leia’s idea for that to happen. Cocaine is a hell of a drug….


  4. Yeah, I’m mostly with gslic on this. Assault team risks people involuntarily. Everyone involved in Han’s rescue was a friend of Han’s and was there voluntarily. An assault team might get several people killed trying to save one. It must be extended universe stuff to say carbonite is invulnerable to everything. I would imagine X-wing Turbolasers and Thermal Detonators could cause a problem though. Also, it would take out innocent lives. Many people in Jabba’s palace were not there of thier own free will. Not a Jedi thing to do. Also, since 9/11 we know sifting through rubble takes time and resources.


    1. I officially cry uncle on the strafing run. Although the “impervious carbonite” argument about “Expanded Universe” sources…this is where it gets murky, because a lot of what we know about things came from official sources based on the scripts and concepts straight out of their brains back then (less committee brainstorming, or at least Lucas was more of a control freak about it at that point). Carbonite was basically understood from a lot of sources back then as being at a minimum blaster proof.

      HOWEVER, the controls that kept Han alive would have been damaged, as I think about it. So it’s not so much the carbonite as that which is making it possible for Han to live in it.


  5. This is simple. Jabba needed to be manipulated away from his base of power. Isolated on his barge in the middle of the desert, he is still formidable, but he is limited. There are no traps. There are no reinforcements. There are limited resources. In the desert, with his pieces in place, Luke has to upper hand, all the more so because Jabba thinks he has orchestrated a triumph.


  6. I’m willing to argue that coming up with and discarding such plans is exactly what Lando was doing between the two movies. And trying to set up an assault is probably exactly what landed Chewie in that cell in the first place.

    In fact, I can spontaneously create a bit of fanfic that one of the reasons the rescue plan was so half-assed was that Lando called the team in to rescue Chewbacca, not Han. But, once Luke set foot in Jabba’s palace, it was such a commitment of resources that they may as well go for the gold.


  7. Oh, I so know what you mean! This is something that’s really only come up for a lot of fans in recent years, and highlights how when Lucas was at the helm, especially in a writing capacity, the plot ceased to make sense. Why not simply walk in, fetch the old lightsaber, and cut up Jabba’s guards? Why not roll in a few gas grenades when everyone was asleep and render them all unconscious? Allowing your people to be captured, the stunt in the Rancor pit, then a trip to the Sarlac. Not a smart way to save people, especially when you’re narrowly cheating death along the way.


    1. Well, you know that Lucas was at the writing helm for all six, right? Seriously. All Leigh Brackett wrote was a first draft to Empire. Lucas had *the* major hand in writing all six. πŸ™‚


      1. But he was only the writer in the first and third and was paired up with help in the third. First is understandable, but in second he is absent and third he was paired with Lawrence Kasdan. So really, the best movie was the one where he was producing and not writing.


        1. Actually, you are factually incorrect. Leigh Brackett wrote only the very first draft of Empire. He wrote subsequent drafts and also brought in Kasdan. But he was involved to the point of script and dialogue revisions during shooting. Brackett’s name remained solely as a tribute and to get money to her estate (she died shortly after submitting the first draft). β€” Sent from Mailbox for iPhone

          On Sat, May 11, 2013 at 10:47 PM, kessel korner


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