Another Unanswered Question from Return of the Jedi

Continuing our ongoing series of lovingly poking the Star Wars films squarely in the plot hole, here’s a “new” question I have from Return of the Jedi.

Why Didn’t the Rebels Just Do Strafing Runs on the Shield Generator to Destroy It?

Ackbar Meme
If there’s one thing nerds know how to do, it’s drive a joke into the ground.

We all know that they had a grand plan to send their greatest pilot, the last known Jedi and most important figurehead into the forests of Endor to crack into, and destroy, the shield generator complex. Three people, mind you, who repeatedly proved themselves incapable of doing anything besides screwing things up and/or rushing into traps headlong.

Then, once the generator was destroyed, the fleet shows up and destroys the second Death Star. Simple enough I guess, but here’s something even more simple.

Have the fleet show up, and send one, maybe two, ships down to Endor to carpet-bomb the area around the shield generator. Heck, send some fighters as well to destroy any possible Anti-Aircraft batteries they might have in place. (Note: We saw zero evidence of any.)

And, at the very least, if they found this to be unpalatable as the primary plan, why not divert at least a couple of ships to the shield generator to destroy it when it became obvious your “crack team of commandos” had failed to capture and destroy the shield?

After all, as they say, no plan survives contact with the enemy. Admiral Ackbar was a damned fool, proven by his inability to adapt to a changing situation and accomplish his mission.

So anyway, the challenge this time is to provide me with an answer why they didn’t do this. Seriously, I’m all ears.



15 thoughts on “Another Unanswered Question from Return of the Jedi

  1. The generator was actually underground. So strafing runs wouldn’t have stopped it. By the time they would have managed to damage a little of the mega satellite dish, there would be enemy ships chasing them.

    1. ARgh, I was about to use a “no EU” rule on you, but remembering the layout of the join, it was an underground bunker. Still, I’d divert some ships to try. Before they engaged the Star Destroyers at Lando’s insistence, they were basically just sitting around getting their exhaust vents handed to them. 🙂

      1. I think that you may be right when the shield wasn’t down. I’m going to use an EU example here.

        In Betrayal, (Could have been Bloodlines) Wedge and Han had to get through somewhere but there was a shield up, so they decided to divert just two ships to run cover fire on the ones who were to take out the generators. The two were so that they could cover each other and pick off anything that was harrying the shield-taker-downers. So yes, one A-Wing and one X-Wing would have done well there and would have got it down sooner. Unless of course the AT-AT or AT-ST took them down

          1. There’s always a reason. There was no reason they couldn’t have sent one or two down for a look-see though

            Of course, whenever Ackbar plays cards and two cards the same come down, he has to shout “it’s a snap” They asked him what the blue sheet was they were putting over an x-wing, so he said “it’s a tarp” Sorry, loads of them.

  2. I guess I was always under the impressions that the shield generator was also protecting the moon itself (as well as the Death Star), thus requiring the team to sneak onto the planet posing as Imperials. When Han and co. provide the access codes, one of the Imperial officers radios back to say they’re deactivating the shield to allow them through. Since Han had already stated the moon as their destination, why would the shield need to be deactivated if it wasn’t also protecting the moon? That’s how I’ve always interpreted it, at least.

    1. Very true – but wouldn’t a strafing run from a different approach have at least been worth it? Looking at the display Ackbar used, so long as they avoided the “invisible tether of doom,” they could approach from around the generator and pound the ground. Maybe I’m out on a limb here, but I’d at least give it a shot.

  3. I’m with teebore here. The fact that they had to lower the shields to let the shuttle down suggests the the shield generator was also covered by the shield.

    The real question is: Once the imperials let the shuttle through, why didn’t they care where it landed? We have air traffic control, so if a plane got clearance to land, then decided to put down on the highway next to the airport, there’d be a problem even if the highway was deserted and the landing successful.

    1. Presumably, the Imperials didn’t care where it landed because it was all part of the Emperor’s plan to lure the Rebels into a final showdown. The question is why did Han and co.think they could land without anyone caring what happened to them? Unless they just didn’t care so long as they made it through the shield?

      1. This is one of those things where I guess we, the audience, can write some sort of Insta-EU while watching: The rebels called in that they were setting down for some technical problem, or they were setting up a remote sensor (parts and technical crew?).

        But to bring it back to the Imperials: Wouldn’t they *know* and/or have put in a request for parts and a technical crew? One just shows up? Is the bureaucracy that…wait. Just thought about government. Yes, bureaucracy is that screwy. 🙂

  4. Clearly they were trying to minimize Ewok casualties, but then the little tribbles-that-poop had to go and get themselves directly into the fight.

    1. Wait. Tribbles don’t poop? What the hell happens to all the grain they eat? That’s pain even Sybok can feel. — Sent from Mailbox for iPhone

      On Tue, May 14, 2013 at 8:40 PM, kessel korner

      1. Tribbles reproduce by pooping, so you can hardly call that real pooping (though it’s true that all tribbles can be considered a “waste” of space).

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