Ode to the A-Wing

Wingless bird flying
‘twixt Destroyers and Death Stars
With precious little protection

While your name’s never said
And your pilots
Largely ended up dead

You were faster than a Falcon
Less armored than your cousins
Delivering wanton destruction

You destroyed an Executor
And ended Admiral Piett
Vader’s half-wit lackey

You flew into our hearts
With eminent precision
Never to leave again

AT-ATs of Endor

Recently, Craig baited me into an argument about AT-ATs on Endor, and then felt the need to enlist Jar Jar Hater to his losing arguments.

So here I am, once again setting to rest some things that should not even be questions. I question at times whether I’m the only one who actually pays attention to these films. Can’t wait to see regular commenters fall all over themselves trying to manipulate that last sentence into an opportunity to mock me.

A Different Approach

For this blogument (blog + argument = annoying new psuedo-word!), I’m taking a different approach. I’m going to call out actual arguments and respond to them point by point.

One reason is that it will save me time, another is that it will save you time and the last is that it’s been one heck of a week. I only have so much energy to give.

Argument One: Mileage or Safety Rating?

…whoever decided that the AT-ST was the best transport on the forest moon of Endor was an idiot. Why didn’t they just send down some AT-AT’s and have them fire lasers and ewoks and rebels alike. Especially since it was proven that the AT-ST had armor that couldn’t withstand a tree and the AT-AT has armor that can withstand lasers.

My counter-argument is that an AT-AT Walker is a heavy vehicle. While it can indeed cut through a forest by blasting and crushing its way through the trees, this worked directly against the idea of luring the rebels into a trap.

Think of it this way: the rebels are supposed to think they are catching the Empire off-guard. Palpatine, or whomever is in charge of the military strategy (it’s Palpatine), purposely presents a tempting target to the rebels. “Oh, look at me! I’m a defenseless shield generator! Why doesn’t your small strike team (they fit on one shuttle, after all) come on over and get the fleet over here to attack this lil’ ol’ “unarmed” Death Star?” (Implied: Suckas!)

If all of the area around the back door is recently-scorched ground with a bunch of AT-AT Walkers in a big circle around the target, the rebels will probably call it off or alter their plans.

Also, the Emperor knows that Luke will be lured to this trap as well, and wants to trick him too.

If you want to turn your head around it even more, Solo was planning a straight-forward infiltration with the commando team (he even begins discussing it before 3PO interrupts). The Ewoks were the ones who told them about the back door. So they did, in fact, still catch the Imperials unaware—which is why they got as far as they did in the first place before being captured.

And being a small commando team, they still failed at their primary mission. The ewoks provided the diversion, and indeed the old veteran Chewbacca was the one who actually turned the tide of the battle when he jacked an AT–ST.

Argument Two: Not Really an Argument

[Kessel] had this convoluted theory that maybe if the trees could pierce the armor because it is not made to withstand a slow piercing object. Yes he argued that a tree could pierce the armor of an AT-AT.

I bring this up to correct it. I did not argue that. I said that the AT-STs presumably had similar armor (able to withstand energy weapons to an extent) but that they were lighter vehicles susceptible to force-of-impact destruction.

Here’s an analogy: the AT-AT is an M1-Abrams and the AT-ST is a Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

Argument Three: There WERE AT-ATs There.

One of them is used to transport Luke to Vader.

It’s always been there. You can easily extrapolate that there is more than one on the planet.

Go get your VHS copy. It’s there in all its stop-motion and then full-sized not-quite-accurate forced-perspective glory behind Luke and Vader glory.

See the screen caps, with helpful guide:

ATAT drops off Luke
Well, here’s one shot with an AT-AT.


Now, to expand upon the point from above, imagine these big, lumbering vehicles.

They would take time to get to the battle, a battle which the Imperial military thought it could handle easily.

If you watch closely the Empire does whip on rebel ass until Chewbacca turns the tide and the rebels trick the Imperials into letting them into the structure to destroy it.

AT AT Comes to Rest on the Forest Moon Called Endor While Dropping Off Luke Skywalker
Stop Motion. Matte Paintings. Back lighting.

I mean, the Empire is wailing on Ewoks until Chewie has his hands on the controls of a chicken walker and starts blasting other walkers apart.

So why doesn’t the Empire send the AT-ATs after the fact to exact vengeance?

Simple answer: through the chicanery of Han Solo, the first hint the Imperials had about their precious base going up in flames…was their base going up in flames. Also, the film was nearing the two hour mark, which in Star Wars land means there will be opportunities for you to make it up in your head.

Like I did!

Argument Four: I Know My Star Wars, Thank You

AT AT Set Piece on the Forest Moon Called Endor in Return of the Jedi When Luke Skywalker Talks to Darth Vader
This is an argument for “Special Editioning” a background.

I bring this up because of something Jar Jar Hater said in her turn arguing:

Remember that strategic command on Endor is directly overseen by the Emperor, who even hides this from Vader

No, he doesn’t. He orders Vader around. Vader was obviously given command of the fleet in Empire, bungled his second chance at Sith succession, and so the Emperor spanked him and took direct control. This is the classic blunder of many an evil leader in history, yes. They’re too intolerant of short-term failure because they fear weakness.

But he didn’t hide it from Vader at all.

Argument Five: Secrecy Kills, Not Lack of AT-ATs

The base was supposed to be a secret. Now, building a Death Star in secret on the Forest Moon Called Endor will require stationing, supplies, quartermasters, etc. Therefore, the Empire couldn’t station a whole bunch of resources there prior to bringing the fleet there for the trap.

So you could make the argument that possibly, building the Death Star in secret was the first mistake. I question that, above all else.


After all, you’re an Imperial Machine run by bureaucrats and brute force that hands out mandates on the whim of insane leaders, like North Korea or New York. Why bother hiding it? Why not just announce to everyone, “Hi there! We’re building another, Mother-F***ers, and we’re putting a shield generator around the shield generator of the shield generator’s shield generator, and building it near a highly-populated planet with a large civilian population that we’ll torture and kill if you try to stop it.”

It lacks subtlety, but I’ve always liked to dream big.

What are your thoughts?