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Why Star Wars Stormtroopers Have Bad Aim
Early in Star Wars: A New Hope, Luke Skywalker and Old Ben Kenobi come across a destroyed Jawa transport. When Kenobi examines destruction, he notes to Luke that “These blast points are too accurate for Sandpeople.” His comment implies that Stormtroopers must have clinical accuracy—foreshadowing the terrifying military might of the Empire. But, over the course of the original series, we see over and over that the Stormtroopers are incompetent idiots who can’t even defeat a tribe of small teddybears who use greatly inferior technology.
A swarm of Stormtrooper-piloted Tie Fighters can’t take down a single ship—hell, entire fleets of Empire Star Destroyers are pretty much useless in landing a single shot on our heroes. In fact, Luke Skywalker pretty much explains away the Stormtroopers’ horrible aim with an off-hand comment in A New Hope—he puts on one of their helmets before going undercover in the Death Star and notes that you can’t see anything out of the damn thing.
So why, does Obi-Wan Kenobi, a hardened Jedi warrior wrongly believe that the Stormtroopers are such ace shots?
It’s a conundrum that has baffled Star Wars fans for decades. And one new theory on Reddit actually does a pretty genius job of explaining why he thinks that:
Thanks to The Mandalorian, it’s canon that storm troopers suck. There’s the scene where two repeatedly fail to shoot something only a few feet away. Also, the ex sniper defends his credentials by emphasizing that he wasn’t a storm trooper, implying they’re known to have bad aim.So in the OT, why does Obi-Wan think they’re great? He emphasizes that the shots on the transport were too precise and thus must have been a storm trooper.The simple answer: they literally don’t make them like they used to. When Obi-Wan thinks of storm troopers, he thinks of the clones he used to fight with. They were extremely talented.But thanks to the sequels, we know that storm troopers are made up largely of new recruits of average people like Finn. It makes sense. Clones were engineered to not have full life spans if I remember correctly. So there’s no more clones but the empire needs an army, so they recruit. That’s why storm troopers suck but Obi-Wan assumed they didn’t.
It actually makes a lot of sense. In the Clone Wars, when Obi-Wan fought alongside the clone army at would eventually evolve into the Empire’s Stormtroopers, they were a pretty damn good fighting force. They were, of course, clones of Jango Fett, who was considered one of the best marksmen in the galaxy. As the years went on, in order to keep their ranks up, the Empire kidnapped children to fight as Stormtroopers in their army. One would imagine such recruitment tactics would drastically decrease the talent among Empire soldiers. Maybe, given this explanation, we can cross this one off the list of major Star Wars plot holes.
Matt is the Culture Editor at Esquire where he covers music, movies, books, and TV—with an emphasis on all things Star Wars, Marvel, and Game of Thrones.