There’s one…set for stun!


By: Dan Turpin


There is a long lived Star Wars cliché that hopefully, by means of these words, will begin to disappear. I shall attempt to put to rest a fallacy, myth, tall tale, whooper, a big FAT LIE! 

That lie being that Stormtroopers do not know how to aim or shoot. They actually do know how to shoot and are quite good. 

I can’t surf Facebook in any of the geek themed groups without finding a meme that misconstrues the Stormies aiming talents. Their skills are spread across the three original films. Why does the myth persist? Who really knows. It’s usually funny, but it is not accurate. I believe the Stormtroopers missed their targets on purpose and hit exactly what they were told. 

One example of their skills is displayed when they storm the “Tantive IV”. They knock them all down…rebel soldiers are dead all over. Another example of their fighting skill is shown in the carnage displayed when Luke discovers his dead foster parents. It is during these scenes we see the work of efficient soldiers. The only time they miss their prey is in Docking Bay 94 when Han shoots first. Because Han is that good! Not exactly the clumsy troopers we see on the Death Star later in the film. Notice this exchange:

Luke Skywalker: It *looks* like the Sand people did this, alright. Look, there’s gaffi sticks, Bantha tracks. It’s just, I never heard of them hit anything this big before.

Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi: They didn’t, but we are meant to think they did. These tracks are side-by-side. Sand people always ride single file to hide their numbers.

Luke Skywalker: These are the same Jawas that sold us R2 and 3PO.

Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi: And these blast points, too accurate for Sand people. Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise.

The last line says it all. Their reputation had preceded them. Kenobi knew they were bad asses and he knew that it was their blaster work even though they tried to make it look like someone else did the job. Later, on the Death Star, they aren’t so good. That’s because they missed on purpose. Wait…What? 

Notice how during the Death Star pursuit, the troopers flop around and act like they are playing with the gang. That is because they are. Two examples of dialogue back this up:

Princess Leia Organa: They let us go. It was the only reason for the ease of our escape.

Han Solo: Easy? You call that easy?

Princess Leia Organa: They’re tracking us.

Han Solo: Not this ship, sister.

Vader was in a weird spot by the time the Death Star was operational. He was still Palpatine’s boy, but he never had real authority. Tarkin was the coolest kid in class. Knowing what we know now, this was Vader’s time to shine and to pull away from the favored son Tarkin, and find the location of the secret rebel base. He does this by allowing the Stormtroopers to merely chase them around while he defeated, “a presence I’ve not felt since…” 

With Obi Wan dead and the Princess rescued, it’s easy to assume Vader got the brilliant idea, (or maybe it was there all along?) to track the Falcon and follow it. Tracking it is definitely their plan in this exchange:

Governor Tarkin: Are they away?

Darth Vader: They’ve just made the jump into hyperspace.

Governor Tarkin: You’re sure the homing beacon is secure aboard their ship? I’m taking an awful risk, Vader. This had better work.

The Stormtroopers were not sad, flimsy versions of the mighty clones, but grunts told to do their jobs and NOT fire on the invading party. The reason was, Vader, even as powerful as he was, could not wrangle the information he wanted from the Princess (another brilliant example of Vader’s sole reliance on the Dark side of the Force and not his inner strength), despite killing her home world and threatening her with execution. Vader, a great military leader and strategist, realized, once the Princess was rescued, allowing the invading party to escape with the idea of tracking the Falcon would show his Master he was still worthy. 

The bottom line is, anytime they hit anything it was because they were THAT good. Anytime they didn’t hit anything they were told not to. 

Let us now bury this lie. Ready, Aim, Fire!

What do you think of Dan’s thoughts?

Do you agree? Do you disagree?  Come join the conversation in The Alliance of Star Wars Fanatics Facebook group!

Gerard Baer

Gerard Baer is a Managing Partner and Creative Director for The Alliance of Star Wars Fanatics (TAOSWF) and, along with all their associated properties. Main duties include webmaster, content creator and graphic designer for, as well as general all around control freak. He has been a Star Wars fan since seeing "A New Hope" in 1977 at age 4, and always will be. MTFBWY...ALWAYS!

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