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Did Rogue One Explain Why Stormtroopers Have Terrible Aim?

stormtroopers
via Lucasfilm

*******SPOILERS APLENTY*******

Something that is very unique about the Star Wars series of today is that it’s being made by fans. Filmmakers like J.J Abrams and Gareth Edwards grew up loving the series and now they get to make the Star Wars films they always wanted to see. Some would argue that’s not necessarily a good thing, as The Force Awakens feels like a fan remaking a New Hope. But with Rogue One, we’re now seeing that these fanboy directors are actually going back a fixing the old films. “Fixing” might not be the right word as these aren’t big problems—it’s more like they’re smoothing over the rough areas. For instance, one of the oft-ridiculed aspects of A New Hope is how easily a massive, world-exploding space station like the Death Star can be so easily destroyed. Of course, Rogue One tells us that this was not in fact a disastrous design flaw but a purposeful bit of sabotage. That’s a pretty clever little switcheroo, and that might not be all the tinkering Rogue One has done with the mythology.

Stormtroopers are known for two things; cool outfits and terrible aim. It’s gotten to the point where they aren’t even that intimidating because they can never hit their targets. Or at least, the important targets. They never have any trouble gunning down no-name Rebel soldiers or helpless citizens, so why can they never hit Luke or Han or Rey. Well, that brings me to a sequence involving the character of Chirrut Îmwe. Throughout the film, Îmwe is presented as a true-believer in the way of the Jedi and, particularly, in The Force. In each dangerous situation, he chants his mantra “I’m one with the Force, and the Force is with me”. And so come a sequence in which the good guys desperately need a flip switched (ain’t that always the way) and Îmwe decides he’s the man to do it. So this blind holy man, slowly and calmly walks out among a hail of laser fire from the surrounding Stormtroopers, chanting “I’m one with the Force, and the Force is with me”. Lo and behold, the Stormtroopers miss this very wide-open target and Îmwe flips that goddamn switch.

Now, was the movie just being consistent with how badly Stormtroopers are at shooting, or have they revealed an answer to this great mystery. Could it be that The Force actually provides some protection? Is that why your generic Rebel gets shot and Luke goes unscathed? Are true-believers favoured by The Force gods? Of course it’s not permanent as Îmwe stops chanting and promptly gets blown the fuck up, but if true, that’s a handy bit of retroactive cleaning up.

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