Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Death Star's Thermal Exhaust Port - Is is a Plot Hole?



Yeah, I’m going to get nerdy on this one.

The impending release of Rogue One A Star Wars Story has prompted many articles to speculate the film could fix a major plot hole in Star Wars Episode Four a New Hope. The prevailing theory is around Jyn Erso’s, father, Galen Erso, who has a major role in designing the Death Star. In the trailers he is trying to contact the Rebels to possibly give them the plans to the Death Star. This has led to speculation Galen may have purposefully made the thermal exhaust port a design flaw. This would clear up the pesky plot hole of an exhaust port two meters wide ray shielded and can only be defeated by a force user.

Can you guess which way I lean on this story? The Thermal Exhaust Port in episode four is not a plot hole, it is a plot device. The only person capable of destroying the Super Weapon is Luke. He must give himself to the force in order to save the day. Without the use of the force he wouldn’t have been able to guide the Proton Torpedo’s into the port. This helps move the story forward and proves Luke is someone exceptional and launches him on the rest his hero’s journey.

Let’s look at it from the nerdy pseudo-science angle. The Imperials simply didn’t think it was possible for someone to destroy the station through the port. The port, I assume, emits heat produced by the stations power. It would be logical to think a station which is the size of a small moon would produce a vast amount of heat from whatever power source they use in a galaxy far far away. The exhaust port expelling the heat from the stations power, would be connected to the power, and would cause an explosion. The station moves, so it has to have a tail pipe. They even used this plot device in Star Trek VI.

The only way this tail pipe can be attacked is by shooting torpedoes into a small opening after flying through other defenses and making it past sentry Tie Fighters. Having a small hole being the only way to blow up and succeed in the task is not a plot hole, nor a design flaw in the Death Star. The thing has to move and it’s logical for it to have something to expel its exhaust.  On top of this the only way it was actually destroyed was by someone using the force to accomplish the task. Without Luke the Rebellion is destroyed and ended on Yavin Four. The only way he saves them is by using the force. This isn’t a plot hole in the movie, it’s something which adds to the character and the universe overall.

I honestly hope they do not address this in Rogue One. It would be a serious retcon of the story, and one which would take away from the heroic feet Luke accomplishes in the first film. It’s okay if Galen knew about the exhaust port and wants to get the information to the Rebels. However, to have him create the exhaust port for the specific purpose for the Death Star to be destroyed is ludicrous to me. If this were the case, he would have had to know a force user would be part of any attack on the Death Star. It would be a poorly designed design flaw. Granted it would have to be one cleverly disguised to fool the Imperials, but if he made it, he made a flaw nearly impossible to exploit. The Rebel pilots didn’t have much hope they could accomplish the feat before the battle, well, all except for Luke.

If you still think it is to convenient that a thermal port connected to a power source can cause a change reaction explosion, I’m not going to convince you otherwise. I think the story is nearly perfect for Episode Four and I hope they don’t use Rogue One for any major retconning. Minor stuff to expand the story is fine, but this would be a major departure and I don’t see them doing this. So for those clamoring for Rogue one and Galen Erso to fix the massive problem in Star Wars A New Hope, I hope it doesn’t happen.

Do you think this is a plot hole, and if so should it be corrected in Rogue One? Do you think it isn’t like me? Comment and let me know. 

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