The Star Wars franchise has given birth to one of the most passionate and knowledgeable fan bases in all of pop culture. Each installment has been scoured by fans for decades in order to answer every question that George Lucas’s seminal space opera posed. But as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of the original Star Wars, there are still a few mysteries about the saga that have no definitive answers. Here are eight Star Wars questions we still need answered.
1. WHY DOESN'T ANYONE RECOGNIZE R2-D2 AND C-3PO?
Nineteen years are supposed to have passed between the end of the Star Wars prequels and the start of the original trilogy, so you should forgive Obi-Wan for being fuzzy on the details of a few of his younger exploits. But how can he not remember R2-D2 and C-3PO when they show up in 1977's A New Hope? Obi-Wan fought countless battles with the two droids by his side, with R2 swooping in to save his life on a number of occasions. And don't forget that C-3PO was Obi-Wan's ride home after the Jedi Master turned Anakin Skywalker into a quadruple amputee (and subsequently doomed the galaxy for two decades) at the end of Revenge of the Sith. Surely you'd remember a thing like that.
So it’s a bit strange that when he first encounters the droids in Episode IV, ol’ Obi-Wan specifically says, “I don't seem to remember ever owning a droid,” before listening to Princess Leia’s message about the Death Star plans. Either Obi-Wan is lying (which he does pretty often), is being way too literal (he never actually owned R2 or C-3PO), or simply forgot about the previous three decades of his life.
Almost as bad as Kenobi’s memory is Uncle Owen’s. In the prequels, a young Uncle Owen lives with C-3PO for years on the farm on Tatooine, as we see when Anakin and Padme stop by in Attack of the Clones (2002). Yet when the two droids wind up at his front door, he doesn’t offer up so much as a nod of recognition. Even for emotionless droids, that’s got to hurt.
2. DOES OBI-WAN FORGET THAT LEIA IS A SKYWALKER?
On the subject of Obi-Wan’s suspect memory, he also seems to completely forget that Leia is the daughter of Anakin Skywalker during The Empire Strikes Back (1980). When Luke leaves his Jedi training early to save Han and Leia from Darth Vader, Obi-Wan tells Yoda that Luke is “our last hope.” Yoda then famously reveals that, “No, there is another.”
It’s a great line, but there’s one problem with it: Obi-Wan knows that there is another Skywalker around that could defeat Vader; he literally helped deliver Leia as a baby. So he’s either forgotten about another major event from the prequels, or he doesn’t even entertain the thought of Leia being able to save the galaxy. The most likely explanation? George Lucas was just making this stuff up as he went along.
3. WHY DOESN’T DARTH VADER SENSE ANYTHING ABOUT LEIA?
The Force is a powerful weapon, and throughout the saga, Darth Vader showed that he could use it to sense things about people that others couldn’t. He sensed Obi-Wan’s presence aboard the Death Star, he got into Luke’s head during their duel in Return of the Jedi, and he could seemingly see his loved ones' futures throughout the prequels. Yet he couldn’t feel something—anything—about Leia having the Skywalker blood when they first met in the opening moments of A New Hope.
It’s not entirely clear when it was decided that Leia would be a Skywalker, so it could be assumed that this was never part of the plan in 1977. But in the 40 years since, no one has been able to offer up an official reason—no matter how contrived—to explain away this question.
4. WHY DO SOME JEDI DISAPPEAR AFTER THEY DIE?
When Obi-Wan and Yoda die in the original trilogy, their bodies cease to be, disappearing and becoming one with the Force. It’s a noble end to two of the most important characters in the franchise, and it also set a precedent at the time that all Jedi disappear when they die. Well, the good guys at least, since Darth Vader’s body doesn’t disappear after his death in Return of the Jedi (though fan opinions differ on whether or not his physical body vanishes before his funeral pyre).
Yet in the prequels, none of the Jedi disappear when they die, most notably Qui-Gon Jinn. It’s later revealed that Jinn is the one who teaches Yoda how to communicate with the living from beyond the grave. Despite his body never vanishing, Jinn still winds up as a ghost in The Clone Wars animated series, and his spectral voice is even heard in Episode II when Anakin goes on his murderous rampage of the Sand People. So what made Obi-Wan and Yoda’s deaths so special? What did they learn while in seclusion that allowed them to vanish? With the next Star Wars movie being called The Last Jedi, it looks like time is running out on an answer.
5. WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH ANAKIN’S FATHER?
In The Phantom Menace (1999), Shmi Skywalker—Anakin’s mother—gave Qui-Gon the eye-rolling explanation that Anakin has no father and was the product of a miraculous birth. The mystery surrounding Anakin’s parentage gets more interesting in Revenge of the Sith, when Chancellor Palpatine tells Anakin of his mentor, Darth Plagueis.
According to Palpatine, Plagueis was a Sith Lord so powerful that he could use the Force to manipulate the Midi-chlorians (think weird cells that give Jedi super powers) in a person’s body to create life. It’s never explicitly said that this is how Anakin came to be, but the theory is a popular one among fans. Even if it’s true, there’s the bigger question of whether it was Plagueis himself, or his pupil, Palpatine, that created Anakin.
6. SO WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED TO THOSE BOTHANS?
Mon Mothma doesn't get a whole lot to say throughout the movies, but her most famous line is also the most cryptic of the entire saga. When detailing the stolen plans of the new Death Star in Return of the Jedi, Mothma’s face suddenly drifts into an expressionless mask as she chillingly says, “Many Bothans died to bring us this information.”
Whatever happened to the Bothans, it couldn’t have been good. Though they never even appear on screen during the movies, the best we can tell is that they look like pint-sized wolves and are apparently big-time movers and shakers in the world of intergalactic politics. We’ve already seen one Death Star get its plans stolen on film, but the plight of the ill-fated Bothans might be worth its own movie just to explain Mothma’s thousand-yard stare.
7. HOW THE DID SECOND DEATH STAR GET BUILT SO QUICKLY?
In the closing moments of Revenge of the Sith, we see the very basic skeletal structure of the first Death Star being constructed. Nineteen years later, the thing is cruising around the galaxy and turning entire planets into dust. After the first Death Star is destroyed, the Empire has another one—even bigger than the original—almost fully operational in the four years between A New Hope and Return of the Jedi.
So how did the second Death Star go up so quickly? If you head over to Reddit, you can read a lot of theories about improved technology and shortened research and development time. But seeing as though we’ll never get a movie revolving around the galactic construction union contracted to work for the Empire, it’s best to just accept the Death Star as is. It’s not like it lasts long anyway.
8. WHERE DID THE EWOKS GET LEIA’S DRESS?
Isn’t it a little bit odd that the Ewoks had a dress for Princess Leia just lying around in Jedi? Watch it again—it’s a really nicely tailored dress that fits Leia perfectly. This is one of those small details that probably didn’t capture many fans’ attention at the time, but once you realize how strange it is, it’ll be hard to watch the movie the same way again.
There’s really no logical reason for a race of warrior teddy bears to be in the business of sewing together people clothes just in case they have company. But this is Star Wars after all, so fans already have plenty of theories. The most popular? The Ewoks eat humans, and the dress is something left over from a recent meal. Terrifying, but completely reasonable.
We already know that the little critters were fixing to cook Chewbacca, Han, and Luke when they first captured them, so we can assume they’ve eaten people before. And since the dress was put on Leia so quickly, we can also assume that it wasn’t just made on the fly from spare fabric. Therefore, it must have belonged to someone else at some point, and that someone else might have met her end at an Ewok barbecue. And with no official explanation coming in the foreseeable future, this is all we have to go on.