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8 Star Wars Questions We Still Need Answered

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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.

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Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
The 10 Wildest Movie Plot Twists
Laura Harring in Mulholland Drive (2001)
Laura Harring in Mulholland Drive (2001)
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

An ending often makes or breaks a movie. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as having the rug pulled out from under you, particularly in a thriller. But too many flicks that try to shock can’t stick the landing—they’re outlandish and illogical, or signal where the plot is headed. Not all of these films are entirely successful, but they have one important attribute in common: From the classic to the cultishly beloved, they involve hard-to-predict twists that really do blow viewers’ minds, then linger there for days, if not life. (Warning: Massive spoilers below.)

1. PSYCHO (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock often constructed his movies like neat games that manipulated the audience. The Master of Suspense delved headfirst into horror with Psycho, which follows a secretary (Janet Leigh) who sneaks off with $40,000 and hides in a motel. The ensuing jolt depends on Leigh’s fame at the time: No one expected the ostensible star and protagonist to die in a gory (for the time) shower butchering only a third of the way into the running time. Hitchcock outdid that feat with the last-act revelation that Anthony Perkins’s supremely creepy Norman Bates is embodying his dead mother.

2. PLANET OF THE APES (1968)

No, not the botched Tim Burton remake that tweaked the original movie’s famous reveal in a way that left everyone scratching their heads. The Charlton Heston-starring sci-fi gem continues to stupefy anyone who comes into its orbit. Heston, of course, plays an astronaut who travels to a strange land where advanced apes lord over human slaves. It becomes clear once he finds the decrepit remains of the Statue of Liberty that he’s in fact on a future Earth. The anti-violence message, especially during the political tumult of 1968, shook people up as much as the time warp.

3. DEEP RED (1975)

It’s not rare for a horror movie to flip the script when it comes to unmasking its killer, but it’s much rarer that such a film causes a viewer to question their own perception of the world around them. Such is the case for Deep Red, Italian director Dario Argento’s (Suspiria) slasher masterpiece. A pianist living in Rome (David Hemmings) comes upon the murder of a woman in her apartment and teams up with a female reporter to find the person responsible. Argento’s whodunit is filled to the brim with gorgeous photography, ghastly sights, and delirious twists. But best of all is the final sequence, in which the pianist retraces his steps to discover that the killer had been hiding in plain sight all along. Rewind to the beginning and you’ll discover that you caught an unknowing glimpse, too.

4. SLEEPAWAY CAMP (1983)

Sleepaway Camp is notorious among horror fans for a number of reasons: the bizarre, stilted acting and dialogue; hilariously amateurish special effects; and ‘80s-to-their-core fashions. But it’s best known for the mind-bending ending, which—full disclosure—reads as possibly transphobic today, though it’s really hard to say what writer-director Robert Hiltzik had in mind. Years after a boating accident that leaves one of two siblings dead, Angela is raised by her aunt and sent to a summer camp with her cousin, where a killer wreaks havoc. In the lurid climax, we see that moody Angela is not only the murderer—she’s actually a boy. Her aunt, who always wanted a daughter, raised her as if she were her late brother. The final animalistic shot prompts as many gasps as cackles.

5. THE USUAL SUSPECTS (1995)

The Usual Suspects has left everyone who watches it breathless by the time they get to the fakeout conclusion. Roger "Verbal" Kint (Kevin Spacey), a criminal with cerebral palsy, regales an interrogator in the stories of his exploits with a band of fellow crooks, seen in flashback. Hovering over this is the mysterious villainous figure Keyser Söze. It’s not until Verbal leaves and jumps into a car that customs agent David Kujan realizes that the man fabricated details, tricking the law and the viewer into his fake reality, and is in fact the fabled Söze.

6. PRIMAL FEAR (1996)

No courtroom movie can surpass Primal Fear’s discombobulating effect. Richard Gere’s defense attorney becomes strongly convinced that his altar boy client Aaron (Edward Norton) didn’t commit the murder of an archbishop with which he’s charged. The meek, stuttering Aaron has sudden violent outbursts in which he becomes "Roy" and is diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, leading to a not guilty ruling. Gere’s lawyer visits Aaron about the news, and as he’s leaving, a wonderfully maniacal Norton reveals that he faked the multiple personalities.

7. FIGHT CLUB (1999)

Edward Norton is no stranger to taking on extremely disparate personalities in his roles, from Primal Fear to American History X. The unassuming actor can quickly turn vicious, which led to ideal casting for Fight Club, director David Fincher’s adaptation of the Chuck Palahniuk novel. Fincher cleverly keeps the audience in the dark about the connections between Norton’s timid, unnamed narrator and Brad Pitt’s hunky, aggressive Tyler Durden. After the two start the titular bruising group, the plot significantly increases the stakes, with the club turning into a sort of anarchist terrorist organization. The narrator eventually comes to grips with the fact that he is Tyler and has caused all the destruction around him.

8. THE SIXTH SENSE (1999)

Early in his career, M. Night Shyamalan was frequently (perhaps a little too frequently) compared to Hitchcock for his ability to ratchet up tension while misdirecting his audience. He hasn’t always earned stellar reviews since, but The Sixth Sense remains deservedly legendary for its final twist. At the end of the ghost story, in which little Haley Joel Osment can see dead people, it turns out that the psychologist (Bruce Willis) who’s been working with the boy is no longer living himself, the result of a gunshot wound witnessed in the opening sequence.

9. THE OTHERS (2001)

The Sixth Sense’s climax was spooky, but not nearly as unnerving as Nicole Kidman’s similarly themed ghost movie The Others, released just a couple years later. Kidman gives a superb performance in the elegantly styled film from the Spanish writer-director Alejandro Amenábar, playing a mother in a country house after World War II protecting her photosensitive children from light and, eventually, dead spirits occupying the place. Only by the end does it become clear that she’s in denial about the fact that she’s a ghost, having killed her children in a psychotic break before committing suicide. It’s a bleak capper to a genuinely haunting yarn.

10. MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001)

David Lynch’s surrealist movies may follow dream logic, but that doesn’t mean their plots can’t be readily discerned. Mulholland Drive is his most striking work precisely because, in spite of its more wacko moments, it adds up to a coherent, tragic story. The mystery starts innocently enough with the dark-haired Rita (Laura Elena Harring) waking up with amnesia from a car accident in Los Angeles and piecing together her identity alongside the plucky aspiring actress Betty (Naomi Watts). It takes a blue box to unlock the secret that Betty is in fact Diane, who is in love with and envious of Camilla (also played by Harring) and has concocted a fantasy version of their lives. The real Diane arranges for Camilla to be killed, leading to her intense guilt and suicide. Only Lynch can go from Nancy Drew to nihilism so swiftly and deftly.

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Hollywood's 5 Favorite Movie Villains
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iStock

Movie villains are meant to bring out the best in a hero, but with the right script, director, and performer in place, these bad guys can sometimes steal the show from their clean-cut rivals.

Take any horror movie, for example—chances are you’re not watching Friday the 13th to root for the absentminded teenagers down at Camp Crystal Lake. And Steven Spielberg certainly didn’t become a household name by directing a shark movie titled Three Guys on a Boat Drinking Narragansett.

The Hollywood Reporter set out to celebrate these iconic agents of evil by surveying 1000 professionals in the entertainment industry (directors, producers, entertainment attorneys, etc.) on their favorite movie villains. A rogues' gallery of murderous AI, mafia bosses, and a diabolical fashion magazine editor all made the top 25 list as the worst of the worst, and while they’re all deserving, the top five are the gold standard. They include:

5. Nurse Ratched: Played by Louise Fletcher in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
4. The Joker: Played by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008)
3. The Wicked Witch of the West: Played by Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz (1939)
2. Hannibal Lecter: Played by Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Hannibal (2001), and Red Dragon (2002)
1. Darth Vader: Played by David Prowse and James Earl Jones in the Star Wars movies (Prowse 1977-1983, Jones 1977-present)

That top spot might not come as a surprise to most, unless you’re still in your twenties: According to The Hollywood Reporter, survey respondents in that age group put Darth Vader in the sixth spot—behind Regina George from Mean Girls.

To check out the entire list, head to The Hollywood Reporter.

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