Something that always bugged me about most action movies such as the Die Hard series, Lethal Weapon, Rambo, and even Star Wars, is how bloody bad the evil henchmen are at their jobs! It seems that our heroes are either magically blessed with an invisible shield of blind luck, or the henchman have the worst aim in the world – or in this case, galaxy.
So why is it that Stormtroopers (supposedly super badass elite warriors of the Empire) can’t seem to hit a thing? Even Obi-Wan Kenobi says “These blast-points… Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise” in A New Hope. Apparently I’m not the only one in the world who has wondered about this. So many fans have complained about the Stormtroopers’ inability to hit anything, that the officially released reason for the poor aim is defective weaponry! I’m not buying this for a minute. First of all, there are potentially millions of Stormtroopers under the control of the Empire. A weapons manufacturing company that is selling their wears to the most powerful force in the galaxy would never be so stupid as to allow defective weaponry to be let out. Ever.
The first thing to know about Stormtroopers is that they are all clones, therefore identical to each other in almost every way, differing only in their individualistic experiences in training or under the control of the Empire. This means that their physiology is identical, and all have an extremely high predisposition for certain personality traits. This is important because it means that if one Stormtrooper or clone has a weakness, then it is significantly possible for the majority to have it too. An example of this is ‘weak minds’ and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s ability to mind-alter.
Now it’s time to shine my light of pure simple brilliance down onto you. It has been proven in war, that humans do not want to take life. There is a reason that when a firing squad is sent to destroy a prisoner, some soldiers possess blanks or unloaded rifles to spread the responsibility of killing amongst the squad equally. This actually makes the soldiers more likely to pull the trigger, thinking their gun might not be loaded, as well as easing the men’s consciences after the fact by letting them believe there’s a chance they didn’t actually kill the victim (Karl Smallwood).
Now I know what you are all thinking, that I happily ignored that fact that Stormtroopers were cloned from Jango Fett, a mercenary – one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galactic underworld. You find it hard to believe that a clone of a mercenary would have trouble killing; you’d be wrong. As I stated above, the clones are identical in every way, except for their own individualistic experiences. And Jango Fett led a completely different life from the clones!
From WikiPedia: “Jango Fett was orphaned at an early age, the son of simple Concord Dawn farmers killed by brutal Death Watch. At the age of 10, he was picked up by… Jaster Mereel, who adopted and trained Fett to be a mercenary. He was raised among great warriors, learning to survive in the rugged frontiers”.
The clones had combat training yes, but they have never seen their family, friends, or entire hometown get destroyed. They were combat trained, but not in an environment where you do whatever you can to survive! I find it quite possible that under differing circumstances, Jango would not have been able to take a life.
But wait a minute! According to this theory, the reason the Stormtroopers sucked at their jobs is because they are actually good moral guys who don’t want to kill – but our heroes have no problem killing? Pretty much. But don’t think that Luke, Leia, and Han are murderous dicks now, ’cause you see the final reason that the Empire lost is because of the uniforms of the Stormtroopers. I get the whole totalitarian idea of conformity. The Empire deliberately made them wear identical uniforms, and took it a step further by adding in a helmet and mask to erase all semblance of uniqueness in their elite warrior force. Kind of stupid as they were clones… but I get it. The problem is with the masks though, as all they ended up doing was dehumanizing the troops.
There is a reason that in ancient war (and sometimes even now…) soldiers will play with the corpse of a fallen enemy, performing disrespectful marionette shows. The army will always try to dehumanize the enemy. It just makes good sense. America did it to Japan, Vietnam, and even the ‘war on terrorism’. It’s hard to kill a man, easy to kill a terrorist. Hitler did it to the Jews. It’s hard to kill a man, easy to kill a race of inferiority that plagues like cancer. The government usually dehumanizes through propaganda, and in a world of fear with all of your problems being pointed at one group, it is usually successful. All the empire had to do to win was remove the Stormtroopers’ masks! Our heroes would no longer be killing faceless monsters – little better than droids – but would be killing people.
Come on! When is the only time that the audience starts to feel sorry for Darth Vader? After he’s dying and we see the man behind the mask. We no longer see Darth Vader, the evil cyborg Sith, but we see Luke’s father, a man.