Misconception: "stormtroopers suck"


I Feel like I did this post before but can't find it. so here is goes again. There is a misconception that the Stormtroopers are an ineffective fighting force (a joke really). This joke comes from 2 things in the OT first being they can never hit the main characters (plot armor?) and the second is they are defeated/humiliated by the Ewoks in Return of the jedi.

The first complaint is inaccurate. In A New Hope and Empire strikes back; the stormtroopers were under specific orders to NOT KILL the main characters in both films Vader wanted them alive, this is not plot armor it is a specific plot given reason why they are missing (purposefully missing). Plot Armor would be if they were under orders to shot to kill and were still missing. ANH Vader had them tracked so they could find the rebel base and in ESB he wanted to capture them. The Stormtroopers had their hands tied and were only trying to push them with 'surprise' fire and direct them to get on the falcon. If you look at the Stormtroopers on Tantive IV or on Hoth when they are allowed to fully unleash they are quite the fighting force easily overwhelming the rebels forces.

For 2nd complaint, it is a little harder to defend; it is the first time we really have no good excuse for why the stormtroopers are so pathetically ineffective. But there is an idea that conventional type of military would struggle with an indigenous fighting force that used weapons and tactics they were completely unfamiliar with.

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The first complaint is inaccurate. In A New Hope and Empire strikes back; the stormtroopers were under specific orders to NOT KILL the main characters in both films Vader wanted them alive,

I only remember the one time Vader said "I want them alive", and that was in the very beginning - looking for the rebels who had the plans. Later, when Luke & co. went to the Death Star in order to rescue Leia, that order was obviously no longer in play. But even if it were, it wouldn't explain why stormtroopers were shooting and missing. They'd either be targetting the legs, or they would not shoot at all. Except with non-lethal weapons. Either way, they suck/plot armour.

ANH Vader had them tracked so they could find the rebel base and in ESB he wanted to capture them.

Indeed, but this was after Leia had been successfully rescued. Vader did not intend for her to be rescued; he was already planning to extract the information from her by torture. To that end, he had no need for the others alive.

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But even if it were, it wouldn't explain why stormtroopers were shooting and missing.

They were trying to drive them to the Millennium Falcon so they can track them to the rebel base.

Indeed, but this was after Leia had been successfully rescued. Vader did not intend for her to be rescued; he was already planning to extract the information from her by torture. To that end, he had no need for the others alive

Of course he needed the others alive. To take Leia to the rebel base. Vader already failed to extract the information.

Governor Tarkin: Are they away?
Darth Vader: They just made the jump into hyperspace.
Governor Tarkin: And you're sure the homing beacon is secure onboard their ship? I'm taking an awful risk, Vader. This had better work.

Leia even acknowledges it: They let us go. It was the only reason for the ease of our escape.

Seems clear to me.

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Ok, fair enough. That's a good point, actually.

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Yes, exactly correct. In addition there is similar reasoning for why the heroes were being pushed on to the Falcon when in Bespin. Vader specifically wanted them alive the entire film and even was somewhat planning on them to be on the falcon; which is why the hyperdrive was disabled on it. So they would be sitting ducks to get picked up by the tractor beam. In both films the troopers did their jobs exactly as they were supposed to; laying suppressive fire and pushing them in the place Vader wanted them to be. They are actually a very effective fighting unit in the 1st 2 films.

ROTJ the effectiveness starts to slip. It is true conventional military forces can be surprised and overwhelmed by indigenous warriors; but the imagery and silliness of the stormtroopers looking so bad losing to the ewoks is hard to excuse.

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"Vader did not intend for her to be rescued; he was already planning to extract the information from her by torture. To that end, he had no need for the others alive."

in addition to what aavfreak said; Vader was making the plan to let them escape as soon as the Falcon was captured.

Vader: "They may be trying to bring the plans back to her, she may yet be of use to us".

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Regarding the Ewoks they only had a few squadrons to fight off hordes of natives.

Just because the Ewoks look cuddly doesn't mean they are - they are savage cannibals that try to kill everything the don't understand.

Not to mention they are completely adapted to their forest surroundings.

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