The Star Wars franchise has introduced so many fascinating ideas into the sci-fi genre’s lexicon, but it should not come as a surprise there is quite a bit of inaccurate science involved in the movies. The truth is that George Lucas never intended for his creation to be a hard science fiction series but more of a fantasy story set in space. Combining those two elements means there are plenty of facts about space Star Wars gets wrong: after all, it was never intended to be realistic.
Whether it is the way that the planets within the galaxy are formed or how quickly the characters can travel to important Star Wars locations, experts and scientists have pointed out a whole myriad of things in Star Wars that couldn’t scientifically happen in real life. Just take a look at these entries to get an understanding of how not everything in these amazing movies is grounded in realism.
Asteroid Belts Are Never That Crowded
Every Star Wars fan remembers the epic scene from The Empire Strikes Back when Han Solo stressfully pilots his beloved Millennium Falcon through a chaotic asteroid field. The smuggler manages to evade the Empire’s forces as he carefully out-maneuvers the asteroids that are often only moments away from crashing into him. But that is not actually how asteroid fields are set up in space. According to astronomers, asteroids would generally be millions of miles apart and traversing through them would not be anywhere near as dangerous as it is portrayed in the movies. The exaggeration of an asteroid field does admittedly make for a harrowing movie scene, though.
Hyperspace Would Look Completely Different (If It Were Even Possible)
While it is still very much unclear whether anything like hyperspace would ever be possible, one thing is for sure: if a ship did travel to light speed and enter hyperspace it would not look like it does in the Star Wars movies. The stars would not streak across space. Instead, anyone sitting in the cockpit would see a bright disc of light in front of them that would slowly fade out of view. Individual stars would not even be visible to those accelerating towards lightspeed.
The Ewoks Would All Be Killed On Endor
Return of the Jedi seemingly skips over the grim reality that would befall the Ewoks and the rest of the living creatures that make Endor their home. Following the destruction of the second Death Star, burning debris would rain down on the forest moon. The side facing the Death Star would be heavily damaged from the impact while forest fires would rage from the hot pieces of metal that fell from the sky. The impact from the explosion would be similar to the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs and their ecosystem, leading researchers to argue that every Ewok would be wiped out.
Fighters And Spaceships Would Need An Impossible Amount Of Fuel
While the dogfights and spaceship action in Star Wars look spectacular, they do not conform to how battles in space would actually work. Without any air or atmosphere to use to help change direction or bank when turning, they would be entirely reliant on thrusters to maneuver. This would require an extraordinary amount of fuel to power them and would ensure that the action was far less dramatic as acts such as turning around would likely be far slower and clumsier. Small fighters like the X-Wing would not be able to hold enough fuel to travel for any extended period of time.
Laser Beams Should Not Be Visible
Space battles in Star Wars stand out for the sheer amount of colorful lasers that litter every scene. Flashes of red and green are a constant in every dogfight between TIE fighters and X-Wings. But the way that lasers work scientifically, AKA in real life, involves very concentrated beams of electromagnetic radiation, meaning the beams should actually not be visible to the naked eye. Light can only be seen when it reflects off a surface into the eye. With a laser, all of the light is directed in one direction, which prevents it from scattering and reaching the retina. The lack of any smoke or dust in the vacuum of space should stop any light being refracted and keep the lasers invisible.
Explosions In Space Are Not Possible
Star Wars isn’t alone in this respect: in almost every other sci-fi film, spaceships tend to explode in huge balls of fire when they are destroyed. Compared to explosions on Earth, those taking place in the vacuum of space should look very different. With limited supplies of oxidants to provide oxygen, fire cannot sustain itself in space. Instead, an explosion of a spaceship would actually appear as a brief sphere of bright light with debris forced out in every direction. The massive release of oxygen from the ship would then change the pressure in the immediate vicinity until it consumed the oxidizer, at which point the atmosphere would re-calibrate itself.
The Death Star Would Not Be Powerful Enough To Destroy Planets
The main purpose of the Death Star is to destroy entire planets with an intense laser-type weapon. Presumably, the Death Star utilizes the destructive force that occurs when antimatter and matter is joined, and in the Star Wars universe, the Empire hopes that this will instill so much fear in the Resistance that no one would dare oppose them. The only problem is that the battle station would not be able to create a laser beam that would be powerful enough to destroy an entire planet because in real life, antimatter cannot be stored for more than several hundred milliseconds. This means that creating that kind of destructive reach isn’t yet within the realm of feasibility. Instead, that kind of total annihilation would only be possible from the energy released by a planet being hit by a similar sized object at high velocity – something the stationary Death Star could not realistically generate.
Weapons Shouldn’t Create Any Sound In Space
As well as the laser blasts in Star Wars being far more colorful than they should ever be, they also produce a huge amount of noise. Lucas’s lasers produces shrieks and engines whine as fighters fly through space. The truth, though, is that because space is a vacuum there is nothing for sound waves to travel through. The characters within the film universe should not be able to hear any sounds from weapon fire, explosions, or enemy ships as the battles would take place in almost complete silence. As one writer pointed out, the movie Alien‘s tagline was technically correct: “In space, no one can hear you scream!”
Spaceships Would Not Fall Down When Hit
Any time a fighter or other spaceship is in within the Star Wars universe you can be sure of one thing happening – the vehicle will fall downwards. However, this is something that should never happen because, in space, there would not be a strong enough gravitational force acting on them to cause them to drop out of space. All spacecraft operate as if they are planes being shot out of the sky when they should just continue in the direction they were moving before they were hit.
It Would Be Impossible To Dodge Blaster Fire
Blasters in the Star Wars universe appear to fire lasers. Yet pilots are able to dodge enemy fire while in space and characters can evade blaster fire from stormtroopers. If these blasters genuinely do fire lasers, then it would be impossible to dodge them. The blaster bolts would be traveling at the speed of light. At this speed, no one would have the time to react to the fire and would not be able to move at all before they were hit. But at least one writer has attempted to debunk the idea that it’s even lasers being fired from the blasters at all, but he still thinks the math doesn’t add up to whatever weaponry the Resistance is using.
Planets Would Never Form As Simplistic Single Environments
A defining element of Star Wars is how many of the planets within the galaxy appear to be restricted to a single type of environment. Tatooine is a desert planet, Hoth is completely frozen and covered in ice, while Mustafar is entirely covered in lava. Yet, they are all capable of supporting life. In reality, planets that have their own native life forms and an atmosphere that could allow other creatures to live on them would almost certainly be as diverse as Earth. Planets that are just one simplistic terrain would not develop the necessary ecosystems to sustain life. As one writer puts it:
“Most astronomers agree desert worlds might be quite common. However, whether those desert planets would be viable places to live, as they are in the Star Wars universe, is another story. Is a planet without much water capable of sustaining indigenous life like Jawas, Tusken Raiders, and wamp rats?”
Bombs Can’t Fall On The Dreadnought In The Last Jedi As There Is No Gravity
A major problem that many fans noticed with The Last Jedi was exactly how the bombers who were attacking the First Order dreadnought were hitting their target. After all, dropping bombs in space would not work as it does on Earth as there is no gravity to pull them downwards. If this is the case, there must be some other explanation for how the bombs are able to reach their targets so effectively. While the film does not directly address this problem, the official guidebook mentions that the bombers use electromagnets to draw the bombs to enemy ships.
Lightsabers Would Never Exist
The most utilitarian weapon within the Star Wars universe is almost certainly the lightsaber. This laser-sword is the tool of choice for Jedi warriors, however, it would be impossible to create using real-life physics. Making it out of a laser would never work as it would never be able to be made into a short blade as the light would just continue in a straight line infinitum. Additionally, a lightsaber would be too hot to handle – there is no cooling system for lasers that would also be portable as a lightsaber would require – and it would not act as a solid when hit against other lightsabers. Any such weapon would also require an immense amount of energy that could not be held within such a small device.