The latest Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, has quickly proven itself to be one of the most trailblazing and divisive entries of the series. Ultimately, its few problems can’t overshadow its best moments, but one of the coolest moments in the movie brings up a common issue seen in many movies.
This post is obviously going to get into spoilers for The Last Jedi, so proceed at your own risk.
The Last Jedi is undoubtedly meant to leave both casual and serious fans thinking and talking, with its unflinching commitment to depicting tragic failure, killing off characters without providing any answers, and furthering the abilities of the force and developing its heroes into literal deities.
The coolest moment in the movie, however, plays on what’s become somewhat of a trope in movies and television series dealing with space, or sailing, or anything that depicts war and sacrifice.
The scene involves Laura Dern’s Admiral Holdo pointing the last surviving Resistance ship at the First Order’s Supremacy ship, blasting into hyperspace right through it and causing all manner of destruction on herself and the First Order fleet of starships so the remaining rebels could escape.
The scene is undoubtedly incredible, but it’s very familiar, and personally frustrating. If you remember the opening sequence from 2009's Star Trek, Captain Kirk’s dad takes command of his ship to let its crew evacuate while he fights off the time-traveling Romulan ship besieging him. It ends with him flying the U.S.S. Kelvin into the enemy.
This self-sacrifice technique can also be seen in numerous other movies, typically involving ships of some sort, whether boats here on Earth or those up in space. My question, and what I take issue with, is how are these massive vessels able to be controlled by just a single person?
How is Admiral Holdo able to control the massive Raddus star ship on her own if it normally requires a massive crew to navigate? The movies never show the sacrificial character running around, desperately turning dials and pulling levers and handling joysticks, or anything. On a naval ship, you’d have to adjust sails, steer the rudder, maybe shoot some of the guns, and all of that. There has to be a reason these ships require large crews.
In Star Trek, it’s written it off as one guy setting up autopilot, which somehow is programmed to let itself be rammed into another object for some reason. In Star Wars, we never see what Holdo is actually doing on the flight deck, we just see the ship turn around from a distance.
Smaller vehicles, I understand. I could easily drive my car into whatever I wanted. But for the bigger stuff, I don’t know! Fire some people! Cut back on labor! What are you doing with all these people on the flight deck if it just takes one person to do it!
It’s definitely nitpicking, but it’s worth bringing up if it means I get to one day see a scene where somebody is throwing themselves from station to station in a desperate attempt to line everything up properly. Until then, I’ll just quiet up and enjoy the simplified badassery of Holdo wiping out the First Order, as it’s the best execution of flying oneself into the enemy I’ve ever seen.