The Holdo Maneuver

A lightsaber in peril
The Last Jedi. No matter how you personally feel about the latest entry in the Star Wars "Skywalker" series, it does contain a few scenes that are challenging. One of the most challenging is something that has come to be known as "The Holdo Maneuver". I've read and watched countless opinion pieces since the release of the film and no one that I've seen or read has seemingly connected several dots that, I believe, are obviously connected. If you haven't read this piece over on The Ringer I suggest you do so.

When I walked out of seeing Jedi the very first time I was excited by the challenges the film presented, with the bold new directions it took, and with the way it handled both classic and new characters. Like everyone, I was sad that Carrie was gone from us. And watching her scenes in the film were gut-wrenching. They still are today. But strangely, I didn't find myself confused by anything I saw. In fact, the now infamous Holdo Maneuver made perfect sense to me. I was baffled when that started to become a 'thing' on the Internets.

I'm not going to spend 3,000 words making you wait. So let's get this over with.

There are three things happening at the exact same time in the film. Finn and Rose are getting their heads chopped off inside the ship. Rey and Ben Solo are force pulling that poor lightsaber apart in the ship's "throne" room. And Holdo is spinning the ship around to ramming speed. While it is impossible for a filmmaker to actually have three things happen at the same exact time in a movie, I believe it was the intention that all three of these things happen together. No one in any previous Star Wars film has ripped a lightsaber into two pieces before. No one in any previous Star Wars film has attempted to warp one ship into another ship. But hey, here we have two of those things happening at the exact same moment.

I can't believe no one else has connected these two unique things together before. It seems rather obvious to me that they are intended to be connected. When I walked out of the theater I felt secure in knowing that the so-called Holdo Maneuver would not have worked without the lightsaber being torn in half at the exact same time. To me, this was rather obvious. And I've seen, nor read, nor heard, anything since that first day to change my mind. In fact, I just watched it again before writing this... and duh.

This, in my opinion, solves all the weirdo problems that people seem so hung up on. Sure, ramming one big ship into another has been done before. We've seen it in other Star Wars movies. And I contend that was what Holdo had in mind. She had a big ship and they had a big ship, ramming them into each other would cripple the First Order's ship and allow the Rebels to escape. She got super duper lucky - thanks to the effects of the Force.  And the reverberations of the lightsaber being ripped apart at the same time. That is what allowed the Holdo Maneuver to work.

So yeah, feel free to use that again if you can manage to get someone aboard the enemy ship with a lightsaber and another force-user and then make those things all happen at the same time.

Good luck with that. MTFBWY.

Glad I could help.


  1. Sorry Rixx, it doesn't really hold together. There's no indication that the force works like that. Anywhere. Period. This is nothing more than plugging a massive plot hole by saying 'force magic happened'. It's sloppy.

    Worse yet, once you accept this approach, continuity and integrity go out the window. The force becomes little more than a lazy script writer's best friend and fix-it tool. Paint yourself in a corner? Huzzah! The force will save you! Massive break with continuity? The force has got your back! Need to reverse the death of a popular character or fudge past events? The force to the rescue!

    At that point, nothing that ever happened or happens in Star Wars matters. No act of courage or sacrifice has value. No act of villainy has impact. Because, if the force is used as you suggest, there are no consequences the force can't be used to fix.

    And that, Mr. Javix, would mean the stories don't matter. They'd become boring, timid pageants played out by force puppets and fan service dispensers. Nothing would occur that could not be erased with a bit of force-flavored handwavium in service of Disney's bottom line.

    That may well be the Star Wars the masses prefer. For myself, I prefer to hold the writers' feet to the fire and call jaw-droppingly bad scripting what it is.

    1. I personally believe the script for TLJ is the best Star Wars script since Empire. And I don't believe that using an event that actually happened in the story, which was edited to appear to happen at the exact same time as another event - is lazy or magical. I have to strongly disagree with you here. I believe that it works on many levels to represent the themes that Last Jedi is built around. I also believe you need to re-think you definition of what a "plot-hole" is and is not.


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