Star Wars Hot Take: Lando is a War Criminal

Star Wars Hot Take: Lando is a War Criminal
Image credit: Legion-Media

Kevin Smith's Clerks brought up this big Star Wars issue 30 years ago.

Most Star Wars properties are pretty one-dimensional when it comes to moral issues, and this is especially true of the original trilogy.

While the prequels blurred the line a bit by relying more on galactic politics and Palpatine's manipulation of both sides, showing that the Republic was rather imperfect, here we have the all good Rebel Alliance fighting for freedom against the cartoonishly evil Galactic Empire.

There's little to say about the sequel trilogy, as it basically copied the premise of the original, so we'll just ignore it.

But even though the original trilogy looks so simple, there is still room for some highly controversial actions taken by the so-called good guys, even if perhaps unintentionally.

And it was brilliantly pointed out almost thirty years ago in Kevin Smith's 1994 comedy Clerks, but for some reason it is rarely brought up.

In this particular segment, Dante (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) discuss the ending of Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.

Randal shares his perspective on a problem that has been hiding in plain sight, which is that when the second Death Star was destroyed, it most likely caused the deaths of thousands of innocent workers as collateral damage.

While the first version of the battle station was complete and fully operational, meaning it was manned by Imperial military, the situation wasn't as bad when it was destroyed (though it definitely had at least some civilians on board, like technicians).

But the second Death Star was still under construction, and a project of that magnitude would require hiring independent contractors to complete it. As Randal cleverly puts it, "Stormtroopers don't know how to install a toilet."

So when our brave hero Lando Calrissian blew it up, he also killed a significant number of ordinary workers who were just doing their jobs to provide for their families.

That realization kind of changes the whole tone of the scene and makes it much less heroic.

Of course, one could argue that the final scene of the first season of the Andor TV series showed the details of the first Death Star being assembled by droids.

But keep in mind that they were only working specifically on the station's weapon, whereas the other parts of such a huge structure (and the second one was even bigger) would still have required the involvement of actual living workers.

Source: Kevin Smith's 1994 comedy Clerks