12 Star Wars Moments That Haven't Aged Well

The "Star Wars" movies are timeless classics, aren't they? Okay, maybe not the prequels. And not all of the sequel trilogy. And come to think of it, not everyone agrees about "Return of the Jedi." Which versions of the films are we talking about, anyway, given Lucasfilm's propensity for making changes even at the home video stage? The point is, not everything in the "Star Wars" franchise stands the test of time.

From the original trilogy (OT) to the prequels (PT) and sequels (ST), "Star Wars" has included moments that seem very much of their time, to be kind. We love them, and in our minds, we may have even retconned or excused some of the more egregious examples. For every Ewok song, there's a badass Sith Lord in waiting, and the core characters remain iconic. Yet, there are reasons aplenty why entire movies exist to bash "Star Wars" creator George Lucas, who gets as much anger as he does adoration from a fanbase raised on his Rebels and Empire.

We're going to run down several, from the recent to the more far, far away in the past. None of them have kept us from enjoying the trilogies, but it's always best to retain critical faculties even for our favorite films.

Here are 12 moments in "Star Wars" franchise history that have not aged well.

Ziro the Hutt

Jabba the Hutt is an inspired alien creation. Most sci-fi movies make outer space creatures look humanoid, but Jabba, with his sluglike body and deep, bassy voice, really seemed like another species entirely, and a threatening intergalactic crime boss to boot. His Uncle Ziro? Not so much.

Possibly the silliest touch in the campy animated "Clone Wars" movie, Ziro lacks almost every factor that makes Jabba scary. The neon tattoos make him look like a "Tron" reject. His use of English rather than Huttese takes away some of the alien factor. Add to that George Lucas' insistence that he sound like Truman Capote, and you get a character who's clearly the result of a series of bizarre decisions that just don't work. Normalizing Jabba by showing that he has wacky relatives is questionable. Making his uncle an effeminate coward just feels like one of many instances in which Lucas' sense of humor simply doesn't mesh with that of most of his fans. 

Ewoks: The Battle for Endor

When it comes to old-school live-action "Star Wars" TV specials that haven't aged well, most might pick the infamous "Holiday Special." No, there is another. "The Star Wars Holiday Special" was hated and derided right out of the gate. In recent years, its reputation has improved thanks to a camp following, the Boba Fett cartoon appearing on Disney+ and influencing "The Mandalorian," and Disney theme parks' savvy realization that they can make bank on seasonal Life Day merchandise.

"Ewoks: The Battle for Endor" is not necessarily the world's worst movie. It just hasn't aged well as canon. Years before "Alien3," it was a sequel that smacked viewers in the face by immediately killing off most of the heroic family from the prior "Ewok Adventure." All that time on that long quest by Cindel and Mace to save their parents ... and now Mace and the parents are toast. Even in a franchise that commits casual genocide by Death Star, that's shocking for a family film and apparently inspired primarily by the fact that George Lucas had just watched "Heidi" and therefore wanted Cindel to be an orphan now too.

More canon-breaking, however, is the presence of an actual sorceress, who uses magic to shape-shift. Not the Force, but magic. She was retconned as a Force-wielding Nightsister from Dathomir, but the book that did so is no longer canon. Even Dave Filoni, master of salvaging old Lucasfilm concepts, decided not to reuse her when the opportunity arose.

Every unanswered question from The Force Awakens

How did the First Order rise to power? Where did Maz Kanata find Luke Skywalker's lightsaber? Why does Rey see visions of Bespin and hear Obi-Wan Kenobi when she touches it? Who are the Knights of Ren, and what's their deal? Who's Supreme Leader Snoke and where did he come from? Why did Rey get left on Jakku?

"The Rise of Skywalker" answered the last two of those questions — to few fans' satisfaction. The rest remain mostly unanswered in the movies, though the comics have tried. (Seriously, though, according to those, "Ren" just means "lightsaber," meaning Ben Solo renamed himself "Kylo Lightsaber," which is too silly, even for a galaxy with Gungans in it.) The relative disinterest of "The Last Jedi" to answer the mysteries put in place by "The Force Awakens" remains one reason that film is so divisive. The awkwardness of "The Rise of Skywalker" is partly due to having to play catch-up while trying to tell its own story.

Blame (or thank) J.J. Abrams, who likes to put mysteries in place while not worrying much about solving them. Is there anybody who knows what the "Rabbit's Foot" actually is in "Mission Impossible III"? It's fair to say George Lucas didn't necessarily plan his trilogies out in great detail either — the entire Skywalker family may have been improvised on the fly. That's no excuse for deliberately establishing mysteries one never intends to solve, though.

Finn checking his privilege

Finn's character arc might be the biggest missed opportunity of the sequel trilogy. He begins strongly in "The Force Awakens" as a Stormtrooper who gains a conscience, initially plans on running away, but ultimately stands and fights, wielding a lightsaber using only his skill with a staff and (we thought) no Force abilities. His knowledge of First Order plumbing proves vital to destroying Starkiller base, and he even has the guts to stand up to an (admittedly injured) Kylo Ren, who would normally annihilate him. All because he cares for Rey.

Did Disney diminish Finn and kill a potential romance with Rey because of China's racist removal of him from the posters? Nobody would admit to that if it were true. In "The Last Jedi," though, what is true is that Finn's desire to follow Rey gets portrayed as selfish, and Finn himself as shallow and cowardly. Rose, a maintenance worker who's disappointed that Finn's not the hero she thought, guilts him, tells him what to do, and ultimately sabotages his attempt at heroic sacrifice. Finn, forced into the First Order army as a child, taken from his family, and put through bad-guy boot camp, doesn't particularly need lectures on privilege after being slashed by an aspiring Sith Lord for overcoming his mental programming and scoring a major Resistance victory. The optics of the most prominent Black man in the film essentially being told he should be more woke? Not so good.

Han and Threepio's worst comedy bit

Han Solo can be very funny — usually when he's in danger. His attempt to fake being an Imperial officer on the Death Star is solid "Star Wars" comedy gold, and his exasperation with the ever-malfunctioning hyperdrive is palpable and relatable to anyone with car trouble. In "Return of the Jedi," however, he often feels forced into bad gags, with none more notable than his shoulder-tapping exchange with Threepio in which he keeps demanding to be translated, then as soon as the droid turns to do so, he keeps tapping him on the shoulder to add more demands, then finally says, "Hurry up, will ya? Haven't got all day!"

Han should be more self-aware than that, which is why it plays like forced (not "the Force") humor and not a genuinely funny character moment. On the other hand, that sort of treatment goes a long way toward explaining why Threepio has anxiety.

CG Yoda

When Yoda pulled out a lightsaber to battle Christopher Lee's Count Dooku in "Attack of the Clones," audiences cheered. Even though it was a computer-generated puppet battling an old man, and neither was actually performing those stunts for real, the love for Lee and Yoda as cinematic icons made it work. If we're being honest, though, that CG Yoda doesn't look particularly realistic and certainly nothing like the original "Phantom Menace" puppet, which, of course, Lucas promptly replaced with a digital version for the Blu-rays. The "Star Wars" creator was a visionary in terms of understanding how CG would be used, but he was also a major optimist as far as what it actually looked like at the time. Yoda still has that too-smooth, too-fluid look of early synthespians, even with rubber ear-bouncing added in.

There's just no way (minus heavy suspension of disbelief) that that Yoda becomes the puppet we love in the "later" films. That said, "The Last Jedi" did manage to use a Yoda puppet that looked like CG, kinda-sorta merging the two looks in a semi-acceptable manner.

That Luke and Leia kiss

When "The Empire Strikes Back" came out, one of the questions it left unresolved was whether Leia loved Luke Skywalker or Han Solo more. It was the classic bad boy versus Boy Scout dilemma, and the fact that she kisses both of them full on the lips at different points amps up the drama, or rather, it used to. George Lucas, working from a loose master plan in which he clearly hadn't figured out every detail, solved the problem by making Luke and Leia secret siblings, allowing Leia and Han to be the winning couple. In doing so, he made it so that everyone who watches "Empire" from now on sees that kiss scene — initially a funny moment allowing Leia to psychologically dominate the two male heroes — as incestuous.

Some stretch the point and say it's even gross that Leia kisses Luke on the cheek in "A New Hope," but siblings do that all the time. There's no dismissing the intent of the one in "Empire," though. It arguably started a tradition: If we assume, as is strongly hinted, that Palpatine was Anakin's father in some sense of the word, then Kylo Ren is his grandson. Rey is absolutely his granddaughter. So their kiss, one might say, is a family tradition — an icky one.

Every change in the Special Editions other than cleaning up the negative

The "Star Wars" Special Editions came about when Lucasfilm decided to clean up the old negatives. However, George Lucas, armed with new CGI technology, decided he was also going to "fix" some things that had allegedly always bothered him. To the extent that the fixes included making some partially opaque mattes transparent, and removing visible FX lines, most fans would agree he did right, but then, he added horrible new visuals.

Han Solo no longer firing first on Greedo, making him less cold-blooded, earned the most infamy, and the scene has even been re-tinkered with since. A CG Jabba so bad that Lucas had to fix it a second time for DVD was even worse. New shots of the Wampa on Hoth don't match, "Return of the Jedi" footage of Darth Vader landing on the Death Star got repurposed to be him landing on a Star Destroyer, those windows on Cloud City that have stuff moving behind them are insanely distracting ... and then, there's the atrocious musical number, "Jedi Rocks" (Spoiler: it doesn't). None of the changes adds to the story. At best, they add needless special effects, and at worst, they hold our hands unnecessarily. Did anyone need to see the "Millennium Falcon" actually land on Cloud City to know that it did, or wonder where Vader's shuttle was that he took back to the Executor? No. The story and editing convey that just fine.

Backlash bullying against Ahmed Best and Jake Lloyd personally

It's no secret that "Star Wars" fans have a bullying problem. In recent years, a lot of it has been race-based and misogynistic against actors like Moses Ingram and Kelly Marie Tran. Decades ago, though, it was based on fan hatred of characters. In much the same way a stereotypical soap-opera fanatic might confuse a character's behavior with the actor who plays them, prequel haters took their anger out on Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks) and Jake Lloyd (Anakin) specifically.

That's not to say you're not allowed to dislike characters. Most viewers over a certain age found Jar Jar's loud, obnoxious slapstick out of place and unfunny. Lloyd, meanwhile, was mostly unlucky. Having made an impressive debut in Nick Cassavetes' "Unhook the Stars," and served as a comedic foil to Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Jingle All the Way," the kid was clearly not without talent. He was just miscast, under-directed, and given terrible dialogue that even Morgan Freeman would have trouble with. After constant teasing, he quit acting at the age of 12 and was later diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia after several run-ins with the police.

Best considered suicide at one point over the Jar Jar hatred but survived to see new acceptance by fans who grew up with the wacky Gungan. He has since returned to the "Star Wars" fold as a Jedi master named Kelleran Beq. Here's hoping that Lloyd does so, too.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

The Asian stereotypes of the Trade Federation

One could argue that there's a lot of unfortunate racial stereotyping in "Star Wars" that hasn't aged well, but realistically, a lot of it was called out at the time. Jar Jar Binks caught flack from the beginning as a Stepin Fetchit-style Black stereotype, even from the "South Park" movie which came out that same year. The hook-nosed, unshaven Watto was derided as a stereotype as well, though critics couldn't decide if he was anti-Jewish or anti-Arab. The Trade Federation Neimoidians, however, with their squinty eyes, devious and cowardly manipulations of the economy, and Charlie Chan-style "Oriental" accents didn't catch as much heat by comparison. These days, however, society's much more attuned to anti-Asian racism and stereotyping.

The two lead Trade Federation characters, Nute Gunray and Rune Haako, were voiced by white actors, Tom Kenny and James Taylor, which ought to make them more controversial than Jar Jar, who was voiced by a Black man, Ahmed Best, using what he thought was a funny voice to amuse children. We should be cautious to note that we don't know George Lucas' intentions, nor Kenny's and Taylor's, in actually creating the voices. (The name "Nute Gunray" was widely assumed to be a play on Newt Gingrich, the aggressively conservative former house speaker, who is not Asian.) All we do know is they sound very much like the sort of accents typically done by white actors poorly playing Asians in older films.

The lack of POC in the original trilogy

In the beginning, "Star Wars" wasn't exactly proactive with representation. When it comes to Black characters in the original trilogy, most casual fans can name exactly one: Lando Calrissian. Hardcore fans can name Willrow Hood, an extra running with an ice cream maker that's become more relevant to the saga than its owner. Some may also point out the Black Bespin security guard who got a vintage action figure and the one A-Wing pilot in "Return of the Jedi," but that's about it. And don't even ask about Asians and Latinos in the original trilogy. (Maori actor Temuera Morrison's overdub of Boba Fett's voice decades after the fact doesn't count.)

So let's look at the one major Black character. He makes a move on his old friend's girl, then betrays them both. He only resorts to his better angels when the deal he made with the Empire begins to screw him and his city as badly as it screwed his former pal Han Solo. Not exactly free from negative stereotypes, that's our Lando. That said, he has a complex arc overall and shouldn't have to stand out as a positive representation of any larger group. However, since there are no other major nonwhite characters at all (even James Earl Jones is ultimately voicing a white dude under all that armor) he kind of has to by default.

Thankfully, by the time the prequels arrived, George Lucas knew better.

Luke's sister reveal highlights a dearth of female characters

In "Return of the Jedi, " when Luke suddenly deduced, "Leia is my sister!" and Obi-Wan responded, "Your insight serves you well," even little kids laughed. Because, what "insight"? She was the only female human character onscreen up to that point in the entire trilogy — besides his aunt Beru. Luke's sister was hardly going to be Yarna d'al' Gargan or Oola, and he hadn't met Mon Mothma yet. There was nobody else it could have been, at that time.

With the galaxy expanded and prequels in place, now we know that, arguably, Jyn Erso could have made a good case or even Ahsoka as a possible adopted sister, if we use the term loosely. Like so many other properties aimed at kids in the '70s and '80s, "Star Wars" had its token woman but with no villainous counterpart. Even "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" had Evil-Lyn to face down Teela. Leia Organa as a character certainly has more dimension than that might imply. By sending R2-D2 to find Obi-Wan, and surviving Darth Vader's torture, she's responsible for setting the events of the original trilogy in motion. And of course, she kills Jabba the Hutt while she's at it. Sure, the Force is strong in her family, but that's no excuse for her being the only woman in action. Since then, thankfully, we've seen female pilots, soldiers, and even Jedi.