Wedge leaving the trench

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I grew up thinking it was really cool that a minor character like Wedge survived the Battle of Yavin and figured he had a good reason for leaving the trench run. I've read that his micro-maneuver controls were damaged, making it unsafe for him to navigate the trench alongside Biggs and Luke. Apparently there is a legion of Star Wars fans who think he should have stayed in the trench and sacrificed himself like everyone else on the mission.

So this leads me to my question: where did the micro-maneuver control reason for him leaving the trench first surface? In the movie he says, "I'm hit. I can't stay with you." and Luke tells him, "Get clear, Wedge. You can't do any more good back there." Seems fair enough. I read the Marvel comic version as a kid but it's been 25 years so I don't recall if they explain it more in there. Did the novel include this information? Thanks for your input in advance.
 
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it surfaces in 1977 while watching the trench run.
it is sort of implied that vader is using the force during the battle (because he's vader); he's freezing the controls of the people he kills;
and/or, simply just using the force to "align" his targets in his crosshairs, exactly as one would expect, from a character with his abilities.

(FWIW, this was also an 'ability' in the TIE fighter video game -- pilots could use a tractor beam to freeze the controls of your target ship, and use it to align your targets -- this added a layer of authenticity to the game, allowing players to 'Do like Vader' in the movie).

the rebels all say things like "its no good, I can't maneuver" right before they die; red leader complains his starboard engine is dead BEFORE the engine actually gets hit;
Biggs wrestles with his controls before he dies; etc.

every person vader kills, SEEMS TO lose micro-control of his ship, right before they die...
except for luke "the force is strong with this one" skywalker (implying that the force was NOT strong with all of his OTHER victims LOL -- or he wouldn't have mentioned it).
vader was shown to be using the force during this battle (because he's vader) -- and he is perplexed when this "trick" does NOT work on luke.

as for wedge, Vader consciously let wedge go because he had bigger fish to fry ("let him go, stay on the leader"), otherwise Wedge would have shared Biggs' fate:
he would lose the ability to "micro-maneuver" right before he died -- like all the OTHER rebels whom vader killed in this battle.

(it happens repeatedly throughout the battle: the rebels lose maneuvering control when vader pulls in behind them -- why? Because He's Vader) :p LOL
 
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The implication I got was the same as Cobalt. I always thought Vader was force-screwing with them. Hah! So basically, if Wedge couldn't navigate the trench accurately, well he's basically potential shrapnel that could take out Luke and Biggs in a confined space like that. I say that because look at what happened to Vader and his wingmen in the trench. Almost EXACTLY that! Collision! Wedge is no coward, it was a tactical maneuver that all three unanimously agreed upon.

Now a funny story I'd love to share about Wedge. I was SO young, like a toddler, when I first saw these. So I didn't remember Wedge's name, only the face. So every movie in the OT, I'd always say "OMG DAD...IT'S THE GUY AGAIN! HE'S STILL ALIVE!" and in my household (my parents adoring the films but not to like die-hard levels like I became) he was know, for years, as "that guy!" because we were so impressed he survived Yavin, Hoth, and Endor!
 
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it surfaces in 1977 while watching the trench run.
it is sort of implied that vader is using the force during the battle (because he's vader); he's freezing the controls of the people he kills;
and/or, simply just using the force to "align" his targets in his crosshairs, exactly as one would expect, from a character with his abilities.
I hate to admit it but I'll confess, it has never occurred to me that this is what was going on with the rebel pilots in the trench. But it totally makes sense.

It's funny because several years ago I DID have the revelation that Luke was perhaps using the force to curve the torpedoes down the exhaust port, which apparently a lot of people believe, but since then I've been led to believe that's how the torpedoes were designed and Luke was using the force more for "feel" on when to fire them. Correct me if I'm wrong.
 
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I hate to admit it but I'll confess, it has never occurred to me that this is what was going on with the rebel pilots in the trench. But it totally makes sense.

It's funny because several years ago I DID have the revelation that Luke was perhaps using the force to curve the torpedoes down the exhaust port, which apparently a lot of people believe, but since then I've been led to believe that's how the torpedoes were designed and Luke was using the force more for "feel" on when to fire them. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Once again Cobalt comes through with a theory that I hadn't thought about before, but makes a lot of sense.
Regarding your next point, Luke and the torpedoes, Oh boy. This point caused quite a bit of arguing between two members a year or so ago, one member having left the hobby for good, due to a number of things.

My take on it is that what we see is the limitations of the special effects. When flying down the trench, our perspective is straight in, because it is long enough that we never see the end of it. They don't have to design a back. Now, when it comes time to shoot, if we keep the same perspective, special effects have to design what it looks like. If you look through a tube, you have to see the end of the tube, what's in the hole. So I think that by showing the port at an angle, we can see the opening, but we see the wall of it, and don't have to see what the inside looks like at the end of the opening. Now we have to show the shooting.

Again, when making a trench run in this or any kind of video game, or when looking at an enemy ship in the original Star Trek, when a torpedo or ray is coming at you or from you, the perspective isn't like being in profile and you can see it zip by. It tends to be a straight line, moving slower than profile, with a bit of an angle to help suggest perspective and movement. Often like a bottom to top incline to suggest shooting from below your visual perspective towards your target. So again, with the effects created, I believe they are showing a bottom to top torpedo shot, as if from the perspective of following and continuing the straight line approach. But the port is visually designed at an angle that is not parallel to the shots. So what I believe is that we are seeing a fudging of 'reality', in that the torpedoes were going straight, but the port was visually designed at an angle, so they were fudged with a quick bend to enter the port at the angle it is shown. And they bent the torpedoes at the very last moment so that the fudged bend goes by very quickly, and perhaps in the drama of the moment we are swept away and don't remember.

I don't believe Luke bent them with the Force. I believe he used the Force to let him know exactly when he had the shot lined up straight. He trusted the Force over computer targeting. The torpedoes curved because of special effects design.
 
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I'll have to watch 'Star Wars' again, cos Colbalt's theory passed me over too, and I must have seen that film over a hundred times by now. But, it never dawned on me that Vader was using anything but his flying skills to deal with the enemy.

As for the exhaust port and bendy torpedoes, that was just a design oversight on behalf of the film makers, more than likely. I don't think there was anything being "said" there.
 
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Ben Kenobi is telling him "use the force luke", and so, luke 'uses the force' to blow up the death star.
that's really all we know; that's really all that's important. that's the take-away plot point: Luke used the force to blow up the death star.
"How" he did it is really kind of, beside this point.


now having said that....
personally, as a 7 year old kid, I always thought Luke bent the torpedoes downwards to make them go into the hole. why?
we all know Luke turned off the targeting computer. so we all know the torpedoes were NOT "locked on target".
the point of this scene was to show Luke turning his back on 'technology' and embracing the force INSTEAD of technology.
there is nothing in the narrative to suggest the torpedoes turned a corner, to hit the target, all on their own...
by dint of their "programming" (or maneuvering thrusters) or "Technology" in general....
indeed: the movie tells us explicitly, the torpedoes are NOT locked on target; Luke is firing them manually;
the entire point of this scene was to show Luke forsaking "Technology" IN FAVOR OF "the force".
((this is why R2 got hit -- so there would be no question in the mind of the audience -- Luke had no "technology" to help him, at all -- not even R2))

so any behavior exhibited BY the torpedoes (turning a corner at the last second) can NOT be attributed to "technology"...
this MUST be attributed to Luke. why? because that's the story being told: Luke forsook 'technology' and he "used the force" instead of technology (not in conjunction with technology).
yes! these were "guided missiles" -- but the targeting computer was switched OFF -- therefore, they were "guided", by the force.

again: it doesn't really matter: IF you believe that this story is equally effective with a Luke Skywalker who uses technology AND the force (in conjunction) to blow up the death star, then more power to you. maybe that's what GL actually intended. who knows?
for my money: as a 7 year old watching this stuff for the first time, I believed that Luke used the force -alone- (with no technology to help him, not even R2D2) -- he used the force IN LIEU of technology (not "IN CONJUNCTION" with technology) -- because that's just a much more powerful story.
((therefore those torpedoes would not turn that corner on their own. they turned that corner because of the force -alone-)). if that makes any sense.




and again: luke "used the force" to blow up the death star. that's ALL we really know. the details of HOW he did it, are really not too important (certainly not important enough to fight over). if you believe that "self-piloting-torpedoes" are consistent with "using the force" (if you believe Luke used the force 'in conjunction' with technology) then more power to you -- as long as we all agree that he "used the force" in some way -- (and as long as this is an "equally effective" story for you) -- then it really makes no difference HOW he did it.

but, for my money, luke "used the force" INSTEAD OF "self-piloting torpedoes" (which we saw explicitly, when he switched OFF the targeting computer) -- Luke had NO technology to help him (not even R2D2) -- this is a MUCH MORE effective story. [IMO]. and I believe THIS was the point GL was trying to make.... *shrug*

simply put : as a 7 year old fan, I always believed "[The Force > Technology]" was the point being made by GL --- not "[The Force + Technology > Technology]" :p LOL

((but hey! if it's "Equally Effective" for you, either way..... then either way, it doesn't really matter)) :p cheers!
 
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I don't believe Luke bent them with the Force. I believe he used the Force to let him know exactly when he had the shot lined up straight. He trusted the Force over computer targeting. The torpedoes curved because of special effects design.
that's another good point: we're analyzing a movie from 1977. the limitations of the era prevent accurate 3D modeling of the scene.
basically, they "fudged it" in post production (to make a straight trajectory align with an angled target).
the net effect is kind of... bent.
^^ is this net effect coming from the "Story" , or simply the (limitations-of-)"Story-Telling"? who knows?



we can only take this scene, exactly as presented (c/w bendy torpedoes).
we can't really ignore the bend, and say "..well that was supposed to be straight. but somebody messed it up in post production, so let's just assume it's still straight"

I saw this stuff when I was 7 years old. I wasn't thinking about the limitations of 'post production' LOL :p all I saw was "bendy torpedoes"
and a perfectly rational "in-movie" explanation (provided BY the movie, itself) : "The Force > Technology"



(your mileage may vary) :p LOL

cheers!
 
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Crazy awesome thread for me, who saw Star Wars in a theater in '78.... usually I'm not into the deeper fictional ideas like this, details that border on TOO underlying, like how a totally make-believe spaceship is constructed and how that affects how that ship is utilized for example... but with this "Force" thing thrown into the discussion during the pivotal (arguably epic) trench-run....the deeper dive into spaceship tech has me hooked, and impressed with it's unifying story logic.
 
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What was Keyan Farlander and his Y-Wing doing whilst Luke and Wedge were in the trench?
 
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Prior to reading this thread, I never realized that Vader was using the dark side of the Force to mess with the X-wing/Y-wing fighter mechanisms during the Death Star attack - but it makes sense. I.e., Wedge's instrumentation was working OK when he & Luke started the trench run, but started to screw up shortly after - so, unless it was damaged beforehand it makes sense that something else occurred - causing it to malfunction.

It's funny because several years ago I DID have the revelation that Luke was perhaps using the force to curve the torpedoes down the exhaust port, which apparently a lot of people believe, but since then I've been led to believe that's how the torpedoes were designed and Luke was using the force more for "feel" on when to fire them. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Yes, this. I never got the impression that Luke used the force to "move" the proton torpedoes the way he wanted them to go; but more that he used the force to know how to position/line up the proton torpedoes in such a way that they would exactly go into the exhaust port after he fired them.
 
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What was Keyan Farlander and his Y-Wing doing whilst Luke and Wedge were in the trench?
in that video game, it takes FOREVER for the Ywing to repair its flight systems. :p

he was probably floating through space waiting for his computer to say "flight systems repaired".

its happened to me too :(
 
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Even as a kid I always wondered why Wedge or any other wingman didn't just do a loop maneuver and get behind the Tie Fighters going down the trench. Also, couldn't the Y-wing turrets turn to shoot backwards? But, perhaps, that lends more to the theory that Vader was preventing them from maneuvering. I always assumed Vader was using the force, but more to help him anticipate their moves and target them much more easily. I thought this because of what we were shown earlier with Luke being able to block the shots from the training remote on the Falcon. It shows how he could anticipate where he needed to block.

Ditto for the Luke. I assumed he was using the force to guide his torpedoes into the exhaust port without using his targeting computer, but I wondered why it wasn't a simple thing for the torpedo to guide itself into the exhaust port once the targeting computer locked on. Looking back later, I suppose the targeting computer had trouble locking on perhaps due to interference from the ray shielding or some other electromagnetic interference. Again, looking back in hindsight, perhaps the "There's too much interference line" makes sense.
 
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Re: Wedge leaving the trench, I'm sure as a kid I thought nothing of it, but as an adult, it actually kind of bugs me a little.

The way I see it, sending a squad of three fighters at a time down the trench served a dual purpose:
1) If the lead fighter is blown away by a tower, another slips into the lead firing position.
2) If the fighters are targeted from behind (by either the towers or enemy fighters), then the rear two ships act as "shielding" for the lead fighter, until the target is reached.

Wedge leaving just allowed Vader to concentrate on Luke that much sooner. We are led to believe that had Han not shown up when he did, Vader would have been able to land his shot. In an alternate scenario of "no Han", Wedge staying in the trench to act as a "shield" vs leaving may have been the crucial time factor as to whether Luke was able to reach the target or not.

I suppose seeing Luke tell Wedge to go ahead and leave the trench lets us see the selfless character he was, that he doesn't want anyone dying on his behalf.

Perhaps, had Biggs not just previously sacrificed his life for Luke, or if Luke had had a more "militaristic" character to him, he would not have so nonchalantly given Wedge permission to "abandon his post."

Does Wedge leaving play into the Vader using the Force theory, and so therefore he was a sitting duck anyway? I don't know, I haven't watched that sequence in a long time, so until I do, I'm just approaching this at face value.

Re: Luke "bending" the torpedoes, I don't think this is how we're meant to interpret the scene, either.

Luke turning off the targeting computer is a reference back to his lessons on the Falcon. "Your eyes can deceive you, don't trust them." By turning off the computer, Luke basically "put on the helmet", forcing (no pun intended) himself to reach out to the Force and let it guide his actions. On the Falcon, the Force "told" him where/when to position the lightsaber. In the trench, the Force "told" him when to pull the trigger, and possibly told him where to aim.

There's no parallel in the Falcon lesson to Luke using telekinesis to guide an object, and so I think that is more a function of the torpedoes themselves, that once placed over the heat source, they would zero in and follow the trail. But, that's why the targeting computer was necessary in the first place, as it would be very difficult to place the torpedoes in the exact right spot to work. "Only a precise hit will set off a chain reaction."

Also, for reference, watch the DS strategy briefing scene. In the animatic, the "torpedo" does bend down (not a right angle, but still, it makes a curve after release, not a straight line). Though, in the animation it looks more like it was a "dropped" bomb than a "fired" torpedo. Point being, it was not shot directly into the target.
https://youtu.be/8ioOYLrlYsk?t=55
 
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Re: Wedge leaving the trench, I'm sure as a kid I thought nothing of it, but as an adult, it actually kind of bugs me a little.

The way I see it, sending a squad of three fighters at a time down the trench served a dual purpose:
1) If the lead fighter is blown away by a tower, another slips into the lead firing position.
2) If the fighters are targeted from behind (by either the towers or enemy fighters), then the rear two ships act as "shielding" for the lead fighter, until the target is reached.

Wedge leaving just allowed Vader to concentrate on Luke that much sooner. We are led to believe that had Han not shown up when he did, Vader would have been able to land his shot. In an alternate scenario of "no Han", Wedge staying in the trench to act as a "shield" vs leaving may have been the crucial time factor as to whether Luke was able to reach the target or not.

I suppose seeing Luke tell Wedge to go ahead and leave the trench lets us see the selfless character he was, that he doesn't want anyone dying on his behalf.

Perhaps, had Biggs not just previously sacrificed his life for Luke, or if Luke had had a more "militaristic" character to him, he would not have so nonchalantly given Wedge permission to "abandon his post."

Does Wedge leaving play into the Vader using the Force theory, and so therefore he was a sitting duck anyway? I don't know, I haven't watched that sequence in a long time, so until I do, I'm just approaching this at face value.

Re: Luke "bending" the torpedoes, I don't think this is how we're meant to interpret the scene, either.

Luke turning off the targeting computer is a reference back to his lessons on the Falcon. "Your eyes can deceive you, don't trust them." By turning off the computer, Luke basically "put on the helmet", forcing (no pun intended) himself to reach out to the Force and let it guide his actions. On the Falcon, the Force "told" him where/when to position the lightsaber. In the trench, the Force "told" him when to pull the trigger, and possibly told him where to aim.

There's no parallel in the Falcon lesson to Luke using telekinesis to guide an object, and so I think that is more a function of the torpedoes themselves, that once placed over the heat source, they would zero in and follow the trail. But, that's why the targeting computer was necessary in the first place, as it would be very difficult to place the torpedoes in the exact right spot to work. "Only a precise hit will set off a chain reaction."

Also, for reference, watch the DS strategy briefing scene. In the animatic, the "torpedo" does bend down (not a right angle, but still, it makes a curve after release, not a straight line). Though, in the animation it looks more like it was a "dropped" bomb than a "fired" torpedo. Point being, it was not shot directly into the target.
https://youtu.be/8ioOYLrlYsk?t=55
Wedge bails before Biggs gets killed.
 
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Wedge bails before Biggs gets killed.
Does he?
Sorry, my mistake.
Again, long time since I've watched it.

Anyway, I had another thought with regard to him "abandoning his post" to act as a shield for Luke:
If his maneuverability had been affected, whereby in the close confines of the trench he can't avoid shots at him quickly enough, and he also can't react quickly enough to get in the path of shots aimed at Luke, then he may as well leave because his death serves no purpose.

And, he does also become a potential liability to Luke, as Vader's Wingman became. (Like MysterioMaximus mentioned above)

So, I rescind my feelings that he should have stayed in the trench anyway.

I did just rewatch that brief snippet on Youtube, and Wedge's X-Wing is hit by one of the TIE pilots before he leaves, suggesting he's leaving because of damage to his X-Wing, not because Vader is doing anything through the Force.
 
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Wedge bails before Biggs gets killed.
I know. I always thought Luke liked Wedge more because of that. Biggs must have been saying to himself, "What the hell, Luke?! Wedge can still do plenty back here."
 
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Looking back later, I suppose the targeting computer had trouble locking on perhaps due to interference from the ray shielding or some other electromagnetic interference. Again, looking back in hindsight, perhaps the "There's too much interference line" makes sense.
I would imagine that the X-Wings' targeting computers were designed to lock onto smaller ships, not specific portions of moon-sized space stations. So it would be kind of like when you are playing a video game and you are trying to hit a specific boss who is surrounded by a bunch of adds and the game is having trouble determining which enemy you are trying to hit, so you end up wasting one of your special abilities on some nobody with 10,000 hit points when you were really trying to target the boss with 4 million hit points. So there would be too many targets for the targeting computers to choose from and it would get confused.

Which works well with the film's overall theme, because computers generally can't think creatively or perform functions outside of their programming. Which is why the shot needed to be made on instinct.
 
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I did just rewatch that brief snippet on Youtube, and Wedge's X-Wing is hit by one of the TIE pilots before he leaves, suggesting he's leaving because of damage to his X-Wing, not because Vader is doing anything through the Force.
That's kind of what I always thought too. After Wedge gets hit he says that he can't stay with them, so Luke tells him to go.
Since they were "going in full throttle" I got the impression that Wedge simply couldn't keep up with their speed after he got hit/damaged, so he had to pull out.
 
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