Star Wars Has Utterly Ruined Your Idea Of How Science Works: Here's How

List Rules
Vote up the false science facts in Star Wars that surprise you the most.

The Star Wars franchise has introduced so many fascinating ideas into the sci-fi genre's lexicon, but it should not come as a surprise there is quite a bit of inaccurate science involved in the movies. The truth is that George Lucas never intended for his creation to be a hard science fiction series but more of a fantasy story set in space. Combining those two elements means there are plenty of facts about space Star Wars gets wrong: after all, it was never intended to be realistic.

Whether it is the way that the planets within the galaxy are formed or how quickly the characters can travel to important Star Wars locations, experts and scientists have pointed out a whole myriad of things in Star Wars that couldn’t scientifically happen in real life. Just take a look at these entries to get an understanding of how not everything in these amazing movies is grounded in realism.


  • 1
    338 VOTES

    Asteroid Belts Are Never That Crowded

    Asteroid Belts Are Never That Crowded
    Photo: Lucasfilm

    Every Star Wars fan remembers the epic scene from The Empire Strikes Back when Han Solo stressfully pilots his beloved Millennium Falcon through a chaotic asteroid field. The smuggler manages to evade the Empire’s forces as he carefully out-maneuvers the asteroids that are often only moments away from crashing into him. But that is not actually how asteroid fields are set up in space. According to astronomers, asteroids would generally be millions of miles apart and traversing through them would not be anywhere near as dangerous as it is portrayed in the movies. The exaggeration of an asteroid field does admittedly make for a harrowing movie scene, though.

    338 votes
  • 2
    363 VOTES

    The Ewoks Would All Be Killed On Endor

    The Ewoks Would All Be Killed On Endor
    Photo: Lucasfilm

    Return of the Jedi seemingly skips over the grim reality that would befall the Ewoks and the rest of the living creatures that make Endor their home. Following the destruction of the second Death Star, burning debris would rain down on the forest moon. The side facing the Death Star would be heavily damaged from the impact while forest fires would rage from the hot pieces of metal that fell from the sky. The impact from the explosion would be similar to the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs and their ecosystem, leading researchers to argue that every Ewok would be wiped out.

    363 votes
  • 3
    331 VOTES

    Hyperspace Would Look Completely Different (If It Were Even Possible)

    Hyperspace Would Look Completely Different (If It Were Even Possible)
    Photo: A New Hope / 20th Century Fox

    While it is still very much unclear whether anything like hyperspace would ever be possible, one thing is for sure: if a ship did travel to light speed and enter hyperspace it would not look like it does in the Star Wars movies. The stars would not streak across space. Instead, anyone sitting in the cockpit would see a bright disc of light in front of them that would slowly fade out of view. Individual stars would not even be visible to those accelerating towards lightspeed.

    331 votes
  • 4
    313 VOTES

    Fighters And Spaceships Would Need An Impossible Amount Of Fuel

    Fighters And Spaceships Would Need An Impossible Amount Of Fuel
    Photo: Lucasfilm

    While the dogfights and spaceship action in Star Wars look spectacular, they do not conform to how battles in space would actually work. Without any air or atmosphere to use to help change direction or bank when turning, they would be entirely reliant on thrusters to maneuver. This would require an extraordinary amount of fuel to power them and would ensure that the action was far less dramatic as acts such as turning around would likely be far slower and clumsier. Small fighters like the X-Wing would not be able to hold enough fuel to travel for any extended period of time.

    313 votes
  • 5
    287 VOTES

    Laser Beams Should Not Be Visible

    Laser Beams Should Not Be Visible
    Photo: Lucasfilm

    Space battles in Star Wars stand out for the sheer amount of colorful lasers that litter every scene. Flashes of red and green are a constant in every dogfight between TIE fighters and X-Wings. But the way that lasers work scientifically, AKA in real life, involves very concentrated beams of electromagnetic radiation, meaning the beams should actually not be visible to the naked eye. Light can only be seen when it reflects off a surface into the eye. With a laser, all of the light is directed in one direction, which prevents it from scattering and reaching the retina. The lack of any smoke or dust in the vacuum of space should stop any light being refracted and keep the lasers invisible.

    287 votes
  • 6
    205 VOTES

    Planets Would Never Form As Simplistic Single Environments

    Planets Would Never Form As Simplistic Single Environments
    Photo: Lucasfilm

    A defining element of Star Wars is how many of the planets within the galaxy appear to be restricted to a single type of environment. Tatooine is a desert planet, Hoth is completely frozen and covered in ice, while Mustafar is entirely covered in lava. Yet, they are all capable of supporting life. In reality, planets that have their own native life forms and an atmosphere that could allow other creatures to live on them would almost certainly be as diverse as Earth. Planets that are just one simplistic terrain would not develop the necessary ecosystems to sustain life. As one writer puts it: 

    "Most astronomers agree desert worlds might be quite common. However, whether those desert planets would be viable places to live, as they are in the Star Wars universe, is another story. Is a planet without much water capable of sustaining indigenous life like Jawas, Tusken Raiders, and wamp rats?"

    205 votes