#MovieFailMondays: Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (or, How Movies Can Teach You About Logical Fallacies and Help You Ace the LSAT)

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Blog-EpisodeVIEach week, we analyze a movie that illustrates a logical fallacy you’ll find on the LSAT. Who said Netflix can’t help you study? 🎥📖

Oh, Return of the Jedi, you had so much to live up to. A New Hope introduced the world to Star Wars. The Empire Strikes Back is, by almost everyone’s account, the best of the films. You had two tough acts to follow as the final chapter of this trilogy of movies.

And you did admirably. Not flawlessly (it really should be The Battle of Kashyyyk, with Wookie warriors battling the Empire), but you did a good job of wrapping up the emotional plot line of the Original Trilogy. At least, it did while Sebastian Shaw was still playing the ghost of Anakin

But I digress, as we’re not here to be film critics. We’re here to learn something about the LSAT!

And what we’re going to learn about the LSAT today is the error of putting all your eggs in one basket.

Think about all the people who didn’t have a backup plan in Jedi:

  • Leia, Chewie, and Lando had a plan to rescue Han. Sure, you could say that they had a plan B with Luke showing up (though maybe he just decided he needed to rescue them after they were captured). But you might want to have a more immediate backup for your plan A when the result is enslavement and a death sentence.
  • What if R2-D2 wasn’t brought on Jabba’s sail barge, or his specially designed lightsaber-shooting doohickey (the technical term in a galaxy far, far away) malfunctioned? Luke would have been in big trouble.
  • Sure, there’s another Skywalker – Leia – but no one has put any Force training into her whatsoever. If Luke and Anakin were both too old to get started, Leia’s ship has long since sailed.
  • “It’s a TRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP!” Well, that was fairly foreseeable. Maybe don’t put all the Rebellion’s ships in a single battle. Especially when the result of the fight turns on the ability of ground troops to disable a shield and a YT-1300 to quickly fly in and blow up the DSII’s main reactor. Seems like you didn’t need too many ships for that.
  • The Emperor. For someone who successfully manipulated A GALAXY, he sure puts himself out there. He puts himself on a station that is being targeted by the Rebels. He welcomes Luke Skywalker and asks him to strike him down. He doesn’t really seem to have an escape plan if anything goes wrong. I guess it’s hubris.

Each of these situations shows similar logical fallacies:

  1. Exclusivity – Believing there is only one solution to a given problem. In most of the cases here, it was brute force. While that may be an effective strategy, it’s not the only one, and maybe a few Rebels (c’mon, Mothma – and only true Star Wars nerds will see what I did there) should have taken time to come up with some other plans. Treating a viable solution as the only solution is a sign of an exclusivity fallacy.
  2. Modality – Each of these strategies was a viable one – it could work. But that’s much different than having a plan that will work. Whenever a question on the LSAT – or a Rebellion you’re a part of – treats something with potential as something with certainty, run. Because it’s probably a trap.

There is, of course, another big flaw in the Special Editions. Well, there are many, but George decided to include celebration scenes on Tatooine, Bespin, and Coruscant in the SEs. He mistook a partial solution for a complete solution – just because the DSII, Emperor Palpatine, and Vader were gone didn’t mean that the Empire would immediately collapse. There were probably a few other Imperials who knew what was going on and could keep the lights on. This was fixed a bit in the Extended Universe, but it was an unnecessary – and logically flawed! – addition to the Original Trilogy.

This, however, is us wrapping up the Original Trilogy! The Force Awakens is up next week. 📝


matt-shinnersMatt Shinners is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in New York City. After receiving a science degree from Boston College, Matt scored a 180 on his LSAT and enrolled in Harvard Law School. There’s nothing that makes him happier than seeing his students receive the scores they want to get into the schools of their choice. Check out Matt’s upcoming LSAT courses here!

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