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At the start of The Phantom Menace Qui-gon is interrupted while cutting his way on to the bridge when two Destroyer droids engage him and Obi-wan. While these droids do have shield generators, making deflected blaster shots relatively ineffective, these droids would seem to be vulnerable to a stragtegic lift and push/pull with the Force. Alternatively, they might still be suspectible to a direct attack with the light saber.

So why was it that neither Obi-wan or Qui-gon dealt with the Destroyer droids, instead both of them opting to run away?

  • The main reason is so that Goblin (and infamous junky mouthed funny Russian translator of Hollywood movies) and another notable Russian translator could engage in epic countrywide famous flame war over how to translate the dialog between the two in that scene :) { source: Lukimore.ru, a Russian version of Encyclopaedia Dramatica } – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 7 '12 at 0:39
  • There's no way swords win against massed machine-guided automatic weapons fire. Even Lucas couldn't make us believe that, so they had to retreat. – Kyle Jones Feb 7 '12 at 5:59
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I believe they realised that this was not going to work, because it would only be a matter of (very short) time before more droids arrive. Cutting through the door was a great idea, but only as long as it went quickly before the internal ship security could react. They simply could not afford to be held up in a large combat with waves of droids (also as an off-universe note: It would get boring). No, instead they retreated to figure out a new plan.

Also, obviously, while Qui-Gon cuts through the door, his padawan would have to take up all droids alone -- and I think you cannot always keep interrupting the whole "cut through door" procedure. The voice of Obi-Wan when he spots the two droids indicates that he is not confident he can take both alone.

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    TL;DR version: They couldn't afford the time it'd take to deal with Droidekas – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 7 '12 at 0:54
  • @DVK: Basically, yeah. I added emphasis to the main part, to make the TL;DR version stick out. – bitmask Feb 7 '12 at 0:59
  • I've always understood it as your last paragraph explains, Obi-wan could not defend both droids laser fire, I'd also point out that Qui-gon called it a stand off, implying that niether the droids nor the Jedi were going to win, so the best solution was to retreat. – Jared Feb 7 '12 at 2:02
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    I thought Obi-Wan practiced Ataru (i.e. not a defensive style) during Ep1, and only changed to Soresu after the defeat of Qui-Gon. – Kaz Dragon Feb 7 '12 at 13:25
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    Just got here from another question. Given the statement by Mara Jade in Survivor's Quest that she knows of no case of a single Jedi ever successfully taking on a droideka and winning, and that "they mostly ran away," it seems unlikely that Qui-Gon could have done a damn thing to beat the droidekas, even with Obi-Wan's help. – James Sheridan Jul 23 '14 at 7:54
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The film's official novelisation gives us a little bit more information about the danger posed by the Droideka/Destroyer droids;

  • Although we only see a couple in the film, there were supposedly ten or more in the vicinity. Facing even one would be a challenge for a Jedi, let alone ten of these beasts. Ahsoka manages to destroy one in The Clone Wars : Landing at Point Rain by physically penetrating its shield, then turning on her lightsaber but this is clearly an insanely dangerous tactic.

  • The destroyers set up a "deadly crossfire". Since they're immune to their own blasts it seems there would be little chance of even a Jedi surviving a prolonged assault from multiple angles.

“Obi-Wan!” he shouted to his companion, who wheeled toward him at once. “Destroyer droids!”

The younger Jedi nodded, smiling. “Offhand, I’d say this mission is past the negotiation stage.”

In the hallway just beyond the area in which the Jedi fought, ten destroyer droids rolled into view. They resembled gleaming metal wheels as they rounded a corner, smooth and silent in their approach. One by one they began to unfold, releasing tripods of spidery legs and stunted arms into which laser guns had been built. Crooked spines unlimbered, and the droids rose to a standing position, armored heads cocked forward. They were wicked-looking and deadly, and they were built for one purpose only.

Skittering around the final corner to the bridge entry, they triggered their laser guns, filling the open area with a deadly crossfire. When the lasers went still, the destroyer droids advanced, searching for their prey.

But the anteway was empty, and the Jedi Knights were gone.

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Sometimes it's just good tactics to withdraw. Yes, they could have beaten the droids but what would be point? The aim was to escape not to destroy droids, so better to get on with doing the escaping.

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Destroyer droids are powerful combat droids and very hard to defeat. Because of their shields and high powered blasters, the deflected bolts from Jedi lightsabers are not able to destroy them as would be the case with non shielded droids or virtually any other opponent.

Also their shields are very hard to cut through, so again, it's hard to deflect the bolts and try and cut through said sheilds at the same time. They have to get to them and cut them down before they unfold and deploy their shields.

They could not continue to cut through the blast door and fight the destroyer droids at the same time, so that is why they evetually decided to flee.

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