I just watched Episode III recently and I was surprised by what seems to be a plot hole regarding Vader and the speed of spaceships.

The setting

The point in question is when Vader and Kenobi are fighting each other on Mustafar.

As they start fighting, Sidious is on Coruscant and he says something among the lines of "I sense Vader is in danger, let's go help him" and goes.

When we watch the film, it seems rather instinctive that the whole fight is shown on screen, not parts of it.

Then, after a few minutes (on-screen time, not plot-time), Vader is dismembered.

After a few more minutes (on-screen time, not plot-time), Vader is saved by Sidious who just left what seemed to be something like a Theta-class T-2c shuttle (which has a hyperdrive rating of 1).

The base hyperspeed time for Outer Rim to Core planets is 96 hours, according to this chart.

Let's say that you want to go from Tatooine to Alderaan and that you're on a an illegally modified Corellian YT-1300 with a .5 hyperdrive (yep, that one ship), it still takes some time, but let's not reduce it too much and take the arbitrary number of 3 hours since some passengers actually take the time to entertain / train themselves.

It happens that, according to the galaxy map, the route from Coruscant to Mustafar (using the Hydian Way) is about as long as the route from Tatooine to Alderaan (using the Corellian Run).

The question

So... did Vader really survive for, at the very least, 3 hours lying on the verges of a volcano? Ok, he's a boss regarding the Force, but still, he just lost 3 limbs, was slightly cooked, had a "dealbreaker" fight with his lover, and there is no indication that he knows that any rescue is coming. The whole film showed that he was rather mentally unstable (not crazy, just unstable). Yet he had the will to control the Force to survive with all that?

Or maybe was the fight really long?


"Legends"-based answers are acceptable since all the base elements used here were written before the canon-reset.

  • 20
    I'm reasonably sure that Obi-Wan and Anakin weren't lovers. Oh wait, you meant Padmé...
    – Valorum
    Dec 31, 2015 at 11:07
  • 9
    "The ship travels at the speed of plot".
    – SBI
    Dec 31, 2015 at 15:20
  • 1
    @Richard I'm pretty sure Padmé and Anakin weren't either, from what I saw. Dec 31, 2015 at 16:19
  • @iamnotmaynard So how did she get pregnant with children known to be Anakin's children, then?
    – corsiKa
    Dec 31, 2015 at 17:04
  • 1
    Also, downvoting because you were surprised about a plot hole in Episodes 1-3. Seriously, that's not surprising.
    – corsiKa
    Dec 31, 2015 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


According to the film's official novelisation, Obi-Wan sensed that Palpatine and his men were already on final approach to the planet shortly after the duel ended. Given that Padmé needed emergency medical attention, Obi-Wan decided to leave immediately rather than face the arrival of another enemy and further delay.

That means that only a few minutes passed between the end of the duel and the arrival of medical attention for Anakin/Vader. Even so, Palpatine considers it nothing short of a miracle that he's still alive.

A flash of metal through the sky, and Obi-Wan felt the darkness closing in around them both. He knew that ship: the Chancellor’s shuttle. Now, he supposed, the Emperor’s shuttle. Yoda had failed. He might have died. He might have left Obi-Wan alone: the last Jedi. Below his feet, Darth Vader burst into flame. “I hate you,” he screamed.

Obi-Wan looked down. It would be a mercy to kill him. He was not feeling merciful.

He was feeling calm, and clear, and he knew that to climb down to that black beach might cost him more time than he had. Another Sith Lord approached.

In the end, there was only one choice. It was a choice he had made many years before, when he had passed his trials of Jedi Knighthood, and sworn himself to the Jedi forever. In the end, he was still Obi-Wan Kenobi, and he was still a Jedi, and he would not murder a helpless man.

He would leave it to the will of the Force. He turned and walked away. After a moment, he began to run.

  • 17
    @OlivierGrégoire Huh? He did answer your question. No, “only a few minutes passed”. There's the answer. Dec 31, 2015 at 11:29
  • 2
    You're making a lot of assumptions about how long it took Palatine to get there. The novel and plan of events show that to be false.
    – Valorum
    Dec 31, 2015 at 11:30
  • 9
    @OlivierGrégoire I think you could be getting caught up on the “I sense Vader is in danger, let's go help him” scene. It's likely that happened hours prior to the fight, and it's shown just before because editing a movie that way is better storytelling. Also, because The Force. Dec 31, 2015 at 11:31
  • 5
    @SlippD.Thompson - I'm not disagreeing, I'm just not answering a question that wasn't asked. "How did Vader survive that long on Mustafar?" does not equal "How did Palpatine get to Mustafar so quickly".
    – Valorum
    Dec 31, 2015 at 11:47
  • 14
    @OlivierGrégoire According to you, the question is: "So... did Vader really survive for, at the very least, 3 hours lying on the verges of a volcano?". Richard answered that, by saying "no, he survived for 5 minutes." Dec 31, 2015 at 15:29

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