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We all know about the might of the Empire. They had spaceships that could destroy entire planets. They had the power of the Force. They had armies of Stormtroopers. They could get anything they wanted. Except of course when confronted with the overwhelming might of a locked door...

Stormtrooper1

Great decision, Stormtrooper...

Stormtrooper2

On the surface level this guy is just being lazy. What's the point of conducting a search of an area if you're going to give up when confronted by a locked door? Surely a locked door is suspicious, something that's worthy of further investigation?

Is there any underlying, in-universe factor that explains this Stormtrooper's actions?

  • 8
    Privacy laws? I know it's an evil and oppressive regime, but you have to draw a line somewhere if you want to minimize the number of people you send streaming to the rebel recruitment office. – Steve-O Jan 21 '17 at 14:35
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    Idiot? Or smart? He knows Darth Vader punished failure, sometimes fatally. But he can't punish every stormtrooper, he just punishes the boss. And a) who doesn't hate their boss? and b) means there's a promotion opportunity ahead. So it pays to be lazy. This is why evil empires never work for long. – starpilotsix Jan 21 '17 at 17:09
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    He is obviously related to the guy who didn't fire on the escape pod "with no life forms aboard". – Jesse C. Slicer Jan 21 '17 at 18:45
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    Strange that I don't hear complaints about George Lucas and his storytelling skills. Ah wait, it's the original trilogy, never mind. – Malcolm Jan 21 '17 at 21:06
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    I'd always assumed that at that point they were doing a quick sweep of the city rather than a thorough house-to-house search. No delays, just cover as much ground as possible as quickly as possible. The house-to-house search would have come later. – Harry Johnston Jan 21 '17 at 23:08
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The door was securely locked and bolted. Given that droids are not (usually) in the habit of being sneaky or underhanded, this simple ruse was sufficient to fool the trooper, especially given that he was distracted and overworked.

One paused to check a door, only to discover it tightly locked and bolted. A sand-encrusted human shambling nearby visited a half-mad harangue on the trooper. Shrugging inwardly, the soldier gave the crazy human a sour eye before moving on down the alley to join up again with his fellows.

Star Wars: A New Hope - Official Novelisation

The junior novelisation also points out that your hapless trooper was following the orders of a superior officer in moving along to the next street.

An Imperial Mark IV patrol droid hovered up the alley, preceding the stormtroopers. The stormtrooper squad leader said, “All right, check this side of the street.” After another trooper checked the door that concealed the two droids, the squad leader said, “The door’s locked. Move on to the next one.” The stormtroopers followed the patrol droid deeper into the alley.

Star Wars: A New Hope - Junior novelisation

enter image description here

  • 10
    He gave the crazy human a sour eye? Ooh, that would have been very impressive, with the helmet and all. – Mr Lister Jan 21 '17 at 15:38
  • @Valorum, I imagine that abusive natives and distractions of various sorts must have been two a penny in Mos Eisley. Wouldn't the Stormtroopers have been used to that sort of nonsense? – The Dark Lord Jan 21 '17 at 16:31
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    @TheDarkLord - It's still distracting, especially if you can't use your usual tactics of beating anyone who's insolent. – Valorum Jan 21 '17 at 17:08
  • @MrLister - Well, indeed. – Valorum Jan 21 '17 at 17:08
  • @Valorum at least on other planets it didn't stop them from beating anyone to a pulp or just taking them with them (the home planet of ezra as example first episode)....guess being a criminal planet has some advantages then?^^ – Thomas Jan 21 '17 at 18:42
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No, he's not an idiot; he's an Army soldier out in hundred degree heat looking for the plans to a white elephant Navy project intended to make the Army obsolete. Darth Vader's involvement means that they can't just pass the buck to the Navy, but they still aren't going to try any harder than they absolutely have to.

https://www.overthinkingit.com/2012/09/17/star-wars-empire-inter-service-rivalries/amp/

  • 1
    Although the linked article makes some decent points, there's no obvious indication in the film that this extends to grunt-level troopers. – Valorum Apr 24 '18 at 18:37

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