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There is one shot in Star Wars: A New Hope where one Tusken Raider, from a high cliff on a rock mesa, aims at Luke's speeder that zips through a canyon below; then, a second Tusken Raider touches the sniper from behind and, after a brief argument in their barbaric tongue, seems to get in the final word and the nomads scurry over the rocky terrain.

The fact that Tusken Riders shoot down a fast racer during the Boonta Eve Classic in 32 BBY demonstrated that these sand people are skilled marksmen, thus, why, having a good overlooking from a high position, they didn't shoot down Luke's X-34 with their long ominous cycler rifle (slugthrower type)?

Still from Star Wars - A New Hope

It is interesting to note what the Star Wars - A New Hope 4th revised script tells about the shot.

One of the marginally human creatures raises a long ominous slugthrowers and points it at the speeder but the second creature grabs the gun before it can be fired.

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    From the script; "The Sandpeople, or Tusken Raiders as they're sometimes called, speak in a coarse barbaric language as they get into an animated argument. The second Tusken Raider seems to get in the final word and the nomads scurry over the rocky terrain."
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 22:50
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    there's no indication that these are the same group of Sand People, let alone the exact same characters - it is over 30+ years between Episode 1 & 4 after all
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 22:55
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    May be he knew the shooter wouldn't be accurate (ref Obi One) so he decided to save a bullet instead
    – user13267
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 8:24
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    Maybe they went to the same gunnery school as the Stormtroopers... Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 22:06
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    Finally, thanks to a recent episode of the new Mandalorian entitled “The Gunslinger”, iconic and enigmatic Tuscan Raiders have re-emerged from Tatooine's sands more than savages with mumbling growling but indigenous people with a sign language. Thanks for bringing up them!
    – user105202
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 15:42

2 Answers 2

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The rifleman was, according to the short story Rites, acting on the orders of his chieftain. When it came time to take the shot, he counselled them against wasting it and scaring off their potential victim.

“Quiet!” A’Yark yanked at A’Koba’s robe—but it was not to accost him. He heard a moment later what the chieftain had heard: the sound of an approaching engine. The two hustled to a promontory where they saw a landspeeder, an infernal human machine, zooming into the valley below.

This is it! Raising his rifle, A’Koba drew a bead on the distant vehicle as it raced from left to right—only to withdraw when A’Yark touched his shoulder. The chieftain was correct about this, at least: The landspeeder was too far away, and if its occupants were coming for the droid, they would surely stop when they reached it.

Since they knew where they were going (based on the location of Artoo), they could afford to be less hasty and opt for an ambush instead. Note also that the Chieftain is worried about incurring the ire of a local wizard.

A’Koba regarded his cousin and raised his hands to the chieftain. “You see? Not your wizard. Come on.”

But A’Yark stood transfixed, trying to work it out. “A farm child and his droids, all the way out here—here? It does not augur well.

A’Koba stared for a moment—then shrugged. He shook his head. “You disappoint me. Go down and remain with the banthas. We will bring the prizes to you.”

A’Yark responded with reluctance. “Go. Take. But do not kill, unless you must.”

A’Koba turned back to face his cousin—and together they started scaling the rise. A Tusken chief, scared of shadows and counseling mercy? Madness!

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    I wish that I could say that I was surprised that there's a story dedicated to the random raiders who provide flavor to the early plot, but this is Star Wars, after all. Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 7:50
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    @ArcanistLupus - You should be a little surprised that there's a canon story that's devoted to them
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 7:52
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    There should be additional raiders named A'Yamuddah and A'Shaddap. :-) Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 21:01
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    @ArcanistLupus ah, fancruft and side stories for minor, irrelevant characters explaining every detail of Star Wars to death, so that it is left completely bare for all to see, dead and soulless and mystery-less. I'm definitely not surprised :) I was hopeful Disney would crush all of it, but little by little these details are cropping up again :(
    – Andres F.
    Commented Apr 27, 2020 at 20:06
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    Bounty is much appreciated
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 14:41
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(Not sure if "out of" Rites means "from" or "outside of," so I'm gonna keep it within A New Hope).

Soon after escaping on the landspeeder, they see a disabled sandcrawler with dead Jawas. Obi Wan comments:

These blast points, too accurate for sand-people. Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise.

I argue that the sand-people miss in order to set up this Obi Wan's statement. Which of course foreshadows the raid on Luke's homestead.

It's not yet a running joke that stormtroopers have bad aim.

To the point about the Boonta Eve Classic, I'd say that Phantom Menace prefers the dramatic, namely by ending with

Anakin accidentally blowing up the Federation starship.

As for your most difficult point, about the gun-grabber, there's not a lot about them & what they want in the early scripts. It's most likely that, unlike Jawas, they want the speeder intact.

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    I believe that shot is before Luke et al. meet up with Obi-Wan?
    – DavidW
    Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 21:53
  • you are correct, I will edit my answer Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 22:04

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