When Luke Skywalker shot the control panel for the blast doors on the Death Star, the doors immediately closed, trapping Darth Vader on the other side.

Why didn't Darth Vader use the Force to reopen the blast doors?

Is there an explanation in the novelization? Did George Lucas or anyone else explain why Vader couldn't reopen the doors?

  • 1
    If I remember right, Episode 1 also had an encounter with Quigon and Obiwan vs blast doors. They did not use the force either but used Quigons lightsaber to melt the doors
    – rtaft
    Jul 17, 2021 at 22:54
  • @rtaft Qui-Gonn was using his lightsaber to turn the blast door into slag. That would explain why Darth Vader did not use a lightsaber to open the blast doors, but could he still use the Force to open it? I could ask why Qui-Gonn didn't use the Force to just open the blast doors in The Phantom Menace.
    – RichS
    Jul 18, 2021 at 0:18
  • 5
    Darth Vader was told multiple times by Death Star facilities management that manually interfering with doors closing on the Death Star is the number one way that automatic doors on the Death Star go out of service. Jul 18, 2021 at 14:39

1 Answer 1


Vader wanted them to get away, the Imperials planned on tracking the Millenium Falcon back to the rebel base.

Just after our heroes escape the Death Star and finish off the last TIE fighter chasing them, we get this dialogue between Vader and Tarkin:

TARKIN: Are they away?

VADER: They have just made the jump into hyperspace.

TARKIN: You’re sure the homing beacon is secure aboard their ship? I’m taking an awful risk, Vader. This had better work.

We also get this dialogue on the Millenium Falcon:

LEIA: ...they let us go. It’s the only explanation for the ease of our escape.

HAN: Easy… you call that easy?

LEIA: They're tracking us!

HAN: Not this ship, sister.

Frustrated, Leia shakes her head.

Remember while Leia was still prisoner, the Empire tortured her into giving away the base on Dantooine. The Empire checked this out, found the base deserted, and realized she'd never just give them the real location of the rebel base. Which is where the tracking scheme comes in.

Source: The ANH transcript

  • 3
    Which raises the question: Why didn't our heroes fly to a different star system (not Yavin), hide the Millennium Falcon, acquire another ship that isn't being tracked, and then fly to Yavin?
    – RobertF
    Jul 17, 2021 at 17:48
  • 13
    @RobertF Don't forget, Han doesn't even think it's possible they're tracking the Falcon. Jul 17, 2021 at 18:34
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    @RogueJedi Good points, although surely it was worth a delay of a few days or whatever to divert the Death Star away from Yavin. Of course Leia may have wanted to lure the Death Star to the Rebel base in the hopes that if they did find its Achilles heel in the plans, this would be their best opportunity to exploit it.
    – RobertF
    Jul 17, 2021 at 19:17
  • 2
    @EricDuminil: The Falcon has plot armour. Other ships may not. Han was never killed on board the Falcon.
    – user21820
    Jul 18, 2021 at 14:05
  • 2
    @robertf More importantly, in order to destroy the Death Star they needed to know its location. Tarkin isn't the only one taking a risk; Leia is deliberately baiting the Death Star into a kill box.
    – Shadur
    Jul 20, 2021 at 9:57

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