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In Star Wars: A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi informs Luke Skywalker that it wasn’t Sand People that massacred a sand crawler full of Jaws, but actually Imperial stormtroopers because the shots were so “accurate” and “precise.” However, as we’d see for the rest of the Original Trilogy and even going into the Sequel Trilogy, these white-armored enforcers are actually terrible shots, rarely ever hitting their target. So why would Obi-Wan say they were so component?
Star Wars fans have had a lot of fun over the years with how stormtroopers are such terrible marksmen, and now it’s become canon thanks to an off-handed comment made in the Disney+ series The Mandalorian. However, a new fan theory as surfaced that could explain why Obi-Wan Kenobi said that they were more skilled than they actually are. When Obi-Wan thought of stormtroopers, he envisioned the clone troopers he fought alongside two decades prior.
This theory comes from Redditor fantheories101, who notes that unlike Prequel Trilogy’s clone troopers, all of whom hail from the same genetic template, stormtroopers are made up all sorts of people. During the Empire’s reign, anyone off the street who proved their worth in training could become a stormtrooper, and by the time The First Order starts rising to power, babies are being kidnapped to be trained as stormtroopers.
Furthermore, with the exception of Boba Fett, all of Jango Fett’s clones were bred to age faster so they’d be ready for battle sooner. So rather than just keep pumping out more Jango clones, the Empire decided to open up its ranks to everyone. The First Order followed suit, but started indoctrinating its stormtroopers much earlier in life.
We saw in the Prequel Trilogy and The Clone Wars animated series how skilled the clone troopers were, so it makes sense that Obi-Wan Kenobi kept thinking fondly about them years later. And if he did indeed keep a low profile for the entirety of Luke’s upbringing on Tatooine, then perhaps Obi-Wan had heard of stormtroopers during that time, but never ran into them and just assumed they were just as proficient as their predecessors.
However, that’s not to say that this fan theory is foolproof. After all, if the Obi-Wan Kenobi series still set for Disney+ (which is offering a seven-day free trial) rolls around and it involves the Jedi Master crossing paths with some stormtroopers, then he’ll see just how bad of shots they really are, thus making it unclear why he’d say otherwise during A New Hope.
Of course, in real life, any stormtroopers who were failed to hit their targets as often as the ones onscreen did wouldn’t even be out in the field. Plus, even if you attribute the underwhelming accuracy of the Original Trilogy stormtroopers being because they’re ‘regular’ people, that still doesn’t explain why the Sequel Trilogy stormtroopers who’ve been raised since infants to be killing machines also fail to hit their targets.
But this isn’t real life. This is a galaxy far, far away, and because the stormtroopers are such poor shots, our heroes have been able to get out of many a jam. The clone troopers, on the other hand, were taking out expendable battle droids and… well, sadly, a bunch of Jedi during Order 66. In that regard, it makes sense why their accuracy was significantly better. If only Obi-Wan had given Luke a more factual impression of their successors.