In Defense of Implausible Victories

More than any other work in Star Wars, the New Jedi Order (NJO) arc gave rise to a sense that for the Republic and Jedi to win the war something quite heinous would have to happen. Deploy Alpha Red? No, that isn’t smart against an enemy with superior biotech, but once having gained a decisive advantage over the enemy, would they all have to be fought to the death? The finale to the story, The Unifying Force (TUF), had to tackle this thorny question head-on and gave a decisive, unequivocal answer. No.

I recently re-read TUF, it’s been a decade since I last read it, so neither I nor the story can possibly appear the same. In the climatic battle which sees a Yuuzhan Vong armada assault Mon Calamari, the allied fleet gives a strong accounting of itself but is, nonetheless, outnumbered and outgunned. They cannot win this by force of arms. And, in a lot of ways, that’s the point! Star Wars may, by title, be a story about wars in space but there’s nothing that actually requires the victories be particularly military. In some respects the series is quite anti-militaristic.

One area is in its victories and this goes all the way back to the Original Trilogy. A small solo-piloted starfighter destroys a moon-sized battlestation able to destroy planets? And then, heaping further insult upon the Empire, an entire fleet of Star Destroyers, with a Super Star Destroyer as its flagship no less, loses to a “pitiful band” they outnumber and out-gun! Should the Rebel Alliance have won at Endor in military terms? No. Should Thrawn have won at Bilbringi? Probably. The Yuuzhan Vong? As shown in The Unifying Force, certainly, they had the superior fleet numbers and strategy.
Read More