Star Wars’ Biggest Mistake Hides In Plain Sight For Decades

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

star wars plot hole

Star Wars fans are always scrutinizing their favorite films in search of plot holes. Most of these plot holes involve dissecting complex scenes or debating the nature of The Force, but what if we told you that the biggest plot hole in the entire franchise has been hiding in plain sight for decades? You don’t have to search your heart to realize this crazy truth: Han Solo is wearing the wrong shirt when he is frozen in carbonite.

A Mistake Frozen In Time

star wars plot hole

The reason this Star Wars plot hole has been so successfully hidden for all these years is simple enough: it’s not anything that you can notice unless you spend plenty of time scrutinizing the carbonite slab that Han Solo is frozen in. That slab is on the move in The Empire Strikes Back, and you don’t really get a good look at it in Return of the Jedi until Leia frees Han. Considering that Harrison Ford emerged from the carbonite wearing the exact same shirt he had on in Empire, most fans never had any real reason to notice the actual carbonite sculpture was wrong.

Wardrobe Malfunction

star wars plot hole

Han Solo’s outfit was distinctly different in The Empire Strikes Back: in addition to ditching his trademark vest, he traded out his original V-neck shirt for a double-breasted one. He’s wearing the double-breasted shirt when he goes into the carbon freezing chamber and he’s wearing it again when he gets out. But take a closer look at the carbonite sculpture and you can clearly see that Han is wearing the same V-neck shirt that he was first sporting back in A New Hope.

What Happens When You Assume?

The source of this Star Wars plot hole is easy enough to understand. Those who were in charge of designing the carbonite sculpture had no idea what Harrison Ford was going to be wearing in this pivotal scene, so they did what most of us would do and just assumed he’d be sporting the same outfit from the first movie. In retrospect, it’s no surprise that they got this sartorial detail wrong, but what is surprising is that George Lucas never bothered to fix this error after endlessly tweaking the original Star Wars films with the Special Editions and beyond.

The Uncuffing Ugnaught

Interestingly, this scene also contains another detail that many fans consider to be a plot hole: we clearly see Han Solo handcuffed earlier in the scene and his hands are clearly uncuffed once he’s frozen. Fans have spent decades claiming this to be a major plot hole, but those fans need to watch this scene a few more times. Look closely enough and you can clearly see Han Solo getting uncuffed by a helpful Ugnaught shortly before getting frozen in carbonite.

A Mistake Reaching Beyond The Film

The fact that the Han in carbonite is wearing the wrong shirt becomes quite funny when you consider how that prop has been transformed into everything from tiny toys to lifesize replicas. Do you have your own toy replica of a frozen Han Solo? If so, congrats: you have permanent proof of a major Star Wars plot hole that even George Lucas seemingly overlooked when making his own Solo-esque “special modifications” to the Original Trilogy.