When it’s time to take my stand in the great geek caucus of fandom, I tend to lean slightly in favor of Star Trek rather than Star Wars. Trek just makes more sense. It is, of course, aimed at a slightly harder SF audience.
Now I know that Star Wars fans jump to the franchise’s defense saying that it’s intended as space opera, and I’m ruining things by asking questions. Fiddlesticks! Fiction is improved by asking questions, especially in a fictional universe big enough that you can really dive in and swim around. I’ll accept any fictional universe as long as it makes sense, even by its special rules. I can accept the universes of The Wizard of Oz or the Chronicles of Narnia. They’re designed well enough to hold together.
I can kinda accept the Star Wars universe too, but, damn… is it ever built sloppy!
Why so many desert worlds?
You all meet at a tavern on Tatooine – And you better get used to it because we won’t see much variety in climate, wherever we go! The real reason Star Wars has so many desert worlds is “because they film a lot in Southern California, and desert locations are just more convenient to set up a filming lot without flocks of pigeons to chase off.” Great but we have CGI now, and even the early films gave us Dagobah, Endor, and Hoth, which shows you can pull off alien worlds that aren’t deserts sometimes. It seems the more the franchise wears on, the more arid deserts we see. You’re a $70 billion franchise. Move out of San Bernardino!
What exactly is a logical design for spacecraft?
I know that spacecraft flies in space, where there is no air, and hence there’s no issues with designing aerodynamically. An argument whose deconstruction we’ll ignore because most of the fighter ships have wings anyway, and the majority of them are still shown landing on a planet. But the rest of the Star Wars franchise delights in coming up with awkward models where style seems to trump function. A B-wing fighter looks like a flying crucifix, Boba Fett’s Slave 1 looks like a vacuum cleaner attachment, and quite a few others end up like a flying saucer with a tumor. We don’t see this with any other class of existing vehicle, including real-life spacecraft. Let’s design things like a sensible navy and settle down on some templates, shall we?
Will somebody just cut Jabba a check already?
Yes, there’s advanced Legends canon wank about how Han Solo is an irresponsible guy when it comes to funds management. Bunk! Starting right from a New Hope, we get Han’s debt to Jabba as a backstory to explain why he’d take on a risky job shuttling Obi-Wan and Luke off Tatooine. Minutes after he’s hired, there’s Greedo. Han could have just button-holed Obi-Wan and asked for a traveler’s check, anything to give Greedo to take back to Jabba. Or after the reward money he got for helping the Rebels, he could have wired funds from there. He’s a smuggler, his comrades will understand. You’re telling me that a ragtag Rebel army can finance the firepower to defeat the Empire twice but can’t cough up the credits to pay off this two-bit crime lord? Even when Jabba caught Han, he kept him around as a coffee table, safe and sound, when he could have fed him to the rancor. This goes to show that it was business, not personal, all along. I’m sorry, my sympathies are with Jabba here. Quit stiffing the guy and he’ll play nice.
What was “the Phantom Menace” anyway?
Well? Most Star Wars movies are fairly well explained by the title, are they not? The Empire strikes back in The Empire Strikes Back, clones attack in Attack of the Clones, and a Skywalker does indeed rise in The Rise of Skywalker. So in The Phantom Menace, what exactly was the title menace? I thought for the longest time it was Darth Maul, since his face got plastered on so many posters. Maybe it’s Anakin, given his eventual course of destiny? There was a theory out there that Jar Jar Binks was the phantom menace, but I think that rumor ignominiously died off.
Why no droid civil rights movement?
Considering how much droids figure into the cast and key plot points of the franchise, they sure don’t get much respect. But scenes like the above from Return of the Jedi really make you wonder: What kind of an idiot builds pain sensors into a robot? What’s the point? In meaty-boney species, pain stops us from carelessly letting our limbs get lopped off, but you solve that problem in robots with a sturdy metal build in the first place. The question of artificial intelligence ethics has been raised by one minor character in the Solo spin-offs, but so far no progress has happened.
The Star Wars comic books!
Everybody rags on the Star Wars Holiday Special, which I already defended – yes, defended! – at another gig for another time. But there were a whole bushel of weird spin-offs and half-continuity works that spawned out during that twilight period when nobody knew if we’d get another official Star Wars movie or not, and the comics take the bonkers prize well over Bea Arthur tending bar. As the video points out, it gave us a giant green space bunny – Jazz Jackrabbit in space, if you will – as just one of many desperate ass-pulls to fill pages as the comics ran out of movie canon and began making things up out of the notoriously fertile Marvel imagination. Apparently when you put George Lucas and Marvel together, if you don’t get Howard the Duck then you get the same dialogue from Jaxxon the Rabbit. Years later people would complain about Jar Jar Binks and I was the only one who remembered the comic with the chartreuse bunny. Why did these have to happen?
The ickiest retcon in cinematic history!
I’m sorry, but not sorry. I know everybody’s sick of hearing about this from both outside and inside the fandom. Yes, George Lucas, we now all know (after decades of denial, mind you) had no plan for sequels and had to hustle something together. But why, exactly, did Leia have to be redefined as Luke’s sister? Why was that necessary? It really adds nothing to the story. In fact, Luke’s vaguely-mentioned sibling was originally supposed to be off on her own adventures until a far-off sequel trilogy. We can kinda see her as the template for the character that eventually became Rey Skywalker. Leia could have simply stayed the Rebel Alliance leader without blood connections to Luke, and the rest of the story pretty much plays out anyway. So why did it happen? Because of Lucas’ sloppy universe-building.
Anyway, that’s off my chest. Aren’t you glad you never have to hear me whine about this again?