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Stormtroopers: might as well walk around naked, save for blinders and flip-flops
August 21, 2009 12:38 PM   Subscribe

John Scalzi's Guide to the Most Epic FAILs in Star Wars Design.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing (164 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks to ArtW.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:38 PM on August 21, 2009


This thing is really making the rounds.
posted by swift at 12:40 PM on August 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


(which is good)
posted by swift at 12:41 PM on August 21, 2009


Stormtroopers: might as well walk around naked, save for blinders and flip-flops

For some reason, this description makes me think of the movie of Jesus Christ Superstar (which, by the way, is awesome).
posted by The World Famous at 12:43 PM on August 21, 2009


Thanks to SF Signal, who also link to the slashdot response and the response to the response.
posted by Artw at 12:45 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


He has overthought that particular plate of beans to such an extent that there can be no doubt but that he is a mefite.
posted by dersins at 12:46 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Methinks Mr. Scalzi's need for everything to make sense would make him a poor producer/director of space opera.

I guess there's a critic for everything and everyone. It's the doers that count, folks.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:47 PM on August 21, 2009


Add it all up and you have to wonder why stormtroopers don't just walk around naked, save for blinders and flip-flops.

Pony Stormtroopers?
posted by Memo at 12:47 PM on August 21, 2009


I always felt that people should be more accurate with blasters than they were. I mean, it's a beam of light. It's (essentially) unaffected by gravity or wind, and goes straight until it hits something with sufficient density. Why are there not more snipers in the Star Wars movies?
posted by scrutiny at 12:48 PM on August 21, 2009


I like to think of them as magnetically launched toroidal plasmoids.
posted by Artw at 12:48 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Not to be confused by the absolutely wonderful "On the Implausibility of the Death Star's Trash Compactor" on McSweeney's.
posted by tittergrrl at 12:49 PM on August 21, 2009 [20 favorites]


Star Wars was like a an over-sized mining dumptruck made out that plowed into our collective psyche at full speed and smushed it. I think I've picked the last bits of my deformed imagination out of the tire treads finally. The movies are a living nightmare.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:50 PM on August 21, 2009


er s/by/with/;
posted by tittergrrl at 12:51 PM on August 21, 2009


*weeps silently as childish illusions crumble*
posted by Cranberry at 12:53 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's not just that C3PO is a cowardly protocol droid. It's that 7-year-old genius Anakin Skywalker decides to make a droid to help his mother, who is enslaved on Tattooine, a galactic backwater...and he makes her a protocol droid. Just what she needed!
posted by not that girl at 12:53 PM on August 21, 2009 [34 favorites]


Anakin doesn't always make the best choices.
posted by ND¢ at 12:57 PM on August 21, 2009 [50 favorites]


Unlike Harlan Ellison, John Scalzi has never warned me not to fuck with him for no reason. That's why I like John Scalzi better than Harlan Ellison.
posted by dortmunder at 12:57 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why? Why was I programmed to feel pain?
posted by gompa at 12:58 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's not just that C3PO is a cowardly protocol droid. It's that 7-year-old genius Anakin Skywalker decides to make a droid to help his mother, who is enslaved on Tattooine, a galactic backwater...and he makes her a protocol droid. Just what she needed!

To be fair, the whole point of Anakin Skywalker is that he is not a character known for choosing wisely.
posted by dersins at 12:59 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's clear what he should have built.
posted by ND¢ at 1:00 PM on August 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


derail: just stumbled across a very nice book (can't recall the name now this late on a friday night) enjoyed it thoroughly and then got a shock of pleasure at seeing the name john scalzi on it (was it short stories?) and realizing he was a mefite

yeah, ok, whatever ;p
posted by infini at 1:01 PM on August 21, 2009


It's the doers that count, folks.

.... I can't come up with a comment that seems snarky *enough* to me, here, so I'm just going to link to what he's done and call that good.
posted by webmutant at 1:01 PM on August 21, 2009 [10 favorites]


Why does searching google images for lincolnbot yield so many results?
posted by ND¢ at 1:02 PM on August 21, 2009


Old man's war.. very good read that, thanks for the link webmutant
posted by infini at 1:02 PM on August 21, 2009


The "No Voice Chip" on the Astromech makes sense, do you want your roomba chatting at you? No riight. R2D2 is a heavily modified and functional Roomba with an attitude. Who wants a sassy voiced vacuum cleaner/mechanic? Not me sir!

Seatbelts? We have inertial dampers, this is why we can go to light speed without being tossed out the back of the ship.

Storm troops aren't effective at anything but being storm troopers a giant white line of dudes with guns running into the fire of the enemy, wave after wave, eventually overrunning the enemy or reaching their kill limit and shutting down.

AS for the rest, I'm sure someone else can effectively discount them.


No I'm not George Lucas.
posted by NiteMayr at 1:03 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hilarious. If only I were so lucky to research such topics as these for my day job.

Also fun: Star Wars vs. Star Trek in Five Minutes.
posted by nicodine at 1:04 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Dude, if you have the technology to make a lightsaber, you have the technology to make a light hand guard.

And why don't they make the entire plane out of that material?
posted by Riki tiki at 1:04 PM on August 21, 2009 [16 favorites]


.... I can't come up with a comment that seems snarky *enough* to me, here, so I'm just going to link to what he's done and call that good.

I stand corrected. But why can't he just stick to writing pulp instead of ripping on things that other people enjoy.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:06 PM on August 21, 2009


And why don't they make the entire plane out of that material?

Unlike blackbox material used to build a plane, lightsaber hand guards wouldn't make a lightsaber inoperable. I always assumed there was some Jedi code that you don't go for the fingers or something.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:07 PM on August 21, 2009


Related: Nardo's email inbox.
posted by NoMich at 1:07 PM on August 21, 2009 [7 favorites]


R2D2 can do stairs just fine. Watch carefully on the left side of the screen at the beginning of the shot where Luke sees the Millenium Falcon for the first time. Here. (horrible squished youtube fanmash warning)

Look behind Luke at the very beginning. On the left. Droid Descending a Staircase.


/nerd
posted by Uncle Ira at 1:09 PM on August 21, 2009 [7 favorites]


I always feel bad for Anthony Daniels whenever the "CP30 is a mincing gay stereotype" thing comes up, because that's pretty much his actual voice with him just making it a bit more robot-y. They were going to replace his voice originally in the same way David Prowse's voice was totally replaced with James Earl Jones', but ended up using Daniels' real voice because they thought it sounded like a great, classic "obsequious English manservant" type voice. It's not like Lucas told him "be a mincing queen and go prance around", or like Jar Jar where it's some guy doing a really bad "Jamaican" bit. Anthony Daniels actually pretty much just talks like that, and everyone says it's a bad gay stereotype. Poor guy.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:12 PM on August 21, 2009 [14 favorites]


As to why lightsabers should not have handguards, I thought it was obvious.

Like the blaster, you've got magnetically confined plasma. Lightsabers aren't lasers, they're an incredibly hot gas, stripped of plasma, bottled up by powerful EM forces. Blasters work the same way, which is why they are slow — you're not shooting light beams at someone, you're hurling a self-propagating packet of plasma their way, a bit like those vortex cannons.

Of course, we know from our "success" in fusion that it's very, very hard to find a good, stable shape to hold plasma in, which is why both blaster bolts and lightsabers are highly eccentric ellipsoids. As the only thing that a lightsaber could bounce off of is another lightsaber, you'd have to make the handguards out of the same confined plasma.

That, sadly, is not a stable shape. Our technology now can't even manage a stable confined plasma of that power and we use whole buildings to do it. They've got these puppies miniaturized to a great degree, so the complex handguard shape simply cannot be maintained.

I need a job justifying terrible science fiction.
posted by adipocere at 1:15 PM on August 21, 2009 [36 favorites]


I stand corrected. But why can't he just stick to writing pulp instead of ripping on things that other people enjoy.

This article seems tongue-in-cheek to me. Of course Star Wars has some wildly silly inconsistencies. It's pretty much the key factor. Having them pointed out shouldn't ruin anything for anyone.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:17 PM on August 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the "is he European or is he gay" thing is a bit tired...

And blasters aren't accurate because they are "random and clumsy" (Ben Kenobi).

And Luke Skywalker is a whiny boy.

And I saw Star Wars 59 times in the theater the first year it was out, before it was called "Episode IV." But I can still admit that it has a lot of flaws.

The Empire Strikes Back, however, still moves me to tears just about every time I watch it. Yoda FTW!
posted by hippybear at 1:20 PM on August 21, 2009


"Sarlaac: A monstrous yet immobile creature who lives in an exposed pit in the middle of a lifeless desert, waiting for large animals to apparently feel suicidal and trek out to throw themselves in? Yeah, not so much."

Perhaps the author is not familiar with the ant lion?
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:22 PM on August 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


It's that 7-year-old genius Anakin Skywalker decides to make a droid to help his mother, who is enslaved on Tattooine, a galactic backwater...and he makes her a protocol droid.

To be fair, its not clear that when Anakin builds him, that he's destined to be a protocol droid. He's a computer ... he could be programed to do anything. Cook, perhaps. Or clean. Or be the butler. Whatever. He's a humanoid shape, with hands and such, and thus could be programed to help in whatever ways his mother needed.

(I can't believe I'm having a conversation about this)
posted by anastasiav at 1:26 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


anastasiav: "programed to help in whatever ways his mother needed"

oedipus ex machina?

(I am so sorry)
posted by Riki tiki at 1:30 PM on August 21, 2009 [13 favorites]


To be fair, its not clear that when Anakin builds him, that he's destined to be a protocol droid. He's a computer ... he could be programed to do anything. Cook, perhaps. Or clean. Or be the butler. Whatever. He's a humanoid shape, with hands and such, and thus could be programed to help in whatever ways his mother needed.

How about "programmed to quietly and efficiently dispatch his mother's master and set her free"?
posted by notyou at 1:35 PM on August 21, 2009 [6 favorites]


This article ignores the most obvious flaw of all - this entire civilization has evolved to the point where they have warp drives and floating cities, but have not yet invented guard rails.
posted by Spacelegoman at 1:36 PM on August 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


But why can't he just stick to writing pulp instead of ripping on things that other people enjoy.

Yeah, please leave the ripping on things that others enjoy to the people who hang out on MetaFilter.
posted by effbot at 1:36 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


effbot: "Yeah, please leave the ripping on things that others enjoy to the people who hang out on MetaFilter."

Irony! (unless that was your joke)
posted by Riki tiki at 1:39 PM on August 21, 2009


Yeah, please leave the ripping on things that others enjoy to the people who hang out on MetaFilter.

Yeah!
posted by jscalzi at 1:39 PM on August 21, 2009 [51 favorites]


Eh, Anakin could have done worse.

SimpsonsBot: Father, give me legs!...Father, please!
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:41 PM on August 21, 2009


Anthony Daniels actually pretty much just talks like that, and everyone says it's a bad gay stereotype. Poor guy.

Especially when you consider that Daniels is, in fact, gay.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:43 PM on August 21, 2009


As to why lightsabers should not have handguards, I thought it was obvious.

More to the point, in all the archival footage we've recovered (remember, this all happened "a long long time ago"), when two lightsabers meet, they don't appear to be slip across each other easily, but rather appear to require significant effort to squelch even a short distance across the other blade.
posted by nomisxid at 1:44 PM on August 21, 2009


And I saw Star Wars 59 times in the theater the first year it was out, before it was called "Episode IV." But I can still admit that it has a lot of flaws.

<nerd style="pedantic">It was always called episode IV, whether in reference to the space opera series that it was based on, or because it was meant to have prequels is another question</nerd>
posted by idiopath at 1:44 PM on August 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


I always thought it was wrong when Obi-wan and Qui-Gon ganged up on Darth Maul. Yes, his lightsaber goes both ways (so to speak) but if you are going to think of yourselves as knights with some kind of code, it seems like a dickish move for you both to take on one guy.

Which brings up the question: Was Darth Maul cheating with the (very cool) double-sided light saber? Because, if not, talk about design flaws for every other noob with a one-sided version, wow.
posted by misha at 1:44 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


(unless that was your joke)

Oh, I thought Ironmouth set this joke up on purpose. Or did I miss something here? :)
posted by effbot at 1:45 PM on August 21, 2009


Lucas' original conception for C3PO's character was a more Peter Lorre-ish interpretation. The mincing, gay man approach was all down to the actor.

Spoken like someone who's never seen The Maltese Falcon [starting at 0:33].
posted by kirkaracha at 1:50 PM on August 21, 2009


As to why lightsabers should not have handguards, I thought it was obvious.

Like the blaster, you've got magnetically confined plasma. Lightsabers aren't lasers, they're an incredibly hot gas, stripped of plasma, bottled up by powerful EM forces. Blasters work the same way, which is why they are slow — you're not shooting light beams at someone, you're hurling a self-propagating packet of plasma their way, a bit like those vortex cannons.

Of course, we know from our "success" in fusion that it's very, very hard to find a good, stable shape to hold plasma in, which is why both blaster bolts and lightsabers are highly eccentric ellipsoids. As the only thing that a lightsaber could bounce off of is another lightsaber, you'd have to make the handguards out of the same confined plasma.

That, sadly, is not a stable shape. Our technology now can't even manage a stable confined plasma of that power and we use whole buildings to do it. They've got these puppies miniaturized to a great degree, so the complex handguard shape simply cannot be maintained.

I need a job justifying terrible science fiction.


adipocere, that is an incredibly well reasoned, thought out explanation. But are you sure that you didn't post in the wrong thread?

Sorry, I'm just bitter that my mother didn't let me stay up for the Star War Christmas Special.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:55 PM on August 21, 2009


John, I must ask, how could you write this whole thing without mentioning walking tanks, or whatever the AT AT is supposed to be?
posted by feloniousmonk at 1:56 PM on August 21, 2009


If the stormtroopers are clones, what aren't they all the same height?
posted by kirkaracha at 1:56 PM on August 21, 2009


I mean seriously, your tanks can be defeated by wrapping cables around their legs?
posted by feloniousmonk at 1:57 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Eh. I buy Scalzi in hardcover but his columns for AMC are always sort of blandish pablum. Which is the nature of the medium so it isn't his fault. But inoffensive, fairly obvious observations about mainstream SF isn't exactly cutting edge.
posted by Justinian at 2:01 PM on August 21, 2009


*** possible Scalzi novel spoilers ***


Hey Scalzi, those BrainPals have surprisingly...weak virus/pwnage protections for a system to build an entire galactic army special force around, don't you thi...oh wait you did, but how could the CDF/GB rea—I've said too much.


*** /possible Scalzi novel spoilers ***
posted by Glee at 2:02 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Idiopath: um... no. The print I saw repeatedly the summer I was 9 had no "Episode IV A New Hope" at the beginning of the crawl that opens the film. Perhaps it was called that in the script or something, but I have a DVD of the original theatrical release which backs me up, as does a pretty quick Google search about versions of the film. This page (sadly cached due to unexplained reasons), goes on to suggest that the "Episode IV: A New Hope" part was not added to the crawl until after the release of The Empire Strikes Back, and suggests that the script did not include that designation at the time of filming.
posted by hippybear at 2:04 PM on August 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


John, I must ask, how could you write this whole thing without mentioning walking tanks, or whatever the AT AT is supposed to be?

Because, dude, the AT-ATs rock.

Alternately, because (unlike the headline which I did not write suggests), it's not meant to be a top ten; they were the ten I was thinking about on deadline.

But yeah, AT-ATs, lack of guardrails, droids with pain receptors, etc are all other examples of curious design in that universe. Maybe for the sequel kvetch. After I'm done with with a similar kvetch re: the Star Trek universe. Because I haven't annoyed enough people yet.
posted by jscalzi at 2:06 PM on August 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Was Darth Maul cheating with the (very cool) double-sided light saber? Because, if not, talk about design flaws for every other noob with a one-sided version, wow.
That always bothered me. A double sided light saber like his doesn't seem very practical at all. It's like a bo with the disadvantage that you can't slide you hands along it. Surely double regular lightsabers would be better.
posted by kmz at 2:06 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Love it, jscalzi. I guess the Emperor dissolved all the consumer safety law firms, too.

You know, I still remember when my college girlfriend, a cotton farmer's daughter from California's Great Central Valley, told me about this guy Scalzi who wrote all this great stuff in the hometown Fresno Bee.
posted by Kirklander at 2:10 PM on August 21, 2009


Must. ignore. thread.

Don't do B, you can let it go, you can do it!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:10 PM on August 21, 2009


Especially when you consider that Daniels is, in fact, gay.

Just curious, but do you have a source for that, beyond Wikipedia?

I find it a bit weird that the only reference to the names of him and his partner you can find on the Internet was added by an anonymous Wikipedia editor earlier this year (all other instances are copies of that Wikipedia page).

And for example, this article (from 2005) mentions a girlfriend. So does the Wikipedia discussion page... Hmm.
posted by effbot at 2:11 PM on August 21, 2009


STAR TREK IS BETTER THAN STAR WARS
posted by Damn That Television at 2:12 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


I remember thinking about the lightsaber thing the first time I saw Star Wars, which must have been right after I saw The Three Musketeers (the old one with Charlton Heston, not the new one), because I had sword fights on the brain. I always assumed that for some unspecified reason, the lightsaber blades must 'stick' together and not 'slide' down each other in the way that sword blades do. That's really the only way that the fight scenes make any sense.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:12 PM on August 21, 2009


STAR TREK IS BETTER THAN STAR WARS

Tribbles.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:14 PM on August 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


(Is it weird if my immediate memory of many key Star Wars scenes is now their Robot Chicken versions?)
posted by kmz at 2:17 PM on August 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also: what's with the Star Destroyers and the dome-thingies next to the bridge on the outside of the ship, that cause the entire thing to blow up when you shoot at them? I guess it's consistent with the design of the Death Star but really, the Empire needs to find a new naval architect.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:17 PM on August 21, 2009


I'm pretty sure that the Episode IV subtitle wasn't added until the 1979 re-release.

Before video, movies used to get re-released to theaters fairly often.
posted by octothorpe at 2:24 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I alwaysfigured that Anakin built c3po from a kit, and he just bought the cheapest one he could find. Hence the total impracticallity.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:26 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, R2-D2 is actually a leader of the rebellion.

Which explains why a simple astromech droid is so well equipped and so smart. Obviously, R2-D2 is a spy droid disguised as a simple spacecraft maintenance device. Presumably, he was initially deployed as a secret bodyguard for the Queen and stayed with her throughout her varied political career.

He couldn't speak normally, though, because that would give the game away. Even having the ability put him one unnecessary glitch away from blowing his cover.

(Er, not that I take this discussion particularly seriously or anything. Just so you know.)
posted by suetanvil at 2:27 PM on August 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


From the IMDb trivia page:
Upon its original release, the opening crawl did not include "Episode IV: A New Hope." According to Lucasfilm, this was added upon its re-release in 1978 or as late as 1981. The later print was the first one to be released on video, and all video, laserdisc or DVD releases have featured the subtitles. The theatrical cut DVDs, set to be released in September 2006, will be the first time that the original opening crawl, without subtitle, has been released on home video.
From the IMDb Alternate Versions page:
The 2006 DVD reissue contains a "bonus disc" which features the unaltered, pre-special edition film, with the original opening crawl (without the "Episode IV: A New Hope" subtitle) and the 1993 LaserDisc sound mix without C-3PO's "tractor beam description" and Stormtrooper "close the blast doors" lines. This is the first and only time that this version will be available on video in regular DVD.
And now, thanks to all this, I'm going to have to put that DVD in and watch it. *shakes fist* Curse (and bless) you idiopath!!!!!
posted by hippybear at 2:29 PM on August 21, 2009


STAR TREK IS BETTER THAN STAR WARS

NUH-UH IT ISN'T *takes kid glove off, swats the trekkie across its cheek with it, puts kid glove back on, curtsies*
posted by Glee at 2:29 PM on August 21, 2009


Kadin2048, here's how you can rationalize the slip-stick behavior of the lightsabers — let's assume magnetic confinement with some kind of, well, "shape" isn't the right word, but perhaps frequency is. You could have beat frequencies associated with the I'm sure multiple sets of waves confining the plasma. They'd probably vary for each individual lightsaber, just as the color does. As sabers cross in a fight, they'd stick, but it isn't entirely stable — either force or time could move your saber past another saber's humps ... (two solitons crossing in the light).

It might even explain the sound they make as they skitter across one another, as well as the continual, low buzz.

ActingTheGoat, thanks, but it's just the result of seasoned debate on the "pro-suspension-of-disbelief" team, thus leading to the transformation of bullpuckey into fool's gold.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to board that flying saucer in Mulder's I WANT TO BELIEVE poster.
posted by adipocere at 2:31 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


If I recall correctly, there was a sci-fi comedy movie in the late 80s that featured lightsabers with handguards in the style of a cutlass. I thought it was "Ice Pirates" but a quick perusal of that "film" on YouTube proved otherwise. Am I imagining this?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:33 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


suetanvil: wow. great link. now my newly started watching of IV is going to taste VERY differently from prior watchings.
posted by hippybear at 2:35 PM on August 21, 2009


Burhanistan, might Starcrash be what you're thinking of? If it isn't, it totally should be.
posted by Diagonalize at 2:35 PM on August 21, 2009


Happy birthday, Mommy!
posted by No Robots at 2:36 PM on August 21, 2009


I don't really buy into the whole lightsabers guard issue... not because of some sticky light plasma beam issue, but because many swords in a variety of cultures used swords with insubstantial guards. The Roman Gladius, the Japanese Katana or the Filipino Bolo are all examples of bladed weapons with minimal guards and little armor on the fingers. Presumably, a Jedi Knight would be trained to use a lightsaber in a way that reduces risk to fingers. I mean, they really don't have any fear of getting hit during all those acrobatics. I'm guessing they've got the whole fingers lopped of problem under control
posted by Mister Cheese at 2:38 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, believe me, Starcrash was the first thing that came to mind but the epic lightsaber battle with The Hoff doesn't really show any handguard. The one I recall is very clear and large.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:38 PM on August 21, 2009


Sorry, I'm just bitter that my mother didn't let me stay up for the Star War Christmas Special.

Well, I watched it and it put the first dent in my shiny, pristine and perfect enthusiasm for STAR WARS. When the ewoks started their singalong in their village in the trees it sounded like an adult human backing chorus from my grandmother's Lawrence Welk records... that was a bad moment.
posted by longsleeves at 2:39 PM on August 21, 2009


"so the complex handguard shape simply cannot be maintained."

Seems to me a simple ring could be the plasma handguard, with a non-plasma ring below it to stop you sliding your hand up into it.
posted by Auz at 2:44 PM on August 21, 2009


There were no ewoks in the Star Wars Christmas Special.
posted by hippybear at 2:46 PM on August 21, 2009


Anyway, the idea of a lightsaber hand guard would obscure the penis metaphor.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:47 PM on August 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Must be thinking of one of the movies then. It's been a long time.
posted by longsleeves at 2:47 PM on August 21, 2009


What about the Tie Fighter's massive blind spots?
posted by yeti at 2:48 PM on August 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


Is it weird if my immediate memory of many key Star Wars scenes is now their Robot Chicken versions?

Or the totally awesome Lego versions from the video games?
posted by not that girl at 2:48 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think it was singing wookiees in the Christmas special.
posted by kmz at 2:49 PM on August 21, 2009


And, kick an ewok baby, google has already indexed about a billion threads that link to Scalzi's bit and are all fervently discussing lightsaber hand guards.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:50 PM on August 21, 2009


jscalzi: "After I'm done with with a similar kvetch re: the Star Trek universe. Because I haven't annoyed enough people yet."

Look, I'm in a hurry, can you just tell me which one is better? Thanks.
posted by boo_radley at 2:52 PM on August 21, 2009


I think it was singing wookiees in the Christmas special

See for yourself.

(More info and links here).
posted by dersins at 2:55 PM on August 21, 2009


Before video, movies used to get re-released to theaters fairly often.

I saw the sweet double bill of Star Wars and Empire at the now-defunct University Theater in Toronto where I got my magazine advertising the upcoming "Revenge of the Jedi." Nerdgasm.
posted by GuyZero at 2:58 PM on August 21, 2009


Clearly, John Scalzi's opinions are being clouded by nostalgia. Now let's start talking about proper films and less of the Internet dweeb IT Star Wars Dr. Spock FORTRON MySpace Mom's basement mumbo jumbo. Can you do that, you sexless freaks?
posted by panboi at 3:00 PM on August 21, 2009


Oh, right, you can't get the memo because someone threw you down a huge exposed shaft in your Death Star throne room.

That's my fav. quote. How delicious!
posted by elder18 at 3:17 PM on August 21, 2009


Also: what's with the Star Destroyers and the dome-thingies next to the bridge on the outside of the ship, that cause the entire thing to blow up when you shoot at them? I guess it's consistent with the design of the Death Star but really, the Empire needs to find a new naval architect.

Those are the shield generators. Blowin' 'em up doesn't blow up the star destroyer, it just opens it up for blowing upses. ...


... I miss my X-Wing SIM.
posted by Atreides at 3:17 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Maybe for the sequel kvetch. After I'm done with with a similar kvetch re: the Star Trek universe. Because I haven't annoyed enough people yet.

Be thorough, John. Bab 5 and BSG too.
posted by cortex at 3:22 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


If its not against the rules to have a double sided lightsaber, why can't you have a single sided version that goes out twice as far?
posted by digsrus at 3:28 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Slashdot: "At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (Score:5, Insightful)"

Thanks, Slashdot for bunching the Star Wars dweebs!
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:31 PM on August 21, 2009


STAR TREK IS BETTER THAN STAR WARS
posted by Damn That Television at 4:12 PM on August 21 [+] [!]


QFT. Although probably not for the same reason you like it. ;)
posted by desjardins at 3:36 PM on August 21, 2009


Ice Pirates? We got a time bomb!

Also, I am sorry Mr. Scalzi.
posted by The Whelk at 3:37 PM on August 21, 2009


Obviously, R2-D2 is a spy droid disguised as a simple spacecraft maintenance device.

Coincidence???
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 3:38 PM on August 21, 2009


Anyway, the idea of a lightsaber hand guard would obscure the penis metaphor.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:47 PM on August 21 [1 favorite +] [!]


Not everyone is built the same way...
posted by Pantengliopoli at 3:38 PM on August 21, 2009


If its not against the rules to have a double sided lightsaber, why can't you have a single sided version that goes out twice as far?

You can. But it will cost you.
posted by The World Famous at 3:43 PM on August 21, 2009


It's not fair to complain about the structural defects in the Death Star II. It was only half completed, so it's reasonable to have spaces big enough to fly a freighter ship through. And the Emperor may have had a deep shaft right in his throne room (maybe the water feature was going to go there), but he did have the foresight to install railings there.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 3:43 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


How about a light hula hoop? It's eliptical!
posted by Artw at 3:56 PM on August 21, 2009


The thing I loved most about both the original Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies was that they so obviously harked back to the serials shown in kiddie matinees in the 1940s. I do think that the originals were supposed to be as ephemeral as their inspirations. The IJ movies have remained pretty close to that spirit, but SW seems to been increasingly caught up in an atttempt to show off the animation. My problem with the follow-on SW movies has been that they weren't the same quality of rousing adventure as the original.

Maybe you had to be there, 60 years ago, to understand what I mean.
posted by path at 4:01 PM on August 21, 2009


Real nerds debate Firefly vs Farscape vs BSG.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:02 PM on August 21, 2009


This whole thread has turned into the Clamp News Channel control room in Gremlins 2

This is not necessarily a bad thing.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:03 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is fine, but it's a little like watching Star Wars with my dad. I mean, when I was a kid he would do this all the time. I ignored him.
posted by ob at 4:06 PM on August 21, 2009


And the Emperor may have had a deep shaft right in his throne room

What's the long vertical room where Vader throws the emperor to his doom?

SHAFT!

Damn right...


Sorry.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:26 PM on August 21, 2009 [12 favorites]


Oh, right, you can't get the memo because someone threw you down a huge exposed shaft in your Death Star throne room.

He said it was 'fully armed and operational', he didn't say it was finished.

Unlike Harlan Ellison, John Scalzi has never warned me not to fuck with him for no reason. That's why I like John Scalzi better than Harlan Ellison.

This is the second time I've heard that Harlan Ellison said this to someone this week, I can't be arsed to chase up whether the first was you, but I suggest (i) you need to move on, (ii) Ellison is a dick or (iii) both.

I would like to thank Marisa StPT for posting a SW thread while I was out drinking enough to come home and put my VHS copy of EP. IV on.
posted by biffa at 4:27 PM on August 21, 2009


Kinda easy pickings, this article, but Scalzi needs to pay his rent like the rest of us, so I'll give him a pass here.
posted by rokusan at 4:34 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Of course, we know from our "success" in fusion that it's very, very hard to find a good, stable shape to hold plasma in, which is why both blaster bolts and lightsabers are highly eccentric ellipsoids.

It's actually quite easy to create plasma, and containing it is no problem either.
posted by Tube at 4:35 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


He said it was 'fully armed and operational', he didn't say it was finished.

There's some syntactic ambiguity here: it's not clear whether the Emperor was asserting that the Death Star II was

1. fully (armed AND operational), i.e. "fully armed AND fully operational", or
2. (fully armed) AND operational, i.e. "fully armed AND at least partially but not necessarily fully operational".

If his argument is (1), a critique of the Death Star II's design is fully warranted, presuming he was not lying.

If his argument is (2), we can suppose that Imperial priorities may have forced a compromise of the designer's intended operational parameters, I suppose, but it doesn't speak well of their military sense to expose a not-yet-fully-(defensively?)-operational Death Star II to the same folks who managed to blow the presumably-indeed-fully-operational Death Star I up.

All of this assumes that the translation we're hearing into English from Sithish isn't itself introducing some semantic wrinkle into the assertion.
posted by cortex at 4:40 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


This was funnier when Kevin Smith did it in "Clerks" in 1993. Then when everyone else did it for the next 16 years.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:55 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Balance must be maintained
posted by Artw at 4:58 PM on August 21, 2009


Well, actually, the whole premise there is that the Empire had allowed the Rebellion to receive false intelligence which stated that the Death Star II was under construction and was being protected by the force field from Endor BECAUSE it was not armed and operational. The Emperor obviously subverted the natural build cycle of the project in order to ensure that the weaponry would be completed before the superstructure (armed), and that the staff would be in place in order to work the weaponry (operational). He expected the forcefield to remain intact, and for the DSII to be able to fire its weapon through that to attack any pieces of the fleet which didn't impact and die on the force field. He was not planning on dwarf wookies armed with logs and gumption to be able to defeat his troops on the ground, allowing the forcefield to be lowered, which basically left the DSII itself defenseless other than ship-to-ship combat.
posted by hippybear at 5:03 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


The writer of this list seems to have missed the point in epic fashion. Most of these poor design choices are *supposed* to be poor design choices. Perhaps the author will next point out the redundant ductwork he noticed in Brazil?

As soon as we see Tatooine in the first Star Wars film, we're supposed to realize a few things about the Star Wars universe. It's an empty, underdeveloped, broken-down place. Empty deserts, small dusty villages, and a lack of effective governance. Remember the Jawas and their Sandcrawler, scavenging and patching up outdated droids, because new ones were unaffordable, or simply not available any longer? Really, the place was just steps away from Mad Max.

Throughout the first (real) Star Wars films, we get a strong sense that most of the Empire is like this--broken-down, abandoned, semi-functional, with available resources directed towards an Imperial regime given to grandiose gestures of intimidation--as autocratic regimes in fact often are. Those AT-AT Walkers and Death Stars might be ineffective, but they're no more unlikely than the Spanish Galleons of 1588, or the American Aircraft Carriers of 2009--and they make the same suggestion about the Galactic Empire that those Spanish and American warships made about the declining earthly empires that produced them. Intimidating spectacle masks a deeper vulnerability.

So, the emptied-out, broken-down, somewhat random, and badly engineered milieu of the the original trilogy is like that for a reason. Too bad Lucas forgot about all that once he got his hands on some fancy cgi equipment.
posted by washburn at 5:05 PM on August 21, 2009 [25 favorites]


Which raises the question: Is a planet breaker really the best weapon for destroying a fleet? From the looks of things it fires beams of energy with a narrowfocus at a very slow rate - surely something that was less powerfull but capable of covering a wider area would have worked better?
posted by Artw at 5:06 PM on August 21, 2009


A hand guard is useless anyway: everyone knows that Jedis don't go for the fingers, they go for the forearm above the wrist.
posted by bwg at 5:07 PM on August 21, 2009


What bothers me isn't flouting the laws of physics, but flouting the laws of character. Why and how did Anakin go from a would-be messiah to a whiny adolescent to the most feared James Earl Jonesian in the galaxy? Why and how did Padme go from a queen to a senator to a dying pre-Raphaelite Lady of Shalott? Why do two ridiculous droids have to show up in every major plot point? Because, folks, they just didn't care (TM). It was only and ever about pushing the product. Lucas's days of reading Joseph Campbell are long behind him, it seems.

(And the novels and RPG supplements were way better than the prequels. Not that I remember anything about the Extended Universe at all because I am totally cool and way above that now. I renounce the Lucas and all his works!)
posted by Countess Elena at 5:08 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


How about a light hula hoop?

The Consumer Product Saftey Commission just loves you, don't they?
posted by eriko at 5:23 PM on August 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


But why can't [Scalzi] just stick to writing pulp instead of ripping on things that other people enjoy.

and this

(And the novels and RPG supplements were way better than the prequels. Not that I remember anything about the Extended Universe at all because I am totally cool and way above that now. I renounce the Lucas and all his works!)

Remind me of this:

There is a diabolical twist to Star Wars fandom, you see, that defies comprehension, and yet is the life-blood of all Star Wars fans. It is this:

Star Wars fans hate Star Wars.

If you run into somebody who tells you they thought the franchise was quite enjoyable, and they very-much liked the originals as well as the prequels, and even own everything on DVD, and a few of the books, these imposters are not Star Wars Fans.

Star Wars fans hate Star Wars.
posted by nooneyouknow at 5:28 PM on August 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


As a friend pointed out, the reason R2D2 cannot speak is because he's analog.
posted by exogenous at 5:35 PM on August 21, 2009


nooneyouknow: Great link. I love it. Of course, much sorrow can be sidestepped by discounting everything post Empire as somehow hackery, and swallowing the Holiday Special like a bitter pill that has the juicy center known as "animated Boba Fett."

But after reading that, I have to admit, I probably DO hate Star Wars. With such an unbridled hate, I ended up watching the original theatrical release this afternoon because of this thread. *sigh*
posted by hippybear at 5:37 PM on August 21, 2009


Star Wars fans hate Star Wars.

Does that mean that any Godfather fan who hates Godfather III hates The Godfather?
posted by The World Famous at 5:39 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


(Oh, and the only Star Wars game was this one. All others are imposters.)
posted by hippybear at 5:40 PM on August 21, 2009


I saw the sweet double bill of Star Wars and Empire at the now-defunct University Theater in Toronto where I got my magazine advertising the upcoming "Revenge of the Jedi."

Dude! I was totally there, wearing my Han Solo vest like a nerd. And I am not ashamed...I'm not
posted by biscotti at 5:40 PM on August 21, 2009


Lightsabers aren't lasers, they're an incredibly hot gas, stripped of plasma, bottled up by powerful EM forces.

You know, I was just looking at my lightsaber, thinking the same thing. "Amazing how many people think this is a laser," I thought, before decapitating my next victim.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:41 PM on August 21, 2009


It was always called episode IV, whether in reference to the space opera series that it was based on, or because it was meant to have prequels is another question

Loud, confident, and wrong! The Globe and Mail's reviewer, Jay Scott, famously praised its in medias res approach, saying that it was like part six of a serial. Scott was probably the most influential film critic of his generation in this country: I am certain he would have noticed if it read "Episode IV" as, y'know, the thing right after the title. I can't believe the number of people over the years who mistakenly map the post-1981 opening onto their 1977 memories.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:14 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Blasters
A tactical nightmare: They're incredibly loud, especially for firing what are essentially light beams. The fire ordnance is so slow it can be dodged, and it comes out as a streak of light that reveals your position to your enemies. Let's not even go near the idea of light beams being slow enough to dodge; that's just something you have let go of, or risk insanity.


Uh, well maybe you've got to charge some capacitors or something. Just because something is photoelectric doesn't mean it won't emit any sound. Just think of those high powered flashes. Plus, everything in starwars makes noise, even in space!

Not to defend George Lucas or anything. Also, on R2-D2 a "30¢" voice chip might not be all that simple. For all we know in the starwars universe integrated circuits are not as advanced as they are here. Perhaps IC Fabs aren't really that widely available, uh, or something.
posted by delmoi at 6:22 PM on August 21, 2009


How can it be that no one has mentioned that the front of Luke's X-Wing looks just like an upside-down circumcised penis; that while he is flying down the trench it it is rocking in and out making him look like he is in a cheap porn flick; and that after he shoots to blow up the Death Star he totally has his O face on. Totally sexual, and ever since I noticed it I almost laugh at that scene.
posted by procrastination at 6:46 PM on August 21, 2009


Ah, the lightsaber with the handguard was in "The Pirate Movie" (warning: campy).
posted by Burhanistan at 6:53 PM on August 21, 2009


the Emperor may have had a deep shaft right in his throne room

I'll be in my bunk.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:08 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


delmoi: "maybe you've got to charge some capacitors or something."

Psh. Like they'd be able to cram one point twenty-one gigawatts into devices that small.
posted by Riki tiki at 7:55 PM on August 21, 2009


There's some syntactic ambiguity here...

But neither of those different interpretations means "completed", anyway.

When I move to a new place, my home is fully operational once the refrigerator is working and I have connected the PlayStation. That doesn't mean it's remotely "complete", though, and it's very likely I have left some security details dangling, not to mention a few exhaust shafts leading to the core unfinished.
posted by rokusan at 8:19 PM on August 21, 2009


BEANS ... IN ... SPA-A-A-A-A-CE!!!
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:20 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


How can it be that no one has mentioned that the front of Luke's X-Wing looks just like an upside-down circumcised penis...

You know that awkward silence when you realize that It's Just You?

.
posted by rokusan at 8:20 PM on August 21, 2009 [9 favorites]


That doesn't mean it's remotely "complete", though

The Palp didn't say it was "complete." He said it was fully armed and operational.

He did say "Comb-Pleat" several times, but that was not in reference to the Star of Death. It was in reference to Luke's "Journey to the Daahk Saaid."

And the throne room didn't look like it was not finished. It looked like it was intentionally designed to be as kid-unfriendly as possible. But at least it had handrails along the edge of the chasm.
posted by The World Famous at 8:28 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


That always bothered me. A double sided light saber like his doesn't seem very practical at all. It's like a bo with the disadvantage that you can't slide you hands along it. Surely double regular lightsabers would be better.

You've never noticed that douchebags like Darth Maul often pick "macho" things — oversized, impractical trucks; elephant guns; whores with tits out to here — than they do practical things? Little surprise indeed that Maul had a clumsy, impractical two-headed saber instead of an efficient, nimble, but smaller sword-like saber.

Darth Maul would have truck nutz on his hitch and a pair of abused rotties in the back.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:42 PM on August 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


... I miss my X-Wing SIM.
posted by Atreides at 5:17 PM on August 21


You and me both, my friend, you and me both.

I thought the whole sound-in-space thing had been retconned as "simulated noise made by your targetting/nav computers to help feed 3D information on your opponent to the pilot(s) in a non-visual way".

Hmmm. My nerd's showing again, isn't it?
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 8:56 PM on August 21, 2009



Which raises the question: Is a planet breaker really the best weapon for destroying a fleet? From the looks of things it fires beams of energy with a narrowfocus at a very slow rate - surely something that was less powerfull but capable of covering a wider area would have worked better?


Really should have gone for more of an Iserlohn Fortress type design.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:07 PM on August 21, 2009


The real question about lightsabers is how you can be considered a grand master in their use and still be swinging the fucking things around like they're heavy swords and you need the momentum/force to cut through platemail. They weigh nothing at all save for the handle and the force with which they're propelled is irrelevant to the damage they do- they don't cut through shit by hitting it hard, they melt and burn anything they come in contact with. You can take a huge baseball swing with two hands, moving the only thing which can protect your fragile, vulnerable body from lightsaber blades and blaster bolts out from in front of you, like every Jedi in the entire franchise does, or you can just thrust it quickly in and flick your wrist to rotate the handle, sweeping the blade through your opponent's body without performing the equivalent of taking off your bulletproof vest in the middle of the firefight and waving it over your head.

Seriously, all it's going to take is one Sith with even a high school education in physics and the Jedi will all be dead in a year, utterly baffled how they could have fallen to someone who doesn't even know how to wave his lightsaber around in places that aren't between his body and their weapons.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:28 PM on August 21, 2009


They weigh nothing at all save for the handle

Actually, the idea (at least in the early movies) was that they were supposed to be really heavy and hard to swing around because of the amount of energy they generate or some such thing.

You can take a huge baseball swing with two hands . . . like every Jedi in the entire franchise does, or you can just thrust it quickly in and flick your wrist to rotate the handle . . . .

You should watch the lightsaber duel between Obi Wan and Vader in Episode IV sometime. Obi Wan is the master.
posted by The World Famous at 9:33 PM on August 21, 2009


Industrial Automaton - Astromech division.

Ron (Engineering): So, are you going to authorize purchasing to procure a voice chip for the R2 series or what? We've got every other damn thing in there.
Dave (Accounting): Can't do it Ron. Money's tight with the recession. This whole trade war thing. Rumors of Sith and giant ship eating worms in aster...
Ron: This is about Linda isn't it?
Dave: ....shouldn't have slept with her Ron, you Nerf dick.
Tim (Engineering - he's new): Hey, why would a spaceborne droid use anything but the EM spectrum to communicate in the first place? In fact, why limit the information flow to the speed of verbal communication in any droid to any other droid in the first pla...
Ron *facepalm*: Tim, get back in the pod.
Tim: Yeah, but..
Dave: Tim, the droids, the AI, servos, that's easy. Piece of cake. Peripherals and redesign - that's where the money is in government contracts. Hey, Ron, show him the funky fighter ship with the wings that open and close.
Tim: Why would a space ship need opening and closing wings?
Dave: Why would it need wings in the first place, right? Government contracts m'man.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:57 PM on August 21, 2009 [9 favorites]


Star Wars fans hate Star Wars

Can you blame us? Here it is, our very best friend in the whole galaxy, and in 1997 it suddenly starts insisting that Greedo shot first! Then two years later we find it hanging around with Jar Jar Binks, staging its Padme/Anakin fanfic, and just generally losing its goddamned mind.

We tried, man. We really did. We came back over and over, eager to rekindle the friendship. But once our best friend started stumbling around in a life support suit screaming "NOOOOOOOOO!" it was time to admit that we were just getting jerked around.
posted by greenland at 12:27 AM on August 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


Technically, since R2 can obviously generate sound it's just a matter of software to have him synthesize speech. This means, of course, that it's not like R2 can't speak, it's that he won't speak.
posted by ooga_booga at 12:54 AM on August 22, 2009


Actually, the idea (at least in the early movies) was that they were supposed to be really heavy and hard to swing around because of the amount of energy they generate or some such thing.

I had no idea! That's interesting, if silly.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:43 AM on August 22, 2009


Myself, I had always assumed there was some sort of effect similar to a gyroscope generated when a light saber was activated, which didn't increase its weight, but made maneuvering it more difficult than just the handle itself.. Maybe that's similar to what The World Famous is talking about. I don't know where I got this idea (I just looked in my copy of both the screenplay and the novel, and cannot find any quote to back up this assumption).
posted by hippybear at 7:22 AM on August 22, 2009


I don't know where I got this idea (I just looked in my copy of both the screenplay and the novel, and cannot find any quote to back up this assumption).

No one can because, y'know, it doesn't exist. Star Wars has, I'm sure, long outstripped Star Trek as the most exhaustively annotated sci-fi franchise. However, the number of words of dialogue or frames of screen time in the movies devoted to the mass of the things is zero. People read things in comic books or RPGs or watch reruns of "The Ewok Adventure" and conflate memories. See also, "the Episode IV subtitle was always there!"
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:11 AM on August 22, 2009


Too bad Lucas forgot about all that once he got his hands on some fancy cgi equipment.

My read is that he didn't forget because he never realized it to begin with: that in 'not having the technology to do it the way it was intended', he created something far more powerful than he was capable (for the reasons you point out).
posted by pokermonk at 8:32 AM on August 22, 2009


People read things in comic books or RPGs or watch reruns of "The Ewok Adventure" and conflate memories.

Which is all a nice theory, but it doesn't explain why I, personally, might have this memory. I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to SW -- I own all the movies, have seen the Holiday Special, used to play the 1983 Video Game religiously at the arcade, and have read the first Zahn trilogy of books. Oh, and I have a few of the SW Card Game cards, which I love to look at but have never played. And I saw the Clone Wars animated shorts, but not a single episode of the half-hour series. Otherwise, my exposure to the "expanded universe" has been minimal, and deliberately so.

Perhaps it's something I made up as a 9 year old after seeing the movie repeatedly that one summer. *shrug*
posted by hippybear at 9:42 AM on August 22, 2009


Star Wars as modern myth really appeals to my deep-set hope that good will always overcome evil. All those inaccuracies and fallacies seem irrelevant: a myth is true even and especially when factually untrue.
posted by francesca too at 11:12 AM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I get one favourite for setting up the joke, and John gets 44 for adding the punchline? Life's not fair :)
posted by effbot at 2:38 PM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


John's favorites were of the "There's a good sport, have a drink" variety, I believe.

I know I favorite people that way a lot. But only because I want everyone drunker than me.
posted by rokusan at 6:27 PM on August 22, 2009


Meh. I thought the Space Balls/Clerks/Robot Chicken/Family Guy "Hey, look at silly stuff in Star Wars" trope was played out and kind of stale to the point that it was so obvious, nobody was gonna do it anymore. Apparently not. I look forward to JScalzi's best "Dan Quayle is dumb" one-liners, too.
posted by Amanojaku at 9:44 PM on August 22, 2009


I thought the funniest part of Blue Harvest was Seth McFarlane and Seth Green's characters arguing over whether Robot Chicken is any good.

'course, I'm a sucker for meta shit like that, so.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:37 AM on August 23, 2009


MetaFilter: 'course, I'm a sucker for meta shit like that, so.
posted by hippybear at 9:30 AM on August 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


If the stormtroopers are clones, what aren't they all the same height?

Oooh, I got this one! The first batch of clones shown in the prequels were all clones of the same single person, cranked out en masse to create an instant army. However, in the interceding years between ep3 and 4, it became clear that having a monoculture military like that is a grave liability to any sort of biological threat - a single tailored virus could annihilate the entire standing force, a single unknown food allergy could drop an entire cafeteria. So, they began to introduce new ideal candidates to serve as 'clone templates' - every few years or so they gather up a bunch of specimen who're up to spec on all the physical and mental demands the empire has for their forces, trim it down to the best two or three, and next season they introduce Stormtrooper v2.734 or whatever. So of course, there's a bit of physical variance in the average stormtrooper after the first gen or two - it's a necessary precaution.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:35 AM on August 24, 2009


Also regarding stormtrooper clone height: height is determined not only by genetics, but also by diet, exercise, and hormonal balances (and hormonal balances are further affected by how much time you spend with your preferred sex, how often you have sex, your relative position in your social heirarchy, and exposure to light (quantity and quality), among other factors).
posted by idiopath at 11:41 AM on August 24, 2009


Which is all well and good, idiopath, but if the clone troopers are all vat-grown to maturity that is presumably less of an issue than it would be for drafted/enlisted home-grown civilians.

I don't care enough about the Star Wars universe to know if Original Trilogy stormtroopers are vatgrown according to canon. If you strike my argument down, I shall become more apathetic than you can possibly imagine.
posted by cortex at 11:59 AM on August 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


favorited for the aside.
posted by hippybear at 12:02 PM on August 24, 2009


Star Trek version

A little weak, and the BASIC is awful.
posted by Artw at 10:48 PM on August 26, 2009


That's not BASIC, that's Applescript.

But this:
Me: Star Wars design is so bad that people have to come up with elaborate and contrived rationales to explain it.

Star Wars Fanboy: YOU ARE SO VERY WRONG AND I WILL SHOW YOU WHY WITH THESE ELABORATE AND CONTRIVED RATIONALES.


is pretty true.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:28 AM on August 27, 2009


Line 30 has a conditional statement directing to line 40!
posted by Artw at 8:22 AM on August 27, 2009


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