Attack of the Fans; I

Attack of the Fans; I

Bilge Ebiri

Has there ever been a more net-friendly movie series than Star Wars? While there have been many worthy pretenders, the ruler of the digital domain remains George Lucas’s galactically popular sci-fi fantasy, now on its fifth installment, Episode II: Attack of the Clones. In addition to building a world-class official site at Star Wars [starwars.com], Lucas has taken a live-and-let-live legal approach to his online fan base, allowing Luke-lovers to use his creations as a jumping-off point for their own self-expression. And the results have been spectacular. Your average, run-of-the-mill obsessives chat up a storm at rec.arts.sf.starwars and other groups. Aspiring fantasists—both writers and visual artists—test their wings with fan fiction and come up with new creatures to populate the already wildly diverse Star Wars universe (look for their work at massive fan sites such as TheForce.net). But perhaps the most notable efforts are the remarkably accomplished independent fan films set in that galaxy far, far away. These have found an online audience larger than they could ever have hoped for before the Net. The talent and passion of the Star Wars fan film movement has been such that Lucasfilm and AtomFilms have joined forces to sponsor The Official Star Wars Fan Film Awards [starwars.atomfilms.com], with one winner selected by Uncle George himself. If you’re enthralled by Star Wars, you’ll find an ever-expanding universe online.

Deep Space Thoughts

Why is there only one Wookie? Because, it appears, he doesn’t have the tools for the mating game. Poor guy. No wonder he’s always so pissed off.

Why is there only one Yoda? Probably the same reason as Chewie.

How does Yoda use a lightsaber when he has little pig hoofs?

Why are the robots in Phantom Menace so stupid? Did the Empire contract the work out to the lowest bidder?

Is C-3PO the android equivalent of Smithers?

—One fan poses questions that point to his theory of The Star Wars Conspiracy [geocities.com/gbayram/starwars.htm] (although he doesn’t say what that conspiracy might be).

Fantasy Titles

Rejected Episode II titles, as compiled by readers of TheForce.net

10. Mr. Binks Goes to Coruscant

9. Episode II, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Dark Side

8. Crouching Jedi, Hidden Clones

7. Plan 9 From Skywalker Ranch

6. A Fistful of Clones

5. Star Wars II: Star Harder

4. Star Wars: The Musical! Episode II: A Hard Day’s Knight

3. Attack of the Bioengineered Stem Cell Rejects

2. Honey, I Cloned the Jar Jar

1. Star Wars II: The Wrath of Kh…lones

Jedi Pay Cut

“I don’t understand. What Finance edict? Why are you turning me out of my home, cutting me off from my family? What about Obi-Wan?”

The Jedi Councilor was no coward. He had faced death more times than he could count but he hated doing this to one of his best friends. So he took the painless way out and answered the easy question first.

“Qui, I know it’s been a few dozen years since we took Galactic Finance class, but the principle has remained the same. The Jedi Order has always been financed mainly by donations but over the past hundred years, the donations have been slowly declining and more and more of the credits needed to run the order have come from the Republic Senate. The Senate now pays for 60 percent of our expenses, mostly for services rendered.…This year, the Senate passed bills insisting that we reduce our expenses.”

—Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn becomes a victim of Galactic Senate budget cuts, in a fan fiction entitled “But,” by Diane Kovalcin at TheForce.net

Princess Lame-a

“Leia may have the Force, but she doesn’t get a chance to use it at all. Instead she makes an inept attempt to take Han from Jabba, who captures her and turns her into a love dolly complete with skimpy outfit. When she strangles him the scene is almost pornographic, with chains and flopping dangly parts.…Later, on the Ewok planet, Leia loses a speeder battle and ends up unconscious in the woods. Ewoks find her and she becomes some kind of Earth Mother with beaded hair.…Generally, Leia is involved in the battles, but she doesn’t hit much and plays only a small role in things. She seems incapable of piloting her own ships, and when she does try to pilot a speeder, she ends up losing. She is often surprised or scared by things, causing her to leap into Han Solo’s arms.…When nothing is going on at all, the men tend to play holographic chess and she is reduced to the humiliating role of removing ticks from Chewbacca’s fur.” —”Is Star Wars Sexist?” from rec.arts.movies.past-films

Trash Talk

1. Why are there vents leading down [to the trash compactor] at all? Would not vents leading into any garbage-disposal system allow the fetid smell of rotting garbage, spores, molds, etc., to seep up into the rest of the Death Star?

2. Why do both walls of the trash compactor move toward each other, rather than employing a one-movable-wall system that would thus rely on the anchored stability, to say nothing of the strength, of the other nonmoving wall to crush trash more effectively?

3. Why does the trash compactor compact trash so slowly, and with such difficulty, once the resistance of a thin metal rod is introduced? Surely metal Death Star pieces are one of the main items of trash in need of compacting.

—From Joshua Tyree’s “On the Implausibility of the Death Star’s Trash Compactor” [mcsweeneys.net/2002/01/10deathstar.html]

Copyright © 2002 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Yahoo! Internet Life.