Saturday, July 18, 2015

They just snubbed the Yub Nub!

Wookie warriors almost make Ep. III
worth sitting through. Almost...
Look, yak hair is expensive. That's just the world we live in. It's one of those hard truths you have to accept and then move on. But still, it's hard not to look at Return of the Jedi and wonder: what if? What if the cost of shaving a few hundred central asian mega-cows wouldn't have put the production over budget? What if George Lucas had stuck with his original plan and set the end of the movie on Chewbacca's home planet of Kashyyk instead of the forest moon of Endor?

What if instead of an ignominious defeat at the hands of a village full of stone age teddy bears, the Empire was thwarted by a tech-savvy cadre of insurgent Bigfoots? What if?
All I'm saying is that whenever some asshole dredges up the old 'Enterprise Vs. Star Destroyer'
debate, I like to remind them that the Empire was outclassed by the goddamned Ewoks.
This is why we can't have nice things, J. J.
Well prepare to have your faith in the unstoppable might of the Galactic Empire restored. There's a new Star Wars novel coming out in September. It's by Chuck Wendig and it reveals what officially happened after Return of the Jedi's celebratory Yub Nub scene. I say officially because Timothy Zahn's Thrwan Trilogy as well as dozens of other tie-in novels and comic books already filled in the post-Jedi universe, but last year Disney jettisoned like 35 years of expanded universe Star Wars canon so that J. J. Abrams could start fresh. 

Here's hoping The Galactic Jizz Wailers
find their way into the new canon. 
What the hell am I talking about? Here, read this. Or if you don't actually give a shit about the vagaries of what counts as official continuity in the Star Wars universe, it's enough to know that as far as The Force Awakens is concerned, the history presented in Wendig's book, Aftermath, is the only thing that counts. And according to Wendig, everything goes to shit after the Ewok dance party. There're some excerpts on, but the Empire is somehow still a thing despite the loss of the second Deathstar, the Emperor and Vader.

Above: Our heroes, blending in.
Which, c'mon. As fans, we're willing to except some pretty ridiculous things in a Star Wars movie: the spaceships, the space magic, the way the characters were able to sneak around the largely monochromatic interior of the Empire's most important military installation with a stiff-jointed shiny gold robot, an elderly man in monk's robes and a seven-foot yeti. But how in the name of hell would the Empire manage to drum up new recruits after Endor?

And before you point out that the prequels revealed that the Storm Troopers are all clones, let me remind you that Luke wanted to go to the Imperial Academy at the beginning of A New Hope. Unless you can sign up to be a clone, the prequels are full of shit, so how are these guys still in business? 
Our ships hardly ever careen into stationary objects!
"The Empire? Pfft...those idiots?
No, we're a completely different
bunch of guys in white space armor."
Well, I suppose technically the Empire isn't in business anymore. The Stormtroopers and Tie-Fighters in the Force Awakens trailer are part of 'the First Order.' Why the name change? I suppose I could read Aftermath and find out, but that's not going to happen. I'm happy to hand over $11 for new, probably not terrible Star Wars movies, but I'll be damned if I'm going to work my way through a summer reading list of tie-in material just to follow the story. I'm just going to assume that after the whole Ewok debacle, they wanted to distance themselves from Palpatine and all the exploding.

Of course, you could argue that the very existence of Aftermath and The Force Awakens diminishes the ending of Return of the Jedi. Like, that was supposed to be the big climax and as implausible as it seemed to have the rag-tag Rebel scum triumph over the better armed and organized Empire, it was an underdog story and we like it when the underdog wins. 
Here, for no reason, is a painting of that time a scrappy, poorly organized band of
rebels cast off the oppressive rule of a superior imperial force with British accents.
What, did someone knock the
plug out of the socket?
Reversing that victory totally changes the tone of Jedi. Now they just won a battle not the whole star war. It's sort of like when Alien 3 came out and revealed that the characters we cared about and rooted for in Aliens died off-camera in like a stasis tube malfunction or something. Now go back and watch Aliens with that in mind. It's kind of a bummer. The tension is gone because you know that no matter how hard they fight to survive, most of them are going to die of freezer burn shortly after Ripley kicks the Queen out the airlock.

On the other hand, after enduring three prequels-worth of Jedi lazily lightsabering their way through wave after wave of incompetent, disposable battle droids, I'm willing to stretch my willing suspension a little if it means bringing the Storm Troopers back. Sure, it kind of puts a damper on Yub Nub, but as long as the opening crawl doesn't start with a bunch of horseshit about trade sanctions, they've got my eleven bucks. 

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