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Shrinking Star Wars?

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 (Edited)

Hi everybody,
I'm not really much for long posts so I'll try and make this brief. Anchorhead once said that Lucas shrank the Star Wars universe by connecting characters together when they didn't need to be - for example, did Lando really need to own the Falcon before Han? Not really. I've been thinking about this, and he really has a point. Most of my examples will be PT ones, but just to start off:

-Anakin building 3PO. Unneeded connection.

-Count Dooku being Qui-Gon's master. Sure, it's a nice reminder that the only interesting character from the previous movie is gone, but is it needed? Certainly not. He could/should have been any regular old rogue Jedi.

-Anakin being raised on Tatooine. Perhaps not so bad, but he could have been found ANYWHERE in the vast Star Wars universe. He was there no reason other than Lucas's "poetry in motion" and the fact that it was already a popular, well-established locale that people would enjoy revisiting.

-Luke and Leia being siblings. The quality of the plot device is debatable, but there's no doubt that it shrank the universe. Characters that were once from completely different worlds basically came from the same one, even if they didn't get raised in it.

I'm sure there are more examples, but I'm a little tired and this is all I got tonight. Any other thoughts? Disagreements?

A Goon in a Gaggle of 'em

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The thing is i liked the oriuginal trilogy from 1977-1983.  I thought it was brillianly conceived and a wonerful set of films.

The prequels sucked and are not real star wars, so to me their is no shrinking universe because the star wars canon is the original trilogy circa 1977-1983.

 

The Special Edition changes and the prequels as released are not a part of the original continuity as it existed in 1983.  So i declare them garbage and worthless.

“Always loved Vader’s wordless self sacrifice. Another shitty, clueless, revision like Greedo and young Anakin’s ghost. What a fucking shame.” -Simon Pegg.

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skyjedi2005 said:

The prequels sucked and are not real star wars, so to me their is no shrinking universe because the star wars canon is the original trilogy circa 1977-1983.

 

The Special Edition changes and the prequels as released are not a part of the original continuity as it existed in 1983.  So i declare them garbage and worthless.

Ironically, you seem very concerned with PT canon on the other thread. Why do you buy and watch "garbage" then?

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^Have you never read a skyjedi post?

Personally, I think Lucas just threw the movies in a pool.  It's not his fault - it's biology.

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I agree with all of those except for the bit about Anakin being raised on Tatooine. That's not really universe shrinking to me, it was already established that Luke and his uncle were from Tatooine, it only makes sense that most of the rest of his family would come from there too.

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In the OT, zombie's book pretty neatly gets into why "I am your father" and "you are my sister" happened, which was to simplify and compact the backstory into something they could wrap up.

I disagree that Lando owning the Falcon before Han is problematic. It quickly defined their relationship. It was their connection.

In the PT I think all the Universe shrinking was to get a cheap cheer in the theater, "I will miss you too Chewbaca." In absense of a moving storyline, the movie could present moments like R2 meeting CPO and make the crowd happy.

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TheBoost said:

I disagree that Lando owning the Falcon before Han is problematic. It quickly defined their relationship. It was their connection.

I glossed over this bit in the OP, but yeah I agree with TheBoost here.

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Any other thoughts? Disagreements? 

Just one. I'm not sure I agree with your very first example:

Did Lando really need to own the Falcon before Han? 

Personally, I don't really have a problem with this one. ["That's just because you're a mindless GL-hating prequel-basher!", cry the Lucas apologists in furious rejoinder.] The reason? Because the way ESB is written, Lando's entrance into the storyline is entirely contingent on having a prior relationship with Han. So that kind of overlap isn't bad, IMO; it's no more a matter of universe-shrinkage than, say, Obi-Wan having a prior relationship with Yoda earlier in the film ["Luke...you will go to the Dagobah system...] So we're dealing with a separate phenomenon than, say, this:

Anakin building 3PO. Unneeded connection.

...wherein two completely separate characters established twenty years earlier with no background connection, implicit or otherwise, are suddenly fused together in such a way that credulity is stretched to the breaking point. If this kind of thing happened only once (like the first time we see it in the "I am your father" relationship established in ESB)...well, ok then. It's a bit too conveniently coincidental, but maybe they can get away with one such connection without jettisoning all suspension of disbelief.

But then things start compounding. Luke is Leia's brother. Vader is 3p0's "maker," and he also knew Greedo as a child. Chewie and Yoda are old friends. Lil' Boba Fett once fired Slave 1's superlaser cannons at Obi-Wan. FFS! The entire "Star Wars" saga now begins to resemble remarkably poorly-written fanfiction, with cheap, shallow fanwankery shoehorned into the series at an accelerated rate of speed, presumably to make up for the absence of this little thing I like to call a "plot."

So anyway, all that to say that I completely agree with everything you said, save for the Lando/Han connection. And I share your frustration as well. Personally, I think one of the more offensive cases is the Luke/Leia sibling relationship. [See, Lucas apologists? "Bashers" are critical toward the OT, too.] That being said, at least the execution of said sibling relationship was handled better than most all of the universe-shrinking in the PT.

Every 27th customer will get a ball-peen hammer, free!

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Yoda meeting Chewbacca.  Absolutely unnecessary.  Chewbacca.  Also absolutely unnecessary.  And of course Han Solo was featured in the rough draft of the script and some concept art was done.   To me, the idea that Lucas actually seriously considered this is a huge strike against his shrinking universe and it isn't forgiven even though he jettisoned the idea..

One idea that I would like seen looked at with a little more depth is R2 and 3PO.  Although they were introduced in the wrong places and with the wrong people, I am torn whether they should be in the prequels or not.  Lucas has stated rather early on that the story would be viewed from the eyes of the droids.  I do like this idea, but I am not sure if the prequels can be about Ben and Anakin and the droids.  I'm not sure how this all would work.

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Dear God...why doesn't this surprise me?

Iain McCraig:

"It's not in the [ROTS] script anymore, but we were told that Han Solo was on Kashyyyk and that he was being raised by Chewbacca. He's such a persnickety guy later on - he always has to have the best of everything - so I thought it'd be great if when he was a kid, he was an absolute slob."

And gee, whaddyaknow, looks like originally lil' Han was supposed to help Yoda track down General Grievous. What a shocker.

Words fail me. And I don't think there are enough facepalms on the intraweb to capture adequately the sheer stupidity of this idea.

Every 27th customer will get a ball-peen hammer, free!

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I don't remember when I made those points mentioned by Kev, but I certainly have (as well as others), several times over the years.  I will say, however, that the Lando\Han backstory - while definitely the least amateur of the story shrinking loops - could have been a little more inventive.  I've always felt it was way too convenient. 

Han & Leia out in the vastness of the universe and - oh, look, we're right by a planet that just happens to have an old friend of mine on it, who just happens to be the guy who used to own the Falcon.  To me, it would be instantly more credible if they would have searched out the guy specifically to seek his help.

As it's handled, it just serves to shrink the universe even more.  No matter how endless the universe is, every character seems to constantly be bumping into someone they know or are related to.

Fuck, man - 18 years ago I moved back to the city I grew up in and I haven't even come remotely close to running across as many people from my past as the Star Wars characters regularly do, and they have the vastness of space to move around in. Please.

That said;  Two years ago, while I was in Barcelona, I found myself standing at a bus stop next to a guy I had worked with in Houston 5 years earlier.  That was kind of weird. 

Of course, had it been a Lucas-written story, we would have stopped a few miles later, just by chance picked up his sister, all gotten off at the next stop, which was a factory run by her long lost step father, who happened to be the former next door neighbor of the bus driver, who turned out to be the college roommate of the person who started the bus company.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

"Why are you here, Rey from nowhere?”

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I'm with you on everything except Han and Lando.  "Hey, let's go get help from this guy I know."  And it turns out he knows the guy!  It's a little like saying that it was too convenient that Leia's father knew Obi-Wan Kenobi.  It's a relationship that is defined from the start.

And what better way to introduce a rivalry than the Falcon?  Han might have stolen Lando's girl, but we've never heard of the girl, so why do we care?  Go with the ship, the romance that we know.

Now, when it turns out that Ben has been hiding out nearby Darth Vader's kid's house on the planet that Vader grew up on when he gets a message from Vader's other kid by way of Vader's old droids-- AND NOBODY REMEMBERS ANY OF THIS -- then the universe gets too small.

When it turns out that the guy who captures Han Solo and is a fairly anonymous (if supposedly bad ass and notorious) bounty hunter is in fact the clone of the fellow that ALL OF THE STORMTROOPERS ARE BASED ON then the universe gets too small.

So Chewbacca is apparently intrinsically involved with the Jedi knights.  Then Obi-Wan Kenobi shows up on his ship WITH LIGHTSABER IN HAND and he calls him an old fossil?  Huh?!?

I think that it is nothing short of amazing that Lucas did NOT give in to the temptation to bring back his most popular character.  Good on you, Mr. Lucas.

Now look at all of the people posting on this board:  Have any of us met before now?  Any unknown relatives?  Did anyone take anyone else's job or know anyone else's cousin?  Does anyone own my old Firebird?  And we're only separated by thousands of miles.  In Star Wars we're talking the freaking galaxy!

– Bill

Never tell me the odds.

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Tallguy said:

Now look at all of the people posting on this board:  Have any of us met before now?  Any unknown relatives?  Did anyone take anyone else's job or know anyone else's cousin?  Does anyone own my old Firebird?  And we're only separated by thousands of miles.  In Star Wars we're talking the freaking galaxy!

Waaaaait a minute. Tallguy? As in Rob Tallguy?? Dude! It's me, Alistair Balderdash, your long-lost second cousin thrice removed! I'm only using "Akwat Kbrana" as a pseudonym because I'm in hiding from our mutual great-uncle, Count Vendetta, who sometimes lurks on these forums since he, in a weird coincidence, happens to be married to Jay's ex.

Don't tell anyone.

Every 27th customer will get a ball-peen hammer, free!

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Akwat Kbrana said:

Tallguy said:

Now look at all of the people posting on this board:  Have any of us met before now?  Any unknown relatives?  Did anyone take anyone else's job or know anyone else's cousin?  Does anyone own my old Firebird?  And we're only separated by thousands of miles.  In Star Wars we're talking the freaking galaxy!

Waaaaait a minute. Tallguy? As in Rob Tallguy?? Dude! It's me, Alistair Balderdash, your long-lost second cousin thrice removed! I'm only using "Akwat Kbrana" as a pseudonym because I'm in hiding from our mutual great-uncle, Count Vendetta, who sometimes lurks on these forums since he, in a weird coincidence, happens to be married to Jay's ex.

Don't tell anyone.

 

Well played, sir.

Darth Vader: Luke... I am your father! 

Luke Skywalker: Noooo! That's impossible! 

Darth Vader: It's true! And Princess Leia is your sister! 

Luke Skywalker: That's... improbable. 

Darth Vader: And the Empire will be defeated by Ewoks! 

Luke Skywalker: That's... highly unlikely... 

Darth Vader: And as a kid, I built C-3PO! 

Luke Skywalker: ...wha? 

[time passes] 

Darth Vader: And you know that all-powerful Force? That's really just microscopic bacteria called Midichlorians! 

Luke Skywalker: [smoking a cigarette] Look, if you're not gonna take this seriously, I'm outta here! 

 

– Bill

Never tell me the odds.

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Anchorhead said:

Of course, had it been a Lucas-written story, we would have stopped a few miles later, just by chance picked up his sister, all gotten off at the next stop, which was a factory run by her long lost step father, who happened to be the former next door neighbor of the bus driver, who turned out to be the college roommate of the person who started the bus company.

LOL

The only thing you left out was the part about running into the bus company's founder's father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate.

“It’s a lot of fun… it’s a lot of fun to watch Star Wars.” – Bill Moyers

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corellian77 said:

The only thing you left out was the part about running into the bus company's founder's father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate.

So what does that make us?

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So Mel Brooks was making fun of the shrinking SW universe since Ninteen-wheneverhemadeSpaceBalls.

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I would have liked to have seen R2 and C3PO make an appearance somewhere just once.

Boba Fett too. a squad of Mandalorians in shiny armor. holy shit look there one of them is Boba Fett! and that's all you see of him. he isn't RUINED.

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Count Vendetta... LOL!

 

With Vader, we knew from the start that he was involved in Luke's father's death, so it wasn't a huge leap from that to what it ended up as.

If anything, I'd say the problems lie somewhere else entirely: If Vader was so notorious for choking his officers, how comes anyone in the Empire, like that hammy atheist guy in ANH, didn't "believe" in it? It didn't even make much sense in the original, but it really stretches SoD further down the line. Then, I wonder how much had "transpired" of the Emperor's own powers... lol. He was designed to be a powerless pawn at that point, though.

 

In case of Lando, the only problem is that they're stuck in space WITHOUT FUCKING FTL, and Lando just happens to hover around nearby on his gas mine or whatever.

That's a whole other problem, though - the shrinking of the universe, that is, in the LITERAL sense. STAR WARS HAS NO SENSE OF SCALE :D

That makes me wonder, is the SW galaxy anything like our galaxy? It's a fairytale on the far soft end of SciFi, after all, so maybe stars aren't that huge, and they're all more in vicinity of each other? After all, doesn't take them decades or years to travel between stars, right? ;)

 

The problem with ESB really isn't the "small universe"... however, the movie is kinda full of contrived coincidences. First, the rebels escape the Empire and the Empire fails to track them... ok... Luke finds Yoda on Dagobah... ok... ahm... HOW THEY LANDED IN AN ASTEROID WITH A DINOSAUR IN IT??!! How could it breathe??! Okay.... um.... there were like several Destroyers hovering around, and TIEs and shuttles were available constantly, so how comes the Falcon could hide on the surface of the ship??

Then, some robot smashes C3PO... WHY? The only reason I can think of is that it was supposed to foreshadow bad stuff... that Bespin was a crapsaccharine place or whatever... but... it wasn't really, the Empire had taken over like 2 days ago.

Then, what does Boba Fett does at Jabba's palace? Ah whatever, he's on his payroll I guess... whatever. The entire way they smash up the monsters and escape, having all planned ahead and stuff, makes litte sense if you think about it, as well.

 

Just one thing I wanted to say about the "small universe" concept - of course, we all know how unrealistic it would be in real life. But it's what fiction is made of - what if some sort of fate, or invisible patterns, help us move around and bump into important things and people by "accident"? When things like these happen in real life, people usually ascribe it to "synchronicity" or treat it as improbabilities.

In fiction, however, a story might make a point out of exploring the concept of fate and mysticism (like Homo Faber), or be an escapist fairy tale that fulfills our desires and simplifies the world (as is the case with Star Wars - it also deals in fate, of course) - it can also be done with humor (Back to the Future, Austin Powers 3; arguably Star Trek XI) for pure fun... because the plausibility of three Biff Tannens walking into a bar and mobbing three McFlies across 3 centuries is absurd, so the audience gets that and enjoys it as a funny spectacle.

 

Point is, despite the numerous contrivances and plot holes in the OT, I think these "shrinking universe" revelations played well into the "mythical / escapist" zone, despite creating some logical problems - maybe due to the charming execution of it all.

The ones in the PT, maybe with minor exceptions (I don't really care about Padme knowing Palpatine, that was kinda just unnecessary), however, fall strict into the "silly fanwank" category. And no stylistic apologetics are to drag them out of that pit.

 

 

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I really like this idea, for the simple reason that what made the original movie Star Wars so great was the editing.  All the unnecessary stuff that got cut out tightened up the movie and made it so much better than it might have been.  As the saga progressed, the trend reversed, until the prequels were so burdened with integrative details.  The prequels show us just how bad Star Wars might have been.

With each successive movie (meaning, in order: 4-5-6-1-2-3), you can probably cut a greater and greater percentage of unneeded stuff, and if done well could improve things.  Great concept!

"Close the blast doors!"
Puggo’s website | Rescuing Star Wars

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Huh? Puggo, I think you misread the post. It's not in a literal sense of shrinking the movies; it's the discussion of whether or not Lucas shrank the universe itself with all of his coincidences that seem to occur to either wrap things up or tie them together.

A Goon in a Gaggle of 'em

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