Thursday, August 25, 2011

Turns out, if you know science, Han Solo really DID take a short cut? (Star Wars References)

Can it possibly be true that I was wrong?

No. But hear me out.

About four months ago, I noted a Star Wars Reference from XKCD, and mentioned the oft-repeated claim that George Lucas messed up on Han Solo's dialogue about parsecs--

-- because obviously everything in the movie Star Wars was intended to be perfectly scientifically accurate, right down to the unnecessary presence of a monster in a trash compactor --

but now I've been told -- by Anonymous -- that in fact my knowledge is the one that's deficient. Said Anonymous:

The Kessel Run is a smuggling route that passes a cluster of black holes. The Falcon was able to fly closer to the black holes than other ships, thus shortening the journey it made from 18 to 12 parsecs. To fly closer to the black holes required enough power to escape their gravity. Speed comes from power. The Falcon is a fast ship. QED.
So was I wrong?

No. I know it looks that way, but hear me out. When I first read that comment, I thought "Huh, I guess I was wrong." But then I thought about it a second, and realized that it smacked to me of after-the-factism -- what happens when true believers in a story or movie or book fill in the gaps and problems in stories, like the way Harry Potterites claimed that there's an actual spell protecting Harry, a spell cast by his mother as she died at Voldemort's hand*

*Um, Spoiler Alert?

even though that's clearly bunk and is something readers made up because they don't want there to be unanswered questions about stories they love; readers want to think that authors had some sort of grand plan going into writing the story, as opposed to just making it up. But authors don't.**

**Rogue Mutt excepted

Authors -- screen writers, literary authors, all the rest are, I'm convinced, just making it up as they go along and then hoping it all makes sense. They're not going back over the manuscript over and over to make sure that what they wrote the first time around has not a single plot gap in it. They just write what they write and hope that it all makes sense as you go along.

That results in holes in stories, and unfortunate language-usage, at times -- like Harry Potter somehow surviving a curse that nobody can survive, or Han Solo not knowing the difference between space and time. But frankly, that doesn't matter: After all, all these holes blown into the stories of movies after the fact are just that: Ex post facto holes people pick at when they have time to do so -- usually about stuff that didn't really matter in the first place, like whether Han Solo, a space pilot, should know what a parsec is.

There are two kinds of plot holes or problem points in stories, then -- those that are real plot holes that pose real problems, and those that just don't matter. If it's a real problem, then the author or director should have caught it and made it work. If it just doesn't matter, if it's the equivalent of seeing a gladiator with a wristwatch on, a glitch that's no big deal, then it may be fun to talk about, but nobody should sweat filling in the gaps.

That is, there's no need to explain why that gladiator had a watch on; nobody needs to say "well, see, it wasn't really a wristwatch, it was a metal band that was invented by Claudius as a sort of rudimentary sundial...". It's just a glitch.

In that sense, it's dumb that people bothered coming up with an explanation for why Harry Potter lived, or why Han Solo said parsecs; it didn't really matter at all.

Here's the real test for whether something's a plot hole or just doesn't matter: If you caught it when you were watching the movie, or reading the book, it's a plot hole. If you only caught it after the fact, then it just doesn't matter. It may be fun to pick at, but that's all you're doing -- you're picking at something that you didn't notice in the first place.

So Han Solo's parsecs?

Just doesn't matter.

The fact that Commissioner Gordon's fake death***

***Seriously, can I get a spoiler alert here?
In The Dark Knight made no sense in the plot?

Just doesn't matter.

The "solution" to The Lincoln Lawyer's case being in a parking ticket?*4

*4 now, come ON. This is ridiculous
Plot hole.

So while I appreciate Anonymous (I know it's you, Timothy Zahn) and his efforts to make it clear that there are no holes in George Lucas' universe, it's also completely unnecessary to do, and that is why I have not put forth any effort into clarifying whether that was something Lucas claimed to have been his intention all along, or whether it was something that someone tacked on later.

And also why I wasn't wrong about Solo.

Besides --everyone knows that Lucas lied about his intentions, anyway, when he claimed that he always intended that Star Wars be a series of movies. Nobody starts a series of movies 67% of the way through the story, and nobody puts the big climax in the 4th movie, for Pete's sake. That's why he had to have a second Death Star: because he made it up as he went along, with no grand plan.

Now, on to more important things for the day, like why is Carrie Fisher trending 6th on Yahoo!?

It's because she dropped 50 pounds -- quite an achievement, and to celebrate, Carrie Fisher, who has been in movies going back to 1975, and who has written 11 different Hollywood productions, and has written five books and two plays, Carrie Fisher is celebrating by: saying she's going to try on her metal bikini again.

That's right: Given a chance to celebrate her many contributions to pop culture, Carrie Fisher went to the One True Source Of All References.

And why, when she could've gone with saying "I'm going to go back and wear that slip I wore in "Over the Rainbow?" Isn't that just as culturally significant?

1 comment:

Rogue Mutt said...

Hey come on, I make shit up all the time.

I hate those fan explanations too. Like the Klingon brow ridges. Look, we all know the REAL reason Klingons didn't have brow ridges in original Trek was that it was too expensive to make them.

But instead of just accepting reality, fans have to create some convoluted story to explain it. And then "Enterprise" had to come along with its convoluted explanation to explain what was obvious.

Really George Lucas could have just said, "It's a galaxy far, far away so parsecs can be whatever the fuck I want them to be, bitches."

Fans need to stop wasting so much time on this crap. As Bill Shatner said, "Get a life!"

*Though the Lt. Gordon thing makes a little sense. If they knew he was alive, the Joker's people might have tried to get him to fuck up the plan or force him to turn Dent over to them. I mean they already got to a few members of Gordon's crew, right? But they could have done that with some of the other cops maybe.