Talking Star Wars

It is a curious business talking to a Star Wars fan when you do not care for the movies. Conversations nearly always go the same way.

“I have to admit, I think the films are overrated.”

“What?!” Moment of utter astonishment and confusion. Finally, after blowing several brain cells, the Star Wars fan will arrive at the one thing that just might—maybe—explain your dislike.

“Well, I’ll admit,” he’ll say. “The new films leave something to be desired.”[1] And this is where the real fun begins because you inevitably respond:

“Actually, I’m talking about all the films. None of them are as great as they’re cracked out to be.”

Stunned silence. [2] It is vital that you give the Star Wars fan time to process this information. Perhaps it will help to understand what is happening in the fan’s brain. You have taken the one constant in his universe–“There is no film but Star Wars, and George Lucas is the prophet of Star Wars”–and rejected it. It will take some time for him to imagine a worldview without this. Be compassionate and give the fan his time to digest your statement. Inevitably, the fan will come back with a solution. Star Wars fans are a bright group of people on the whole.

“You have to understand,” the fan will explain. “That technology was not the same when George Lucas made the original films. Not all the special effects will look as good as you’re used to seeing.”

“Ah, but I’m not talking about the special effects,” you reply. “I actually understand that movie technology was not as advanced 70 years ago (or however long humanity has been afflicted with this movie franchise). I am talking about the story.”

“The story?” The fan will frown, trying to figure out exactly what is meant by this confusing word. Again, give him time to process.

“Oh,” he will say. “Like the plot and stuff?” When you explain that this is indeed what you mean, he will stare at you aghast. Now you may as well hit him with the rest.

“The story and the directing and the acting and the script writing.”

“AND the . . . acting . . . WHAT?! Alec Guiness? You hate Alec Guiness?! And Harrison Ford?!”

“They’re not bad,” you concede. “But on the whole they are like oases in a desert of torrid acting.”

“And the script . . . HOW?”

“Well . . . it’s very basic and . . . lame.”

“Lame?!” The fan is again confused.

“How else can I put this in a way you can understand? Ah yes, it is not good.”
And here is where the Great Circle begins. The fan jumps back to episodes 1-3.

“Well, I’ll admit that Ewan McGregor isn’t perfect and Haden Christensen isn’t very good.”

“But this is not all I mean,” you explain ruthlessly. “I mean Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill and Ewan McGregor and Haden Christensen and Natalie Portman and Liam Nieson. Oh, and whatever poor soul blew his acting career playing young Anakin. Him too.” We have shortened the list considerably, of course. To name all the bad actors in the films would turn this description into a Bartleby-length story. If you’re not sure what that means, just trust me. It’s not good.

The fan will shake his head. “Well,” he’ll finally say. “You have to understand that the original technology available to George Lucas was not as good as it is today.” [3]

Once these words are repeated, end the conversation. You will never pull him out of this circle. The fan will go to his grave believing that (a) the new films ruin the story for you or (b) you just can’t comprehend the difference in CGI technology. It is no use explaining that you are not talking about the CGI. When the fan reports this conversation to his friends, he will laugh about how you can’t even appreciate a classic film because it was made several years ago. (It should be noted too, that this is a gross understatement. Star Wars was first released shortly after Hitler conquered Poland).

One final note of warning. Always treat a real Star Wars fan like he is loaded. Overall, they are a very friendly group. This is good because they make up 90.9% of the world’s population. But remember you can turn a friendly Star Warsian from peaceful civilian to crazed bounty hunter with a few well-reasoned arguments. I advise against this. In the best case scenario they will hate you. Worst case, they will pull all your bones out of joint, kill your mother, burn your house down, break your computer, cut off your head with a lightsaber, and spit on you.
So, all told, you should avoid this. After all, no one likes wiping spit off their face.

For your further education I have compiled a list of things you should never say to a Star Warsian if you value your soul.


What’s with the green weirdo with big ears? Yoda is the sacred center of Star Wars. To criticize him is to criticize the entire Star Wars community. Endure him you must or mailed to Siberia you will be.

Han did not shoot first. For some inexplicable reason this is the single biggest argument in the history of cinema. Fans maintain that Han Solo, the ultimate cowboy, shot the enemy first, thus proving he had guts . . . or something like that.

Why would a woman want volcano craters on either side of her head? You should never dis Princess Leia or Padme. “But her hair makes no sense!” Shhh. Yes, it does. You’ll notice the bizzare buns are unusually positioned over each ear. They are meant to act as a hearing aid to help them catch instructions not to defy the orders of all their superiors and run heedlessly into danger. Sadly, it never works.

The force thing makes no sense. Why can they use it sometimes and not others? It’s not so much that this question will anger a Star Wars fan, but that it will turn him on. And, my goodness, you thought 2001: A Space Odyssey was long . . . you have no idea. You will be subjected to a lecture on the nature of the force, the ways in which it can be used, and its central place in the Star Wars saga. After an hour or so, no stone will have been left unturned, except perhaps, the answer to your original question.

Jar Jar Binks kinda symbolizes Star Wars as a whole. If you are the kind of person who finds it hilarious to run for your life . . . the rest of your life, you should consider saying this. For the rest of us: just because it is true does not mean it is wise. For those who are unfamiliar, Jar Jar Binks is a walking insectoid-like alien who talks in a high, obnoxious voice and manages to drive everyone—even the Star Wars faithful—to the verge of suicide.

Why build a second death star that has the EXACT SAME WEAKNESS AS THE FIRST ONE?! Don’t question the emperor!

Why does it take Luke so stinkin’ long to realize Leia is his sister? Because Luke is related to Haden Christensen. No further explanation needed.

C3PO is random and obnoxious. On what planet would a shiny, gold robot moving at 2 steps an hour and engaging in world-class banality not be riveting? Beware, though! Anakin Skywalker (aka Darth Vader) made this feat of technological brilliance. That alone is enough to place him out of bounds for scrutiny.

Why does the emperor sit idly by while Luke Skywalker beats Darth Vader? Don’t question the emperor!

[1] Now it is important to know that no Star Wars fan really hates the new films even if he will say it and write it and troll the internet about them. He will also see them bazillions of times and defend them against anyone who launches serious assaults. It is a love-hate relationship that is mostly love. But for all the supposed hate they have received, the prequels have done one great thing for the fans—given them something to blame if anyone hates Star Wars.

[2] There are variations on this, of course. Some Star Wars fans have been known to immediately commence war by gnashing upon your flesh with their teeth. Avoid these people. It is difficult to talk to them.

[3] Note that we have not even touched on the issues of story plotting or scripting. This is largely because the conversations will go much the same. The Great Circle will still be invoked and you will still end the discussion protesting in vain that you are not talking about the old special effects. It is probably best to leave these two issues alone if you do decide to argue with the fan. If they are fans of Star Wars the chances are high that they wouldn’t know bad dialogue if it walloped them upside the head and buried them in their graves (in fact this is very nearly what has happened). Let the complication pass.

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