Since Return of the Jedi, we haven't seen much of Han and Chewie. They never do the same talk shows, appear at the same conventions, or even reference one another in up and coming tell-all autobiographies. In fact, Han has been reluctant to even mention the Star Wars saga for many years.
It is a dark time for the United States of America. It's no secret that the once-great nation of America is in trouble. On August 2nd, the US will reach its debt ceiling of $14.3tn and be unable to borrow more money. The results of defaulting on this debt for America, and Earth's economy, could be catastrophic, leading to the collapse of the global money market. Plus, the AT-AT for America campaign got canned.
But this isn't the first time this has happened, friends. Allow us, if we may, to tell you a little story from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. The Galactic Senate's incompetence, employment of Jar Jar Binks, investment in protracted wars and spending on big government had brought the Republic to the brink of chaos. But one man had a dream. A dream of streamlined government, of job security for all and, most importantly, of peace in our time.
As Emperor, Palpatine cut government spending and increased efficiency by 2,000% by firing (sometimes literally) all of the other politicians and installing himself as ruler of a totalitarian dictatorship. With the valiant Darth Vader at his side, Palpatine ended the Clone Wars by bravely ordering the Jedi be assassinated, then brought the troop home. All 60,000 of him. But most importantly of all, friends, he gave the Galaxy a symbol of hope. He gave them a shining green light in the darkness. He gave them the Death Star.
That's right, friends, the solution to America's problems is simple: build your own Death Star.
Friends, the Death Star for America Project will need strong leadership. Someone with great charisma, a "take no prisoners/kill anybody who disagrees with you" and preferably the ability to shoot lightning from their hands. This leader, let's call them "Emperor Palpatine" for the sake of argument, will make the tough decisions that no democratically elected parliament ever could, and in 1/10th the amount of time. Some might call it having no "rights" or "freedoms" or "say". We like to think of it as "streamlining your political options".
Constructing a Death Star will see the end of unemployment on your planet once and for all. Assembling a 160km-across moon-sized battlestation armed with a planet-destroying superlaser will require a lifetime of commitment from virtually every man and woman on Earth. Also children, whose small hands are excellent for cleaning the difficult-to-reach parts in broken machinery.
Similarly, your exacting schedule and challenging working conditions will save you countless trillions of dollars by ensuring that the need for aged care pensions and welfare payouts will disappear completely.
Once you've begun building your Death Star, your money woes will become a thing of the past, friends. You won't need to borrow any. In fact, you won't even need to pay any of what you owe back. People from other countries will generously give you money, completely of their own free will, because you'll be building a giant death laser capable of disintegrating them from space, which may or may not need to be test fired a couple of times on non-compliant countries.
Environmental concerns won't be an issue either, as what little of the planet is left after you've stripped it of all of its precious metals and other essential resources will barely classify as an environment. Hey, let's be honest, it's not like your current politicians or big businesses were planning on doing any different.
Warfare will be no more. The Death Star for America Project will inspire humanity's imagination in a way no human endeavour ever has before. The people of Earth will realise that you can do more than shoot for the stars: you can build a star that shoots planets. This, plus uniting people under the common goal of not being exploded from space, will make other nations flock to support your glorious cause.
There will be those who tell you it cannot be done, friends. Ignore them. They will pay the price for their lack of vision. Did Emperor Palpatine listen to people when they said, "You're crazy", or, "How did we not know that you're an evil megalomaniacal wizard intent on taking over the Galaxy", or, "Ohgodohgod, please don't blow up my planet"? No. No he did not. He built his Death Star and so can you, America.
Don't go quietly into the night, friends. If you want to save America, spread the word to all of your friends. Direct people to this page. Get inspired. Let the Galactic Empire be your guiding (Death) Star.
Oh, one more thing, friends; you're going to need a new flag. We call it "The Death Star-Spangled Banner".
There have been many Star Wars games, but even when the lightsabers came out, few gave you the feeling of what it might actually be like to be a Jedi.
Until now. Finally, Kinect Star Wars promises to do exactly that. Here's how:
The Jedi live by a strict moral code, which basically means there's a ton of things you can't do. In Kinect Star Wars, you're on rails, so there's heaps of things you can't do, even if you want to, even though your amazing Force powers should allow you to do them.
The Jedi are excellent at taking orders. With the game on rails, you'll hardly have to think for yourself at all!
Jedi have spectacular Force powers, but rarely use, except to push or pull the occasional thing. The game is eerily true to life.
The Jedi are in peak physical fitness, as you'll be after spending 17 hours jumping on the spot trying to get your avatar to do one little jump, which you could have done in about 0.002 of a second if you had a controller instead.
Jedi are good at getting shot in the face. As you can see in the trailer below, within thirty seconds of fighting your first few battle Droids, you will know exactly what it felt like to be a Jedi during Order 66.
Ever wanted to know what the Classifieds Section of the newspaper looks like in a Galaxy Far, Far Away? Now you do, thanks to Scott Morton and Joel, who've collaborated to bring you a glimpse at Tatooine's Premiere Newspaper, The Suns.
A delicious Dark Side cookie to anyone who gets all of the many Sci-Fi references without cheating.
Can we call you that, Google? You seem like the type of innovative multinational IT-based corporation who is playful, easygoing and enjoys a good nickname. We're writing to you because over the weekend you made a horrible mistake, Goo. You suspended Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine's Google+ accounts because you believed them to be "fictional" characters. We find your lack of faith disturbing.
You can’t just arbitrarily decide to cancel a REAL PERSON’S social networking page without even telling them about it or giving them an opportunity to defend themselves first. That's not fair. It’s not like blowing up a planet, after all.
You know Goo, for some reason a lot of people (like TIME Magazine) have called Darth Vader "fictional", despite the fact that he's been in SIX BIOGRAPHICAL MOVIES AND A TELEVISION SHOW, plus countless books, comics and video games. You can find replicas of him in almost EVERY TOY STORE ON EARTH. Does that really sound like a "fictional" character to you?
What does it even mean to be "fictional" in this day and age of carefully constructed public personas, plastic surgery and media manipulation? Don't we all choose to represent ourselves in different ways to those around us, changing chameleon-like to suit our context? Do any of us really even know the "real" us? Do you know the real Gyougle, Goo? Aren't we all just "fictional" characters in the end? As Shakespeare once said, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players."
What happened to you, Goo? Who hurt you? Did you unexpectedly have your heart broken by a really Hot Young Lady Search Engine who left you for a more brooding, buffer, Bad Boy Search Engine in Search Engine High School, thus making it difficult for you to trust others? Because we'll be honest, you seem to be constantly searching for something. Something you won't find by tearing down the happiness of others, just to make them as miserable as you feel.
Should they just LIE and change their names to Dan Vader and Eugene Palpatine instead (as suggested by Scott Oldfield)? Is that what you want? Do you really want to create an online culture based on lies, where people regularly pretend to be somebody they're not? What a horrible world that would be to live in.
Maybe it's discrimination. Maybe you don't want Darth Vader and the Emperor to have an account on your precious little social network just because your slogan is "Don't be evil" and they're "evil wizards" who "took over the Galaxy" and "murdered" millions of people. Because if you're going to use "evil" as the basis for your decisions, then we can probably all agree that you'd better start by cancelling Dane Cook's account first.
On that note, how is it that the FRIGGING Hogwarts Sorting Hat, SEVERAL Lord Voldemorts AND Chewbacca still have their Google+ Profiles? Answer us that, Google. Oh, that's right, you can't, because you're a corporation. Did you know that makes YOU a fictional entity of sorts too? No, you probably don't, because you don't even have a brain or a mouth.
Or could it be that you have something against Sith Lords? Is that it, Google? We thought people had moved beyond religious discrimination in this day and age, except against the Jedi, which is totally acceptable. Doesn't your informal corporate culture extend to people who enjoy wearing a plush velour robe to work and who have different belief systems to your own that involve frying the very occasional subordinate with Force lightning? For shame, Goo. For shame. Is that really the Google we've bonded with and come to think of as a good, nay GREAT, friend during the countless hours we've spent searching the web for funny videos of people hurting themselves? Of course it's not. Don't be that search engine, Goo
Perhaps it's just that your recent affiliation with Androids has led you to be prejudiced against cyborgs. Don't get us wrong, androids have their place. Usually that place is poncing about in a black and gold unitard and wanting to become human. But can't you see that cyborgs are people too, Google? Well, mostly human. Okay, AT LEAST 42% human.
Finally, if you can't find it in your cybernetic heart to be swayed by the infallible logic and wild accusations contained above, then we're afraid we're going to have to bring out the big gun: litigation. We hate to bring up the whole copyright issue but the truth is, you owe a LOT of your success to us. Clearly the idea for Google+'s "Circles" comes from Darth Vader's classic line, "The circle is complete."
Does this "Circle" look familiar to you, Google?
And don't even get us started on Google Chrome...
So finally, Google, remember that the Force surrounds us, binds us, and can also be used to Force choke us from great distances if we get on the wrong people's bad side. Isn't it funny that "Google" even sounds a LOT like "Gurgle", the last thing most people say when they're being lovingly throat hugged from across the room by a caring Sith Lord? What a strange coincidence that is, right Gurgle Google? Haha. Ahaha. Oh, we have such fun together, don't we Goo?
We trust this will help you make the right decision and restore Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine's Google+ accounts immediately. Otherwise you might find your planet becoming "fictional" by the weekend.
Stormtroopers are usually known for their unerring accuracy with a blaster rifle and for their heroically brave murdering of the Jedi, but 501st Legion ("Vader's Fist") member Jacob French is making a name for himself with a different kind of Imperial March.
French is walking the length of Australia solo on a "Troopertrek", from Perth to Sydney, a journey of some 5,000km (3,106m) in an attempt to raise $50,000 for the Starlight Children's Foundation, a charity designed to lift the spirits of seriously ill children.
To complete the grueling journey, Trooper French plans to walk 35-40km per day, five days a week, pushing a 50kg (110lb) buggy containing his supplies, all the while wearing his armour. Along the way, he will cross the dreaded Nullarbor Plain, a stretch of Tatooine-like desert 1,100km wide.
Alderaan. The "Shining Star" of the Core Worlds, a peaceful planet of unparalleled beauty, rich cultural heritage and a long, proud history dating back more than 30,000 years. And yet, somehow the name has become synonymous with explosive, fiery destruction. One year on, Death Star PR takes a completely objective look back at the "Alderaan incident", at what we've lost and what we've learned, in a quest to finally uncover the truth.
The mountains of Alderaan. Probably.
What we know
Let's start with the cold, hard FACTS. Alderaan was (almost definitely) a planet that (allegedly) existed. There are many (probably not faked) photos. At some point, for some reason (discussed below), it ceased to exist in its more well-known planetary form in the spatial location it was previously renowned for being found at.
Alderaan: You don't know what you've got till it's gone.
What may have happened that day
From scientists to conspiracy nuts to "eyewitnesses" who were "actually there", everyone seems to have a different theory on what "actually" happened to Alderaan.
Many scientists have suggested that Alderaan may have spontaneously combusted. "Oh yes," said Professor Iluff Scyeenze, "planets do spontaneously explode all of the time. It has to do with complex gravitational forces combining with a freak build up of magma beneath the planet's mantle, as well as loads of other scientific things like exothermic reactions and the parallax effect and... umm... carbohydrates."
Another strong possibility is an unexpected strike by a huge meteor, as seen in documentaries like Armageddon with Bruce Willis.
Was this man responsible for riding an asteroid into Alderaan? We're not saying he is, but can you prove he isn't?
More likely, however, is that Alderaan was disintegrated when it was hit by a wayward paragraph of gigantic floating yellow text, a tragic tale that has become all too common in recent years. But where exactly do these unstoppable monolithic paragraphs come from? What do they want? Are they, perhaps, some kind of expository message to us from an unknowable, unfathomable creator? For now, the answers to those questions remain a mystery.
A photograph of one of the rogue paragraphs, taken by one of the few to survive an encounter.
A small minority have even suggested that the benevolent Galactic Empire used the Death Star's superlaser to destroy Alderaan as a demonstration of the Empire's firepower, designed to frighten the Rebel Alliance into submission. Well, just about anybody can suggest anything. Maybe it was accidentally eaten by a gigantic star turtle carrying four giant elephants on its back, who in turn carry some kind of disc-shaped world on their backs. Maybe a giant space bird flew off with it. Or MAYBE it was just a "special effect" made for a "movie" using "computers" and Alderaan never really existed at all.
Who's to blame?
Assuming Alderaan did exist and was blown up? Terrorists. There's a lot of things we don't know in this crazy, mixed up galaxy we live in but one thing's for sure: terrorists are always to blame for explosions.
For years, the Rebel Alliance have been waging guerrilla warfare against the Galactic Empire, constantly disrupting our valiant attempts to bring peace, order and security to the galaxy (even if we have to very occasionally use extreme violence, oppression and fear to do it).
Grand Moff Tarkin surveys a totally unconnected asteroid field.
Although the Rebel insurgents haven't claimed responsibility for the attack, and indeed have quite vehemently and consistently stated that the Empire is to blame, the reality is that there would be no wars of the star variety or otherwise if the Alliance simply gave up. They won't, of course. They're only too eager to risk your lives for their own selfish ends. Said Eeval Tehryryst: "We're fighting to free the entire galaxy from a ruthlessly oppressive totalitarian dictatorship led by two evil wizards." See? Selfish.
From a purely hypothetical, non-committal, just throwing it out there kind of a place, if Alderaan did explode and if we did it, which we are in no way suggesting is actually the case, then it would definitely have been totally, unequivocally justified.
What the Death Star laser might look like if it was fired at Alderaan. Which it almost definitely wasn't.
If the Galactic Empire did, for example, use the Death Star's gigantic superlaser to turn Alderaan into the galaxy's newest meteor field, it would only have been to bring peace to an entire galaxy. A galaxy filled with literally thousands of planets, and possibly to teach a certain uppity Princess a lesson. Are people really going to miss one? After all, doesn't the good of the many outweigh the needs of the few (billion)?
Tarkin, Leia and Darth Vader share a laugh during some father/daughter bonding/abduction time.
Simply put, if Alderaan did get blown up by the Galactic Empire, it was the Rebellion's fault. But even if it turned out that there was some kind of "video evidence" that "proved" we were "responsible", the chances were that we were just test firing the laser when Alderaan shifted its orbit in front of it.
In all of the discussion of the "horrific tragedy" that (allegedly) befell Alderaan, aren't we all forgetting something? Did the (alleged) destruction of Alderaan really happen to the Alderaanians? After all, you don't hear them bringing it up very often. Isn't it fairer to say that Alderaan happened to all of us? For it is we who must march bravely onwards, valiantly struggling to put behind us/forget completely what (may or may not actually have) happened on that fateful day.
And doesn't that make us the real heroes, in the end?
If you've ever wanted to command a fleet of Star Destroyers as they bring freedom to the Galaxy by blowing up Rebel fighters, or take the role of an entree-based Rebel Commander and skillfully guide your fleet into yet another trap, this is the video game for you. Except it isn't, because you'll never get to play it.
Arthur Nishimoto's Fleet Commander was developed at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) and runs on a 20-feet wide 16 megapixel LCD multi-touch wall.
The exceedingly kick ass looking multiplayer game, "explores how a real-time interactive strategy game that would typically rely on complex keyboard commands and mouse interactions be transferred into a multi-user, multi-touch environment."
Fleet Commander is able to use all of the Star Wars ships and sounds because it was made for a student project, which means none of us will ever get to play it.
Doctor Who isn't just a documentary about the most evil being in the galaxy and how he constantly goes to other people's worlds and mercilessly kills them when they were just trying to go about their average Tuesday. It also teaches us a lot about the future of humanity and all of the wonderful things you will do. Okay, not really. Mostly it just shows you how terrible it will be for you all.
Here are 10 terrifying things Doctor Who can teach us about Humanity's future:
10. You'll all turn into LOLcats
Show us a person who hasn't spent hours of a Saturday night trawling the internet for pictures of cats with funny captions, LOLing at the antics of those aptly named LOLcats and we'll show you a person who hasn't lived, loved, or LOL'd. Unfortunately, they won't seem so funny when you become one in the year 5 billion and 23 (New Earth). To really add insult to injury, you'll be forced to wear one of those flying nun habits. But whatever you do, DON'T THINK ABOUT HOW THE CAT/PERSON RACE GOT STARTED. Oh, you already are? That's a shame, isn't it?
9. Plastic surgery will get even worse
If you think that the current Hollywood trend for everybody to get so much plastic surgery that they gradually turn into the cat people mentioned above is a bit disturbing, or Mickey Rourke's twisted, inhuman visage turns your very soul to ice, you're probably not going to love the distant future. Because The End of the World shows us that in the year five billion you won't need boob jobs or tummy tucks. You'll just need your face, some skin and a nice picture frame to put it all in.
8. Reality TV will become even more popular
If you're one of the few people tired of the 47 "different" versions of The Horrible Housewives of Someplace Terrible, are sick of trying to Keep Up With the Kardashians, and wish that global warming would just hurry up and wash away the Jersey Shore, there's good news and bad news. The good news is, you have a brain. The bad news is, there's going to be loads more reality TV by the year 200,100. In Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways, there's an entire Satellite devoted to beaming out reality TV. What's truly terrifying about this is that it says humanity will STILL be watching Big Brother and The Weakest Link 200,000 years from now. Maybe we should just bring the Death Star over right now and end your suffering.
7. Pretty much everything inanimate will come to life and it will hate you
Doctor Who is filled with stories of inanimate things coming to life and deciding immediately to devote their lives to destroying/enslaving/feeding on humanity. Shop mannequins (Rose), television sets (The Idiot's Lantern), statues (Blink), and even satellite navigation systems (The Sontaran Stratagem), though upon reflection that last one probably isn't very surprising. So basically, unless you plan on living out your days in a cave in the middle of nowhere, you should probably expect a battle to the death against your household appliances some time in the near future.
6. Holidays will be a really bad idea
We know you're thinking to yourself, "Hooray! In the future I'll be able to jump in a space ship and fly to exotic and interesting locales and meet strange and wondrous alien life forms and have adventures and things!" Well you're right, you will definitely be able to do all of those things, except for one teeny, tiny little problem: every single alien on each of those worlds wants to kill you. On some of those worlds, like the crystalline resort planet Midnight (Midnight), you don't even get to see the thing trying to horribly murder you, it just crawls into people's brains and mimics you until people get annoyed and throw you from the shuttle.
5. Say goodbye to human evolution
The Doctor has been to the furthest corners of the universe, and even the end of time (Utopia) and back again, but no matter where he goes one thing remains the same: people. No matter where he visits them, or what time period he finds them in, humans always look exactly the same as they do in the 21st Century. Too bad, humanity. You may spread out across the stars like an unstoppable spaceship delivered super STD but you'll never develop that prehensile tail or those totally sweet gills Kevin Costner had in Waterworld.
4. YOU'RE the bad guys
"Whaaa! We've been victimised by evil aliens again! Boo hoo!" Oh, poor Earth. While it's true that, yes, the very occasional space monster does try to kill or enslave you all (see below), the reality is that you're going to do far worse to them. You see, in the future you're going to colonise countless worlds throughout the universe, doing to them exactly what every colonial power did to every indigenous culture on Earth: kill them, take their land and resources, then "give" them small amounts of their land to live on while robbing them of their rights for their own protection. And because you're feeling extra nice, you'll also "give" them really cushy slave labour jobs. See: the Ood (Planet of the Ood, The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit).
3. Earth will be constantly invaded by evil aliens
Is there anything better than a lazy Sunday morning? A nice sleep in, bacon and eggs with coffee from the cafe down the street, followed by an hour or two curled up with a good book. Aaah, that's the life. Or it used to be. Because in the future, your sleep in will be being up early running for your life, bacon will be Daleks (Every Second Doctor Who Episode Ever), eggs will be Cybermen (Every Third Doctor Who Episode Ever), coffee will be Sontarans, the cafe will be a reality bomb and the book will be YOU EXPLODING. Because if there's one thing that Doctor Who consistently teaches us, it's that Earth is a magnet for every single bastardous alien in existence. Three quarters of the time they don't even come to Earth for any particular reason except just to mess with you. Which is actually fair enough, really.
2. You won't get to marry Amy Pond
Yes, she's your dream woman. Yes, you feel a special unspoken bond because of that time her hazel eyed gaze pierced the camera, shot out through the television set and locked onto yours in an expression of love that surely no two other people could possibly share. Well get in line, buddy. Ms. Pond is already spoken for by Rory Williams. Yes, the guy with the nose. Even worse, there's no point even contemplating trying to kill him to get him out of the picture, because the guy literally cannot die. No, wait, he literally dies all the FRIGGING TIME (Amy's Choice, Cold Blood, The Curse of the Black Spot, The Doctor's Wife [twice!]), but don't get your hopes up, because he KEEPS COMING BACK.
1. One day you'll all be tiny Death Stars
In Utopia, the Doctor, Captain Jack and Martha travel to the end of the universe in the year 100 trillion. When they get back to the present (The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords), they find that the Master has taken control of earth with the help of the Toclafane, six billion tiny little Death Stars. It turns out the Master has converted all of the remaining humans at the end of time into incredibly bloodthirsty cyborg death spheres and brought them back using a Paradox Machine so they can kill everyone in the present (namely, you). Actually, six billion tiny Death Stars sounds pretty good. So at least there's that to look forward to, right?
We trust you’ve been well since we last wrote to you after the birth of your son. The first few weeks of parenthood are a wonderful, crazy, sleepless time that can be difficult for some, but if anyone can handle it, it’s you, Natalie Portman. The woman who starred in no less than three blockbuster movies (very well done, Natalie, inspiring stuff) in the same year that she gave birth to her first child is surely capable of anything.
Congratulations are in order once again. After months of thought spent endlessly agonizing over the perfect name for your son, you’ve chosen “Alef”. What a beautiful, lyrical (and can we say magical? Well, you can’t stop us, Natalie Portman. MAGICAL.) name, which in no way reminds us of “Alf”, that annoying wisecracking alien who ate cats.
All of us here on the Death Star were incredibly thankful when we heard you’d made the decision not to go with “Luke”, mostly because this significantly decreases the chances of us eventually getting blown up by a Luke in the not-distant-enough future, but also because “Luke” rhymes with “puke”, which can lead to some really unfortunate bullying at school. You are incredibly wise to avoid that sort of future heartache, Natalie Portman.
But THEN we heard that that “Alef” apparently means “Oneness with God” in Hebrew. We looked up this God character of yours Natalie Portman, and although we really enjoyed his first book “The Old Testament”, it dawned on us that what you refer to as “God” in your galaxy is what we know as “the Force” in ours.
Which means you’ve actually called your child “One with the Force”. Which means he will one day become more powerful than we could possibly imagine.
WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT, BELOVED HOLLYWOOD ACADEMY AWARD WINNING ACTRESS NATALIE PORTMAN? WHY?!
We’re sure it was simply a minor oversight on your part, Natalie. Not that we’re suggesting a woman of your intellect, charm and acting ability is capable of mistakes. But even the best of us overlook things at times, like forgetting to shield a small thermal exhaust port in your otherwise impenetrable Battle Station of Doom. Err… that one’s just an example, Natalie Portman. Just forget we mentioned that, please.
You strike us as a very moral person and you’ve stated repeatedly that you’re against war, which is great, because war is a terrible thing, Natalie. And Star Wars? Urgh. Those are the WORST kind. We’re sure you have no interest whatsoever in watching your beautiful baby boy grow up, only to eventually watch him blow up more than a million probably innocent people.
So please, beloved Hollywood actress Natalie Portman, don’t bother teaching your son about the ways of the Force. Otherwise before you know it he’ll be levitating the family car and chopping all of your carefully constructed IKEA furniture in half all the time. You don’t need that kind of hassle in your life, Natalie. After all, on top of being probably the world’s best mum, you still have an incredibly successful acting career to pursue.
The Death Star PR Team.
P.S. If a bearded man in a brown bathrobe ever comes looking for you and offers to “train” Alef, just say NO. We have it on good authority that he only wants to show your son his lightsaber.
Michael Bay's Transformers: Dark of the Moon is here, bringing with it the promise of unparalleled Autobot propaganda, 36 solid minutes of things walking and/or exploding in slow motion, and enough happening on screen to make you feel like you've been molested by a giant robot having an epileptic fit, while in a blender that transforms into another, even more giant molesting robot.
In an effort to counter the Autobot spin, we recount the film and present an unbiased view of events. Be warned: spoilers and logic after the jump.