in video essays, videos

Does Star Wars Take Place In Our Universe? 

Fun essay by the Cracked team, assembling evidence that Star Wars takes place in our universe.

It reminded me of this email below that we received from listener Rian on my Game of Thrones podcast A Cast of Kings. Worth keeping in mind when we watch anything that takes place “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”

David doesn’t make a big deal of it, but he keeps pointing out how they use “real-world” units of measure in this fictional medieval land. Fair enough, it is noticeable. However, he always mentions it in an almost snide wink to the writers, like he’s all-knowing, but all-forgiving of this, their minor transgression. He’s too smart to let it escape his notice but his beneficence is such that he will deign to suspend his disbelief. What’s worse is that the latest mention of it was in the context of explaining how Westeros is not medieval Earth, but an alternate universe.

In much the same way, I think he’s forgetting the fact that these folks aren’t speaking English. They’re speaking “Common,” and we are watching it from a Common-speaking POV. Perhaps he’s been spoiled by the Battlestar Galacticas of the world where we speed along someone’s dialogue and suddenly they throw us a “I’ll meet you in 15 centons” in the mix. “Whoa! You go, writers! It’s not English, it’s another language in a galaxy far, far away. You just blew my mind, dude!” But I contend that that approach is more flawed. It suggests that those folks are indeed speaking English and that if we were to suddenly materialize into that world, we’d understand everything but their units of measure.

On the Game of Thrones, it should make sense that the units they discuss are ones that we understand. It’s not that they happen to speak English. It’s that we happen to understand Common. Or, if you’d prefer, it’s as if we’re wearing universal translators. So when someone says “The Wall is 700 feet high” in Common, we’re able to understand the sentiment of the entire statement (including the relative height being described) and not a collection of the vocabulary words that happen to exist in translation. If you were a Common-to-English interpreter, and some Westerosi said “Targuna pon sanzu gabagool,” what good would it do to translate that into “The wall is 18 gabagools high”? Not too much. It’s a good thing we all speak Common.

p.s. Apologies to David. I know this comes across as more denigrating than it has to be, but it’s too much fun to take jabs at him. And that seems to be in keeping with the spirit of the show.