What About the Bothans?!

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Note: This is a bit of an experiment. If you want to see the spoilers, please hover over the black boxes, like on SCP and Reddit.

In 2012, Disney acquired the rights to LucasArts, and thus almost all of the Star Wars franchise. I say almost because there’s actually a good explanation as to why they haven’t remastered and re-released the “unspecialized” editions of the first three Star Wars films: They can’t. Fox actually still owns the distribution rights to the original Star Wars and will continue to do so indefinitely. So if you’re expecting a massive 4K remaster of the non-specialized editions of the original trilogy as well as.. well, let’s face it: upscaled versions of the prequel trilogy, you’re likely out of luck for the foreseeable future. Disney can redo the prequels all it wants, but there will be no going back to the OT unless you want to rely on blu-ray copies of Episode IV while V and VI are set into the impossible-to-tell 8K resolution at 60fps.

“No matter” says Disney, already controlling one of the other geekiest franchises in history: The Marvel movies that aren’t X-Men, Fantastic Four or Spider-Man. Next they’ll be buying up Wizards of the Coast, Games Workshop, Blizzard Entertainment and Star Tr- Oh wait, Paramount will never surrender that one. But first, they’re going to wear Star Wars into the ground as much as they have the Marvel Universe, and we’re going to goddamn love it. Not because it’s original or unique, but because it’s going to make them lots and lots of money, and they know juuuust how to put it all together.

Episode VII: The Force Awakens wasn’t exactly groundbreaking in cinematography, storytelling, acting, or even direction (Sorry Abrams, you’re just good at what you do, and that’s not originality), but what it is, is exactly what we were looking for after the sour taste left in our mouths from the prequels. Amidst the claims of “seen it!” and “SJW pandering Mary-Sue!” comes a massive fan enjoyment of the movie. Rotten Tomatoes has a fan rating of 89%, which is very fresh. It also has an even higher critic rating of who the hell cares because the critics don’t know the asses from a hole in the ground and will stuff their heads in either. Hell, the critics didn’t mind Ghostbusters (2016). 73%! The hell do they know? In any case, fans seem to love the movie, even if it has flaws. It’s fun to poke at something you enjoy, after all. But what could possibly follow up such a massive success? Why, ANOTHER STAR WARS MOVIE of course.  Or, y’know, Deadpool first. But that was made by the other company. I’m talking about Star Wars: Rogue One! Y’know, that Star Wars movie that had nothing to do with Luke, Han, Chewie, Lando, or… Well, everyone else is pretty well connected together. You got yer Mon Mothma, Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin, and of course, C3P0 and R2D2, since apparently them being in everything is now canon. It was exciting. It was adventurous. It was a complete diversion from the previous films, completely ignoring the Jedi in favor of a human struggle. The Rebellion was the center of this movie, and it was an excellent war movie. Really, it the best war movie in a film series called Star Wars. So, what’s probably the biggest gripe I hear about the movie? The greatest question everyone needed to ask, because it was so obvious? The question even I asked myself when I watched it? Where are the fucking Bothans?! Well, please, read on.

The plot of Rogue One follows an intrepid group of characters (with actual defining characteristics! AND QUIRKS!) on their way to thwart the Galactic Empire’s plans to take over the galaxy (OF COURSE!). Along the way, mishaps happen, gaffes are given, Alan Tudyk makes everyone else look like a fool, and Vader… does stuff that you need to see the movie for. No. Go watch it. Now. Seen it yet? OH MY GOD WASN’T THAT AWESOME?! Ahem. The plot continues on and it turns out they need to steal the plans to the Death Star. Wait a goddamn minute though! Wasn’t it said that “many Bothan spies died to recover this information”? Yes, yes it was. Mon Mothma said that in the meeting with the rebels!

This actually reveals a few things about the original movies. First, it reveals that we were thinking of the wrong fucking Death Star.  Next, it shows how poorly we remember the only other female in the galaxy who wasn’t Carrie Fisher in that loose-yet-revealing robe. Finally, it shows just how repetitive the original series actually was. Bitch and moan about Starkiller Base all you want, but unless you’re /r/iamverysmart, you thought the same thing about the Bothans. Actually, even if for a moment, you did think this. That’s understandable, too! We were never really given a real explanation for how the plans to the first Death Star were acquired, and the prequels muddied the waters even further by having it briefly mentioned as being taken back to Palpatine by Christopher Lee (I am simply not going to say his name because he was too dignified an actor for such a stupid name). We really didn’t get anything beyond “rebels got plans, they blewed it up” And here’s the kicker: Mon Mothma doesn’t appear for even a single frame in the original Star Wars.

So, yes. I’m bashing on the original Star Wars as well as its sequels. After seeing The Force Awakens, I have a personal favorite movie order that will probably make some people froth at the mouth: V, IV, VII, VI, III, II, I. THAT’S RIGHT. I put Force Awakens BEFORE JEDI. Empire’s still best, and Star Wars still makes me giddy every time I watch it, but Jedi was pretty much “Good guy rescues friends, stuff happens, mentor dies, friends rescue good guy, good guy faces bad guy, bad guy repents and kills badder guy, good guys blow up planet-killing moon, teddy bears dance”. Indiana Jones got his ass tortured in Empire, and Indiana Jones gets a poorly-made lightsaber to the chest by his own fucking son in The Force Awakens.

Ultimately, this is all about the Bothans, and how few actually died to bring us this information. A couple might have fallen into the gigantic pits that the Empire puts everywhere because OSHA doesn’t exist in space, but they were just janitors. For real this time.

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