How Star Wars proves children are morons

What’s the biggest scifi franchise of all time? How did Torchwood's Captain Jack get stranded in the present? What doesn’t Batman know? All these questions answered and more on this week’s "Postal Apocalypse"!

Hey — before we get started, I just want to clarify why I used Jake Lloyd’s picture to head up this week’s "PA." I don’t think Jake Lloyd is a moron; he’s a kid who got a bad break because of a bad script and a director who is terrible with both dialogue and actors. It's other kids who are morons — I just needed a picture that represented Star Wars and kids, and unfortunately Li’l Ani best fits the bill. Sorry, Jake! I don’t want to add to your problems!

Battle Between the Stars

Jina:

I know there is much consensus over the fact that Star Wars IV-VI is the better trilogy and that I-III is at best mediocre and at worst ridiculous, but I was wondering if that wasn't due to nostalgia? I have devised an experiment to conduct on my children (if I should ever have any) in order to find out empirically. I make one child watch Star Wars in the order most of us have seen them ( IV-VI and I-III) and the other child will watch them chronologically (I-VI. Do you think this will yield viable results? I'm curious if the special effects superiority of the latter movies will win out over Han, Luke and Leia, or if the unbelievably boring Episode II will sway my potential progeny in favor of the earlier films. Thoughts?

That’s the argument, isn’t it? Whether a generation’s love of the original trilogy and hatred of the prequels is because the prequels are actually worse, or just because we’re older, wiser, and bitterer? I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and I can certainly admit that nostalgia is clouding my judgment somewhat — the dialogue in A New Hope isn’t much better than The Phantom Menace, honestly.

But I also think that the fans’ dislike of the prequels is somewhat proof of their lesser quality, because — and I speak from personal experience here — no one wanted the prequels to be good more than Star Wars fans. I spent months trying to convince myself that The Phantom Menace was even decent, and later did the same thing with Attack of the Clones. Honestly, I think fans would have been the most forgiving of the prequels, but they were so bad we couldn’t lie to ourselves. And we tried! So, so hard! I don’t think that’s nostalgia, I think that’s because the original trilogy didn’t include a 10-year-old protagonist, poop jokes, bad puns, romantic scenes directed by George Lucas, aliens with comical accents, dialogue about sand, the heroine falling in love with the hero after he slaughters a bunch of Sand People babies, etc.

As for your experiment — well, I’m always in favor of forcing your children to be your own personal guinea pigs, but I don’t think it will work. The original trilogy just doesn’t visually match up to what kids see nowadays on TV or in movies, and when you’re young things like storytelling, dialogue and characterization don’t matter as much. Almost any kid nowadays will choose the whizz-bang graphics of the pod race over the speederbikes. That’s not wrong, per se; one of the main reasons we all fell in love with Star Wars was because it visually blew our minds back in 1977. All kids are dumb like that. Incidentally, that’s where our nostalgia kicks in, when we believe that the original trilogy is just as visually exciting as the prequels.

On the other hand, I think the reason there are so many old (and bitter) Star Wars fans out there is because the original trilogy had that great storytelling, dialogue and characterization, and that's why we've stayed fans for so long. The kids who grew up with the prequels? In 20 years, I sincerely doubt they’ll be Star Wars fans any more. And that’s why when any child says they like the prequels better than the original trilogy, you are still allowed to beat them.

Seeing Red

Sally R.:

The movie Red shows Bruce Willis stepping out of a police car as it does a 360 turn and then shooting the bad guy . Honestly I know it's Bruce but can this really be done?

Technically? Yes. Is it practically impossible? Very much yes. The car would have to be spinning at just the right speed while being propelled back so that the back-end of the car wouldn’t immediately smash into Bruce as he stepped out. Also, Bruce would have to compensate for his backwards velocity when exiting in order to stand up straight and immediately shoot bad guys. I would guess that even if you weren’t ancient like Bruce Willis, you’d need a ton of practice to even accidentally do this correctly. But technically? Possible.

Hiding in Plain Sight

Sammi:

Howdy Rob,

Really enjoy your work on the blog. Was wondering if I could ask a question regarding comic superheros..since they've got double identities, would their "normal civilian" persona display super tendencies of intuition that are noticeable and give away their status as "super?" How do they conceal the duel polarity?

How Star Wars proves children are morons

It’s just a matter of not revealing their super powers and skills. Even in a comic book world, it would be hard to imagine your friend/co-worker/spouse is a superhero, just like it’s hard for me to imagine my wife is secretly a communist spy. So even if they do something heroic, or make an impressive deductive leap, all we’d think is, “Boy! My friend/co-worker/spouse sure is a good person and/or smart!”

It really doesn’t take much to keep your cover. All Batman has to do is bang skanks, and he looks like a horrible, shallow playboy. Clark Kent just needs to be a little clumsy, and everyone thinks he’s a dork. Hal Jordan just doesn’t make a giant projection of a baseball bat using green light, and he’s all right.

Frankly, I don’t think there’s a better explanation of this the page in Grant Morrison’s All-Star Comics (above), where Clark Kent manages to save several people through sheer clumsiness. No one notices — not even the people he saves.

How Star Wars proves children are morons

The Doctor Is Out

Josh A.D.:

During one of the last times the Doctor met Captain Jack Harkness he disabled Jack's all purpose bracelet from doing time travel. So other then forcing him to stay in the present to make the show Torchwood, why did the Doctor restrict the ability of a former Time Agent? A man who comes from the future and wasn't even given the option to go back to the 51st century.

The Doctor didn’t disable it, if I recall; Jack was trying to get to Cardiff when the space-time rift there shorted out his Time Agency wrist-thingie and stuck him in the 1860s, forcing him to wait around on Earth for the Doctor to show back up. It was then that he helped found Torchwood for Queen Victoria, and was a member from the beginning until the present, when it was disbanded after “Children of Earth” because that fourth horrible Torchwood season never happened. NEVER HAPPENED I TELL YOU

Continuing Bat-Education

Graz73:

Your recent post about Batman's sexual skill got me thinking;
Batman is seemingly an expert at EVERYTHING.

Car Racing, Ninja Training, Sword Fighting, Mountain Climbing, Criminology, Chemistry, etc...

But, he only had so many years to master all of his skills, right? Weren't there some things that he never had time to learn before starting his bat-career? Deep Sea Fishing? Server Side Coding? Astrology? Feng Shui? If a new fishing themed villain called The Angler showed up, would Batman be unprepared?

So my question is: Which skills does Batman LACK?

Well, if you ask Grant Morrison, none. So yes, that means Bruce Wayne spent an afternoon learning how to be the best deep sea fisherman possible, just in case the Joker released some salmon with Smilex in them or something.

But you’re right, Batman’s time is theoretically limited. So here’s a list of things I think Batman didn’t specifically study (although he could probably fudge some of it, between his other studies and his general intelligence and aptitude):

• Basket-weaving

• Japanese animation

• Gift-wrapping

• Bicycle repair

• Frisbee golf

• Dry-cleaning

• Dolphin communication

• Cheese-making

• Fashions of the 1880s

• Anything regarding the comic strip Funky Winkerbean

Although remember, Batman is always studying, so if Gotham were suddenly host to a dolphin-themed villain, I’m sure Batman would jump right on that dolphin-speak business. At any rate, I welcome your additional suggestions in the comments.

Large and in Charge

Christopher F.:

Dear Mr. Post-Apocalyptic Postman,

i09 recently had a March Madness competition to declare the greatest SciFi franchise of all time. All fine and well. But what franchise is the biggest?

Are there more hours of Who than Trek? If you throw-in the god-awful Ewok cartoons, can Star Wars compete? And how do you weight things? Are big-screen outings better than TV (and do kids spin-off animation count equally)? And I'm mostly thinking video here (to compare apples to apples), but what about written word, expanded universes, comics, fan works? Where do you stop?

I'm thinking a collection of bar graphs to show just how dominant Trek is above BSG or B5.

What do you think?

All you really need to measure is sales. How many movie tickets, books, comics, and most especially toys and other merchandise, has the franchise sold? What's the total sum? I don’t think it’s about the sheer amount of material — sure, Doctor Who has a million episodes, but do you really think it compares to Star Trek or Star Wars in terms of overall popularity? (Hint: It doesn’t).

That said, I’d also be interested to see how the smaller scifi franchises compare to each other, but that would take infinitely more research and math than I am capable of doing.

How Star Wars proves children are morons

The Search for Cock

Marc D.:

What do you think the Star Trek into Darkness porn parody will be called? My guess is Slut Trek entered by Dorkness.

Well, I would hope for something like Whore Trek Into Anus, Tart Trek Into Penis, or even Stud Trek Into Dong-ness for the gay porn parody, but I’m pretty sure the title will be This Ain’t Star Trek Into Darkness XXX: A Porn Parody. Sigh.

Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Emailpostman@io9.com! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!