In the previous installment of Star Wars: Parallel Universe, Moff Tarkin had just ordered the execution of Princess Leia aboard the Death Star. We begin this bumper-length finale to the story with our oddball band of heroes hanging out on the Millennium Falcon…
Luke: What’s the in-flight movie?
Han: Big Booty Girls of Orion 7
Luke: Is that about big booty girls from planet Orion 7, or is it the seventh in a popular series about big booty girls from across the Orion system?
Obi-Wan: Maybe we should find another way of passing the time. Here, why don’t you practice your light sabre skills? I have here a pocket robot I always carry around for just that task. (Pulls small spherical object from his robe.)
Luke: How does it work?
Obi-Wan: It flies around randomly and fires low energy shock blasts at point blank range. You have to anticipate its every move.
Luke: (Nervous) Okay, I will give it a try.
Obi-Wan: (Sits down, almost falling, looking pale) Oh dear!
Luke: Are you alright? What’s wrong?
Obi-Wan: I suddenly felt a great and sudden disturbance in the Force, as if, suddenly, millions of voices suddenly cried out in a sudden state of terror, and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.
Luke: All of a sudden? Why don’t you ask the Force pixies to tell you what happened?
Obi-Wan: I did, but could only get an engaged tone. The lines must all be busy. That tends to happen with sudden and major events. You had better get on with your exercises.
[The light sabre training robot shoots Luke repeatedly. No matter how fast he moves, he can never deflect the shots.]
Luke: Ow! Ow! Ow! This is impossible!
[The droids are playing a game with Chewbacca. It involves holographic monsters beating each other up on what looks like a circular chess board.]
R2-D2: (Moves one of his monster pieces. His monster picks up Chewie’s monster piece, swings it around his head and throws it off the board table. The monster then does a moonwalk and a victory lap around the board in celebration, waving and blowing kisses as it goes round the table. When it reaches Chewbacca, it turns its back to Chewie and pulls its pants down.) Beep Splurt Flurble (translates as: “Ha ha ha Wookie numbnuts, I forked you!”)
Chewie: Growl! Growl, growl, growl (translates as: “Can I take my move back?”)
C-3PO: He made a fair move. Screaming about it can’t help you!
[Chewie rips C-3PO’s arms out of its sockets]
C-3PO: R2! Let the wookiee win!
Luke: Hey, my dad built that robot! You put him back together right now! (Whilst Luke is distracted, the Robot trainer flies behind him and shoots him up the backside) Ow!
Han: (Laughing) Ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side.
Obi-Wan: Your eyes can deceive you. Use the Force. (Putting a helmet on Luke’s head) Let go of your conscious self, act on instinct.
Luke: Who designed this helmet? I can’t see a thing!
Han: It’s an early prototype of the ones used by Stormtroopers. You can tell from the strong plastic it’s made of.
[The training robot repeatedly shoots Luke over and over. Luke has no idea where it is.]
Han: (Laughing) Good against remotes is one thing, good against the living, that’s something else. Kid, you’re no good against nothing.
[The training robot sneaks up behind Han, trying to catch him out whilst he talks. Han spins around and blasts the robot to pieces.]
Chewie: Growl! Growl-bark-growl (translates as: “Han always shoots first”.)
[An Imperial Officer walks in on Darth Vader and Moff Tarkin in the conference chamber aboard the Death Star.]
Imperial Officer: Our scout ships have reached Dantooine. They found the remains of a rebel base but it has been deserted for some time. (Exits)
Tarkin: She lied! Princess Leia lied to us! I wasn’t expecting that.
Darth Vader: I felt she was lying, but couldn’t be sure. It’s hard to tell with a woman – they do it so well. One minute they’re happy to be carrying your baby, the next they’re flying a spaceship that’s carrying someone intent on killing you.
Tarkin: Dishonesty – will these rebels stop at nothing?
[Tarkin’s mobile phone rings. His ringtone is a midi version of the first few bars of The Imperial March: Dah-dah-dah Dah-de-dar Dah-de-dar. Tarkin answers.]
Voice on phone: A freighter has come out of lightspeed nearby. Its markings match those of a ship that blasted its way out of Mos Eisley.
Tarkin: Vader – they’re attacking with a single freighter! (To phone) Blast them!
Voice on phone: We could just capture them with our tractor beam. It uses 40% less energy than a conventional turboblaster shot, and if we capture it, we can recycle their ship for parts.
Tarkin: Tractor beam? Sounds like a mixture of agriculture and gymnastics. Okay, get them with the tractor beam.
Voice on phone: Please hold. (Phone plays Parade of the Ewoks: De-dah, de-dah, de-dah-de-dah-de-da-da, whilst Tarkin waits.) There’s no-one on board, Sir. According to the log, the crew abandoned ship right after take-off. It must be a decoy, Sir. Several of the escape pods have been jettisoned.
Tarkin: Hang on… Perhaps the ship’s logs are full of lies as well. They could still be hiding inside… a group of suicide guerillas, intent on blowing us all up. Destroy that ship this instant!
Voice on phone: Why don’t we just scan the ship to see if anybody is on it?
Tarkin: Why don’t you just destroy the ship?!?
Voice on phone: Well, it would make a helluva mess of Bay 327. The cleaning crew is only working a half day today. They’ve got mandatory training on the importance of recycling. And it turns out this is Han Solo’s ship. We can’t shoot it first. He always gets first shot.
Tarkin: Very well. Scan the ship instead. But you do it good and proper. If I find out there was anybody on board, and if they get past your scanners, I will be very upset. (Hangs up.) I tell you, Vader, discipline has gone to shit recently. This crew is more worried about the environment than they are about crushing the rebellion.
Vader: I like a clean environment. Otherwise my dust filters can get really clogged up.
[On board the Millennium Falcon, the crew climb out of their hiding places.]
Luke: That was lucky. Those stormtroopers must be really stupid.
Obi-Wan: In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck. Every time I thought they were going to find us, I distracted them by making them hear a noise over their shoulders. It never fails, you know.
Han: That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, there’s no way that… (hears a noise over his shoulder so turns around to look).
Obi-Wan: You were saying?
Han: This is ridiculous. We can’t hide in here for ever. And even if I could take off, I couldn’t get past the tractor beam.
Obi-Wan: Leave that to me. Here’s the plan. There’s a couple of guys headed this way – they’ll start scanning the ship any moment. I’ll make a noise over their shoulder to distract them, and you hit them over the head. Then you’ll call in the two stormtroopers who are guarding the hatch. I’ll make a noise over their shoulder to distract them, and you hit them over the head. We’ll basically repeat that plan until we’ve defeated them all.
R2-D2: Blurp, flirp, bing (translates as: “Come on! What kind of plan is that? Why don’t you steal some stormtrooper uniforms and try to get out of here?”)
Chewie: Bark, bark, roar, growl (translates as: “And go where? Plus I don’t think stormtrooper uniforms come in our sizes, you beeping trashcan!”)
Han: It could be a start. (Aside) At least if I was disguised as a stormtrooper then I would stand a chance of escaping.
[The two-man scanning crew haul their equipment to the Millennium Falcon.]
Scanning Trainee: At last we’re going to do some scanning. Makes a change, huh?
Scanning Supervisor: Shush. Don’t go blabbing to everyone that there’s no need for a scanning crew on this moon-sized space station with the giant ray weapon. They’re looking to make some headcount reductions around here, and I much prefer this job to the one I was doing before.
Scanning Trainee: What was that?
Scanning Supervisor: Stormtrooper Internal Affairs. I was responsible for investigating and rooting out corrupt stormtroopers.
Scanning Trainee: Wow, that sounds really glamourous. Why did you give it up for this boring job?
Scanning Supervisor: Have you ever tried to tell two stormtroopers apart? We would always be getting these civvies coming forward, accusing stormtroopers of this and that, but how were you supposed to tell which one had done what? Identity parades were a nightmare, I can tell you. Enough blabbing, let’s get this equipment inside the ship.
[They go up the ramp leading into the Millennium Falcon.]
Scanning Trainee: Did you hear something? (turns around)
Scanning Supervisor: Yeah… OOF! (is hit on head and falls to the ground).
Scanning Trainee: What the… OOF! (is hit on head and falls to the ground).
R2-D2: Beep, blurp (translates as “Two down, three-hundred and forty-two thousand and fifty-one to go.”
C-3PO: That’s a precise number.
R2-D2: Fizz, whistle (“I just looked it up on the internet. I guess their security is not that tight.”)
[The heroes escape from the Millennium Falcon and secure themselves in a small control room.]
Obi-Wan: (to R2-D2) Plug into that computer outlet. You should be able to interpret the entire Imperial network.
R2-D2: Beep, beep, whistle. (“Haven’t you heard of encryption, firewalls, network security? You make it sound like it’s so flippin’ easy.”)
Obi-Wan: Forget it. I’ll just use the Force. You lot wait here. I’ll make some noises over people’s shoulders and go shut off the combine harvester beam.
Luke: Tractor beam.
Obi-Wan: Precisely. (Exits)
Chewie: Growl, bark, growl (“That Kenobi’s a silly old bugger. I thought he was dead. Where’s a really powerful Jedi, like Yoda, when you need him? Saying that, Yoda’s too smart to risk his neck. He’s probably hiding in some swamp or something like that. And we’re stuck on the most destructive battle station in the galaxy. That’s bad news, I tell you.”)
Han: You said it, Chewie. (To Luke) Where did you dig up that old fossil?
Luke: On a desert planet. Perhaps he spent too long in the sun.
R2-D2: Whistle, whistle, whistle. (“Princess Leia is here. She’s scheduled to be executed and is currently being held in the detention block.”)
Luke: Well, let’s go straight down there, and rescue her!
Han: That’s not much of a plan. I’m staying right here.
Luke: She’s rich!
Luke: You’ll get a reward!
Han: How much?
Luke: Whatever is in my pockets right now, plus twenty-five thousand when she’s safe and home!
Han: I’m no fool.
Luke: Okay, thirty thousand when she’s safe.
Han: Deal! How much do you have on you?
Luke: Fooled you – stormtroopers don’t have pockets in their uniforms.
Han: Okay, you got me. But I still want the thirty thousand when we get her home. (Aside) I got a bad feeling about this…
[In recycling centre Beta-42, deep in the heart of the Death Star.]
Recycling Chief: Look at this great big pile we’ve got to sort out. There are literally hundreds of old stormtrooper uniforms in this pile.
Recycling Hand: It’ll take us all day just to sort them from the rest of the plastics.
Recycling Chief: It’s all the fault of quality control at the cloning plant. Stormtroopers used to all conform to the same dimensions, but now they come out all sorts of shapes and sizes. Half of them are wearing uniforms that don’t fit properly.
Recycling Hand: We saw this one stormtrooper the other day, you should have been there, it was hilarious. He was a tall fella, and he was walking through this door and – crack! – he banged his head on the arch! Then he tried to pretend nothing had happened! Me and the lads had a good giggle about that, I tell you.
Recycling Chief: It’s these helmets (holding a stormtrooper helmet up). They can’t see anything out of them.
[In turn, Princess Leia, Chewie, Luke and finally Han slide out of a chute, landing on top of the recycling pile.]
Recycling Chief: Hey, hey! What do you think you lot are playing at? This is a recycling centre, not an amusement park! That chute is for plastics, not bodies! Especially not live ones!
Recycling Hand: Yeah, this is recycling station Beta-42. Bodypart recycling is over at station Delta-17.
Recycling Chief: Get down from that pile of plastics right now!
Luke: Sorry, I think we took a wrong turn.
Recycling Chief: You’d better get out of here quick sharp, before we all get into trouble!
[The heroes climb down from the pile of plastics and make their way out, saying sorry as they go.]
Luke: Can we leave these uniforms here? They really chafe.
Recycling Chief: Go on, sling ’em on the pile. But make it fast.
[Luke and Han ditch their stormtrooper uniforms. They exit with Leia and Chewie.]
Recycling Chief: You see what I mean? Did you see how short and scrawny that young stormtrooper was? Poor quality control, I tell you.
[A long tentacle is seen writhing through the pile of plastics.]
Recycling Hand: There’s something alive in there!
Recycling Chief: Don’t panic. It’s Dino, our recycling cephalopod. (To Dino) Caught you sleeping on the job again, haven’t we?
[Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie are making their way back to the Millennium Falcon. As they turn a corner, they are surprised by eight stormtroopers.]
Stormtrooper Sergeant: It’s them – blast them!
[Han shots the Sergeant.]
Stormtrooper Private 1: It’s Han Solo – run for it! (They turn and flee).
Stormtrooper Private 2: (Whilst running away) This isn’t like us. Normally we can’t wait to dive into the line of fire. There’s seven of us, and only one of him, and we’re protected by strong plastic armour. Why don’t we stop and fight?
Stormtrooper Private 1: Haven’t you heard of Han Solo? Everybody knows he always shoots first.
[They turn a corner, where dozens of stormtroopers lie in wait.]
Stormtrooper Private 1: Where have you guys been? I don’t remember seeing so many of you last time I was here.
Stormtrooper Corporal: We’re a new batch. Fresh out of the cloning plants.
[Han turns the corner, and is confronted by the new batch of Stormtroopers. The new stormtroopers all fire upon him simultaneously.]
Han: (Turning and heading back where he came) It looks like the end for that running gag.
Stormtrooper Private 1: How can you fire on Han Solo first, don’t you know who he is?
Stormtrooper Corporal: Like I said, we’re a new batch – a special addition.
Stormtrooper Private 1: (Aside) I think I preferred things the old way.
[Obi-Wan encounters Vader. He makes a noise to distract Vader, but Vader isn’t fooled.]
Vader: Your powers are weak, old man.
Obi-Wan: They worked well enough on everyone else round here.
[They parry their light sabres.]
Vader: The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the master.
Obi-Wan: Only a master of evil, Darth.
Vader: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
Obi-Wan: You can’t win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
Vader: Powerful enough to stop people from dying?
Obi-Wan: No. Not that powerful.
Vader: Well, I can imagine being that powerful.
Obi-Wan: You’ve spent twenty years looking for that power. Have you made any progress?
Vader: Not really. When I cut flowers from my garden, they tend to last a lot longer. But on the whole, the experiment has been a failure.
Obi-Wan: Give up the dark side, Darth. You were once good.
Vader: No. I’m too set in my ways to change now. And the Empire will give me a very generous pension when I retire. It is a non-contributory final salary scheme. Can the rebel alliance match that?
Obi-Wan: I wish! Can’t you see what rags I’m reduced to wearing? (Starts crying). When I was a young lad, they said that becoming a Jedi would bring a lifetime of security. But look at me now. I’m an old man, living in a tiny hovel on a barren world, with no friends or family around me. To add to the indignity, I am plagued by sandmen. They keep knocking on my door, and each time I go to answer, they’ve run away. It’s no way for a Jedi to live.
Vader: Yes, and look at me. Shiny suits, the latest fancy spaceships, any woman I want. And all this time, whilst I have been cavorting all over the galaxy, you’ve been keeping an eye on my son for me.
Obi-Wan: You know about Luke?
Vader: Of course. I just pretended I didn’t in case I got stung for child support. Did you give him my light sabre, like I asked?
Obi-Wan: Yes I did. Now do me a favour, old friend. (Holds up his light sabre.) Put me out of my misery.
Vader: Of course, old chum. (Strikes Obi-Wan with the light sabre. Obi-Wan disappears.)
[Luke is looking on from afar as the others sneak on to the Millennium Falcon.]
Luke: (Screams) No!
[Stormtroopers turn around and see the heroes. They open fire.]
Obi-Wan’s disembodied voice: Luke, you silly boy. You were nearly away and clear. Run, Luke, run!
[The Millennium Falcon has fought its way past the TIE fighters and jumped into hyperspace.]
Han: Not a bad bit of rescuing, huh? You know sometimes I amaze even myself.
Leia: This ship is amazing. Amazingly old. What was it called when they first made it? The Falcon? They let us go. It’s the only explanation for the ease of our escape.
Han: Easy? You call that easy?
Leia: They’re tracking us. We should dump the ship and switch to another.
Han: Dump my ship? No way!
Leia: I’m just saying we should switch ships en route. Otherwise we’ll lead them right back to our rebel base.
Han: Okay, you give me my money now, sister, and I’ll let you off at the next habitable planet. Deal?
Leia: I’m a Princess. I don’t carry a purse.
Han: Then I’m taking you to the rebel base – and I had better get paid when we arrive. And you can also forget about the agreed fare. This one’s going on the meter (points at a taxi meter, clicking up every light-year).
[At the rebel base on Yavin 4, Han and Chewie are loading their reward – boxes of money – on to the Millennium Falcon.]
Han: (to Chewie) Good tippers, huh? It’s funny they didn’t have any notes, though. Loading all this small change is giving me a bad back.
[Luke walks up to Han.]
Luke: You got your reward and just leaving then?
Han: Yup. I don’t fancy your chances, taking on a battle station powerful enough to destroy whole planets. But maybe I could be persuaded.
Luke: Great! The Death Star came out of light-speed too soon and now we have half an hour to fly out in our little fighters, get up real close, and shoot a torpedo down a tiny exhaust vent.
Han: On second thoughts, I’m getting the hell out of here.
[Luke is flying towards the exhaust port in his X-wing. He is adjusting his targeting computer.]
Obi-Wan’s disembodied voice: Use the Force, Luke. Trust me.
[Luke switches off his targeting computer.]
[Back at the command centre on the rebel base.]
Rebel Ops Commander: They’ll be in range in 30 seconds. Looks like we’re goners.
Rebel Ops Co-ordinator: He switched off his targeting computer.
Rebel Ops Commander: (Shouting) What the F@*K! (Speaks into his radio. Assumes a calm voice.) Luke, you switched off your targeting computer. What’s wrong?
Luke: Nothing. I’m alright.
Rebel Ops Commander: (Switches radio off). Well, that’s just hunky dory then. He’s alright. What about the rest of us? We’re doomed.
[Vader’s TIE fighter has almost caught Luke]
Vader: I have you now.
Rebel Ops Co-ordinator: They’re in range.
Rebel Ops Commander: I always loved you. I just never had the chance to say it before.
Rebel Ops Co-ordinator: I know. It would have got in the way of work.
Rebel Ops Commander: If we had met under different circumstances, who knows what might have been?
[Han and the Millennium Falcon blast one of the two TIE fighters supporting Vader.]
[The other TIE fighter panics and clips Vader’s, destroying itself and throwing Vader’s clear of the Death Star.]
Luke: Han, why’d you come back?
Han: I just remembered. Those guys shot at me FIRST! I can’t allow that to happen again. You’re all clear kid, now let’s blow this thing and go home.
[The Death Star’s Chief Gunner is just completing preparations to fire on Yavin 4.]
Chief Gunner: At last, we can use this weapon in anger!
Assistant Gunner: Standby…
Chief Gunner: What’s the hold up?
Assistant Gunner: Yavin 4 is covered in rainforest.
Chief Gunner: So?
Assistant Gunner: It’s part of the Imperial carbon offsetting program. If we destroy Yavin 4, it’ll blow a hole in our neutral emissions target.
Chief Gunner: This isn’t the time to discuss this. We’d better get on with it.
[Luke launches his torpedoes]
Assistant Gunner: Too late!
[Death Star explodes]
Han: Great shot, kid. That was one in a million. (Switches radio off and turns to Chewie) And thanks to that new on-line gambling service, odds of a-million-to-one means we’re rich!
Chewie: Growl. (Translates as: “I thought you were mad betting our reward money against the Empire, but I’m mighty glad you did!”)
[In the shiny new offices of the Tatooine On-Line Gambling Corporation]
Chief Jawa: Looks like it’s back to selling second-hand droids for us. We’ve been wiped out.
Jawa 2: I told you we should never have offered those odds. I mean, a-million-to-one?
Chief Jawa: (Shrugs shoulders) You live and learn.
Obi-Wan’s disembodied voice: Remember, the Force will be with you, always
Luke: Are you going to keep doing that?
Obi-Wan’s voice: Doing what?
Luke: Distracting me at crucial moments. You almost made me miss.
Obi-Wan’s voice: I thought I was being helpful and encouraging.
Luke: “Trust the Force” – okay, I got it. Now go away, it’s creepy talking to a dead man.
Obi-Wan’s voice: Sorry. I didn’t know you felt like that. But I suppose you’re right. You go enjoy yourself with all your living friends. (Mutters) Some thanks I get. I suppose they’ll give him a medal for this.
Rebel Ops Commander: So what do we do now?
Rebel Ops Co-ordinator: Well, let’s go to this medal ceremony they’re planning, and maybe we could go out for a drink afterwards?
Rebel Ops Commander: Great!
Rebel Ops Co-ordinator: Just a drink, mind. I want to take things slowly.
Rebel Ops Commander: That’s okay with me, but have you heard where we’re moving the base to? Baby, it’s gonna be cold outside.
[The Rebel Alliance is assembled for an award ceremony. In walks Luke, in a yellow jacket, Han, in a waistcoat, and Chewie, in his usual state of undress.]
Rebel Ops Commander: (Standing in the ranks, whispering to the Ops Co-ordinator) Hey, I thought this was strictly a uniform-only occasion.
Rebel Ops Co-ordinator: So did I. Where did he get that awful yellow jacket from?
Chewie: (Hearing mutterings in the ranks as he walks to the stage) Growl (“Shut it!”)
[Luke and Han get their medals from Princess Leia. A clean and sparkling R2-D2 enters from the side of the stage.]
R2-D2: Beep, whistle, bleep, bleep (“Where’s my bloody medal? I was the one who carried those flippin’ Death Star plans all this time!”)
[Luke and Han turn to face the amassed ranks in the auditorium, proudly showing their medals. Chewie, stood to one side, also turns.]
Chewie: Growl-bark. (“And you can shut it too, trashcan. I didn’t get no medal neither. Typical human chauvinists.”)
[Round of applause from the ranks. It slowly dies away, and the heroes on the stage start turning to one another, wondering what to do next.]
Rebel Ops Commander: That was quite an anti-climax. I was expecting some fireworks or a band or something.
Rebel Ops Co-ordinator: Yeah. I think they’re going to put on a buffet, but let’s not stay any longer than we have to.
It may be the end for now, but like George Lucas, you can assume I will keep coming back for more – way past the point I should have stopped. Stay tuned for the inevitable unleashing of The Empire Strikes Back: Parallel Universe.