A long time ago in a galaxy not so far away… there started a saga. It was called Star Wars: Parallel Universe for it was quite like Star Wars but set in a parallel universe located half way between the imagination of George Lucas and the down to earth realities of this planet. In the last installment, which was entitled Yet More Empire Strikes Back: Parallel Universe, Han and Leia had upset Darth Vader’s tea party, and Luke was on his way to Cloud City to join them.
[Luke touches down his X-Wing at Cloud City.]
R2-D2: Beep, bleep, whistle (translates as: “why do we always have to fly towards danger?”)
Luke: (Laughs) Don’t worry R2. There won’t be any trouble. They gave us permission to land, didn’t they? That means they must be friendly. You know how hard it can be to find a parking spot in cities like this.
R2-D2: Bleep, hum-beep (translates as: “maybe so, but where do we go to get our parking validated?”)
[In the car alarm chamber, Chewbacca is wrestling and pulling at the bars on the ceiling. The repeated noise of a car alarm is driving him insane. The noise suddenly stops. Han Solo is thrown in through the door.]
Chewbacca: Growl-roar-growl (translates as: “how you feel, old buddy?”)
Han: Not too bad. They switched off the car alarm in my booth and put on some Country & Western music instead. Dolly Parton, I think the singer was called. I kinda liked it. That made them really mad so they punched me a few times and threw me in here with you.
Chewbacca: (Turns and attaches C-3PO’s head to his shoulders.) Roar-roar-roar-growl-whimper (translates as: “come, help me fix up C-3PO.”)
Han: (Sarcastic) Good idea. A protocol droid is just what we need to bust out of this joint. He can bore the guards to death.
C-3PO: (Coming to life) Oh no! I’ve been shot! Stormtroopers, here? I must warn the others. (Looks around) Oh hello. I seem to be a little disoriented.
Han: See what I mean. What’d we do without ‘3PO?
[Leia is brought in by two stormtroopers.]
Stormtrooper Guard One: Here. We thought you’d be happier if you could all have a chat with each other.
[The stormtroopers exit.]
Stormtrooper Guard Two: Putting them all in the same cell – that seems a bit soft, doesn’t it? Why didn’t we put each of them into solitary confinement?
Stormtrooper Guard One: New rules. Prisoners have the right to socialize with each other. I hear the next thing on the cards is giving them the right to make a phone and to have legal representation. The Empire’s not what it’s cracked up to be, I tell you. I didn’t shoot Jedis in the back just to safeguard the rights of rebel scum.
[Back in the prison cell.]
Leia: Why are they doing this? They made me listen to Country & Western music until my ears bled. In other words, they made me listen to Country & Western music for a minute-and-a-half.
Han: (Groans) They never even asked me any questions. Peculiar, huh? I mean the troopers got a board game out – ‘Trivial Pursuits’ – and it’s basically a general knowledge quiz. But they wouldn’t ask let me play and wouldn’t ask me a single question. I tell you, if they let me answer the questions, I’d have had a couple of pieces of pie by now.
Leia: It must be another form of torture they devised.
Han: It was torture. I don’t know what they teach at stormtrooper school, but those guys are ignorant. I could have beaten them standing on my head. Which was appropriate, as I was tied upside down to the wall at the time.
[In walks Lando.]
Han: Get out of here Lando.
Lando: That’s exactly what I plan to do. Now shut up and listen. We’re going to make a break for it, in the Falcon. (Reaches out his hand) Give me the keys.
Han: You sell me out to the Empire, then want the keys to my ship? No way!
Lando: Have it your own way. I’ll hotwire it instead.
[Stormtrooper guards enter.]
Stormtrooper Guard Two: Come on, socializing time is over. Exercise time.
C-3PO: Goodie. I could do with stretching my legs. Wait! Where are my legs?
Chewbacca: (Holds C-3PO’s legs above his head.) Growl-whimper (translates as “Sorry, I haven’t had chance to reconnect them yet.”)
[In the freezing centre.]
Lando: We only use this facility for carbon freezing. If you put him in there, you might kill him.
Darth Vader: There’s no need to worry. Carbon freezing is just what we need. Solo is a carbon-based lifeform.
[Stormtrooper guards escort the prisoners to the freezing centre.]
Stormtrooper Guard Two: Why are we taking all the prisoners out, when they’re only going to freeze one of them?
Stormtrooper Guard One: Another namby-pamby rule about their rights. Last kiss goodbye, that kind of thing.
Stormtrooper Guard Two: Well, I suppose if my friend was being frozen, I think I’d be curious to watch.
Stormtrooper Guard One: Why? You might as well watch them freeze a bag of peas.
Stormtrooper Guard Two: I think I’d rather watch peas be frozen then listen to that Country & Western music. What fiend thought that torture up?
Stormtrooper Guard One: That would be Darth Brooks.
Darth Vader: Make sure Luke Skywalker makes his way to the freezing chamber. I want to fight him there. It should make for a good test of his skills – lots of staircases and places to jump around – and after he’s defeated, we won’t have to carry him far before we put him on ice. And it’s got a great, moody, colour scheme. All deep reds and blues. Nothing like the bland industrial plant you’d expect it to be. It’s a great place to have a fight with our light sabres.
Stormtrooper Captain: How do I do that?
Darth Vader: Excuse me?
Stormtrooper Captain: How do I lead Skywalker to the freezing chamber?
Darth Vader: I don’t know, use your initiative.
[The Stormtrooper Captain tilts his head to the side.]
Darth Vader: Ah yes. You clones don’t have much initiative, do you? Leave him a note saying “your friends are being held captive in the deep freeze chamber…” And make sure there’s plenty of signs saying “this way to the freezing chamber”. That should do it.
[The prisoners are led into the freezing chamber. They are lined up on the gangway.]
Chewbacca: (Strains at his manacles) Growl-bark (translates as: “if they didn’t have me manacled, I’d knock at least two of these stormtroopers over the edge before they shot me down.”)
C-3PO: Well I’m glad they tied your hands. I don’t want them firing at you whilst I’m still strapped to your back.
Chewbacca: Bark bark (translates as: “if I got you a blaster, you could cover my rear.”)
C-3PO: And if you reattached my legs, I could run away! Anyway, if you want your rear covered, you should get into the habit of wearing pants, you fuzzball nudist.
Darth Vader: (To Solo) We’re going to stick you in the freezer. Per the new regulations, you get a kiss goodbye before we stick you in.
[Han and Darth Vader both look to Leia.]
Leia: Don’t look at me. (To Han) You had your chance earlier, when there was nobody around. I’m not making a public spectacle of myself now.
[Han and Darth Vader both look to Chewbacca.]
Chewbacca: Growl-whine (translates as: “you’re a good friend, but you’re not my type.”)
[Han and Darth Vader both look to Lando.]
Lando: (Shrugs his shoulders) Han, why must we always fight whenever we see each other? You’re my buddy. Let’s make up. (He grabs Han Solo by either side of his face, and plants a kiss on the lips.)
Han: Great. Now I’m going to have nightmares about that kiss for as long as I’m frozen.
Lando: Buddy, there’s been something I’ve been meaning to tell you for a long time. I love you.
Han: I know. I’ve always known. And I’m not too happy about it. Please, somebody freeze me before this gets any worse.
[Solo is lowered into the freeze chamber, gas rises from the chamber and then a big grabber lifts Solo out, frozen into a solid block of carbonite.]
Lando: (Hugs the block of carbonite. Tearful.) Solo, why’d you have to be so cold-hearted?
Darth Vader: Enough of that. All of you scram. I want this chamber cleaned up before Luke gets here.
Leia: Does that mean we’re all free to go?
Darth Vader: Scram. Get out of here, before I change my mind. And take that rusty bucket The Millennium Falcon with you. I’ll have to haul it to the junkyard otherwise.
[Luke follows the signs to the freezing chamber. He unexpectedly pops up into the chamber via a trick lift. As he steps off the lift platform, the chamber lights up in red and blue.]
Darth Vader: The force is with you, young Skywalker, but you are not a Jedi yet.
Luke: That’s not what it says on this certificate (holds up the certificate from Yoda’s Jedi School).
Darth Vader: How many people do you think fail Yoda’s class? The only way you can fail that class is by failing to pay the bill.
Luke: True. Becoming a Jedi did cost me an arm and a leg.
Darth Vader: (Looking at his mechanical arms and legs.) Is that some kind of a joke?
Luke: No. I didn’t mean it like that. I’m not prejudiced against disabled people.
Darth Vader: What do you mean disabled? I’m perfectly able-bodied. Look. (He does a little jig to demonstrate. As he spins on the spot, Luke kicks him in the back, hurling him off the platform.)
Luke: Maybe so, but seems to me that you’re mentally challenged.
[Luke jumps down. Darth Vader and Luke continue their fight on a narrow platform overhanging a precipitous fall.]
Darth Vader: Perfect. I love fighting in places like these. One false move and you’ll be over the edge!
Luke: I think you went over the edge long ago.
Darth Vader: You know, you shouldn’t speak to your own father like that. It’s very disrespectful.
Luke: You’re my father?
Darth Vader: Oops. I was waiting for the right moment to tell you. Now I’ve just blurted it out.
Luke: So why are you trying to kill me then?
Darth Vader: I’m not trying to kill you. I’m just trying to overpower you so I can turn you to the dark side and complete your training.
Luke: Complete my training? Would I get a certificate? Would it improve my job prospects?
Darth Vader: Of course. It is your destiny to have a top job in the Empire. You’d have your own office, a secretary and an expense account. Join me and we can rule the galaxy as father and son.
Luke: (Excited) Wow! You’re offering me the position of co-Emperor?
Darth Vader: Sub-Emperor.
Luke: That doesn’t sound so hot.
Darth Vader: Junior Emperor.
Luke: That’s not much better.
Darth Vader: How about Assistant Emperor?
Luke: Make it Vice-Emperor, and it’s a deal.
Darth Vader: Okay then. Vice-Emperor.
Luke: Great! (Offers his hand to shake.)
Darth Vader: You’ve made me a very proud father. (Vader brings his arm around and reaches for Luke’s hand. He cuts Luke’s hand off with his light sabre. Luke’s hand is sent flying, falling into the abyss.) Oh, sorry…
Luke: Nooohh! Nooohhh! You cut off my right hand. That was my favourite one.
Darth Vader: It was an accident. I forgot I was holding my light sabre. But don’t worry, we’ll get you a new hand, just like mine. (Vader waves his fingers with one hand, and points at them with the other).
Luke: I’ll look like a freak. With one gloved hand I’ll look like Michael Jackson. (Luke nearly loses his balance on the edge).
Darth Vader: Careful Luke (Vader looks down at the fall beneath). Come with me. It is the only way.
Luke: Okay. (There is a gust of wind and Luke loses his balance, falling backwards.)
Darth Vader: Luke! (Vader grabs for his right hand, but with no hand to grab, he only gets a hold of Luke’s sleeve instead).
[Luke falls, leaving his jacket in Vader’s grip.]
Darth Vader: Luke!
[Luke falls and falls, end over end, for a long time. He falls feet first into a narrow tube, and slides down and around until coming to a stop, completely unharmed.]
Luke: What a stroke! I thought I’d die for sure. I must have fallen several kilometres, but there’s not a scratch on me! Guess they’re right to call me ‘Lucky Luke’ after all.
[A trap door opens beneath Luke. He is left hanging to the underside of Cloud City by a TV antenna.]
Luke: I may have spoken too soon.
[A cloud blows past and the Falcon emerges from it, directly beneath Luke.]
Luke: Then again…
[Luke jumps down on to Falcon and climbs in through the top hatch.]
Luke: Leia, Lando, how did you know where I’d be?
Leia: How did you get on board? We’re just floating around because we can’t get the forward propulsion engines started.
Chewbacca: (Pulling out wires underneath the dashboard.) Growl (translates as: “I’ll get it started.”)
[The Falcon’s main engines fire up. They make a speedy getaway.]
Luke: Wait! We can’t leave. I had a great job offer back there. And I left my jacket behind. Come to think about it, I left my hand behind too.
Leia: Luke, that’s the dark side talking. Don’t you know the Empire’s motto is ‘Give with one hand, take the other?’
This parallel universe will return, as will the Jedi, in Return of the Jedi: Parallel Universe. But you knew that already. Your powers are strong.