A fair while ago, in a place quite far away (unless you live there, in which case it is not far at all) there was a talented young film director, a carpenter, a junkie, and a guy who was so nice and dull that I cannot think of anything else to write about him. The talented young film director made a popular movie about teenagers coming of age, called American Graffiti. Flushed with success, he decided to cast the carpenter, junkie and the dull guy in a space epic where people shoot lasers instead of bullets and they use ‘The Force’ instead of doing proper magic. It was an even bigger success that his teen comedy-drama and the film became so famous that I can still parody its second sequel today, safe in the knowledge that you probably know what I am talking about.
In the last installment of Parallel Return of the Jedi the droids had entered Jabba’s palace…
[In the main audience chamber of Jabba’s palace, R2-D2 and C-3PO are presented to Jabba himself.]
C-3PO: The message, R2, the message…
[R2-D2 starts playing a holographic video of Luke Skywalker.]
Video of Skywalker: (Stands serenely and smiles as he talks) Greetings, exalted one. You probably don’t remember me but I’m Luke Skywalker. When I was a lad I used to deliver your newspaper every morning. Each year, on Boonta’s Eve, you’d give me a big tip, for which I’m still grateful. I didn’t just deliver newspapers… I remember some of those ‘exotic’ magazines you subscribed to. I’m glad to say I didn’t have a clue what was taking place in some of those photos, but they still made my eyes pop out. I’m no longer a paperboy. In fact, a lot’s happened to me since those days. For instance, I’m a Jedi Knight, which is pretty cool and sure beats farming moisture. I also destroyed a massive space station with my eyes closed. My new work takes me to all sorts of worlds, but I do sometimes pop back to Tatooine to visit the graves of my family. Maybe next time I’m back, we’ll get the chance to catch up in person. (Pauses) Well, anyhow, as you can see, I’m all grown up now and after the generosity you showed me as a boy, I would like to ask you for one last favour. I’m mates with Captain Solo, who is your favourite wall ornament. You probably don’t realize it, but you’ve started a new craze in interior decoration. These days, everybody has a replica Solo-frozen-in-carbonite hanging in their living room. They’re really rather tacky. I know you like to keep one step ahead of fashion, so if you’d like, I’ll take this Solo off your hands. Just pop him in the same taxi that dropped off these two droids. It should still be waiting outside. And if you like, keep the droids. They’re old and crap. Have them as a token of my gratitude.
Jabba: (Laughs and turns to his right hand man, Bib Fortuna) Good joke, Fortuna! You nearly had me going there! The idea of these droids being gifts! Ha ha ha. The small one looks like he was built before the Clone Wars, and that gold one could have been made from one of those kits that you assemble at home. Ha ha. Good joke, Fortuna.
Bib Fortuna: (Shrugs) These droids look like they fell off the back of a Jawa’s sandcrawler. But this isn’t my doing, sir.
Jabba: (Stunned) How strange. Then this offer must be for real. I don’t remember any paperboy.
Bib Fortuna: I remember him. He was always mixing up the deliveries. The woman in the next palace over was always getting your… ahem… magazines, and she kept making such a fuss about it. He wasn’t much of a paperboy, and he’s no Jedi!
C-3PO: (Panicked) This can’t be. R2, you’re playing the wrong message.
R2-D2: Beep, hum, beep (translates as: “Sh*t! You’re right… here’s the message I should have played.”)
Video of Skywalker: I know that you are powerful Jabba, and that your anger with Solo must be equally powerful. With your wisdom, I’m sure we can work out an arrangement that will be mutually beneficial, and enable us to avoid any unpleasant confrontation. Or, if you prefer, (suddenly raises voice, leans forward and starts shaking his fist angrily) I can come over there and kick you ass! For a start, I’m a fully qualified Jedi Knight (holds up certificiate as proof) from the Yoda Advanced School of Jedi Arts and Auto Repair….
Bib Fortuna: Okay, so I was wrong. He is a Jedi. I thought the Jedi were extinct. That’ll teach me to believe what they write in Wookiepeida.
Video of Skywalker: … and if that isn’t enough, let me tell you, I’ve got really powerful friends. I’m well in with the leaders of the Rebel Alliance, and my dad’s Darth Vader, and he offered me the job of running the Empire with him, so don’t make me send my dad over there or you’ll be really sorry! (Wags finger).
Jabba: (Perplexed) I don’t know whether to take this seriously or not. But keep the droids. Maybe you could stick a drinks tray on top of the short one, and use it as a moving side table.
Bib Fortuna: Yeah. And I’d better tell that taxi not to wait any longer.
[As Bib Fortuna motions to leave, a short Bounty Hunter wearing a daft helmet comes in. The Bounty Hunter is leading Chewbacca on a chain.]
Short Bounty Hunter: I have come for the bounty on this Wookiee.
Jabba: Is this Moralan Fool’s Day? First those two crappy robots and now a midget bounty hunter?
Bib Fortuna: (Dismissive) Excuse me. We’ve had enough pranks for today.
Short Bounty Hunter: You think this is a joke? Look! I’ve got a thermal detonator!! (Holds up a silvery object with flashing lights).
[Jabba and everyone else roars with laughter.]
Jabba: Ho ho ho. Hilarious. You’re my kind of light entertainment scum. Fearlessly and inventively stupid. First you expect us to believe a tiny midget has overpowered the massive Chewbacca, and now you show me a plastic ball with flashing flights and expect us to believe it’s a bomb!!! Ho ho ho. It looks more like a Christmas decoration.
Bib Fortuna: (To bounty hunter) You stupid fool. Do you think we let people into Jabba’s palace without scanning for bombs? (Turns to Jabba) Look at the slight frame of this bounty hunter. I bet it’s a girl. (To bounty hunter) Take off that ridiculous helmet, immediately!
[Two Gamorrean guards grab the bounty hunter from behind, and pull off her mask, revealing her to be Princess Leia.]
Bib Fortuna: See, sir. I told you she was a girl.
Jabba: It’s Princess Leia Organa. We can ransom her for a lot of money.
Bib Fortuna: Shall we cut off an ear and send it to her family?
Jabba: No. Just stick her in a gold bikini, take videos of her dancing around and stick them on YouTube. That should be sufficiently degrading to show them we mean business.
Bib Fortuna: And what should we do with Chewbacca?
Jabba: Put him in a holding cell with that other guy we captured earlier… what was his name?
Bib Fortuna: Lando.
Jabba: Yes, Lando. Stick Chewbacca in the dungeon with Lando and these two droids too. These morons keep coming in waves. (Pauses) In fact, stick old frozen chops (points at Carbonite Solo) in the dungeon too. There’s bound to be more fools where this lot came from. We can expect that paperboy to come on a rescue mission for sure. In fact, he’ll probably come along later tonight. Let’s lay in wait for him… (evil laugh).
[It is night in the main audience chamber of Jabba’s palace. Only the faintest glimmer of light filters through from the corridor behind. Luke Skywalker stealthily creeps across the floor, following his senses and looking for signs of where his friends are being held captive. He strides gently – right, then left, then right… then falls straight down the trap door into the pit of the giant and deadly rancor beast.]
Jabba: (Hiding behind a curtain, disturbed from his sleep) Fortuna – did you hear something? Fortuna!
Bib Fortuna: (Woken by Jabba) Sorry sir, what was that?
Jabba: I thought I heard something.
[The rancor beast cries out.]
Jabba: I knew it! Quick, switch on the lights.
[The lights come on and they move into position to look into the rancor’s pit.]
Jabba: (Looking down) What’s happening? Why isn’t my rancor moving?
Bib Fortuna: Sir, I think the paperboy fell directly on to his head. He must have knocked him out cold.
Jabba: I’ve really had it with these fools. It must be nearly sunrise. Let’s take the whole lot of them to the Dune Sea and chuck them into Sarlacc.
[Jabba’s sail barge glides across the sands of Tatooine’s Dune Sea, with a skiff to either side. Jabba and Bib Fortuna are on the middle deck of the barge. Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, R2, 3PO, Lando and Solo – still frozen in carbonite – are being carried on one of the skiffs. They pull up to the Great Pit of Carkoon, the hole that is the home of Sarlacc.]
Bib Fortuna: Victims of the almighty Sarlacc, his excellency hopes that you will die honourably, but should any of you wish to beg for mercy…
Jabba: Never mind all that. Just put them in.
[The guards on the skiff start shifting Carbonite Solo to the skiff’s edge, directly above Sarlacc’s mouth. As they do, a bright yellow and industrial-looking sand barge pulls up alongside. The yellow sand barge is carrying a foreman and his team.]
Foreman: Mornin’. You lot are up early, aren’t ya?
Skiff guard: Get out of the way. We’re throwing this lot in.
Foreman: I can’t allow you to do that. Not today, anyway. Didn’t you see the notice? (Points at a placard sticking out of the sand. It is covered in writing too small to make out at a distance.)
Skiff guard: No. What does it say?
Jabba: (Impatient, shouting at the foreman) What’s the hold up?
Foreman: If you’d read the sign, you’d have seen that Sarlacc is closed today for essential maintenance work.
Jabba: Essential maintenance work?
Foreman: That’s right. Unsuspecting jawas, banthas and other creatures just come stumbling along, and keep falling right into his mouth. It would’ve starved to death long ago, otherwise. So today we’re putting up some fences to protect the people and wildlife.
Jabba: Look, we’ll just quickly throw this lot in, and then leave you in peace.
Foreman: I’m sorry sir, rules is rules. Health and safety takes priority. We can’t allow you to throw anyone in whilst we’re working on these safety rails. If you missed, they might hit one of our guys, and we wouldn’t want that.
Jabba: But it won’t take a minute.
Foreman: Sorry sir, the signs says no dumping from 0700 hours and I make it 07.03 right now. You’ll just have to come back tomorrow.
[A white skiff pulls up. A pair of workmen are inside.]
Workman: What’s going on here, then? We need to put these signs up.
Foreman: What do they say?
Workman: “No unauthorized dumping.” The council’s started fining anyone throwing their garbage into our friend Mr. Sarlacc.
Foreman: (Turns to Jabba on his sail barge) Sounds like you’re right out of luck!
C-3PO: I resent being called ‘garbage’.
Luke: (Whispering, angry) Shut up, will you? This could be our way out of here.
Jabba: This is an outrage!
[As Jabba fumes, an inflatable rubber skiff flies up at high speed. On board are a collection of scruffily-dressed protesters.]
Protester: You said it brother!! This is an outrage!!
Foreman: Now who in blazes are you? We’ll never get started at this rate.
Protester: The Sarlacc is a wild animal and you’ve no right to starve it to death! Let the Sarlacc live free, in peace with nature!
Foreman: Are you serious? This thing digests anyone unlucky enough to fall into it over the space of a thousand years. And you want to feed it?
Protester: It’s a living creature and the Sarlacci are an endangered species. We can’t allow them to become extinct, like the dodo, or the Jedi.
Luke: Actually, I’m a Jedi.
Protester: Really? I thought the Jedi were extinct. Cuh, you just can’t trust what you read on Wookiepedia.
Workman: Just let us put up this sign and we’ll be off.
Protester: No!! What you call dumping, we call feeding!! (Starts a chant with her fellow protesters) Feed the Sarlacc now, feed the Sarlacc now…
Jabba: (Joins in with the chant.) Feed the Sarlacc now, feed the Sarlacc now…
[The skiff guard sees his chance and pushes Carbonite Solo into the Sarlacc. The Sarlacc swallows Carbonite Solo and burps loudly.]
Protester: Hey, hey, hey!!! What do you think you’re doing?
Skiff guard: You just said to feed the Sarlacc.
Foreman: That is what you said.
Protester: The Sarlacc can’t digest a solid lump of carbonite like that. It eats living, organic material.
Skiff guard: (Grabs Lando by the sleeve and pushes him to the front) You mean like this guy here?
Lando: Hey! Doesn’t anyone care what I think about that idea?
[The Sarlacc starts making strange noises.]
Protester: Oh, the poor Sarlacc sounds poorly.
[The Sarlacc noises get louder. The sand around it starts to visibly shake.]
C-3PO: What’s it doing, R2?
R2-D2: Beep, whistle, bleep (translates as: “I think it’s about to be sick”)
[The Sarlacc spits Carbonite Solo out at high speed. Carbonite Solo flies straight into Jabba’s sail barge, causing it to explode and obliterating everyone on board.]
Protester: Phew. That’s a relief. It looks like the Sarlacc will be fine after all.
Skiff guard: But that’s us out of a job. Jabba didn’t pay well, but we were all on a final salary pension scheme.
R2-D2: Beep, bleep (translates as: “He’s okay. I can detect him on my sensors. He’s still frozen solid as a rock. Let’s go dig him out.”)
Lando: I always joked that Han was a stone cold killer, but this is ridiculous.