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Parallel Return of the Jedi: Swamp Gas

A few decades ago, a man sat in his office and realized that film-making was a hard way to make money. If he made a really popular film, then many people would pay for their cinema tickets, and they might pay for popcorn, and an orange pop too. Money could also be made from television and advertising. But given all the trouble the man went to, his slice of the action was far too small. So he dreamed up amazing worlds that were far, far away, that were full of dashing heroes, thrilling spaceships, peculiar robots, amazing aliens, and dastardly villains. But mostly they were full of merchandise. The man would sell lots and lots of the merchandise, and he became so rich that he could do whatever he liked. He could even ruin the good films that he had made, just because he felt like it. And when he wanted to retire, he would be able to sell his production company to Disney for a cool four billion dollars, knowing his saga would go on, and on, and on. And the best part was that the Star Wars franchise perfectly complemented Disney’s “strategic focus on creating and monetizing the world’s best branded content, innovative technology and global growth to drive long-term shareholder value.” This was good news for Mark Hamill, who was hopeful of securing a cameo in the new sequel. And this was good news for me, because it meant my Star Wars parody would also go on, and on, and on. The parody is set in a universe which is more rubbish and more cynical than the one imagined by George Lucas. In other words, it is in a universe a lot more like the one that we live in. In the last installment, the Emperor had just boarded the Death Star 2.0. Meanwhile, Luke had received the tragic news that his training had been incomplete when he previously fought his dad, Darth Vader, and that the only way to complete his training would be to pick another fight with his dad.

[Luke pensively leaves Yoda for the last time, distraught at the confirmation that Vader is his father. He steps out of Yoda's hovel, and surveys the swamp that surrounds it. R2-D2 is outside, soldering some loose wiring on Luke's X-Wing.]

Luke: It’s unbelievable, R2. Vader really is my dad. And now I’ve got to fight him again! Talk about déjà vu. Next they’ll be saying there’s another Death Star to blow up. I wouldn’t mind fighting Vader again, but remember what happened last time – he cut off my hand! It was my favourite hand too, the one I used for switching the TV channel and for… and for other cool stuff.

R2-D2: Bleep-beep-whistle (translates as: “Stop complaining, they gave you a brilliant new robotic hand. What’s wrong with being part-robot? I’m all robot, you stinking chauvinistic roboticist! And if they could give you a hand, why didn’t they give me hands? Do you think it’s easy fixing spaceships when you can’t hold anything properly? I’ve got two dozen appendages but I couldn’t even hold a cup of coffee without spilling it. Did you see the mess I made, serving drinks on Jabba’s barge?”)

Luke: I’d rather have my old hand back. I don’t like to complain, but I always get these really bad rashes just here (he lifts up his glove to show to R2) at the point where the robot hand is joined to my arm.

R2-D2: Beep-whistle-bleep-bleep… (“You don’t like to complain? Pull the other one. Then how about: ‘If there’s a bright centre to the universe, you’re on the planet that it’s farthest from’? Or how about telling C-3PO he couldn’t help unless he could ‘alter time, speed up the harvest or teleport you off this rock’? Or crying when they killed your uncle Owen? Or all that hollering when they killed Obi-Wan Kenobi? Or how about that time you told Yoda that he was asking for the impossible? Or what you said…”)

Luke: …okay, okay. Now who’s complaining? (Grumpy) You just stay here. I’m going for a walk. (Luke walks away from Yoda’s hovel, whilst R2-D2 remains.)

R2-D2: Beep-toot-bleep (“You’re going for a walk in a swamp? Stupid wanker.”)

[Luke walks around the swamp, trying to keep his feet on dry ground wherever possible.]

Luke: (Talking to himself) Deep breath. (He takes a deep breath.) Walking through a swamp sure gives you a good workout, and it really strengthens the calf muscles. (He takes another deep breath.) Phew. I better stop smoking those death sticks – I’m pooped. Better head back home… now which way was it?

[Luke walks around in circles for half an hour, unable to find the route back.]

Luke: Darn it! I can’t find my way in this blasted swamp. Without Yoda in my backpack, I haven’t got a clue which way to walk. (Stops and looks around.) I can’t do it. I can’t go on alone…

[A spectral figure emerges from the swamp.]

Obi-Wan: Yoda will always be with you.

Luke: That’s a stupid thing to say. He’s not here now. (Pauses, and suddenly starts to doubt himself.) Wait, this can’t be right – I’m having a hallucination from all this swamp gas…

Obi-Wan: This is no hallucination. I’m real. Well, I’m not exactly real, but I’m real enough. And now Yoda is dead, he’s real too. I mean, he’s like me, now.

Luke: Yoda’s dead? I left him sleeping.

Obi-Wan: Yes. He died peacefully in his sleep. He didn’t die fighting. There was nobody there to witness his passing. And there were no famous last words. That’s an unusual state of affairs for a Jedi. We’re almost always fighting and speechifying at the very end. I know I was.

Luke: How do you know Yoda’s dead?

Obi-Wan: Because he told me. Look, he’s just coming now.

[The spectral image of Yoda comes towards Luke and Obi-Wan, slowing making his way through the swamp.]

Obi-Wan: Come on Yoda, do try to keep up! (To Luke) It’s not just you – he’ll always be with me too. It seems like I’m going to be stuck with Yoda for eternity.

Yoda: Old, I am. So old am I, that dead I am! (Chuckles to himself.) Hard exercise this swamp is, on the calf muscles especially. Would make you carry me, I would, if disembodied, I was not.

Luke: Yoda, is that really you? We were just talking half an hour ago, and you were alive…

Yoda: When 800 years old you are, think you will time your death for the perfect dramatic moment? I think not. Anyway, with all your questions, tired me out, you did.

Luke: So now you’re both going to follow me around, wherever I go?

Yoda: Right, that is.

Obi-Wan: Uh-huh.

Luke: Even when I’m sleeping?

Yoda: Yes.

Obi-Wan: Of course.

Luke: Even when I’m taking a crap?

Yoda: Always be with you, we will.

Obi-Wan: We’re watching out for you.

Luke: You’ll be watching even if I’m grinding out a long slow shag with a big booty girl from Orion 7?

Yoda: Especially then.

Obi-Wan: We wouldn’t want to miss that.

Luke: Great. Just great. (Aside) I’ll never masturbate again.

Obi-Wan: Don’t you have some more important questions to ask?

Luke: What, like why did you lie to me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father.

Obi-Wan: Your father was seduced by the dark side of the force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true, from a certain point of view.

Luke: From a certain point of view??? You should have had a career in politics.

Obi-Wan: Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to, depend greatly on our own point of view.

Luke: So, in a manner of speaking, the Emperor is a good man who is just bringing order back to the galaxy.

Obi-Wan: No, he’s an evil tyrant.

Luke: And I should take the job offered to me by Darth Vader, my dad, to be Vice-Emperor and to rule the galaxy with him. I’ll have my own office and a secretary too.

Obi-Wan: No, that’s not the right point of view either.

Luke: So what is the right point of view?

Obi-Wan: Mine. My point of view is right.

Yoda: No, your view, right it is not. Too sure of yourself you are. I always said that being sure of yourself was a flaw more and more common among Jedi. I told you not to train the boy! Agree with taking Anakin as your Padawan learner, I did not! I told you: grave danger, I feared in his training.

Obi-Wan: Who are you to lecture me? You were the most arrogant Jedi of them all. You said I wasn’t strong enough to fight the Emperor, so you confronted him yourself. How did that work out? You’ve been living in a swamp ever since.

Yoda: Perhaps right, you are. Maybe the job with the big office, the boy should take. The Emperor won, already has.

Obi-Wan: I don’t think so. Luke should kill his dad, then kill the Emperor. You did say he’d passed the Jedi qualification course.

Yoda: Entry-level exam only – not the advanced course.

Luke: I can’t do it, Ben.

Obi-Wan: You cannot escape your destiny. You must face Darth Vader again.

Luke: Yoda spoke of another. Why don’t you pester him to do it?

Yoda: Not him, but her. The other I spoke of, your twin sister is. Want your sister to do your fighting for you, you do?

Luke: But I have no sister.

Obi-Wan: Hmmm. To protect you both from the Emperor, you were hidden from your father when you were born.

Luke: I wasn’t hidden. I moved in with my uncle.

Obi-Wan: You were hidden in plain sight, from a certain point of view.

Luke: A certain point of view, eh? And in comparison, where was my sister hidden?

Obi-Wan: Oh, we set her up with an extremely powerful and rich family. We changed her name and she moved a long way away from your desert home planet. No, she lived in glittering palaces and wanted for nothing, surrounded by servants and tutors who attended to her every need and provided her with the finest education. She grew up to become a member of the Imperial Senate, and one day she’ll rule over her planet.

Luke: (Sarcastic) That’s great. And you let me be raised on a moisture farm. Thanks a bundle.

Obi-Wan: The Emperor knew, as I did, that if Anakin was to have any offspring, they would be a threat to him. So we split you up, using you as bait for our trap, whilst we kept your sister in reserve with the intention she’d be our top assassin. You looked like a real wuss, so it was a logical choice – we Jedi aren’t sexist, even if it seems like most of us are men. But it turned out your sister was unruly, always getting into rows with her hairdresser and spending lots of time fighting with boys she fancied. With lots of boys she fancied. Bad boys with fast hovercycles and fast spaceships, if you know what I mean. And nobody ever came to kill you, much to our surprise. So now you can teach them a lesson, by killing them instead.

Luke: Fantastic. You leave me doing farm chores on a desert planet, in the hopes of luring your enemies with the prospect of killing me? And now I have to repay you by giving up the chance to be Vice Emperor of the galaxy, and killing the two toughest guys that neither of you could kill?

Yoda: Actually, the chance to kill your father, Obi-Wan already had. Chopped his legs off, he did. Unarmed, your father was. In unbearable pain, covered in burns, he was. But too soft, Obi-Wan was. Just walked away, Obi-Wan did, leaving your father to die slowly from his burns. But die, he did not.

Obi-Wan: Like I said before, Luke’s father is dead, from a certain point of view.

Yoda: But not so dead that we don’t need to send someone to kill him again.

Luke: (Thinking) Hang on… My twin sister must be my age, and she used to be a senator, and you say she’s going to rule her planet, so she must be some kind of princess… don’t tell me, is it Leia? Leia’s my sister?

Obi-Wan: Your insight serves you well. Bury your feelings deep down, Luke.

Luke: Leia’s my sister (gulp). Bury my feelings? Too right. I’m definitely never masturbating again.

To be continued (whether you like it or not)…

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