Saturday, July 07, 2007

Irrelevant Muse

There are six Star Wars movies, and two made-for-TV Ewok movies. Some purists don't count the Ewok movies as main parts of the Star Wars universe, and maybe they're not, but that debate is not why I'm here.

In filming, I pay attention to continuity. If someone cuts their right hand and when they return after the commercial it's the left hand that is bleeding, I take notice (this happened in Kindred: The Embraced, for example). I once held a flower for two hours straight for a seconds-long segment of a film because I didn't want to put it down and pick it up a different way. I notice things like that. Continuity = Believability.

The major continuity errors between the first three Star Wars films and the last three (and, let's face it, there are many and they are major) are not why I'm here either.

I'm here today to talk about Ewoks. In the true time line of things, the two Ewok movies took place after the end of the original Star Wars trilogy. Ok, we all know that movies don't have to come out in order. But, when you think about it, that is the most logical place for the events of those films to take place in the grand Star Wars timeline. The Empire was destroyed, the New Republic in full swing, and the Ewoks happily living on their moon in peace.

According to the official Star Wars timeline, the Ewok movies take place sometime between Episodes 5 and 6. Huh? Again, according to the official timeline, there's only one Star Wars year between Episodes 5 and 6. That's not the issue. The issue is a question of language.

A family of humans crash on the moon of Endor (hereafter called Endor for short), as we learn from the first Ewok movie. The humans cannot converse with the Ewoks, who speak Ewokese. We assume the humans speak Basic (the common language of the Republic/Empire. Most cultures of the galaxy can speak a native language and Basic, or just their native language. Some races lack the vocal capacity to speak Basic, like the Wookiees, but can understand it. Just as a human can learn to understand Shyriiwook, the language of Wookiees, but lack the vocal capacity to speak it. With me so far?). As the film progresses, the Ewoks pick up a few words in the human's language.

By the end of the Ewok movies, most Ewoks have an understanding of the human's language and Wicket can converse fluently with Cindel in it. This is just fine. Except, if these films took place within the one year period between Episodes 5 and 6, then the Ewoks should be able to converse with the Rebel strike team that lands on Endor before the final battle.

This is not the case. When Leia meets Wicket, they cannot communicate. Wicket attempts to speak only Ewokese to Leia, and behaves as if he's never seen a (female adult) human before. We know he has, if the timeline is correct. If Cindel had just left mere months ago, Wicket should still have been able to speak to Leia.

The official answer form George Lucas is that Cindel and her family did not speak Basic and in fact taught the Ewoks some other language. I can accept that, except it doesn't fit. This human family spoke some random language that is not even related to the one common language spoken throughout most of the galaxy and taught it to the Ewoks. This random language that is not Basic is also spoken by Noa, the Sanyassan Marauders, the Dathomirian Charal, and understood by the Teeks, but not a single person among the Rebel strike team's command crew (or the Rebels later as they went to the Ewok village to celebrate their victory) could understand it. Sorry, George, I don't buy it. Continuity = Believability.

Another timeline suggest the two Ewok movies straddle Episode 6, meaning that Wicket did not yet speak Basic (or whatever language it was that the Towani family spoke). This would also mean the Cindel and her family were there during that final battle that destroyed the last Death Star. Ok, that's fine, but why didn't they ask the Rebels to take them off-planet or help them fix their ship while they were there? Maybe they didn't trust the Rebels because they were in the Outer Rim and weren't a part of the Empire. Oh, right, they couldn't speak the same language. But everyone else on that moon could speak that language.

No, the only logical place to put those films is after the Battle of Endor, the climactic ending of Episode 6. Right where they fell in the real world.

1 comment :

Fyrecreek said...

Oh, my stars, I think I might have just made it work! All of the creatures that we see already on the moon of Endor or finding their way there (with the exceptions of the humans, who’s origins we do not know) came from some planet in the Outer Rim, including the Marauders and the Nightsister. Since the humans' planets of origin are unknown, maybe they all came from an Outer Rim planet as well, and therefore the language that they speak is some kind of Outer Rim Basic. Oh, but wait. That doesn't quite work. Because people of other Outer Rim planets can speak, or at least understand, Basic. Consider the other planets of the Outer Rim: Tatooine, Kashyyyk, Geonosis, Mustafar, Bespin, Mon Calamari, and a handful of others who are on the Basic side of the language argument. And people who we already know to speak Basic and not this mysterious other language have had missions on these Outer Rim Basic planets without a language barrier. Nope, there goes that theory. It only works if the Ewok movies are after the Original Trilogy.