More Entirely Unasked For Thoughts On Star Wars #3
I’m well aware that none of you are particularly clamoring for this, but I’m having fun and–like my gymnastics coach used to tell me before taking me on camping trips I have weirdly blocked out of my memory–the only thing that matters is that I enjoy myself. I’m special.
We continue our tour of the Star Wars Universe vehicles with the non-military ships and speeders, except for the first one because I forgot to do it yesterday.
Snowspeeders, seen in the Battle of Hoth sequence in Empire, are best not thought about. Their origami creases and honking-big laser cannons are visually striking, and the rear-facing pilot is both cool and the least gay way you can arrange two dudes. Any attention paid to them beyond “cool ship,” though, reveals that these are the single dumbest thing in a universe full of dumb bullshit.
First, when Luke is missing, Han is told that there is trouble “adapting the ‘speeders to the cold.” This is nonsensical in many ways, the most obvious of which being that the things are named “Snowspeeders.” One hates to be cliched, but the phrase “You had one job” springs to mind. Were these ships named after their inventor, Frank Snowspeeder?
And even if we assume that Snowspeeders do, indeed, work in the cold, but that it is so cold on Hoth as to exceed specs: shouldn’t this have been taken care of already? Preferably before arriving.
“What’s Hoth like?”
“You never been?”
“Ice planet of Hoth.”
“I thought it was nice planet of Hoth.”
“You know: just a real chill place. Affordable and friendly. Good weather. Nice place to be.”
“Oh, shit, no: exact opposite. Billion degrees below zero and everything that lives there is a monster.”
“Shouldn’t we make sure that speeders can handle the cold, then? Maybe send a probe or two to the planet, calculate the average temperature, and then upgrade our equipment to handle it? And, you know: do it before we get there?”
“That does make sense.”
“Yeah. Otherwise, we might be reduced to patrolling on the back of space-horses and getting eaten by space ‘squatch.”
“Good points all.”
SECOND, the rear-facing gunner makes just as little sense. There’s no gun in the back, just the harpoon they used to trip up the AT-ATs. Is that his whole job? How many things could possibly need mid-air, high-speed harpooning on the Ice Planet of Hoth? Are there snow-whales? Is the Rebellion hunting snow-whales?
From a planet with one climate (cold) to another with one climate (dry), we go to Luke’s landspeeder.
Luke’s landspeeder was a taste of Mos Eisley and the cantina to come: it was the miraculous treated as commonplace, dinged and dingy and in need of a wash. I might not put my head so close to a space-turbine, but Luke makes his own choices.
It was one of the first vehicles turned into a children’s toy, along with the X-Wing and TIE Fighter, and it was an excellent one.
The little button in front made the hood pop open with a satisfying spring, and the gearshift raised and lowered the wheels; you could push it along or swoop it around. (In the SWU, spaceships have gearshifts.) The back of the seats also had footpegs on them so you could put Threepio and Artoo in the back. They had to sit in the back because they were droids and therefore not good enough to sit with “Massa” Luke.
Please don’t start this again.
JUSTICE FOR R5-D4!
I’m begging you to be normal. Just show the nice people Boba Fett’s ship.
This is Boba Fett’s ships, which he named Slave I; presumably Orphan Slapper II and the UNS Bill Cosby’s Undivided Attention were taken. Much like Boba, Slave I didn’t do a lot, but it looked cool and that’s what matters. It was also a spaceship painted in camouflage colors, which is so hilarious that I can’t even.
It was a great toy, though:
The Kenner folks knew their audience and on the underside of the ship was a handle to facilitate swooping and thrushing around the basement making spaceship noises with your mouth or butt; you could also press the trigger on the handle, which made the wings swivel.
Plus, the Slave I toy was the only place to get Frozen-in-Carbonite Han: the in-scale slab of Corellian goodness slid into little notches in the ship, or you could prop it up near Jabba (Hutts sold separately).
Speaking of Han, we come to our headliner:
In all her fat-assed glory, the Millennium Falcon started life as a YT-1300 Light Freighter from the Corellian shipyards. She was heavily-modified, and able to do .5 past light-speed, and also change units of time into distance and vice versa.
You know Han ain’t braggin’: she’s a space-pussy wagon.
Beautiful from every angle:
And despite the fact that, for a freighter, it didn’t seem big enough to carry the amount of stuff “freighting” entails; and the fact the maybe a glass cockpit outside the hull isn’t the safest of ideas; and that you were always getting dead mynocks and womp rats caught in that middle scoop-thing: it was the coolest ship in the galaxy, with the best name, and awesomest crew.
It was fast and everything a boy from Jersey could want from the world.
I had one, of course; still do, on a bookshelf I can always see.
Please stop bullying an advertisement from 1979.
The toy version came out in 1979 and retailed for $29.99, which is a hundred bucks in today’s money and all of us of a certain age should now go call our parents and thank them for buying us overpriced plastic bullshit like this, and then thank them again for only vacuuming up some of the accessories.
The Falcon came with a bunch of stuff that disappeared by December 28th into dogs’ stomachs, or under couches, or into the magic fanny pack of Shar’kent Vi’stagio, who is the God of Lost Toy Accessories. (Shar’kent drew the shortest straw you’ve ever seen when the Gods were dividing up responsibilities.)
The tiny ball on the flimsy string may or may not have only existed in photographs: I certainly do not recall playing with it. The longest one of those things was kept by a child was five months, by Josh Feinstein of Massapequa, Long Island, in 1982. Congratulations, Josh.
Pss pss pss pss.
I have been informed that Josh was eaten by polar bears in 1997. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Josh’s family.
The panel of floor directly under the ball that got lost immediately also got lost immediately: it was a “smuggler’s hatch” and you could put figures in there and recreate the scene where our heroes effectively hide from Imperial scanner via a strategy that might be generously described as “ducking into the other room.”
The holo-chess table was also a separate piece and so were the landing ramp struts: it was important to keep these things or your once proud fleet would start looking a bit ratchet. If you lost the radar dish, you might as well put the ship up on Lego blocks in the front yard.
It made a battle alert sound and the front landing gear doubled as a handle: you could hold on and rest the Falcon‘s prodigious buttocks on your forearm like you were a waiter at a restaurant that served fat asses and you could hit hyperspace if you tried hard enough.