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Imagine Star Wars with the Internet

Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope
It's set a long, long time ago, so it's only natural that Star Wars should be technologically backward. We join the epic sci-fi saga as droids R2D2 and C3PO flee Princess Leia's beseiged spacecraft and crash-land on the desert planet of Tatooine.

Much palaver ensues before the mechanical duo are recruited by fresh-faced farmboy Luke Skywalker, whom R2D2 leads to the cave of beardie local hermit Ben Kenobi. There, the droid projects a hologrammatic message from the fugitive Princess Leia: "I have placed information vital to the survival of the Rebellion into the memory systems of this R2 unit… This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope." While Luke listens intently to the divine hologram's cry for help, his hapless aunt and uncle are being scorched by trigger-happy stormtroopers a couple of canyons away. An adventure ensues…

www.downwiththeempire.com
It might not have done, had the internet been available in that galaxy far, far away. Instead of programming her vital message into that glorified trashcan R2D2, Leia could have contacted Ben by email. A simple covering note to obi-wan.kenobi@hotmail.com, with the stolen plans for the Death Star sent as an attachment, would have saved all concerned a great deal of bother. C3PO would have been spared metal fatigue. Luke might have gone to the Academy, after all. His aunt and uncle needn't have been torched.

And Obi-Wan, to wrest the cosmos back from the Empire's dastardly clutches, could have set up a website. The World Wide Web is an invaluable resource for resistance and extremist movements. It took the rebels three long movies to defeat Vader and chums, during which time an expensively assembled base on the ice planet of Hoth was wastefully destroyed. Their money might have been better channelled into creating and promoting an online resistance cell: www.downwiththeempire.com.

Imagine this movie: The web, a notoriously difficult medium to censor, helps spread the freedom fighters' word. The popular movement which coalesces around Obi-Wan's revolutionary site has a democratic legitimacy which, in George Lucas's original, the Jedi knights and their hereditary principle shamefully lack. With handy access to bomb-construction techniques - famously available online - the cyber-rebels overthrow Emperor Palpatine and his wheezing lackey without recourse to light-sabres and with no need to collaborate with a forest-full of gurgling teddy bears. The relatively effortless result is intergalactic harmony, which the citizens of every planet in the cosmos safeguard in weekly online chats with the 'people's president' Obi-Wan Kenobi. And Han Solo, somewhere in the solar system, moons over a website that superimposes Princess Leia's head onto naked women's bodies, wondering what might have been...

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