The problem of Star Wars solved

A while ago I discussed the way that Star Wars, being inspired by movie serials like Flash Gordon, takes place on a very small scale: even though there’s a whole galaxy at stake, the Empire is basically one fleet, and the Rebel Alliance a smaller fleet.

However someone pointed out that, if that’s true, why are there so many different types of aliens? At the time I didn’t have an answer.

Today my girlfriend suggested that there might be a single species of alien which changes its shape.

This, I suggest, is a genre-appropriate solution. It also explains why there are so many more types of aliens in the cantina scene than anywhere else: these shape-changing aliens usually prefer to look like humans, but because they lose control when drunk they’re more likely to take on different forms.

Alternatively, it could be (GF’s suggestion) a species of alien that has a very complicated life-cycle, or (my suggestion) a Barsoom-like planet that has lots of different intelligent species.


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2 thoughts on “The problem of Star Wars solved

  1. I think you may be overthinking this a bit.

    A more likely scenario is the Empire existing as a classic despotism. A strong despot might control a very large territory with numerous vassals that owe allegiance and fear the despot’s army. However, with the defeat of that great army or the death of the despot, the empire quickly falls into chaos and disarray. Like Alexander’s empire, the Galactic Empire fragmented very quickly, with some portions of it going to the successful rebels and others falling into the hands of various generals who were fighting for the claim to succession. With both Vader and Palpatine out of the picture, the viable successors would’ve been either the remaining Moffs & Grand Admirals and, ironically, Luke & Leia.

    As for all the different aliens, you can think of them as the various greeks, middle eastern, north-african, persian and indo-chinese peoples who comprised Alexander’s empire.

    • Also, the pseudo-canonical Star Wars: TIE Fighter, which acted as a prequel to the Zahn Trilogy and covered events going on throughout the empire beginning with the fall of the Rebel Hoth base, showed that the Empire did have a lot of irons in the fire keeping various races in check and order throughout the galaxy. Not to mention rogue admirals and a military structure that was more Late Han empire than that of any sort of modern army. With the chain of command broken, I’m sure all of the peace-keeping endeavors suddenly fell apart as anyone with a star destroyer and a few fighter squadrons decided to become petty war-lords.

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