Note: This is Part 2 of our “Filmnesia” series, following on directly from Part 1.

Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace” was that rare example of a sequel (in terms of release date – prequel in storyline) that actually manages to make the original worse. It’s not quite the most horrific example of this phenomenon (that one is dealt with in the next strip), but it’s pretty close.

The biggest problem in The Phantom Menace is the midi-chlorians. Yes, even worse than Jar Jar Binks. Worse than taking the franchise’s emphasis on action and adventure, and turning it into a dull tale of trade negotiations. Worse than building up a potentially great villain in Darth Maul, only to kill him off before the film ended. Worse than all these, because the introduction of midi-chlorians turned Luke Skywalker from Batman into Superman.

In watching Episode IV for the first time countless kids felt that they could be Luke Skywalker. The Force was sold as some mysteriously spiritual field pervading the universe. Anyone could tap into it if they were prepared to train and study hard enough. Just like anyone could be Batman, if they put in the effort. Yes, the millions of dollars of inheritance certainly helps in that case, but the core of Batman isn’t in the gadgets it’s in the man, the vigilante, who fights crime despite his lack of super powers. Anyone could be Batman, just as anyone could learn the ways of The Force.

But with the introduction of midichlorians access to The Force has become the sole domain of some genetically privileged few. You have to be born into the right lineage, and the Jedi (and Sith) go from being monastic orders available to the most devoted novices, to nepotistic public schools (what we in the UK perversely call the most non-public of private schools) open only to children of the existing old boys network. Nobody can become Superman, it’s an accident of birth. So, it now seems, are the Jedi.

Cette bande dessinée est aussi disponible en français
This comic is also available in French

Click here to download the SVG source for this comic

↓ Transcript
G1: How are things going with your 'Filmnesia' invention?

G2: I've set it up in a local cinema — they're using it tonight on a back-to-back showing of Star Wars, episodes 1 to 6

[Scene shows the inside of a cinema, with the Filmnesia logo on the screen followed by the text, "Perfoming pre-movie mind wipe…
You will forget everything about Star Wars
The force is not with you"]

G1: I went to see your Fimnesia version of Star Wars last night, but…

G2: That must have been great — finding out about Luke's father for the first time, all over again

G1: Luke? Who's Luke?
You know — Luke Skywalker

G1: I guess he must have been in one of the later films

G2: So you didn't stay for all of them?

G1: Good God no! The first one was so bad that I'm amazed they ever commissioned another five of them