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Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the Explain XKCD wiki!  We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between.  If it is referenced in an [http://www.xkcd.com XKCD] web comic, it should be here.
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Revision as of 05:35, 4 March 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have collaboratively explained 5 xkcd comics, and only 1764 (35280%) remain. Add yours while there's a chance!

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Go to this comic explanation

Never Seen Star Wars
If anyone calls you on any weird detail, just say it's from the Jedi Prince book series, which contains so much random incongruous stuff that even most Expanded Universe/Legends fans collectively agreed to forget about it decades ago.
Title text: If anyone calls you on any weird detail, just say it's from the Jedi Prince book series, which contains so much random incongruous stuff that even most Expanded Universe/Legends fans collectively agreed to forget about it decades ago.

Explanation

White Hat tries to start a conversation with Cueball about the Star Wars space opera film franchise, which Cueball cuts short by stating that he has never seen the movies. This deeply astonishes White Hat. Because the movies are known worldwide and are ingrained into American pop culture, White Hat considers seeing Star Wars a universal experience.

Cueball reasons that not having watched the films is the "default option", the option that applies if a person makes no explicit choice. In this case it means that if a person does not make the explicit choice to watch the films, then they remain in their initial state of not having watched them. It has been estimated that about 1 billion people, about 15% of the world's population, have seen at least one of the Star Wars movies: this means that about 85% of people alive today have, intentionally or otherwise, exercised that default option.

However, the Star Wars mythology is so frequently referenced in American popular culture that it's difficult to consume a normal media diet in the US without being exposed to enough quotes, clips, references, parodies and analogies to piece together most of the plot and major scenes of the films, even having taken no action to see them. Even without having watched it, it's reasonable that White Hat would expect Cueball to know something about the series. He is right, as it happens, since Cueball is able to recognize that "Death Star" is a Star Wars reference.

When White Hat finally begins to grasp that Cueball has indeed not seen Star Wars, he declares that they must see it very soon or even immediately. When Cueball again shows a lack of interest, White Hat seemingly calls in social reinforcements to agree with him that having watched Star Wars is the norm. Cueball feels threatened by his friend's unreasonable behavior and quickly removes himself from the situation.

Later, Ponytail likewise wishes to start a conversation about Star Wars, this time about a new movie coming out. Based on his previous experience, Cueball reconsiders admitting to not having seen the past movies, and instead pretends to be looking forward to the new one. Ponytail then tries to continue the conversation, so Cueball bluffs with an incorrect declaration that Darth Vader eats Jedi, likely constructed from other mentions of the Star Wars characters that he has overheard throughout his life. Cueball carefully chooses his words to make it seem as if he knows what he is talking about.

However, Ponytail doesn't call him out on this error, instead agreeing with it. Cueball is relieved—expressed as his thinking an onomatopoetic sigh of relief—as he believes he has guessed at an accurate piece of information and has avoided entering a similar situation to the previous one. The punchline of this part of the comic is Ponytail's identical feeling of relief, showing that she likewise hasn't seen Star Wars, is also hiding this fact, and is also glad to not be caught. It may be inferred that Ponytail thinks not starting a conversation about Star Wars might expose her as someone who doesn't follow the series closely.

The "Expanded Universe" (EU) was the term used to refer to canonical content outside of original six motion pictures, including novels, comic books, and video games, which existed in a shared continuity. After the Star Wars franchise was acquired by Disney it was announced that the "Expanded Universe" would be discontinued and rebranded as "Legends", so that the new Star Wars movies would not have to adhere to the established EU canon

The title text is a tip for people like Cueball, to help them hide deception when roped into conversations about the films. It argues that since the Jedi Prince series of novels established so many strange concepts that don't mesh with most other canon information, it makes for an excellent scapegoat to blame ill-fitting declarations on, seeing as even the most devoted, well informed fan has agreed to forget the entire series. Casually bringing up such a forgotten series might also make the bluffer out to be extremely knowledgeable about the Star Wars franchise as a whole.

This comic may be inspired by the fact that a new Star Wars movie, Rogue One, will be released into American theaters on December 16, 2016, 9 days after the publishing of the strip.

The huge pop cultural success of Star Wars means it is genuinely surprising to encounter an individual who has not seen it (at least amongst the typical audience of XKCD). The TV series How I Met Your Mother had an episode based around this premise, and there is a radio comedy chat show on BBC Radio 4 in the UK titled I've Never Seen Star Wars, in which celebrity guests try out experiences that are common to others, but new to them, as well as a television version.

Transcript

[White Hat is facing Cueball while talking to him]

White Hat: You know the scene on the Death Star where—
Cueball: Nah, I've never seen Star Wars.

[Close-up of White Hat in a smaller panel]

White Hat: WHAT.

[White Hat and Cueball are still facing each other]

White Hat: …How?!
Cueball: Uh, it was easy?
Cueball: It was literally the default option.

[Close up of Cueball, White Hat is speaking off-panel]

White Hat: But… How did you—
Cueball: Not doing things is my superpower. I'm not doing an infinite number of things as we speak!

[White Hat and Cueball are still facing each other]

White Hat: We have to watch it!
Cueball: Nah, I'm good.

[White Hat has turned away from Cueball and has his hands to his mouth to shout to people off-panel. Cueball has likewise turned away as he walks away and is speaking back over his shoulder]

White Hat: Hey everyone! This guy's never seen Star Wars!
Cueball: Listen, I gotta go.
Later…

[Ponytail is looking down at her phone in her left hand while Cueball is facing her]

Ponytail: Wait, there's a new Star Wars?
Cueball: Oh, I've nev—
Cueball: …Yeah! Excited for it! Big fan.

[Ponytail holds her phone to her side, transferred to her right hand, as she and Cueball face each other]

Ponytail: What'd you think of the last one?
Cueball: Uh… That Darth Vader, man.
Cueball: Sure does love eating Jedi.

[Ponytail and Cueball continue facing each other]

Ponytail: Haha, he sure does!
Cueball [thinking]: Phew!
Ponytail [thinking]: Phew!

Is this out of date? Clicking here will fix that.

New here?

You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • List of all comics contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links (like this) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! Here's how.

Rules

Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.) Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.

If you need assistance from an admin, feel free to leave a message on their personal discussion page. The list of admins is here.

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