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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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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 sci-fi 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". In other words, humans are not born with intrinsic knowledge of the series. In fact, Star Wars was started very recently on the scale of human existence, so the majority of people ever to exist were never able to watch it. As for why he has not watched Star Wars despite being fully able to do so, Cueball goes on to say that not doing most given things is easy, appealing to his own apparent laziness. Another possible reason is that, while it is hard to find information about how many have seen Star Wars (especially given home video releases), one estimate is about 1 billion people have seen at least one of the Star Wars movies. This amounts to 10% of the current world population, so 9/10 will not have seen it. In the US and the rest of the Western world, the fraction of people having seen at least one of the movies may be above 50%, which makes Cueballs factoid incorrect from a statistical point of view, even if he is still right about "not doing something" being the default option. In addition, 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. Even without having watched it, it's reasonable that White Hat would expect Cueball to know something about the series.

Note that unless White Hat clarified it before first panel, Cueball has some knowledge about Star Wars, as he gets "Death Star" is a Star Wars reference.

Another word play here is that "default" means "failure to do something required by duty or law : neglect" according to dictionaries, so it is _literally_ the default option.

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's response is one of uninterest again, White Hat seemingly calls in social reinforcements to agree with him that watching 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 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 is most likely motivated by a new Star Wars movie, Rogue One, which will release into American theaters 9 days after the publishing of the strip on December 16, 2016 (exactly a week before the Belgian release of December 14), or The Force Awakens, which had been out for a while at the time.

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!

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