2229: Rey and Kylo

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Rey and Kylo
We're like 10+ movies in and the focus has been almost entirely on the WARS half.
Title text: We're like 10+ movies in and the focus has been almost entirely on the WARS half.


Rey and Kylo Ren, from the latest trilogy of the Star Wars series, are engaging in a lightsaber duel. Rey tells Kylo that they should not fight, but work together on cosmology, the study of the origins of the universe. Specifically she wants to study the expansion rate of the universe; scientists believe that the universe is expanding, and that the expansion rate is accelerating, but aren't sure of the exact rate, what the rate was in the past, or if it varies depending on location. Since the Star Wars movies take place "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away", if Rey and Kylo presented their findings in the movie, it would theoretically give scientists more data points. Although it is unlikely that modern scientists would use cosmological data from a movie generally considered fictional[citation needed], especially as said time long ago and distance far, far away are never quantified, some movies and TV shows have spurred scientific innovations due to their subject matter (see below).

The caption, besides explaining the obvious nerd cred this turn of events would earn if it actually occurred in the movies, might also be a play on accusations against the Disney-owned franchise that it has begun pandering to progressives, with the complainers citing its racially diverse cast, powerful (in their eyes overpowered, and Mary Sue-ish) female protagonist, and a willingness to sacrifice sensible plot for perceived progressive talking points (e.g. Vice Admiral Holdo's plan and failure to communicate it).

The title text is Randall's complaint that the Star Wars movies have been more focused on the Wars aspect than the Star aspect. It seems he would want a film about stars. It's worth noting that, with a half-width space, "Star " and " Wars" are the same number of letters long, and are therefore perfect halves of the title.

Kylo Ren and Rey, though enemies in the films, have been shipped in fanfictions and fan theories, so their joining together in this comic may also be a play on that desired relationship.

Star Wars is a recurring topic on xkcd.

The cosmology of Star Wars[edit]

As far as we can tell, the stars of Star Wars (that is, the celestial bodies, not the actors) seem to be much the same as ours. The "galaxy far, far away" has had various depictions over the years, but all sources agree that it is a spiral galaxy approximately the same size as our Milky Way galaxy, albeit with a less prominent bar than the Milky Way has. We don't ever hear what name, if any, the Star Wars characters have for the galaxy, or why they call it a "galaxy" when the word comes from a Latin phrase, "Via Galactica" or "Milky Way" -- a question that Randall has brought up in 890: Etymology.

Light is known to have a speed, although we are not told what that speed is, or if it is constant for all observers in all reference frames. That speed is an upper bound on the speed that objects can travel in real-space, as in our universe, but in Star Wars, ships can travel faster than that speed by "jumping" into a parallel dimension called "hyperspace". This allows them to cross the galaxy in a matter of hours rather than tens of thousands of years. According to our understanding of relativity, transmitting information faster than light is equivalent in some reference frames to transmitting information backwards in time (cf. the tachyonic antitelephone), but such temporal paradoxes are not known to occur in the Star Wars universe. The only known examples of information transmitted backwards in time come from the Force, such as limited precognition of incoming dangers or vague, prophetic visions of possible futures. Speaking of which, "the Force" is said to be "an energy field, created by all living things" which "binds the galaxy together". It's not clear if the Force is a fifth fundamental force or "merely" a manipulation of the fundamental forces by focused will, but powerful Force-users have been known to raise and move heavy objects, conjure lightning, and manipulate minds.

It is not known if the universe of Star Wars is expanding, contracting, or steady-state, although prior to Lucasfilm's acquisition by Disney, the officially-published non-film Star Wars media were collectively known as the "Star Wars Expanded Universe".

In addition to the usual stellar evolution process, stars in Star Wars are subject to premature destruction or spontaneous creation by various superweapons, such as the Sun Crusher and Star Forge.

Many of the planets of Star Wars are dominated by one or two biomes, rather than the dozens into which our homeworld is divided. Some of these are reasonable enough (a planet could certainly be covered in desert or ice or lava depending on its water content and proximity to a star), but others require some novel climate patterns not exhibited on Earth (the same atmospheric pattern that gives rise to Earth's tropical rainforests also produces the Sahara Desert).


[Rey, on the left, and Kylo Ren, on the right, from the Star Wars series, are facing one another and wielding lightsabers:]
Rey: Kylo, we shouldn't fight! Let's set aside our differences and work together to measure the local properties of space, just in case someone in the far future is watching from another galaxy and wants our help to constrain the expansion rate!
[Caption below the panel:]
The new Star Wars totally panders to cosmologists.

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