1769: Never Seen Star Wars

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.


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. Even accounting for people who have never had the option of seeing Star Wars movies (through poverty, age, country of residence, and so on), people who have not seen Star Wars are still in the majority.

However, the Star Wars mythology is so frequently referenced in American popular culture[citation needed] 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, and later knows that Darth Vader is a major character and that there exists something known as Jedi.

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 unreasonably assertive 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 onomatopoeic 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, suggesting that she also hasn't seen Star Wars, and is also bluffing to hide that fact. It may be inferred that Ponytail has had similar experiences to Cueball, and now actually starts a conversation about Star Wars in order to avoid that social stigma. It might also be viewed as both of them having lost an opportunity to have a conversation with someone else who hasn't seen Star Wars, because both are afraid of how they'll be treated. Although it's not clear what exactly they're missing out on here.

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.


[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.
[A small caption above the single panel.]
[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.


  • White Hat's attitude during this exchange can be contrasted with 1053: Ten Thousand, where Cueball instead handles a similar knowledge gap as an opportunity rather than something horrifying.
  • This comic may be inspired by the fact that a new Star Wars movie, Rogue One, was 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 an occasional radio comedy chat show from BBC Radio 4 (which also had a television version) 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. The series was conceived as a reaction to one of the creators noting how 'rare' it was for themselves to "have not seen Star Wars", and so devised the format where a guest would talk about (or be talked through) various different first experiences specifically arranged for them. Just one guest was noted as having 'Star Was' as one of their potential first-time experiences.
  • The first panel of the comic was once missing lines connecting the dialogue to whoever is saying it. This was later fixed, and the original version is archived here.

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Star Wars, pronounced Star Wors, was a very successful sci-fi action adventure movie from the 70s. Due to the success of the film, a sequel was made and is generally considered better than the first. The two movies are so iconic that someone who has not seen one or both of them would be considered unusual. Other sequals have been made, keeping the fanbase of the material constantly hoping for a 3rd movie that is on par with the firat two. Sadly, no such conclusion to the trilogy has arrived. Instead, each attempted sequel(more than half a dozen now) has been not much more than a 90 minute insult to the good taste and intelligence of the fans. This continued abuse of the star wars fanbase has prompted many former fans of the series to forgo watching recent releases, and to disavow ever seeing the original work in the first place. It appears that some of the cast of xkcd be doing likewise. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

They made a conclusion, and didn't remake it. It was Episode VI. Also, you didn't even proofread your spelling. I can tell that everything beyond your first sentence is random judgement and you assumed everybody else feels the same way, as in 1534: Beer. I agree with as well, and That's right, Jacky720 just signed this (talk | contribs) 20:37, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
DAFUQ?? Seriously, just no... (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
The prequels were horrificly bad, but Episode VI was about as good as the original two, and Episode VII is actually better. Also, not including the first two movies, there are 5 sequals/prequals (6 if you include the unreleased Rogue One). That's not over 6. Also, everyone seems to agree that the 3 prequals are the only bad ones in the series (yet). 10:10, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
Some people found the Ewoks annoying. Jkshapiro (talk) 13:37, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
It's more than 6 if you count Ewok Adventures and the Holiday Special (which 99% of fans would rather forget about), which also add to the number of "bad ones" and the Clone Wars movie was only saved by the TV show that followed it. You are right about the rest of the post though, I suspect troll. 12:37, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
Actually, I just saw Rogue one and the plot is two tidbits of backstory mixed in with everything catching fire and exploding. That's right, Jacky720 just signed this (talk | contribs) 22:29, 23 December 2016 (UTC)

My first time providing an explanation and transcript! For once I'm early enough, understand the joke, AND had time! LOL! Be kind... :)

(Hey, if I had an account would I still have to do those damned Captchas?) - NiceGuy1 06:54, 7 December 2016 (UTC) I finally signed up! This comment is mine. (And WEIRD timing, I only just noticed a few minutes ago my newly earned freedom from Captchas, having signed up like 4 days ago and having gone around re-signing my comments like this) NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:44, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

I assume your account would have to be autoconfirmed. That means its having over a certain "age" and over a certain edit count. I think the age is a couple of days and the edit threshold is fifteen, though this wiki may have those values configured differently. ~AgentMuffin

You mean it is not a reference to the BBC Radio 4 show. As an experience I will give XKCD 9/10. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

It is the go-to example of a film that 'everyone' has seen. Added a not to this effect, although I feel it could be better phrased. Surprised TVTropes doesn't have a page on this. Luckykaa (talk) 12:34, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
Fan Myopia is the assumption that a work you like is more popular than it is. 15:21, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
Although Fan Myopia is more for obscure works; when someone is ignorant of a well-known work it's Popcultural Osmosis Failure. 14:12, 21 September 2017 (UTC)


I added a few speculations about the number of people who actually have seen the movies (or one of them). If someone find a decent reference feel free to edit that. I also noticed one word play, not sure if it should be explained or not, but probably. 09:44, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

The issue with the numbers is that making them worldwide seems to miss the point and ends up being rather misleading. After all, any third world country is likely to have roughly 0 viewers, which brings the statistics down. It has been my impression that the feeling that everybody has seen Star Wars is a very North American thing, especially in America. And the cast of XKCD generally seem to reside in America. Of the billion people estimated viewers, I suspect a FAR higher percentage of them are North American than the precentage of North Americans to the world population (in other words, North America is over-represented in that billion). In the end, the assumption that everybody you encounter while in North America has seen them is actually a fairly reasonably assumption, while a percentage of 15% makes it sound like it's not. Also, there's the implied qualifier of opportunity. Cueball could easily have chosen to watch the films at some point, while there are many people worldwide for whom it has never been an option. And this comic is more about choosing not to, exercising their default option as it were. :) - NiceGuy1 04:06, 8 December 2016 (UTC) I finally signed up! This comment is mine. NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:44, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
The author above did mention that distinction but didn't supply any numbers so I took that part out. If we can get a good estimate of the proportion of Americans who have watched the movies then yes, let's use that. Jkshapiro (talk) 13:37, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

Is there any canonical evidence Vader didn't eat Jedi though? In the prequel films, he only kills Jedi off-screen. In A New Hope, when he kills Obi-Wan, Obi-Wan disappears. Maybe he just went hungry that day. 11:38, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

Isn't there at least one scene in the prequel trilogy of Anakin eating something? Along with that, Vader has to have his helmet on outside his meditation chamber (evidenced by Luke saying Vader will die if Luke takes his helmet off in RotJ). It would be logical that Vader gets his nutrition intravenously or in a smoothie/drink form that he can ingest through his helmet, and Jedi are notoriously hard to turn into a smoothie.
Jedi don't have to be the only part of his diet, and we don't know when in Vader's life he starts eating Jedi. Vader presumably drags them back to the meditation chamber when he wants to feast properly. He appears to have the teeth to do it. Maybe when he's too desperate for Jedi flesh, he blends Jedi corpses using either mechanical or force means. 19:10, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
When a jedi dies, there is no body. He instantly becomes a Force ghost and vanishes. That's right, Jacky720 just signed this (talk | contribs) 22:24, 23 December 2016 (UTC)
Not usually. There's only four Jedi in the core canon shown to have achieved that, and only Obi-Wan and Yoda are actually depicted immediately vanishing. Vader may also eat Jedi alive. 11:36, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
As of The Last Jedi, post-dating your comment, it shown that <spoiler> does that too... ;) 19:45, 14 February 2022 (UTC)

-- I think that the explanation should point out that the author differently form cueball is actually a huge fan of the saga with a vast knowlage of the SW lore including obscure expanded universe publications 16:01, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

-- It's missing any comment on the "superpower" bit. I'm not sure where to add it and kind of rushed now, so I just leave this note to maybe prod someone else... MAP (talk) 16:30, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

I was wondering about that, too. In fact, I was particularly looking for an explanation for the claim that "Not doing things is (a) superpower". I conclude that it can't be related in any way to Star Wars (I belong to the 85%), or else someone would have metioned it. It seems like a simple, slightly sarcastic joke to me, but, as the editors here have so much more insight into xkcd, I'm probably missing some deeper meaning here? 12:36, 3 September 2022 (UTC)

I think it's time for a Star Wars remake. Like start with the first movie (ep iv). Maybe I'm wrong but I think young people nowadays don't enjoy sci-fi/action movies without a lot of CG. 06:38, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

Disney did that already, and called it Episode VII. Unless you consider "reboot" to be separate from "remake" for some reason. 18:44, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

As a fan dear god I hope the idea to remake the originals does not catch on. The re-releases were bad enough. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

He's updated it with the lines added to the first pannel. Halfhat (talk) 14:33, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

oh yeah! somebody need to update the image and make a trivia. That's right, Jacky720 just signed this (talk | contribs) 22:29, 23 December 2016 (UTC)

I used to be like Cueball. And then I grew the hell up and realized that avoiding good movies is the least normal thing of all162.158.255.72 21:57, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

May the sauce be with you. Mushrooms (talk) 07:30, 19 May 2022 (UTC)