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CT Turns out Lucas was probably telling the truth about his Kessel Run "parsec" explanation

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by The_Phantom_Calamari, Apr 5, 2021.

  1. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost star 5

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    Nov 10, 2011
    From the 1976 revised fourth draft script for Star Wars:

    BLUE LEADER
    Blue boys, this is Blue Leader. Adjust your selectors and check in. Approaching target at one point three parsec…


    This is as the X-wing squadron is veering around the planet Yavin to approach the Death Star. As you can see, Lucas uses "parsec" in the correct context here--as a unit of distance. So he did know full well what it actually meant.

    Surprised I've never seen anyone point this out. He was telling the truth all along. Hell, even I didn't really believe him!
     
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  2. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord 9X Hangman Winner & 4X Wacky Wednesday Winner star 10 VIP - Game Winner

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    Sep 2, 2012
    Considering that a parsec is over 3 light years, or over 30 trillion km - using it in this context doesn't really work. So even if he got that it was a unit of distance, he didn't seem to get how big a unit of distance it was.

    Here he seems to be portraying it as a few thousand km rather than a few trillion km.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2021
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  3. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost star 5

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    Nov 10, 2011
    Well that line wasn't in the finished film, was it? I'm afraid we'll just have to accept that George Lucas is indeed an astronomical expert of the highest order.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2021
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  4. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord 9X Hangman Winner & 4X Wacky Wednesday Winner star 10 VIP - Game Winner

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    Sep 2, 2012
    Or the real astronomical experts talked him into changing it.
     
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  5. Lobot's Wig

    Lobot's Wig Jedi Knight star 4

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    Dec 13, 2020
    Being pedantic, it could also be correct that Lucas was using the terminology here as a unit of speed as I believed he was when Han Solo referenced it.

    Approaching target at one point three parsec...
    Reads the same as
    Approaching target at 1,300 km per hour

    I never know why people got upset about this point anyway, as the movies aren't hard sci-fi, they are fantasy. So it doesn't really matter how the term was used.
     
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  6. Bazinga'd

    Bazinga'd Skywalker Saga / WNU Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

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    Nov 1, 2012
    Isnt it possible that Lucas redefined "parsec" for use in the SWU that is not related to actual science?
     
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  7. Kenneth Morgan

    Kenneth Morgan Chosen One star 4

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    May 27, 1999
    The final shooting script strongly implies that Han's use of "parsecs" in the cantina was just impressive-sounding nonsense to get a couple of local rubes to hire him. (There's a descriptive line that reads, if I remember correctly, "Ben reacts to Han's obvious misinformation".) I'm willing to go with that, though I did like how "Solo" managed to both make it both closer to the science and keep Han as a bull artist. ("Not if you round down.")
    So, Isaac Asimov can go jump in the lake.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
  8. DarkGingerJedi

    DarkGingerJedi Force Ghost star 6

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    Nov 21, 2012
    Ha. I thought Lucas was intentionally having Han get a parsec wrong. Because he doesn't know how that works. Han's showboating. The look from Obi-wan - who's been around the block a few times - is rather priceless in this context. lol

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Lobot's Wig

    Lobot's Wig Jedi Knight star 4

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    Dec 13, 2020
    Yeah that works too
     
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  10. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost star 5

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    Nov 10, 2011
    I don't see how Han could have been intended to be using it as a unit of speed. "It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12,000 km per hour." That doesn't make sense.


    The misinformation could have been intended to be the idea that Han actually accomplished such a feat in the first place, which might be why Solo went that route. That was one part of that movie I liked.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
  11. Lobot's Wig

    Lobot's Wig Jedi Knight star 4

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    Dec 13, 2020
    You’re right. I meant time I think.
     
  12. christophero30

    christophero30 Chosen One star 8

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    May 18, 2017
    There's no sound in space either, but that is just boring. I like the idea of Han just making stuff up and Obi Wan catching on to him.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
  13. FightoftheForgotten

    FightoftheForgotten Jedi Knight star 4

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    May 19, 2020
    Han probably assumed that Obi-Wan and Luke were two backwater idiots who got into trouble and were trying to escape the local authorities. So Han gives this speech that included a bunch of technical words because he assumes a little verbal song and dance will sell the two on the idea.

    Then as the conversation evolves, we find out that Han is just as desperate as these two because he jumps at the chance of maybe making 17 thousand off of them with no real guarantee. It's a great scene actually.

    This seems like parsec being used wrong as well. This whole scene is about trying to get to the target as fast as possible. Seems like BLUE LEADER is saying that they'll be at the exhaust port very quickly.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
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  14. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost star 5

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    Nov 10, 2011
    I don't think so. The rest of the dialogue surrounding it has to do with position in space:

    140. INT. BLUE LEADER STARSHIP – COCKPIT
    (82B)
    CU. Blue pilot leader lowers his visor and adjusts his gunsights, looking to each side at his wing men. (One distant Y wing in background).

    BLUE LEADER
    Blue boys, this is Blue Leader. Adjust your selectors and check in. Approaching target at one point three parsec…
    141. OMITTED
    142. EXT. SPACE AROUND THE DEATH STAR
    (83)
    Tracking Shot. Behind three of the X wing fighters, the Death Star grows brighter and the faintest hint of surface is suggested. The huge planet of Yavin is almost out of frame.
    143. INT. BLUE LEADER STARSHIP – COCKPIT – TRAVELING
    (83A)
    CU. Pilot leader looks to his left.

    PILOT LEADER
    This is it boys. Blue Two, you’re out too far, close it up, Wedge.
    144. INT. WEDGE’S STARSHIP – COCKPIT – TRAVELING
    (83B)
    CU. Wedge with his brightly painted helmet looks up to his right and makes some adjustment on his control panels. One Y wing fighter moves down through the background.
    WEDGE
    Sorry Boss, my ranger seems to be a few points off… I’ll have to go on manual.


    Notice Blue Leader adjusts his "gunsight"/"selector" and then tell his wingmen to do the same, right before relaying the "one point three parsec" number. Then a bit later Wedge adjusts his "ranger" (same thing presumably) but it's a few "points" off.

    And then after that there are multiple instances of characters clearly talking about position in the same "[number] point [number]" format, only leaving off the "parsec" part, which at this point would be an assumed unit:

    BLUE LEADER
    Blue Boys, this is Blue Leader. Rendezvous at mark six point one. All wings report in.

    [...]

    LUKE
    No sign of… wait! Coming in point three five.

    [...]

    LUKE
    Blue Leader, we’re right above you. Turn to point oh five and we’ll cover for you.

    [...]

    WEDGE
    Coming in… point three.


    Occam's razor says the use of "parsec" in the referenced dialogue is exactly what it seems to be if you assume (roughly) correct usage.


    I like it too but I think it makes more sense for Han to be making up an outrageous Kessel Run record than to just be randomly throwing out incorrect astronomical units.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
  15. FightoftheForgotten

    FightoftheForgotten Jedi Knight star 4

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    May 19, 2020
    But people from the United States regularly use terms for time and distance interchangeably. Lucas could have thought that Parsec was a unit of time and accidentally used it correctly.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
  16. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost star 5

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    Nov 10, 2011
    He could have done a lot of things. But there's no reason to think he did use it as a unit of time rather than distance here when all the surrounding context indicates he used it correctly.
     
  17. FightoftheForgotten

    FightoftheForgotten Jedi Knight star 4

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    May 19, 2020
    Well, he didn't bother to clarify anything until the same time period where he said he always meant for Greedo to shoot first and he wrote a massive story called THE TRAGEDY OF DARTH VADER so my guess is that Lucas was lying about his purpose behind the use of the term parsec the same way he lied about the other stuff from the early 2000's.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
  18. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost star 5

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    Nov 10, 2011
    But why would you assume that when we have clear evidence here where he's using "parsec" in the correct way? It doesn't require clarification. It's obvious from the surrounding context that he's using it as you would expect the word "parsec" to be used. You're just arbitrarily assuming otherwise, even though it's actually the least natural conclusion here.

    I get that you think George Lucas is a big stinky liar who ruined your hopes and dreams and killed the Easter Bunny, but that's not really relevant here, the evidence is.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
  19. FightoftheForgotten

    FightoftheForgotten Jedi Knight star 4

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    May 19, 2020
    So, in order for his statement that he always knew what parsec meant to be true, I'm only allowed to use the few bits you posted from his drafts as evidence, but nothing else? That's not how that works.
     
  20. Count Yubnub

    Count Yubnub Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 1, 2012
    Correct, the revised 4th draft from Jan 1976 says,

    HAN
    It's the ship that made the Kessel
    run in less than twelve parsecs!

    Ben reacts to Solo's stupid attempt to impress them with
    obvious misinformation.

    https://imsdb.com/scripts/Star-Wars-A-New-Hope.html
     
  21. BlackRanger

    BlackRanger Jedi Knight star 3

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    Apr 14, 2018
    That was added for the "public version" of the shooting script in the Art of SW book, which was edited to match the film (albeit with a few changes, like the Jabba scene being restored). The date is also erroneous. The real shooting script as Lucas had it at the start of filming, dated March 1976 and where Ben Kenobi remains alive throughout, doesn't have the "misinformation" script aside.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021 at 1:08 AM
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  22. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost star 5

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    Nov 10, 2011
    There's no reasonable way to read those bits I posted other than that he used "parsec" correctly. The context doesn't support the notion that Blue Leader is using it as a measurement of time. That's actually a real stretch there. He's telling his wingmen to adjust their sights on the target which is at a certain distance. There are then multiple subsequent references to targeting and rangefinding afterwards which use the exact same "[number] point [number]" format. This is consistent throughout all the drafts. He always uses this format primarily during the space flight sequences, and almost always as a positional measurement. There are to my knowldege no instances, in any of the drafts, of Lucas using this format to have a character indicate a time measurement. The preponderance of evidence says you're wrong about this.

    So given that he seems very much to have known what a "parsec" meant, that eliminates the reference Han Solo makes as evidence saying he didn't, because it proves that Lucas really was using it for the reasons he explained mere months after the movie's release in internal documents. It wasn't a hasty retroactive explanation for a mistake, it was a bit of lore he had already come up with.

    Now what other evidence is there, other than your throbbing dislike of the man that compels you to die on such trivial hills seemingly just out of spite? At least I'm doing it out of genuine enthusiasm for the subject.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021 at 3:35 PM
  23. FightoftheForgotten

    FightoftheForgotten Jedi Knight star 4

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    May 19, 2020
    Americans will regularly say that someone is three minutes away when they are actually talking about distance. So someone saying that they're point three parsecs away could be Lucas using a term that he thought was for time as a measure of distance and just happened to be using it correctly.

    If Lucas was from any other country I'd say your use of Occam's razor is dead on, but since Lucas is from the States, Occam's razor doesn't apply.

    Even in AOTC when Padme says that Geonosis is "less than a parsec away" that could still be the same as someone saying that Ohio is less than an hour away.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021 at 3:50 PM
  24. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost star 5

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    Nov 10, 2011
    You're still not understanding. There's no active reason to think he's using it that way when all the surrounding context indicates otherwise.

    Blue Leader tells his men to adjust their sights and then states a number at which they're "approaching target," in "[number] point [number]" format. A few lines later he berates Wedge for being "out too far," to which Wedge replies that his "ranger seems to be a few points off." And then throughout the rest of the battle everyone consistently uses the "[number] point [number]" format to indicate distance and position. And this is consistent throughout all drafts. There is no other instance in this or any other draft of a character using that format to indicate time.

    At this point I'm really just trying to get you to understand the concept of contextual reasoning. If all the surrounding context strongly indicates that he's using a word in the correct way, and the word also makes sense in its own immediate context if interpreted using its proper definition, then the overwhelmingly likely conclusion is that it was indeed being used correctly.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021 at 3:57 PM
  25. FightoftheForgotten

    FightoftheForgotten Jedi Knight star 4

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    May 19, 2020
    So when I use contextual reasoning I'm only allowed to use the information that you want me to use, but I'm not allowed to factor in the fact that Lucas is from the states and people from the states flip-flop time and distance terms regularly?

    Because what you're wanting me to do is only factor in the specific points that YOU have made in order for me to come to a conclusion. Whenever I start trying to factor in other bits of information, you tell me that's a no-no. You're wanting me to look at your excerpt in a void without factoring in the outside world and that doesn't make any sense.

    Contextual reasoning. "This means understanding the situation specifically, along with how it fits in the overall system."

    Non-contextual reasoning. "This means choosing a next step without taking into account the underlying forces."

    So which of the two of us is trying to fit that small excerpt into a larger overall system and which of the two of us is trying to pretend that that except exists in a void with no other information?
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021 at 4:13 PM