Again, Star Wars Is Not Hard Science Fiction

A few days ago I got wind of a rumor that the upcoming “Rogue One” Anthology film was going to be “more scientifically sound” than the other Star Wars films. Then to back it up, there comes the news story that screenwriter Chris Weitz actually tweeted physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson for some questions about astronomy.

Science is not what they should be worried about because Star Wars already blows holes in accepted scientific theory. Ships do not make noises in space or move around in high speeds in all directions nor are fiery explosions (that you can hear) possible. But that’s the tradeoff so the space scenes are not boring. As for planets and stars and suns, they should look cool. Period. That’s all you need to worry about.

Star Wars is space fantasy, a mythology that just happens to have sci-fi window dressing. It is not hard science fiction. While you can monkey with some things stylistically with these spinoff movies, making it “scientifically accurate” or trying to cram it into a hard sf box is fundamentally changing Star Wars’s DNA.

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6 Responses to Again, Star Wars Is Not Hard Science Fiction

  1. Nick Skywalker says:

    Not to mention that these character routinely travel at light speed. Don’t know how “scientifically sound” that is.

    It’s a space fantasy film not a documentary on Discovery it doesn’t need to be scientifically accurate. I love Star Wars but this fandom takes these movies entirely way too seriously.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Eh, the movie never interested me anyway (because Chris Weitz…)


  3. Daniel Xie says:

    This is borderling hypocritical, the hateboys go on record accuse GL of hard sciencing Star Wars with the midichlorians….yet they try to inject as much hard science possible


  4. Keith Palmer says:

    I’d agree it’s rather late in the day to try for “accurate physics” in a Star Wars movie. However, I admit I can wonder if it wouldn’t hurt to not stumble into “peculiar astronomy.” Star Wars may not be “hard science fiction,” but it’s not Star Trek either, and by and large the core stories don’t seem to have depended on “peculiar local conditions”… although I’d certainly point out the “asteroid field” was a lot thicker than our own, and that was in The Empire Strikes Back. (In Attack of the Clones, on the other hand, the “asteroid chase” was in a planetary ring system, where I understand things can be closer-packed.)


  5. Alisha Chromey says:

    We don’t know what Chris Weitz tweeted Neil deGrasse Tyson about!

    John Jackson Miller in his production notes for Star Wars A New Dawn:

    “I probably spent more time thinking through the orbital dynamics of the Gorse-Cynda system than anything else. I had read a lot about what would happen to the Earth if the Moon got too close, and I needed what happened with Cynda to be even worse, transpiring over a short enough period of time that people wouldn’t be able to evacuate the planet below. Consulting Ken Barnes, my partner in fanzine-publishing crime from high school and my go-to person on astrophysical what-ifs, I settled on tidally locking Gorse to its sun, giving us the permanent nightside. The masses of the two bodies would be similar, as gravity is about the same on each — but Cynda would be smaller and densely compacted (and geologically prone to breaking apart, should pressure be exerted in the right places). And Cynda’s orbit would be highly elliptical, making what happens when it shatters more likely to impact Gorse.”

    “I was pretty sure that the science would ultimately hit a wall at some point — but, then again, this is a realm where there’s sound in space and where starships exhibit no effects from inertia. It’s really just a matter of getting close enough without ruining the suspension of disbelief.”


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