Opinion » John Rember

Post Mortem

The New 'Star Wars' Movie


The election is over. The Sith have won. Luke Skywalker has been tossed into the Great Pit of Carkoon and will, for the next 1,000 years, be digested alive by a sarlacc. Han Solo is again embedded in carbonite. Princess Leia is back at Jabba the Hutt's side, chained and bikini-clad, and, more than ever, in need of antidepressants.

The Force has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Sith. Yoda dead is, if even his syntax not is. Darth Vader, resurrected with a new fusion-powered heart, is bringing in millions on the fundraising circuit. The surviving Jedi Knights have become lobbyists for the Sith military-industrial complex, having decided, after lifetimes of low-paying public service, that it was time to get theirs. New Death Stars are coming off the Lockheed assembly line at four-hour intervals, each representing the GNP of a plundered world, each capable of destroying the world that built it should tribute be refused.

In a minor province on the planet Earth, a slave world in a minor subdivision of The Sith Empire, a Sith Senator calculates how much stature he'll gain by getting elevator inserts for his cowboy boots. Two Sith Representatives hold discreet meetings with a species of obese felines.

A Sith Governor contemplates running for a fifth term as an anti-immigrant move. A Chief of Sith Standardized Testing and Indoctrination contemplates wearing a sexy clown suit to the Provincial Inaugural Ball. A Sith Secretary of State calculates and re-calculates his pension, chuckles, and imagines what he will do to all the humans who dare dislike him now.

None of these evil entities knows it, but each carries a germ of rot that will threaten the Empire Itself. It comes in the form of a question: What is Evil for, once it's utterly and irrevocably won? When you've dedicated your life not just to destroying enemies but to grinding their faces in the dirt, what do you do when there are no more enemies, and, in those regrettable cases where a Death Star had to be used, no more dirt?

Can the Sith still fear-monger against aliens when they themselves are as emotionally alien as DNA-based life-forms can get? Can they come out against alternate sexual practices when they themselves practice serial mating with Trophy Wives, those once-human cyborgs whose positronic brains are programmed for ritual shopping, cameo appearances on Sith Network talk shows and ever more cosmetic prostheses? Religious conflict, maybe? A million gods in the galaxy, but Mammon has always been the official Sith deity, and everyone dances to His music, no matter their professed spiritual loyalties.

No more worlds to conquer. Not even token resistance to the Dark Side. Hard-hitting investigative journalists morphed into Sith press secretaries or local TV news teams.

What now, Sith Overlords?

In the vast underwater city of Miami, in his Sea World Palace, Jebby the Bush, newly-appointed Sith Viceroy for Earth, stares out an oil-smeared porthole at his caged Orcas, who stare back impassively. What goes on in those giant Orca brains? The Viceroy watches as some rebellious human subjects, fingered by algorithms embedded in their Twitter accounts, are forced to don seal costumes and tossed into the Orca tank. Blood swirls in the water, but the spectacle doesn't warm the Viceroy's heart like it used to.

If only the Orcas would talk, he muses. Why is it that the really smart species never want to have anything to do with you?

Frustrated and lonely, he summons one of the few humans he trusts. Dick Cheney, the gray eminence of Earth's neocolonial elite—it is whispered that he and Vader have never been seen in public together—arrives silently. Too silently.

"It's my new CPAP," says Cheney. "The batteries died. I keep forgetting to breathe. You don't want to know what a pain it is to breathe when you're dead."

"Dick," says Jebby the Bush, "we Sith need a new reason to exist, now that we've won it all."

Cheney looks out at the Orcas, who won't look him in the mask. He makes them nervous, even the ones who have gone crazy in captivity. He turns back to the Viceroy.

"You Sith," he hisses. "You're so proud of your weapons and soldiers, your corporations, trickle-down economics, fiscal austerity, purchased elections, religious bigotry, free-trade agreements and win-at-any-cost politics. Yet you hesitate to use them. You don't need a new reason to exist. Just own up to your old one."

"What's that?" asks the Viceroy.

"Death," says Dick Cheney. "DEATH TO HUMANS! You swear allegiance to a cleansing Evil, but you don't follow its inexorable logic. I, Dick Cheney, understand the messiness of human consciousness, the cloying squishiness of human affection, a once-clean universe contaminated by icky human grief. If you Sith want meaning in your lives, cleave to the Evil you embody. Loose your politics on this and every other human planet in the Empire. Destroy social safety nets where you find them, education where it's effective, love where it festers. Humans will beg for death in the end." Cheney pauses to suck a breath. "I have served your species faithfully. Do this thing for me. You'll find there's pleasure in it, and I'll find peace and happiness at last."