For all the diehard sci-fi enthusiasts out there in dogged pursuit of the next great intergalactic-themed parody skit, SNL's unaired Star Wars sketch touts just the kind of delightfully nerdy comedic goodness you're probably looking for. And, as if a jocular rendition of everyone's favorite outer-space saga wasn't exciting enough already (as far as your local science fiction aficionados are concerned, anyway), the bizarrely goofy sketch attempts to answer a major fan question about the franchise and is helmed by the crème de la crème of comedy darlings, including Saturday Night Live's Mikey Day, Kate McKinnon, and Kenan Thompson.
The Star Wars-themed digital short, aptly titled "Star Warriors" (if history is any indication, it seems there's almost nothing the SNL cast loves more than a prime opportunity for some good old-fashioned wordplay), was slated to air Saturday night, March 3. The skit never actually made into the evening's program lineup, which is a pretty regular occurrence on sketch comedy shows like SNL, where the chopping block for sketches during each week's pre-show rehearsal run has always been notoriously ruthless. But, since the "cut-for-time" fate has, and continues to, fall upon a sizable number of SNL gems, the show often releases its otherwise unaired sketches via its YouTube channel. So, like clockwork, "Star Warriors" graced the YouTube-sphere Saturday night, March 3, in conjunction with this week's full-fledged SNL installation, which played out live on NBC.
The quick-witted, nerd culture-inspired video spans the better part of four minutes. From the get-go, the sketch heralds a pretty robust stamp of approval from none other than J.J. Abrams, acclaimed mogul of the sci-fi genre and the directorial mastermind behind The Force Awakens. Abrams opens the video with a brief introduction to the sketch, which is designed to read like a spoof-style rendition of some kind of movie trailer.
The fake trailer, as expected, advertises a similarly make-believe standalone Star Wars film called The Mos Eisley Five, facetiously slated to make its theatrical release in the summer of 2019. (It's unclear whether the bogus release date nods to that of Abrams' real-life upcoming Star Wars installation, which will careen into theaters several months later, in December of 2019.) In addition to the collective comedic prowess of veteran SNL luminaries like McKinnon, Thompson, and Day, the Star Wars look-a-like crew's fifth member is played by the evening's host, former NBA player Charles Barkley. Together, the five of them comprise a motley crew of Star Wars top-liners (well, totally bizarre, other-worldly versions of them, anyway), both human and non-human.
The clip commences with Abrams' introduction, which, in classic Star Wars fashion, provides a narrative set-up to preface the clip. (Think: a long, long time ago...) "It's the story," Abrams says, kicking off the sketch, "of a group of smugglers hired by the rebellion who were instrumental in establishing a rebel base on Hoth." And, to any Star Wars fans scratching their heads: Mos Eisley and Hoth, for the record, are two of the Star Wars universe's decidedly lesser known fictional locales. Mos Eisley is the name of a spaceport town nestled into the dusty sand-scape of Tatooine (Anakin Skywalker's native planet), while Hoth is the moniker associated with the remote, icy planet that provided a site for the Rebel Alliance's Echo Base way back in the day.
Those two obscure references alone suggest that "Star Warriors" was truly created by Star Wars fanatics, for Star Wars fanatics. Mos Eisley only appeared once onscreen over the course of the intergalactic franchise's several decades-long run, as did Hoth. The former was featured in 1977's first-ever Star Wars installation, A New Hope, with the latter seeing its 15 minutes of fame three years later, in 1980's follow-up film, The Empire Strikes Back.
That wasn't the video's only cleverly-constructed, subtle nod to the Star Wars franchise's ardent band of super-fans. The sketch finally acknowledges one question Star Wars enthusiasts have been ruminating over for the better part of a generation: how come everyone in the Star Wars universe can understand one another? Even if they share none of the same native languages? Literally, the entire franchise sees English-speaking humans seamlessly communicating with basically non-verbal creatures of every variety (beeping robots included), with no explanation.
And, while no answers are given as to how the whole elusive lingua franca situation actually works, Barkley's character at least recognizes that there's something totally bewildering about these characters' seemingly endless capacity for languages. "How do you all speak so many languages? This is crazy. I only speak human," Barkley's time-traveling character tells his fellow crew members in the video. "These aliens are talking to you in their language, you're answering them back in our language, everybody understands each other. It makes me feel stupid, how'd ya'll learn all this?"
As for Barkley's mono-linguist question — it seems like the jury's still out on that one. Still, SNL's "Star Warriors" is sure to induce a chuckle or two, at least, even if it doesn't have all the answers.