Colbert Takes on Light Saber Controversy

star-wars-episode-7-light-saberThe teaser trailer for the next Star Wars movie dropped last week and among the myriad nitpicks were complaints about safety hazards in the new light saber design which has an extra pair of lightbeams coming out of the hilt.

Steven Colbert explains very carefully in this clip from his show why the critics are wrong wrong wrong! That design is perfectly safe! And you should take his word for it because he’s been a Star Wars fan two weeks longer than the rest of his audience – having won tickets to a pre-release screening of the first movie in 1977.

Well, Steven, a few of us have been Star Wars fans just as long as you. I was in that flock of LASFSians Charlie Lippincott let into a Star Wars prescreening in Los Angeles. And afterwards we got to see Harlan Ellison holding forth in the lobby about how awful the movie was because its 1940s serial look didn’t reflect state-of-the-art speculative fiction. Top that, Steven Colbert!

8 thoughts on “Colbert Takes on Light Saber Controversy

  1. Sorry guys, but you’ve got it wrong. That’s not a light sabre. It’s a really groovy light tire-iron! But the scene is cut short and you can’t see him wrenching the lugs off the Millenium Falcon’s left rear snow tire.

  2. … and then there lots of folks at MidAmericCon who wandered through the Star Wars exhibit there … in 1976.

    Granted, I suspect many were thinking “Oh great, another bad sf film ….”

    Attendees of Disclave in 1977 wandered up Connecticut Ave to see it – having opened Wednesday before the con at the wonderful Uptown Theater. According to Mr Wiki it was “One of the first 32 houses to play Star Wars on its opening day (Wednesday, May 25, 1977) in 35 mm with a 4-track stereo soundtrack. The theater also started playing the film in the 70 mm projection format with a 6-track Dolby Stereo magnetic soundtrack on December 16 of the same year.”

  3. I saw the pre-release screening at the Charles Theater in Boston, along with most of Boston-area fandom and some movie critics. You could tell who the non-fans were, because they looked confused when the rest of us laughed at the nonsensical “less than x parsecs” line.
    Local rumor says that whoever answered the phone at MITSFS turned down an offer of tickets to the preview, saying that all of the MIT students would be busy studying for exams that week.

  4. Walking into the vast lobby of the Loews Astor Plaza, on 44th Street and Broadway in Manhattan (once upon a time), the night of the second press scteening in New York (or at least the second one that evening!–I think, the day before STAR WARS opened))–

    I saw Lester Del Rey, beaming.

    We chatted, and I thought how neat to run into one of the Golden Age scribes, at such a moment in time.

    I asked him what he thought of the movie–

    And remember, you youngun’s, this was the very first time that these type of effects had been on a big screen (a HUGE screen, in its day)–

    And del Rey said, “It was like seeing the pulps come to life!”

  5. And I was at a press prescreening Shevuot as I was on a student newspaper. (I even got a press kit and book of photos.) Plus I’d read the novelization.

    Hey, this time Luke gets to cut off his own hand.

  6. I remember distinctly thinking that the Star Wars displays at MidAmerican looked promising… and indeed it is still the only SW film I have any use for. It was odd what a small, unprepossessing room it was, and how out of the way, too. The Over-Mighty Lucas Empire had very modest beginnings. I was also among the troops the invaded the Uptown Theater at Disclave, in 1977 … sat through the film twice with Victoria Vayne and friends. Little did we know that it would twist the genre into a mock martial art-shoot’em up, and raise generations of kids who couldn’t tell the difference between science fiction and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

  7. The video I linked to originally has been taken down so I found a different copy I linked to it. This version is a little shorter and seems to be missing Colbert’s full brag about being an original fan. But you can see the authorized clip by clicking the link.

  8. I thought of the explanation for the cross-hilt the first time I saw the trailer, coming to the same conclusion that Stephen did after me.

    What does it say about me that I can explain the technology of the Star Trek transporter and warp drive, and how a light-sabre works more easily than I can explain an internal combustion engine? (I can, but not as well, and with more words.)

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