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August 21, 2009

Top Ten Design Fails in Star Wars

By sci-fi author John Scalzi.

Here's one he missed: Star Wars architecture consists chiefly of incredibly high central wells with galleries ringing them, the uppermost galleries 150 feet 50 meters above the ground.

And catwalks and retractable (why?) bridges spanning well-nigh bottomess pits.

And often stairs reaching high up above the ground.

You know what doesn't exist in the Star Wars universe?

Banisters and hand-rails and guard-rails.

Not once, when you see these soaring catwalks high above the metal floor, or these vertiginous balconies 300 feet 100 meters above the reactor core, will you ever see a guard-rail to keep people from pitching over the edge to their Wilhelm screaming doom.

Not once. They simply do not exist in the Star Wars universe.*

And many of these catwalks and access-bridges are quite narrow-- no wider than a womp-rat.

I am not sure how you would possibly explain this in-universe, except maybe the Jedi, having the power to telekinetically pull people to their deaths over the edges of tall balconies so long as that pathway isn't blocked by a banister, used their Jedi Mind Trick powers to convince the galaxies' architects that banisters, hand-rails, and guard-rails were aesthetically repellent.

Thanks to Jazz.

* Well, maybe once. I have a dim memory that maybe Jabba the Hutt's pleasure barge and skiffs had banisters around the topdecks.

So... moving conveyances are maybe allowed to have them.

A one-meter-wide access bridge above a bottomless pit, though? No. Not. Cost. Effective.

Just watch your step, dude. We can't be putting up banisters and hand-rails just because you're a Clumsy Clara.

Another One: Okay, Lemiwinks points out, as I feared, there was a guard-rail on that bizarre bridge upon which Vader lopped off Luke's arm.

But I guess the reason for that is that whole chamber was some kind of super hurricane-chamber or something so they decided to spring the $300 for a hand-rail.

Okay, maybe there are a couple of hand-rails in the Star Wars universe, but not many, and not where your average non-psychopathic engineer or architect would tend to put them.

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posted by Ace at 05:07 PM

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