A series of things came together to make my brain go, “Huh.” This is the way. The way of my brain…
First thing. I was watching a rerun of Young Sheldon with my mom. The episode was about how Sheldon’s mother and father were dealing with the fallout of Sheldon’s mentor being hospitalized for a mental breakdown. At first, they didn’t tell Sheldon what actually happened, but relented when they realized he could be at risk for the same type of breakdown given how similar they are in interests, personality, etc.
They decide Sheldon needs a break from science – something to distract him and provide a healthy outlet for his energy. Finding one is a massive challenge. He winds up reading The Lord of the Rings, and enjoying it, but also, Sheldon being Sheldon, obsessing over the inconsistencies throughout the series and the appendices, especially the timelines and dates of everything from Sam’s birthdate to when Sauron broke ground on Barad–dûr.
He makes maps and timelines, notes, cross references things, talks to fans about it, but ultimately finds no satisfaction in any of it and concludes he will just have to accept it for what it is – either an intentional misleading on the part of the author, or an intentional FICTIONALIZED mislead based on a poor or inconsistent translation going into Bilbo’s book.
I have known a lot of people throughout my life who have obsessed over those same details. I expect, you probably do, too. If you’re thinking I’m one of them, you’d be wrong. I never paid that much attention to those kinds of details in The Lord of the Rings. 😉
Second Thing. Star Trek Lower Decks started streaming on CBS All Access, and started up the whole debate about Klingons again. In TOS, Klingons looked basically human but with bushy eyebrows, facial hair, darkened skin and in The Motion Picture, they got turtle heads and that continued into Next Gen through Voyager. Then BAM – Discovery changes them and everyone loses their minds. What does this mean?! How can it be?! On and on.
Lower Decks brought back those Nex Gen-era Klingons to much comedic effect and for a lot of fans, it was a balm to a festering wound. Well, to the fans who are watching and aren’t losing their minds over Lower Decks in the first place on principle.
FYI – I’m watching – and loving – Lower Decks.
Throughout the television run of Trek – from TOS to Next Gen, DS9, Voyager and even Enterprise (shudder), attempts have been made to explain what, in my mind, was a budgetary plot device. Klingon’s can’t look different enough on a small budget, so, they get bushy beards and bad makeup until there’s a budget and some hand waving. I loved Worf’s answer when, on DS9, he was asked about ‘the Klingons’ who looked human.
“We do not discuss it with outsiders.”
Some folks, like me, are fine with that. Others, well – not so much. Especially when you get into a prequel series and fuck with people’s brains by changing stuff and making them spend huge chunks of their lives screaming on the Internet about how, “That can’t be! In the stuff later on in the timeline, they didn’t have (insert dramatic plot hole currently ruining your enjoyment of the thing)!!11!1!11!!!!”
Third Thing. The Mandalorian Season 2 trailer dropped online, spurring a slew of articles from people bringing up the same old Star Wars timeline debates. Now, I have talked about those before. Whether they are plot holes or whatnot can be debated all day and night. And probably are in a home or internet browser near you.
When Star Wars was a stand alone movie, everything was pretty open to the imagination. Jedi Knights, The Clone Wars, The Old Republic, Vader killing Anakin, the rise of The Empire – these were all things sprinkled throughout the narrative and they sparked speculation and debate. Since the sequels moved forward in the timeline, those things remained what they were – wonderful little callouts to the past, totally debatable and fun.
But then someone had to go fuck it all up with some prequels.
So – some random things that get debated all the time now, thanks to those prequels:
- How old was Han during the Clone Wars? Why doesn’t he remember Jedi?
- It’s only been like 20 years and NO ONE remembers the Jedi?!
- How the FUCK did ObiWan get SO OLD in just 20 years?!
- How did the Clone Army get replaced with conscripts in just 20 years? What happened to all those clones?
I don’t think the powers that be care – until they do. And then they make things worse, not better. And a ton of people simply don’t care. Until they do. And then they take to the Interwebz in a frenzy of foaming rants and theories about this, that and the other thing. Youtube, I have found, is full of videos where fans talk through various theories about their favorite fandoms. And sometimes, those theories even get proven to be true/accurate.
For me, I find it interesting how our brains latch onto the smallest details – or don’t – and fixate on them.