Jul 1, 2020
What If David Lynch Directed ‘Star Wars’?
Forgive me. I took the bait. I watched a viral video. One of those fake trailers where a movie is recast in another genre through deceitful edits. It asked us what might happen if David Lynch directed Star Wars. This gave me an idea: hey, what if David Lynch directed Star Wars?
I ask forgiveness because it’s a shameful thing to ask questions like this. It’s not that such questions are better left unanswered. It’s that to answer them on the internet is to all but yell “I know what ‘SEO’ means.” But I’ll make an exception just once, because it’s fun to arbitrarily make regular movies Lynchian. To turn the innocent into the grotesque. (My personal best thus far is calling the main character from Ratatouille “Wayward Boy.”)
So the story goes that David Lynch was offered Return of the Jedi but turned it down. For the sake of the exercise, let’s assume it’s the present day, and George Lucas feels bad that Lynch hasn’t directed in so long, and so offers him total creative control for an upcoming Star Wars sequel. Gives him the car keys and a full tank of gas and says “ruin it for me.” What would that actually look like? First, we should probably isolate some of Lynch’s pet themes.
I’ll keep it down to the obvious ones: Southern California, the fear of unspeakable evil, mysteries to solve, and dream logic.
We open with Lynch’s straightforward take on the Star Wars title card. He’ll probably just call it Star Wars, because he likes two word titles. If he has to do a subtitle though, I dunno, probably Space Trouble.
Then the action starts with the familiar hustle and bustle of Hollywood Blvd., where innocent tourists mingle among the debris of ruined dreams, among hustlers and the occasional threat of unspeakable evil. We see Luke Skywalker standing on the corner of Hollywood and Vine, in full costume. It’s the real Luke Skywalker alright. To his left is a tall street performer, spray painted gold, and a small child wearing a silver jacket with Christmas lights on it. He calls them robots.
A detective approaches, probably played by an actual veteran of 70s detective shows. Let’s say Robert Blake. For the sake of convenience, I won’t bother giving him a character name.
Luke Skywalker, who is no longer a well man, yells at Robert Blake. “I did a bad thing in space,” he bellows. “Buzz off, pal,” says Robert Blake. “You don’t understand, sir. I did a bad thing in space. I killed my father in space.” This jogs Blake’s memory. He knows all the cold cases and Luke Skywalker might match one of the descriptions.
“Son, what’s your name?”
“Luke Skywalker. I killed my father in space. I killed him and burned his body on a funeral pyre. I ended the war and danced all night.” And he trails off.
Blake recognizes the scars on Skywalker’s face and starts paying better attention. “You said… a war? Anybody else involved in this war?” he asks, as Luke Skywalker lights a cigarette and drinks a cup of 7/11 coffee. “I don’t know. There’s one man. He has a Millennium Falcon. He’ll tell you about the war.”
Robert Blake’s eyes light up. He realizes there is only one mechanic in the area with a particular interest in Ford Falcons, and he lives in Palmdale. So Robert Blake takes the 170-N to I-5 and merges onto the 14 to find Han Solo. This takes him 45 minutes, and constitutes most of the movie’s second act. Lots of surrealist stuff happens on the way to Palmdale. Cows on fire, and so forth.
He arrives at Han Solo’s place, a hoarder house surrounded by Ford Falcons in various states of disrepair (most of them second generation). Blake proceeds to ask him about the war. “Well, of course there’s a war. A third party candidate would solve all that.” “No,” says Robert Blake. “The other war. It’s a… it’s a space war.” Han Solo turns pale all of a sudden. “Luke Skywalker? The boy who killed his father? Shit. Nobody was supposed to ask me about that. You’ll have to go inside and talk to my wife. But be careful. She’s real sick and she’s… she comes and goes. Nobody was supposed to ask me about that. Nobody.”
The inside of the house is burning hot, and everything is way too small. This disorients Robert Blake, who is barely able to separate reality from fantasy now. He sees Han Solo’s wife at the end of a long hallway, reading a 1979 issue of the L.A. Times in a tattered wedding dress and laughing hysterically. Blake sits and laughs with her as they bond over their shared plan to visit the Pez Museum in Burlingame. “The candy comes out of these ludicrous heads,” says Robert Blake, still laughing.
“I guess a lot of people are dead,” Blake finally tells her. “I’m a princess! Get out of my castle!” she whispers into his ear.
“Just help me so I can get out of here,” he says.
“It’s the force that’s killing these people. It’s gonna kill more people,” she says, without provocation.
She starts lighting her hand on fire as Blake runs back outside to talk to Han Solo.
He wipes the sweat off his brow and follows up on this “force” lead. “Are you an idiot?” asks Han Solo, too earnestly, as if he’s unsure of his own powers of discernment. “The force. Black helicopters. Denver International Airport. This is all connected. The force is everywhere. It made Luke Skywalker kill his father…” then a long silence. “In space.”
Robert Blake’s car is inexplicably gone now, so he starts running as fast as he can. This case is too much. It’s too confusing. All the Manzanita is catching on fire, and the street people all seem to have glowing blue swords, and all of them are fighting at once. The street people begin chasing him. And cops, too. The whole universe is closing in on him. Finally he gets to a diner in Sunland. No one is in there except the cook. It’s Luke Skywalker.
“Did they tell you about the war?” he asks, handing Robert Blake plate after plate of hash browns. “Sort of,” says Blake. “Well, your time is up,” responds Skywalker, now possessing the voice of Blake’s mother. “Come home, Bobby. Your oatmeal is going to get so cold. You hate it when it’s like that. You hate it when everything is cold.” Then Luke Skywalker vanishes. Everything is completely silent. Robert Blake collapses onto the floor, ripping up his clothes and crying for 5 or 6 minutes. Fade to black. Total silence.