All the Ways ‘Spaceballs’ Predicted the Future of ‘Star Wars’
In some ways, Mel Brooks’ beloved Star Wars spoof Spaceballs couldn’t be more different than the source material it parodied. Sure, both feature spaceships, diminutive alien wizards and overtly Freudian duels with brightly-colored phalluses, but while Star Wars was a merchandising juggernaut, Spaceballs didn’t sell so much as a single lunch box (or even a flamethrower) due to Brooks’ arrangement with George Lucas. And although we’re still getting movies, TV shows and even goddamn hotels set in Lucas’ galaxy far, far away, the Spaceballs-verse is confined to one film and a terrible animated series that virtually no one has seen.
But we’re going to go out on a limb and suggest that the legacy of Spaceballs continues within the Star Wars franchise itself. That’s right, some of the Star Wars projects made post-Spaceballs have more in common with Brooks’ movie than you might think.
For starters, Spaceball City anticipated the sprawling metropolis of Coruscant, which didn’t make an onscreen appearance until the 1997 “Special Edition” of Return of the Jedi. Then there were the prequels, which visually recalled much of Spaceballs — like the lush paradise of Naboo in The Phantom Menace, which was arguably reminiscent of Princess Vespa’s home planet Druidia:
And Dex’s Diner, the intergalactic greasy spoon joint that randomly showed up in Attack of the Clones, was predated by Gus’ Galaxy Grill.
As for the recent Disney era, it too seems informed to some degree by Spaceballs. For instance, the pivotal moment in The Last Jedi in which Kylo Ren tells Rey that she’s “nothing”…
…is not so dissimilar from when Dark Helmet informs Lone Star that he’s “absolutely nothing.”
Also, Druidia’s protective air shield looks similar to the shield gate that surrounds Scarif in Rogue One — a movie that would have been a lot shorter had the Empire’s password been “1-2-3-4-5.”
Even one of Spaceballs’ more outlandish jokes about Lucas’ overzealous branding ended up coming true in real life — we’re, of course, talking about Spaceballs: The Toilet Paper.
You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this).