5 Lines From Movies That Raise Endless Unanswered Questions
Movies are, of course, not written by rooms full of experts obsessing over every detail. Even a carefully constructed script will get changed on the fly, or lines will be improvised on the set based on what Ryan Reynolds thought sounded good in the moment.
But in order to distract ourselves from the horror of everyday life, it's fun to overthink some select throwaway lines, because I'm telling you, they tend to completely break a film's universe if you take their implications to the logical end. For example ...
Bright -- "So I need you to take your fat, Shrek-lookin' ass back to your vehicle and drive the fuck off to Fiona!"
To help stem the tide of the movies they're losing to other streaming outlets, Netflix threw a lot of money at Bright, which starred Will Smith as a member of the LAPD. But in Bright's universe, he is learning to share the world with orcs, elves, and all other kinds of magical creatures who are on the surface different from him. Sadly, what could've been a decent allegory about race relations gets all garbled up by the fact that Bright's script is about as sound as a basement made of pudding.
At one point, in a confrontation with an orc, Smith says, "So I need you to take your fat, Shrek-lookin' ass back to your vehicle and drive the fuck off to Fiona!" Ya know, like a person would say.
Wait A Minute ...
So, despite the fact that this is a fantasy world with actual orcs, apparently everything occurred in the exact same manner as our real one, up to and including the release of the hit Dreamworks film Shrek? So in the Bright universe, Hollywood made a blockbuster movie -- nay, a goddamn franchise -- based around their equivalent of a crude racist caricature?
Sure, Shrek was the hero of the movie, but he was also an unapologetically disgusting and smelly social outcast, which is why Smith is obviously not using "Shrek-lookin' ass" as a compliment. In that universe, the Shrek franchise manufactured a new slur.
Orcs may be second-class citizens in that world, but surely they weren't cool with the film industry horribly representing them in the fourth-highest-grossing film of 2001. Were there ogre protests around the release? Were orcs (rightfully) flooding Mike Myers' email with complaints? Is it a scientific law that even if you fundamentally alter all of Earth's evolution and history, you still wind up with Shrek no matter what?
The Empire Strikes Back -- "Then I'll see you in Hell!"
We're told that the kids of today have in fact not all seen the original Star Wars trilogy, so this explanation is for them. In The Empire Strikes Back (you know, the second one?), Han Solo heads out into a winter storm on the back of an alien kangaroo. When a fellow rebel suggests that it's too cold for either him or his mount to survive, Han answers like a badass: "Then I'll see you in Hell!"
Wait A Minute ...
Things get weird when you borrow common action movie catchphrases for your science fantasy that takes place in another era and universe. How exactly does Han know what Hell is? Are there other Earth religions in the Star Wars universe? Which ones? Was Han raised on a Christian planet?
We guess that, logically, none of these characters are really speaking English, and that the movie we're watching has been translated from whatever language they're actually using (though it does appear to contain some of the same letters, as evidenced by how they name certain ships). So maybe "Hell" has been translated from its original term. We suppose it wouldn't be as catchy if Han had said, "I'll see you in Rabapalu, which is a fiery place you may go to when you die where you receive punishments based on the sins you committed in life. Also, we're all born with original sin because Roogie the Hutt and TR-15 ate a flim-trim fruit."
Still, this leads us to the main question: Are there even other religions in the Star Wars universe? If there are ... why? The Force and the Jedi teachings basically function as a religion, and there is tangible evidence that the Force definitely exists (you can check the blood for Force microbes), thus turning nonbeliever Han into the quick-draw flat-earther of the Galaxy.
Luke Cage -- "Remember when Obama sang Al Green?"
Barack Obama gets repeatedly name-dropped throughout the Luke Cage TV show on Netflix. In one instance, a journalist tries to convince corrupt politician Mariah Dillard to soften her image by giving a fun interview, referencing Obama singing Al Green at the Apollo Theater. It's good to throw in little lines like that every now and then. It helps ground the universe in some kind of reality.
Wait A Minute ...
It's established in Iron Man 3 that the president of the United States is Matthew Ellis, a generic white dude who is basically there to yell as Tony Stark saves him from falling. This wasn't just mentioned in passing; the president's kidnapping was the central plot.
So this all leads to the question: Why wasn't Obama president anymore? While the MCU timeline can be tricky to nail down, from context, it looks like Iron Man 3 takes place in 2013, the same year it came out. So we guess Ellis won the presidency in 2012, meaning Obama was president from 2008 to 2012?
If so, this means The Avengers' Chitauri invasion was smack dab in the middle of a presidential campaign. Political scholars believe George W. Bush's actions in the aftermath of 9/11 helped him win in 2004. Bush's campaign in 2004 relied a lot on 9/11 imagery to convince voters to trust him to protect them against another terror attack and/or Democrats. It makes sense. A country in fear would stick with what they know and not try to change the system too much.
Therefore, Marvel's Obama must have fucked up the response to the Chitauri attack so badly that Americans decided they were better off with a guy with zero experience dealing with alien attacks, which became a regular occurrence from that point forward. Were there conspiracy theories linking Obama to the Chitauri that brought about his downfall? Considering that we've all lived through the year 2016, it wouldn't be surprising.
But more importantly for this example, why would anyone care if Obama sang Al Green? He did that in the 2012 campaign and still lost. Obviously, it didn't make him cool enough to win.
Thor: Ragnarok -- "How many PhDs does Banner have? Seven."
Thor: Ragnarok doesn't try to answer too many outstanding MCU questions. What happened to Jane Foster? Screw it, she and Thor broke up. What's up with the Infinity Stones? Eh, Thor couldn't find anything. Way more time is spent on the answer to where Hulk has been since he flew away at the end of Age Of Ultron. He's been a gladiator on Sakaar for two years, and when Banner finds this out, he gets a little upset. And this is odd, because according to a bit of dialogue, he evidently had no problem wasting decades obtaining the many PhDs he claims to have.
Wait A Minute ...
This line is there to prove that Banner is impossibly smart. That's his other superpower, besides dropping bits of droll comic relief before turning into a CGI monster. Maybe they thought people bragging about having a high IQ was cliche, so they went with this.
First, the average student takes about 8.2 years to complete a Ph.D. program, but it ultimately comes down to what you're studying. Since Bruce Banner is a super genius, we could reasonably assume he would finish these programs much faster than your average student. But even presuming he completes each Ph.D. in, say, half the average time, it would still take him 28 years to acquire seven doctoral degrees. He's 48 now, and since he became the Hulk in 2005, that means that, at the very earliest, he started acquiring his collection of PhDs when he was 17.
All right, maybe he was one of those child geniuses. But then, what exactly did Banner get his PhDs in? In MCU canon, he's respected in the fields of gamma radiation (obviously), nuclear physics, and biochemistry. But what are the other four things he studied? He had to spend several years on each degree, so it seems kind of pointless that he's only using three of them. Did he get a doctoral degree in 14th-century poetry? Why? Just for kicks?
Also, how in the hell did Banner pay for all those degrees? Wouldn't tuition run into the millions? According to his backstory in The Incredible Hulk, he worked as a researcher at a university in Virginia. According to job site Indeed, one of those jobs will net you about $67,000 annually on average. Immediately after that, though, he became a professional raging green monster.
Maybe Hulk didn't leave Earth so he could protect Black Widow. Maybe he left so he could get away from his student loan debts.
The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers -- "Looks like meat's back on the menu, boys!"
Merry and Pippin, aka slapstick Frodo and Sam, have been taken by a troop of orcs and Uruk-hai because they believe the Hobbits have the One Ring. As the movie begins, the group doesn't have enough food, and has only eaten "maggoty bread for three stinkin' days." One salivating orc starts eyeing the Hobbits, causing a Uruk-hai to decapitate him and proudly proclaim, "Looks like meat's back on the menu, boys!" Then they ravenously eat his sorry ass.
Wait A Minute ...
Despite the fact that it would've looked hilarious next to J.R.R. Tolkien's chapter-long description of a tree and all of that tree's ancestors, this line isn't anywhere in the books. So how does an Uruk-hai know what menus, and by extension restaurants, are? Are there restaurants in the lava pit that is Saruman's backyard? Who are the staff members in the restaurants? In addition to breeding creatures in mud sacs for an army, does Saruman also take a few of them to be servers, cooks, and hosts? When he's not plotting to break into Helm's Deep, is Saruman also managing the Middle-earth equivalent of an Arby's?
Of course, these monsters have to eat, so it makes sense that, if not restaurants, they'd have something like a mess hall. But would it have a "menu"? You'd picture some slave handing out buckets of gruel in a line, not these hulking monsters staring at a list of options and figuring what looks good. Do they get a chance to modify their orders and ask for lembas with extra leaf wrappings? Do they send something back if the order is wrong? Do they pay for the meals? Do they tip?
With this in mind, it's no wonder that the Uruk-Hai got so cranky when they hadn't had anything good to eat for days. They had become so accustomed to the finest cuisine Orthanc had to offer that they all completely snapped.
Feel free to tell Mike over Twitter about all the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings lore he overlooked in this article.
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For more, check out 24 Unanswered Questions Raised By Popular Movies And Shows and 6 Disturbing Unanswered Questions From Children's Movies.
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