Tag Archives: Explained

That Unexpected Cameo In 'Solo: A Star Wars Story,' Explained
May 26, 2018 6:02 pm|Comments (0)

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 21: Donald Glover and Emilia Clarke take part in SiriusXM’s Town Hall with the cast of Solo: A Star Wars Story hosted by SiriusXM’s Dalton Ross at SiriusXM Studios on May 21, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Major Spoilers Ahead For Solo: A Star Wars Story

The Star Wars prequel trilogy famously introduced a visually striking villain that was could’ve been just as memorable as Darth Vader, if he hadn’t met an untimely end at the hand of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Rather than yet another sickly-pale man in black robes, the satanic Darth Maul oozed style and personality; killing him so quickly felt like a waste of good character design.

Thus, his appearance in Solo: A Star Wars Story was a most welcome surprise, and undoubtedly the best bit of fan service the film gave us, and they gave us rather a lot.  

But if the last time you saw the guy was in The Phantom Menace, then you might be wondering how the heck he got there, considering that Solo is set long after the prequel trilogy.

Why is he still alive?

Darth Maul had a deceptively small part to play in The Phantom Menace, killing Obi-Wan’s mentor before Obi sliced him in two and tossed him down a gaping reactor shaft. But this is sci-fi, and if you don’t see a dead character’s body being obliterated into atom-dust, chances are, they’re still alive.

Thus, the canonical (and surprisingly decent) series The Clone Wars (set between Episodes II and III) plucked the wasted character out of the ether and breathed new life into him. Darth Maul did indeed fall down that reactor shaft in two pieces, but he utilized the power of the Force to guide his top half into a trash container, and ended up dumped on the hellish wasteland of Lotho Minor.

There, Maul managed to acquire creepy, spiderish robotic legs, and lived a Gollum-esque existence, muttering to himself and crawling around the dark tunnels of garbage. He was stranded on that garbage-dump planet for years, and, understandably, fell into insanity.

Eventually, he was rescued by his yellow-tinted brother, the subtly-named “Savage Opress,” who brought Maul to their mother, who happened to be a shaman. A few seconds of magic cured Maul’s insanity, and she even gave her son a new, socially acceptable pair of robotic legs.

After his rebirth, Maul and his brother went on a series of adventures, primarily fueled by the desire for revenge against Obi-Wan Kenobi.

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In 6 Words, Elon Musk Explained Why So Many People Are Afraid to Take Risks and Achieve Greatness
January 3, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

This series examines the stories behind some of the best inspiring quotes of all time. Check out the full list: the best inspirational quotes for 2018.

The most powerful threat to greatness isn’t evil. It’s mediocrity.

Of all the colorful ways to articulate that truth, one of the best is what Elon Musk told Chris Anderson of Wired magazine, back in 2012.

They were talking about Musk’s space exploration company, SpaceX, which grew out of Musk’s “crazy idea to spur the national will” to travel to Mars–by first sending a private rocket to the red planet.

He tried to to slash the cost of his quixotic dream by buying Cold War Russian missiles to turn into interplanetary rockets. While negotiating that deal, he realized that it wasn’t lack of “national will” that held the U.S. back from exploring space.

Instead, it was a lack of affordable technology–and the high cost, he told Anderson, was the result of some “pretty silly things” in the aerospace industry, like using legacy rocket technology from the 1960s. 

Anderson: I’ve heard that the attitude is essentially that you can’t fly a component that hasn’t already flown.

Musk: Right, which is obviously a catch-22, right? There should be a Groucho Marx joke about that. So, yeah, there’s a tremendous bias against taking risks. Everyone is trying to optimize their ass-covering.

That’s the quote that I liked so much, especially those last six words: a “bias against risk,” because everyone is “trying to optimize their ass-covering.”

It’s funny–but also poignant. And, of course, it applies to a lot more than space exploration.

It applies to the vast majority of successful companies that get stuck producing legacy products–because they can’t risk that innovation might upset their own profit models.

It applies to the service providers that make a mockery of the word “service” (say for example, big airlines and utility companies)–because cost-cutting with crappy service maximizes shareholder value.

It applies also to temptations in our personal lives, and in the lives of those around us.

Think of the colleagues you know who hold onto uninspiring jobs for fear of going after the careers or entrepreneurial dreams they really want.

Or think of the friend you might have (I think most of us do), who stays in a lousy relationship because he or she is more afraid of being alone than of living with less than they deserve.

We’re all a little bit afraid of risk. Yet, each day represents a new chance and a new beginning. At the start of the year, that sense is especially acute. 

And sometimes we need a little inspiration to take the leap.

Whatever is the thing you’re afraid of trying–a new business, a new adventure, a new relationship–maybe now is the time to give it a try.

Cast aside your risk aversion. Be uncomfortable for a while as you try something new. Accept the chance that you’ll fail.

Don’t optimize your ass-covering. Instead, optimize your opportunities. And find your own mission to Mars.

Tech

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