“Ackbar” is the story behind one of the most iconic lines of dialogue in Return of the Jedi – “It’s a trap!” And based on the backstory, it seems like an ill-advised line that could have incited panic among the troops. Punch it!
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Raw Episode Transcript:
Hey, Rebel Rouser, I’m Allen Voviod and this is Star Wars 7 by 7, your daily dose of Star Wars joy. Thank you so much for joining me for it. So “Ackbar” is the name of the short story we’re going to talk about From a Certain Point of View, and it’s actually a comic. It’s basically a four-page comic that appears in the middle of the From a Certain Point of View collection celebrating the 40th anniversary of Return of the Jedi. Gosh, I wanted to like this one. I do like it, actually, except I have an issue with it because it’s basically the story of one of the most celebrated lines of dialogue in the original trilogy, Admiral Ackbar shouting, “It’s a trap!” And the writer/illustrator, Jarrett Krosoczka, I hope I’ve gotten that close to correct. It takes a moment to say that Admiral Ackbar is reflecting that every word, every syllable I choose needs to ensure that my team moves with conviction and speed. So the setup is there for realizing that whatever is going to come out of Admiral Ackbar’s mouth has to be the exact right thing at the right moment.
The majority of the narrative in this comic is stuff that’s happening in Admiral Ackbar’s head as he’s reflecting on the people that he’s leading into battle and wanting to perform well for them. So when you think about the movie without any other information, you think about Admiral Ackbar announcing that it’s a trap when the ships are in Sector 47 and the shield is still up, even though they couldn’t get a reading on it. And the delivery reads as factual, but also surprised after a fashion too.
And so when you get this additional backstory about how he has been thinking about the way that he communicates to everyone during the course of this battle, suddenly there seems to be a note of panic in the way that it’s delivered. And maybe it also has to do with the full-page illustration of him yelling “It’s a trap!” And of course, it’s fun. It’s definitely dramatic and there’s a lot to like about it. But still, there is just something that got a little taken away from me with this particular story. At least that was my experience of it, as opposed to having something added to the experience.
There was another little nit-picky thing in there where the guy said that the enemy ships were detected in Sector 747, not Sector 47. It’s just like, Urgh. And I almost hate the fact that I’m noticing stuff like that and being nit-picky about it, but I can’t help it! But gosh, nobody’s ever going to be perfect. And mistakes happen, and that’s perfectly fine. And heaven knows that I’m prone to them, too.
I guess ultimately, I arrived at the conclusion that if he was being that careful about his words, but then he yelled that “It’s a trap!” for everyone, that suddenly it felt like he was actually creating the potential for panic in his forces. And that certainly wouldn’t have been a good thing, and that certainly wouldn’t have been the thing that he wanted to convey. Imagine being in a starfighter where you’ve just shown up for this incredible battle, and we’ve been talking about stories where people know that they’re going into this crazy battle and to suddenly be told, Oh, my gosh, we’ve flown into a trap. That just feels like it would make things even scarier and crazier.
Yeah, I liked it. I had issues with it, but I still enjoyed reading it. That’s the Ackbar story from the Certain Point of View collection of short stories from Return to the Jedi, and that is going to do it for this episode of the podcast.
It just remains for me to say thank you so much for joining me for it, as always, and may the Force be with you wherever in the world you may be.