As many of you fellow dorks are likely aware, there is finally a Star Wars-universe television series that might actually meet or surpass the sublime quality standards set by the Star Wars Holiday Special. That series is The Mandalorian, the flagship series of Disney’s new scheme to take your money and make it theirs, the Disney+ streaming service. I thought the first episode was quite good, but it did leave me thinking about land speeders an awful lot. So let’s discuss.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I’m pretty sure I won’t be spoiling anything of real importance here, so I think you can feel free to read on even if you’ve yet to see the show.
I think it’s well established that landspeeders are the closest stand-in for cars in the Star Wars universe, and the version of Jalopnik that exists in that universe and is transmitted via shitty holograms writes about them all the time, except when they write about sci-fi movies involving strange landspeeders that run around on weird metal discs encased by rubber toruses that touch the ground.
With that in mind, let’s talk landspeeder! Here’s my big question:
This question is by far the most baffling. Early in the episode, our characters are on a freezing cold ice planet—or, at least, a part of a planet that is extremely cold—and when they call for what is essentially a landspeeder Lyft, a convertible pulls up.
Now, it’s not like this was the only thing around and they had no choice; we know this because one of those elephant-trunked/plague doctor alien guys running the taxi stand says
“I assure you, this speeder is brand new. It’s the latest model...”
...which certainly implies that, since that speeder is “brand new” and “the latest model,” that they (or someone involved with their little business there) chose this particular landspeeder and whatever option packages were available when they bought it, understanding full well the conditions they were to be operating it, in a cold-as-hell part of a planet.
And they somehow didn’t specify that it should have a roof? Or even any kind of windshield?
Look how everyone is dressed there—it has to be freezing. Can you imagine how miserably cold you’d be sitting there completely exposed while that thing whips along at, uh, however the hell fast landspeeders go, which seems pretty freaking fast? It seems like that would be hell.
And it’s not just that fancy new model that seems to be a cabrio. They call in an older model speeder as well, and it looks like this:
This one has a bit of a windshield, at least:
Of course, that little arc of plexiglass looks like it does fuck-all other than diverting frozen-planet ice mosquitoes to your face instead of your hands.
Look how bundled up Brian from the Sarah Silverman Show and Mr.Show is there, with those goggles and fur hood. Why would it be so hard to stick a roof and windows on any of these hover-cars?
Even if, for some ridiculous reason, the landspeeder factory refuses to build landspeeders with roofs, and if there’s somehow an agreement between all landspeeder manufacturers to never, ever include decadent roofs on their products, why aren’t there aftermarket companies making add-on roof assemblies like companies make truck bed camper shells in our world?
This makes no sense at all. It’d be one thing if we were seeing these open-top speeders in places with better weather, then we could just assume the open tops were by choice.
But here, on this miserable, cold-ass shithole of a planet, you’d only have an open-topped vehicle if you had absolutely no choice at all, which is, of course, insane.
Some enterprising space-monster in that long-ago and far away galaxy really should get into the aftermarket roof game and rake in the credits.
There appears to be some bias, at least on the part of the Mandalorian, against autonomous vehicles, or at least some anti-droid prejudice, as we see the Mandalorian turn away a droid-piloted landspeeder.
I like how this landspeeder is piloted by an R2-series astromech droid. What I’m wondering here is if that is an entire R2 droid in a droid socket like in an X-Wing fighter, or if that’s just an R2 head integrated into the landspeeder to handle the driving duties?
If we try placing an R2 droid body scaled to that head, it does look like it could maybe just fit in there, though it doesn’t really make a lot of sense. Integrating just the droid head with its brains and sensory devices and letting the landspeeder just be its body seems to be a better way to go.
We’ve kind of seen this before with droids embedded into spacecraft that do not appear to be able to house the entire droid body. So I’m going to say that’s what’s going on here.
I’m looking forward to discovering more about the landspeeder industry in this series. I’m hoping at least one episode takes place in a landspeeder dealership, or maybe junkyard, at least.