Editorial License

Rob Hammerton, music educator etc.

Or Am I Overthinking This?, part 1

Planets don’t just arrive in outer space with names attached. Someone has to get in there and name them.

Whether it’s a scientist looking through a telescope and saying, “Yep, fits all the criteria for being a planet, let’s name it after a mythological character,” or it’s an explorer setting foot on it and saying “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind, let’s call it Sherman’s Planet,” and hopefully the explorer’s name is Sherman otherwise it’s just weird…

Or, in our vivid imaginations, when we get to that planet and think about naming it, someone or something had gotten there first and named it, possibly using consonants and vowels we’ve never heard of and which we really have trouble pronouncing with our human faces.

So I got thinking this morning. Specifically, I got thinking about the planet Naboo, and what a goofy name for a planet that was.

Alderaan, Ceti Alpha V, Sherman’s Planet … dignified.

Naboo … a nonsense word uttered by a six-month-old. Naboo. Jakku. Dooku. Roku. Tofu. Babboo. Goo Goo.

I mean, come on.

Unless … unless Naboo means something dignified in someone else’s language.

Which led to the inevitable Star Wars universe question, one which I’m sure occurred to you shortly after you began reading this …

Did the humans, Queen Amidala’s ancestors (I presume; I mean, they didn’t put any prosthetics on Natalie Portman, did they?), name the joint “Naboo”? Or did the underwater Gungans, the floppy goofy ancestors of Jar Jar Binks, come up with that one and the humans heard it and just kinda went along with it? Did the humans, in a move utterly out-of-character for standard humans, punt on the opportunity to say “no! We the humans are in charge here now that we have arrived, and we declare this planet to be New Haven because that’s what it is!”…?

To me, “Naboo” frankly sounds much more natural coming out of the explosively drooly mouth of Boss Nass, the Gungan ruler (and the closest thing there is to Jabba the Hutt on an extreme bender), than it does coming out of the British-Empire-inflected mouth of Senator Palpatine.

If the humans named it “Naboo”, one can only wonder in what condition the explorers found themselves, after what presumably was a harrowing or interminable journey across the stars. Or perhaps the five explorers in the landing spacecraft were named Nancy, Abe, Barbara, Oliver and Oscar. Less fanciful; more logical. I’ve gone through all the possible anagrams, and … nope. Not that, either.

Perhaps in the Gungan language, “Naboo means “bountiful harvest” or “lovely view” or “planet which, against all science, has a core full not of molten hot magma but instead of water, so it’s lucky we’re built for swimming”.

Or am I overthinking this?

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August 24, 2016 - Posted by | movies, science fiction | , , , , , , , ,

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