As a child of the Seventies, I am obviously delighted that new Star Wars films are being made (after extensive primal scream sessions, I have managed to persuade myself that the three prequels don’t exist, much like there is only actually one Matrix film, and Superman can’t turn back time by flying backwards round the earth ffs).
As anyone who has seen the films will know (and if you’ve not seen Star Wars (a) this piece isn’t for you and (b) wow, seriously?), the first film ends with Luke Skywalker the hero of the piece, taking part in a tiny space ship attack on the Death Star a huge battle station – the rebel forces are massively outnumbered, but Luke finds a way.
But it has always nagged at me that the reality for Luke Skywalker, getting into that X-wing fighter and going into space battle – given the extraordinarily limited combat experience he has ever had, would be somewhat crazy.
So this is how Luke Skywalker’s interview might have gone, had he been applying to join the RAF, in the real world.
Luke : I want to fly an F16 – I want to join in the attack on Al Qaeda. Which way to my plane? Let’s go, right now!
Interviewer : Well, enthusiasm is marvellous, but let’s take things one step at a time, shall we. Tell me about your previous experience.
Luke : Well, up until this morning I was a farmer.
Interviewer : A farmer? Not a pilot?
Luke : No, I worked on a farm, for my aunt and uncle.
Interviewer : I see. Well very few people I interview are getting into a cockpit ten minutes later and flying a piece of military hardware with a value of two million pounds, still less putting the lives of everyone else on the mission in jeopardy. So, one step at a time. Let’s start again, shall we.
Interviewer : So, you’re interested in joining the RAF, Mr Skywalker
Luke : Oh, absolutely. I hate Al Qaeda. I have done since this morning.
Interviewer : This morning?
Luke : Oh yes, they killed my aunt and uncle this morning.
Interviewer writes down ‘Post-traumatic stress syndrome’
Interviewer : And where were you at the time?
Luke : Oh, I was hanging out with an old man. We were getting all mystical, you know? And I got knocked unconscious.
Interviewer : You were knocked unconscious, this morning.
Luke :That’s right. That was just before my first flight, actually.
Interviewer : You may still have concussion, to be honest. I’m not sure it was good for you to be flying a plane right after that.
Luke : Oh, I wasn’t flying it. I was just a passenger.
Interviewer: But you said it was your first flight.
Luke : That’s right – it was. The first time I’d ever flown in a plane was earlier today. And now I want to fly one, in combat.
Interviewer : Okay… we’d prefer our combat pilots to have a little more flying experience.
Luke : Well, I have driven a landspeeder.
Interviewer : And that’s not really the same thing in any way at all, I’m afraid. Driving a car is rather different to flying a plane in combat. Okay, tell me about your combat experience
Luke: I killed someone for the first time today. Probably about twenty people, I guess. Prior to that, as a farmer, I’d never really had any combat experience.
Interviewer : …. And how are you coping with that?
Luke : Fine. I’m trying not to get cocky.
Interviewer writes ‘Definite issues with post-traumatic stress’
Interviewer : Do you know anyone in the RAF?
Luke : Oh yeah, my friend Biggs. I wrote loads about him on my application form, but I had to cut it all from the final version. He has a moustache.
Interviewer : I see. Do you have much experience of targeting ? This would be a precision raid.
Luke : I used to bullseye womp-rats with my T-16 back home
Interviewer : I….see. That sounds an awful lot like you are saying to me that you shot and killed wild animals with an air-rifle for amusement… and that you’re proud of that.
Luke : They’re not much bigger than 2 metres.
Interviewer writes ‘psychopathic tendencies’
Interviewer : Let me just take some details for our security checks. Full name is Luke Skywalker… let me just check that. Oh.
Luke : Is that a good oh?
Interviewer : Have you ever known there to be a good oh, in this sort of situation? Well, what my computer is saying to me is that your father is the second in command of Al Qaeda, and that I would have to be clinically insane to let you participate in an attack on Al Qaeda or be involved in the planning of it in any way.
Luke : Well, I knew absolutely nothing about that. Really? That is a surprise, I have to tell you. My dad is a big shot in Al Qaeda. That is news to me. I bet I can redeem him though.
Interviewer : I have to tell you Mr Skywalker, that even though we are badly in need of pilots and one of the pilots we have on this mission is a man called Porkiss who can barely fit in the cockpit, you would be on paper, a worse choice than him.
Luke : But… I discovered a new religion today. I’d never heard of it until this morning, but now I’m a complete convert. Total dedication. I’m utterly sure the force of my new religion can get me through any situation. I was already pretty much thinking that if I got up in the F16 I’d turn off all my instruments and just fly on instinct a piece of hardware that I’d sat in for the first time that very day.
Interviewer : Could you please show in Mr Maverick and Mr Iceman on your way out?