Tag: chewbacca

You know it’s all good, when you have to read Wookiee research papers. Wookienomics: it’s a thing… #starwars


Note: eventually, some of these (I suspect) will be published in full at the Science Creative Quarterly.

O.K. I just bought this art piece by @Mr_Bingo at @nellyduff. Yes, it has Chewbacca in it. Yes, it is awesome.


By Mr Bingo.

And here’s our “Chewbacca” bathroom. Ready for May the 4th!


This Here: An Equation that Calculates the Odds of Being Cast as a Stormtrooper Extra in One of the New Star Wars Movies.


It (hypothetically*) goes like this:


* Like all good science, this needs some testing…

– – –

When news hit that Disney bought the rights to Star Wars, and that J.J. Abrams would be manning the first movie of a new trilogy, my inner geek went into giddy overdrive. This was because it gave me a chance to revisited my bucket list, which had previously scratched off “be an extra in a Star Wars movie” as something that was unattainable having presumed the prequels were my last chance. But now, there is (literally), A NEW HOPE. Even better, is the fact that my kids are old enough to also want this.

And so, being a science-y sort and all, I figured the first step would be to actually try and come up with a way to calculate the odds of such a thing happening, and hence you see the above – or what I have termed the Abrams’ Stormtrooper Axiom. In effect, this is an equation that aims to calculates the odds of you (or anyone) being cast as a stormtrooper in one of these new movies1.

Here’s how it works. We’ll first look at (1) which expresses the equation in its most obvious form.


When you look at this equation, there are three main components: two in the numerator: WkSblaster and bmiopthopt

And one in the denominator: 5.4(1+bop+bow).

The denominator is an expression designed to address the likelihood of being cast, as having a dependence on the individual’s chance of contact with J.J. Abrams. Specifically, bop refers to the degrees of personal separation the individual is from the Director, whereas bow refers to the degrees of internet separation the individual is from the Director. The base of the exponential relationship is, of course, the standard May The Force Be With You Constant (or 5.4).

All told, if you have very little connection to the director, your odds can dwindle significantly, about 5.4(1+6+6) times, or roughly one in 3.3 billion! It also infers that even if you know JJ Abrams personally, it does not guarantee being cast – mathematically, the closest association would still work out to 5.4(1+1+1), or roughly a chance of one in 158. This is because there are other factors that need to come into play when determining whether an individual is right for a stormtrooper part.

Which is where the numerator expressions exert their influence. We can first begin with the bmiopthopt element, which essentially considers the physicality of the individual vying for a stormtrooper part. The bmi portion considers body shape, whereas the h portion considers height.

Each element can be further derived as:


Where (2) calculates divergence from an average body type (as expressed by an individual’s body mass index with m equals to the individual’s weight in kilograms, and h is equal to the individual’s height in metres). You’ll note that the more you veer away from an “average” body type, the greater the modification of the bmiopt number to a number less than one (and therefore further lowering your odds).

In the same manner, (3) calculates divergence from an optimal height (deemed 1.8 metres as determined from casual examination of Star Wars’ trivia – i.e. calculating Mark Hamill‘s height and noting the “Aren’t you a little short to be a Stormtrooper?” comment). Like the BMI calculation, the more you deviate from the optimal height, the greater the modification of the hopt number to a number less than one (and therefore further lowering your odds).

Note that both (2) and (3) are included in the overall equation for pragmatic prop design reasons (not every extra can have a custom made set of armour, so it makes sense if casting aimed for similar body types). Then, of course, there is the whole clone army narrative which might also presume the troops having similar physical features. (Also note that in case you weren’t familiar with the symbol, the straight up and down lines enclose a value where you only use the absolute number – i.e. remove the plus or minus sign).

Anyway, when you put it all together you get the expression (4).


Which only leaves Wk and Sblaster to be defined. Here, these two variables relate to two specific personality traits that are deemed important for the stormtrooper casting decision.

For instance, I don’t think I’m the only Star Wars fan who notices the incredibly poor marksmanship exhibited by the stormtroopers. There are many instances in the movies where there are many of them (with their weapons – presumably high tech in nature), in close proximity to the target, and yet, they still always fail to hit their target. The below video is one of many classic examples where you can see this:

Given this observation, I’m left to assume that Stormtroopers, as a whole, have a deep distrust of guns, and with that discomfort tend to misfire (perhaps subconsciously). This also leads me to hypothesize that not only are they not very skilled, but that they are probably the sort that are not at all familiar with gun culture in their private lives.

Consequently, Sblaster is a number assigned to measure the individual’s relative experience wth guns, whereby a value of 1.0 represents full disconnect from the use of guns in their personal lives, and a number closer to zero represents an individual who is very familiar with gun culture.

Of course, perhaps the most important tangible characteristic (that could translate to a positive casting decision) is relative fandom itself. In other words, casting may be partly governed by how “into Star Wars” an individual is. Here, and in honor of Chewbacca’s reference of “pulling arms out of their sockets when they lose,” I’ve decided to use Wookie knowledge, or Wk as an indicator that can further increase casting chances. Essentially, this is a scale that ranges from 1 to 10, whereby 10 represents fanatical knowledge on all things Wookie, and 1 represents no knowledge at all. In effect, if you’re nuts about Star Wars (and wookies specifically), you can increase your chances of being cast by 10 fold.

In conclusion, I want to stress that this is the Abrams’ Stormtrooper Axiom, and by its very definition, an axiom is just a starting point. This means the equation will need more work, and it would be great suggestions to make it better. As it stands, it works as a general guideline using a number of test values2. As well, there is also the very real caveat of whether J.J. Abrams will even have stormtroopers in the new movies – never mind the fact that if he does, they may come in a different size, or be better at shooting, etc. In some respects, this reminds me a little of Schrödinger’s cat (we can call our version Abrams’ Stormtrooper): we won’t really know what he has in mind until he lets us open the box.

– – –


1. In general, I’ve used information from the original trilogy for points of reference.

2. For instance, an individual with no connection at all will result in a number that works against the backdrop of the total human population numbers. For J.J. Abrams, himself, where bop and bow are equal to zero, and his Wk is likely quite high, the equation would further calculate that he has practically perfect odds of being cast as a stormtrooper (which makes sense given his role in the movie). For the sake of comparison, I’ve calculated my own odds to be approximately: 0.00000519 or about one in 19,000.

This: Chewbacca made from seaweed…

But what kind of seaweed(s) specifically?


Via Reddit.

Star Wars Trilogy Pathway Infographics #awesome

Click to enlarge.




By Andrew DeGraff, and currently all prints have been sold out (although the original is still available at $2900!).

Star Wars Alphabet #Ijustboughtthis


By Patrick Concepcion, via Hey Oscar Wilde!

Best birthday card ever!

My kids are awesome. That is all.


Yes, the Chewbacca bathroom is almost done…

Just the grout and installing the tub and shower hardware left…


By the way, this is inspired by this picture. Originally, I had planned to do the whole thing, but coloured tiles can be very expensive (especially ceramic ones), so we elected to just go with what’s important (a.k.a. Let the Wookie Win).

Star Wars Origami #whoa

When this:

Can make this:

You go “whoa.” Plus look at these others…

By Martin Hunt. There many more at the link, but I’m a traditionalist, so I’ve only chosen a few of the classics. Via Wired

“Join me on the Dark Side” – the Venn Diagram

By Heng Swee Lim

This is my son practicing the Imperial March on the piano: A prelude for me going to @VCON and doing the science thing.

The best part is that his piano teacher has said he can wear the helmut during the Christmas concert performance, but only if he can play it perfectly with it on.

This is just a heads up that I will be going to VCON 2012, which is tagged as “Vancouver’s premier science fiction and fantasy convention.” I’ll be there as one of the invited scientists and will be participating in a number of panels this Friday and Saturday. This is my second year going, and it was such a blast last time – it’s not often I get to exercise my science chops in such a creative setting. Besides, it’s also a nice bonus to go to a conference where it’s not unusual to see a stormtrooper (or two) pass you in the hallway.

As well, the camaraderie of the community is pretty cool. It’s quite refreshing to see folks who are so completely at ease with the things that inspire them, even if these things may be thought of as unconventional to others. Really now, we could all learn quite a lot from that kind of attitude.

Anyway, if you’re going to be at VCON yourself, do say hello (or hello via twitter @ng_dave). And then ask me a crazy (sci-fi/fantasy) science question – and I’ll do my best to provide you with an answer that I think could fit the ever important (for me anyway) validity criteria.

p.s. I’ll also bring one of these decks along. Would be great if there are a few avid gamers who could test it out.

Ben and I make a Millennium Falcon out of K’Nex

Needlefelt Chewbacca by my 8 Year Old Son is Awesome!

Ben made this for me and it rocks!

(Almost) real time wind map is very cool. Plus, I think I see the face of Chewbacca!

Check it out here. (Thanks Ian!)

Chewbacca hair wars.

By Alejandro Giraldo. Also available as a t-shirt.

Star Wars Cross Stitch Pattern

Awesome, and available for sale here.

By Jacqueline Gable.

Chewbacca on a bike #awesome

Too bad, the shirt appears to be sold out.

By Matt Fleming.

Han and Chewbacca, gloriously pixelated.

By Michael B. Myers Jr.

Da Vinci does Chewbacca

By Raptore39, via worth1000.com.

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