Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

This SNL Sketch Asks Important Questions About the Star Wars Universe

Chewbacca, speaking a language that a lot of people seem to understand.
Chewbacca, speaking a language that a lot of people seem to understand.
Photo: Lucasfilm/Disney

In a fake excerpt from a Star Wars anthology film, Saturday Night Live is asking the questions about this universe that need to be asked. It’s about time, people.


The sketch is silly, rather expensive looking, for SNL, and opens with a fun little cameo from JJ Abrams. The premise sees a group of smugglers talking to what appears to be a Hutt, played by Kenan Thompson, in order to rescue a Rebel pilot. Once the negotiations begin, Charles Barkley’s (yes, Charles Barkley hosted SNL, and now we all get to see him dressed in an Obi-Wan tunic) character asks a question that has been, frankly, plaguing me for years: how do y’all speak so many languages?

Seriously, though: How do so many characters in Star Wars know so many diverse languages? Everyone seems to know Basic, unless the creatures who don’t seem to be able to speak it biologically, and then several humans are shown understanding multiple, completely divergent alien tongues, including Shyriiwook, which seems exceptionally difficult for humans, being mostly roars and all, and a binary robot language comprised entirely of beeps and chirps.


I feel like I’m losing my mind with this sometimes. Also, why does someone like Jabba get subtitles, but Chewbacca and astromech droids don’t? That seems racist. Or species-ist. Or something. Oh, yeah, here’s the sketch.

io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


zuludaddy (says Bravo Zulu)

I must admit it has always bugged me a bit that Chewbacca could not possibly be a name in Shyriiwook, nor could Shyriiwook be the name for itself: the language does not contain those sounds, ffs.