The Praxis effect: Star Wars > Star Trek
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Can George Lucas finally be more right about Star Wars than the fans...?
I'm not aware of any intense rivalry between Star Trek and Star Wars fans; the two extended franchises probably had adequate influence over each other to live in peace on any SF enthusiast's DVD shelf. But anyone out there looking for the Lucasverse to score points over the Federation can take comfort in the thought that hard science apparently defends the second-most outrageous piece of Star Wars revisionism after the Greedo/Han shooting controversy - whilst dissing Klingon physics.
Astronomer Phil Plait, who debunks movie myths about matters celestial at badastronomy.com, apparently surmises that the much-reviled ILM rethink of the Death Star explosion - which added a concentric explosion ring to the conclusion of A New Hope in Lucas's revised 1997 theatrical release of the original Star Wars trilogy - is more scientifically correct than its original appearance in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991).
In his 2002 book Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions And Misuses Revealed, From Astrology To The Moon Landing 'Hoax', Plait casts doubt on the verisimilitude of (Lucasfilm effects house) Industrial Light And Magic's seminal CGI effect depicting the explosion of the Klingon moon Praxis in Undiscovered Country. Since explosions in space tend toward spherical shape unless impeded, Plait concludes that the blast pattern resulting from the explosion of the Klingon mining operation has no credible reason to resolve into a ring form, even if everyone thinks the effect is far cooler here than in 1997's revised New Hope.
Conversely, the surface integrity of the Death Star hull is interrupted by a perfect ring in the form of the gargantuan maintenance trench which encircles it, meaning that at this point of interrupted stress, a growing explosion would find the least resistance. This makes the highly criticised 'ring effect' far more plausible in New Hope [V.2.0] than its predecessor in Star Trek VI.
Sadly, upon closer inspection, we see that ILM blew this rare opportunity for scientific realism in the Star Wars universe...
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