991: Phantom Menace

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 22:33, 21 January 2014 by (talk) (Explanation)
Jump to: navigation, search
Phantom Menace
We could go to the theater across town and see if it's opened THERE yet, but we don't want to lose our place in line.
Title text: We could go to the theater across town and see if it's opened THERE yet, but we don't want to lose our place in line.


Here we have Cueball and one other unidentified character, who is dressed as Darth Maul. Darth Maul is a Sith apprentice in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. The Sith are the group of characters in the Star Wars universe who embrace the dark side of the Force and are the enemies throughout the series. Cueball is holding a cheap replica of a lightsaber, which is the weapon used by the Jedi and the Sith. Cueball and Darth Maul are standing outside what they think is a theater waiting for the 3D edition of The Phantom Menace, which was released in most countries in February of 2012. They both appear to be holding tickets or passes, presumably for entrance to the movie.

Cueball and his friend are die-hard Star Wars fans and thus are willing to line up in front of a seemingly abandoned, run-down building. When Cueball says "Let's give it another month", it's likely that they've been waiting at least a month. It's quite possible that the characters are not aware of the movie release date and they don't even seem to know if they're at a theater. The movie wasn't re-released until two months after the comic was published.

This comic seems to be poking fun at those people who are willing to wait long in advance for the release of some product or the first theatrical release of a movie. The title text expounds upon this when one of the characters states that going to a theater across town may be better, but he is worried about taking the chance due to the possibility of losing their place in this line, a misplaced sense of priorities if the line goes nowhere, and they are presently the only two in it.

It could be that no one else is waiting with them because the Phantom Menace was considered to be one of the worst movies in the Star Wars series. It is much maligned because of the inclusion of a new race, the Gungans, specifically Jar Jar Binks and the stilted dialog and wooden performances from the actors.

The comic may be insinuating that few people will be seeing the 3D release of The Phantom Menace by depicting Cueball and his friend as the only two in line.


[Two people -- one in a Darth Maul mask, the other holding a lightsaber, and each holding money in his or her hand -- stand outside a building.]
[They continue to stand there.]
[They continue to stand there.]
[Darth Maul turns to lightsaber guy.]
Darth Maul: Are you sure this place is a theater?
Lightsaber guy: Let's give it one more month.
comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


Episode I is so much maligned that some fans have created their own viewing order:

  • IV: A New Hope
  • V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • II: Attack of the Clones
  • III: Revenge of the Sith
  • VI: Return of the Jedi

Skipping The Pantom Menace entirely. [1]

lcarsos (talk) 23:26, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

I like to believe that being in line early is a phantom menace.--Shine (talk) 05:37, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

I actually saw the 3D rerelease... BlueDudeWithATude (talk) 15:43, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

I think that the existing explanation kind of misses the comic entirely. The comic was published 2 months before the 3D rerelease, so we can assume that the events of the comic take place at the same time as the publishing and so the characters are standing there at least 2 months early. Also, Cueball says "Let's give it one more month" to the suggestion that they aren't even in line for a theatre, suggesting that a) they've probably been waiting for at least a month, and b) they're so dedicated that they went to watch the movie without even knowing where they were going. So, my explanation would be that the characters are die-hard Star Wars fans, willing to watch even the much-maligned Episode I and also convinced of the sheer importance of this event that they're willing to line up at least 3 months in advance at what might not even be a theatre. Gman314 (talk) 16:57, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

I'm reasonably certain (but not so certain as to edit the article) that the joke is not that they're waiting for the re-release of Phantom Menace in 2012, but the original release in 1999. Neito (talk) 02:50, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

The intent of the comic is identical either way, and there are no clues to help us decide, except for the timing of publication. They both seem pretty clueless; the terrible props, the inane conversation, and the simple fact that they have been in line *by themselves* for a long time, with no clear indication that they are even at a theater. Is Randall trying to say that people queuing up to see phantom menace, are, to put it bluntly, stupid? 22:40, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

The first time I read this, without reading the explanation, I thought that they want to be the first to see the movie, even going as far as waiting for an abandoned building to become a theater. This way, they guarantee that they will be the first in line when the theater opens. 04:03, 28 January 2014 (UTC)


They weren't?

Oh wait... IDGAF! (I forgot.)

 I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 07:28, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

This is me with star wars 7 22:34, 17 December 2015 (UTC)