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Anatomy of a conspiracy theory: The Death Star truthers

When you look at it this way, Star Wars really does look kind of sketchy...

If you have a passing familiarity with Star Wars — the original movie (A New Hope) — and either love or hate conspiracy theories, Graham Putnam has a treat for you. Luke's Change: An Inside Job (above) is a six-minute, "pitch-perfect parody of Loose Change, one of the more famous 9/11 conspiracy videos," says David Haglund at Slate. But it's more than that, too.

After mocking the "gullible people" who are convinced that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were an inside job, Glen Tickle at Geekosystem gets to the more interesting point of Putnam's homage to conspiracy theories: Luke's Change "just goes to show you what some choice facts, spooky music, and a bit of editing can do to convince people of your point of view."

First, Putnam plucks out "facts" we all know about the Star Wars saga: Luke blows up the Death Star with a nearly impossible shot, despite having zero military training; Darth Vader, Luke's father, is the only person to escape from the doomed space fortress; and the plans that show the Death Star's one vulnerability were somehow obtained by Vader's daughter, Princess Leia, and smuggled out on a droid Vader himself built as a youth. Then Putnam arranges those facts in a way that makes Vader-as-mastermind a plausible reading of events. That's how all conspiracy theories work, and Putnam provides a helpful guide to the power, structure, and duplicity of these alternate histories.

On a lighter note, "the repeated mispronunciations of 'Alderaan' aside," says Lauren Davis at i09, Putnam "does a fantastic job of constructing a different narrative from the pieces of a familiar story." The video also works because, well, "looking at the Star Wars universe this way is pretty funny," says Susana Polo at The Mary Sue.

If the video actually has you doubting everything you ever believed about the Star Wars canon, screenwriter Ken Miyamoto has a detailed debunking of Putnam's video at Slate. Because it's the internet.

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