Friday, June 16, 2017

Thinking Out Loud: Fun Degrees of Separation

What follows is me trying to be creative. Throughout my career, I've dabbled in something like this as a professional twice. Once, I rewrote The Who's Pinball Wizard and made it all about the weather. Another time, I changed the words to Let It Go from Disney's Frozen to complain about how often it was on at my house when it came out.

Well, as I mentioned earlier this week, I took my daughter to go see Wonder Woman. There was an actor in the movie who connects Wonder Woman from the DC Universe to the Marvel Universe and the Star Trek Universe and the Star Wars Universe. So, here goes nothing...
Once upon a time in a universe not too far away, there was a young woman named Diana. An Amazonian princess, she grew up on an island filled with strong women. Her mother, Hippolyta, could often be seen joking with her aunt, Antiope. Together, they talked about their loves from previous lives.

"I knew a gladiator once," Hippolyta recalled. "He was a general first, and he was a great man even though he killed my brother at the time. When I was reborn, I heard rumblings that he had been, too, but on another planet."

"My first love was a stableboy," Antiope joked. "I thought he was taken from me, but he returned years later as a pirate. Later in life we separated when he decided he was some guy named Robin Hood."

One day, as Diana watched her mother and aunt having one of those types of talks, she witnessed a plane crash into the water surrounding their island. She had never seen anything like it before, but every one of her instincts convinced her to dive into the pristine blue below and save the pilot.

When he finally awoke, he introduced himself once he gathered his senses. "Thank you," he said. "My name is Jim Kirk."

"Jim," she repeated. "Nice to meet you Jim."

Jim and Diana eventually left the island. In time, Jim took Diana to meet his father.

"You know how you told me how you were brought to life by Zeus?" Jim asked her. "Well, my father is a god, too. Diana of Themyscira, meet Thor of Asgard. Dad, this is Diana."

"It is a pleasure to meet you Diana. You are a powerful woman. Jim speaks highly of you, and from what I've heard we could use someone like you on our team," Thor said.

"Your team?" she responded.

"Yes, my team," he replied. As they continued their conversation, Thor's wife, Padme, entered the room.

"We have company? Why did no one tell me?" she asked.

Jim spoke up. "Oh, sorry. Diana, this is my step-mom, Padme."

"Padme? That is quite an interesting name," Diana remarked.

"Yes, I'm not from these parts," Padme responded. She then gave Diana a longing look, as if she were missing something...or someone.

"Is something wrong?" Diana asked?

"Yes, but I can't quite explain it. I will try, though," Padme began. "You see, every once in a while I get these feelings that something is happening in the universe. Something I can't understand. I think it has to do with my children from a previous relationship, Luke and Leia. Their father was a powerful, powerful man, but he lost his way before they were born. I sent my children into hiding and never saw them again. Jim is all I have."

Diana just looked at Padme, amazed that such a thing could happen in the real world away from her secluded island. Jim then spoke up.

" we have a mission. We have to leave."

Padme stopped short. "But you both just got here. Why leave so soon?"

Diana explained, "There is an evil the world that must be stopped. It is my duty, and Jim is being brave enough to help."

With that, the duo departed, and together they reached headquarters for the Allied Powers. Before entering the War Room, Diana saw a wonder that appeared to be ahead of its time. "What marvel is this?" she asked Jim.

His response was lacking, and the best he could muster was, "This is, uh, it's a...a...viewscreen. Yes. A viewscreen. It is how many of us pass the time and are entertained. See? Right now there is a recorded play on called 'Game of Thrones.' It deals with how perilous leadership can be. That character there? He leads a group not unlike the one we are hoping to join tomorrow at the front lines."

A door opened, allowing Diana and Jim to enter the War Room. As they did, Diana immediately recognized the leader she had just seen on TV. "You! You are the Lord Commander!" she said, unable to contain her excitement.

The field marshall blushed. He chuckled the observation away, and he told Diana she was simply mistaken. However, to himself he thought, "If they only knew that I am actually Father Christmas..."

Once Jim and Diana presented their plan of attack to the gathered military leaders, and believed their idea to be sound, they were instantly disheartened to learn that the leadership they depended on would tell them their idea was too outlandish to be followed.

Jim had to stop Diana from causing trouble, and he did so easily when he told her they were going to go through with their plan, anyway. "You know, you remind me of another princess I once knew," he said. "She also had a bit of an independent streak in her. I think she wound up with someone a lot like you. In fact, I think you and he would get along pretty well." And so off they went to No Man's Land to turn the tide of the Great War...


Years later, Diana found herself looking back on her time with Jim while sitting in a great hall. She had found a group of heroes that had accepted her and looked to her as one of its leaders. Among them was another powerful being, named Albert Mondego. One day, the two of them were in deep conversation and the subject drifted towards their respective parents.

"My mother was a queen. From what you are saying about your father, they had to have known each other in a previous life," she told Albert.

"It would seem that way, yes," he said. "My father on this planet, though, had multiple lives, too. According to many people, one life he lived was greater than all others. Supposedly, he died for all of mankind's sins."

As the conversation continued, the pair turned on the viewscreen in the great hall to watch a popular play to see what all the fuss was about. Immediately she shot up in her chair, her mouth agape at what she was seeing.

"Antiope! It's my aunt, Antiope! She looks so different!" Indeed, her aunt was on the screen, wearing modern clothing and helping to run the most powerful country in the world.

Albert took notice. He also noticed her husband. "I thought I put him in jail," he thought aloud.

They switched screen frequencies and again Diana could not believe her eyes. "Thor! I know him, too!"

Again they changed the signal, eventually landing on one showing a young woman with a glowing sabre battling in a forest. Diana thought to herself, "She looks like someone I used to know...who???...who???...I know! That's it! She looks like Jim's step-mom Padme! Does that mean his never-before-seen step-siblings had children of their own?"

She looked at Albert. "Keep this on!" she said excitedly. "I want to see...I HAVE to see what happens next!"

Howie Balaban thanks you for reading this far. If you managed to put all the pieces together, congratulations. If not, please do not hesitate to ask for a follow-up explanatory column.