Beware of the Leopard

December 13, 2017 Jon Bounds

Crossovers are the meet and drink of the sci-fi fan, they love them. I’m not big on science fiction but I used to get excited when a character from the Dandy appeared in the Beano, and wished that when Ricky left Eastenders for Manchester he would find himself work at Kevin Webster’s garage at the end of Coronation Street. As in Men in Black, everyone loves it when we ‘cross the streams’.

So, we mused in Episode 11 of Beware of the Leopard, was there a connection between the universes of Hitchhikers and, for example current flavour of the month Star Wars? I thought I’d read something about it, and it would be good ‘content’, so I decided to take a look.

The Frood route

When I did a scan of The Frood (a biography of Douglas by Jem Roberts) I found this bit: In the TV version, Darth Vader can be seen enjoying a meal at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

This is of course one of the few places where time travel in HHGTTG is deliberate, so — no matter how the eons line up — if a rich and powerful arsehole in the Star Wars galaxy fancied a night out, this is pretty much where you would expect him to turn up.

It’s very dark, but he’s in there somewhere I thought, that’s what the book says. Not THE book, but the book I’ve just read..

But, I’d read it wrong. Of course, Darth Vader isn’t in there my co-hosts said, but the chap that played Darth Vader’s height, David Prowse, is.

They let him keep the voice here too.

The Blue Peter connection

Then I thought that we could get there through our universe, or at least a very similar parallel one where TV’s Marvin released a single in the UK and performed it on Blue Peter.

Star Wars also featured on the kids show, but they were actors rather than the ‘real’ people.

Dr Who to Transformers, via Lovejoy

So, let’s try another tactic. We know that the Hitchhikers characters are in the same universe as Dr Who — the Fourth Doctor (you know, the one with the scarf, the robot dog and the afro) is seen reading a book by Oolon Colluphid (as his assistant Romana, included as it’s a clearer shot of the cover). It must have been a big seller.

See, look:

Not only that, but we know that at least one incarnation of the Doctor has met Arthur Dent, and there are lots of other relationships (which of course obsessive fans have documented).

At this point, we can make a leap by standing on the shoulders of giants. The sort of giants that take time to prove that ‘80s UK TV antiques rogue Lovejoy exists in the Marvel universe. Oh yes they do.

They reveal that In a Doctor Who Marvel comic, in which the Seventh Doctor meets a character called Death’s Head, spiky chap.

Death’s Head is apparently originally a baddie from Marvel comics set in the world where Transformers are real. (As an aside, this means we can trace HHGTTG characters as linking to not only Marvel comics like the Hulk, but also sideways and backwards to the Antiques Roadshow.)

And of course there are Star Wars Transformers. Why wouldn’t there be. Here’s one:

No idea what’s going on with the little robot feller, maybe he’s a baby. He’s a little short for a stormtrooper.

I’m informed at this point that the connection between Star Wars and Transformers is not, or is no longer, official. Has my theory been killed early like one of the red suit guys that been down from the millennium falcon? Are these not the droids we are looking for? (Sorry, sci-fi types, I know the Droids, dinosaur robot things, aren’t real. Or are they?)

Apparently with Star Wars “everything that isn’t a saga film (from 1-7 and soon 8) or an anthology film (the one with the girl from Birmingham and the one that’s coming out next year with the girl from Fleabag) or a current run (from 2015) Marvel comic or The Clone Wars cartoon series or Star Wars Rebels has been officially retconned away and is non-canon.” Or so says Jon H. So are Transformers non-canon?

This one might not be a canon, but it’s a big enough gun. We win!

There you go — it’s possible that Hitchhikers characters could exist in the Star Wars universe. Although it’s a long way away, and even a much longer time ago than the late 1970s.

It was a complex route though, and I’m not happy with the Transformers connection, even if it does mean that Luke Skywalker could turn up to a with an old light-saver to a stately home on a Sunday afternoon to find out how much it is worth (he’d never sell it of course, so just for insurance purposes).

Fett accompli

But apparently that’s not what ‘canon’ means. It’s confusing. Frank Cannon I understand, but this lot not so much.

We need help. Comics help. Danny Smith help. I sent him a WhatsApp and he said “give me a minute”. I did. It took him about five, but then he sent…

[13:40, 10/27/2017] Danny Smith: This is a page from Fett club that ran in a Star wars compendium comic by Dark Horse.

[13:41, 10/27/2017] Danny Smith: If you zoom in on the background panel right at the top by the door what can you see?

Spoiler alert, it’s a Dalek.

[13:43, 10/27/2017] Danny Smith: It has a page on wookieepedia and I think is canonical.

So, as long as you don’t need to go upstairs, I think we’re good. From a galaxy far far away, to this one (with fewer earths) via a robot on wheels thing from ’70s telly.

There is some talk that the TV, film, radio, book, comic, computer game and towel versions of Hitchhikers exist in similar but parallel universes themselves — which is one hell of a way to explain plot inconsistencies — but I think we can say that for one of these at least. Hitchhikers and Star Wars are all one way of looking at the whole sort of general mish-mash.