|SKYWALKER RANCH, NICASIO, CA - At a press conference this afternoon, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals launched a scathing indictment of Star Wars magnate George Lucas for several counts of inhumane treatment of animals under his care.
"We had received several anonymous tips about Mr. Lucas' activities in the past," said the ASPCA spokesperson. "These allegations led us to conduct a raid on Skywalker Ranch which took place at 9:00 a.m. this morning, where we discovered over two thousand chimpanzees being held in some sort of computer facility. From what we've discovered so far, the monkeys appeared to be working on the script for Star Wars: Episode III."
"It was very sad," said one official who participated in the raid. "Those poor little monkeys, tapping away on those tiny little keyboards...."
In response to the ASPCA's findings, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have launched a lawsuit against Lucasfilm. "We're not only concerned with the working conditions of these unfortunate primates," said a PETA representative, "but with their rights. Despite being critically panned, the first two prequel films netted Lucasfilm hundreds of millions of dollars -- how much of that do you think ended up in the monkeys' pockets? If monkeys had pockets, that is."
The PETA is suing Lucas to turn over a portion of the profits to the monkeys and is also lobbying to have the names of all two thousand and thirty-four monkeys added to the opening credits of both movies.
Mr. Lucas did not deny that he had been using the animals to write for him. "Well, I've always heard that saying 'A thousand monkeys on a thousand typewriters would eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare.' I figured why use a thousand monkeys when I could get two thousand, and why use typewriters when I could give them all iMACs?"
Lucas elaborated that he hadn't originally intended to use the monkeys for actual writing. "It started off when I needed a title for Episode I. I'd had the monkeys for about six weeks, so just for a laugh I thought I'd see what they came up with. Two days later, one of them typed "The Phantom Menace." That's when I realized their potential and they've been writing the movies ever since. I do some editing here and there, of course, but mostly it's the monkeys doing the work." As for the ASPCA's accusations of cruelty, the billionaire scoffed. "Those monkeys get better treatment than most of my employees. De-lousing, coffee breaks, bananas flown in from Brazil, not to mention that entire jungle gym I had installed."
When asked if he has used his chimps for other projects, Lucas revealed that they have already begun work on the fourth Indiana Jones movie, which will be entitled Indiana Jones and the Really Scary Booby Traps.
|Despite Lucas' claim that the chimpanzees under his care are not being harmed, ASPCA officials have unearthed evidence that several of the animals have died. "We're still investigating, but in at least one case we have conclusive proof of a monkey that committed suicide," said the ASPCA spokesperson. "It's too early to draw conclusions, but we suspect that the monkey in question was the one who created the character of Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace."
The stars of the yet-to-be-titled Episode III were surprisingly calm about the revelation. "I always sort of knew something was off about the dialogue, you know?" said actor Hayden Christensen, who plays Anakin Skywalker. "The first drafts always have a lot of weird bits, like Yoda asking for bananas and Obi-Wan jumping up and down on a table. Now that I've found out about these monkeys, it all sort of makes sense."
"This explains how he came up with the title Attack of the Clones," said Padmé Amidala actress Natalie Portman. "I also suspect the monkeys were responsible for designing my costumes."
Lucas muttered something about Argentinian llamas when confronted with Portman's claim but declined to elaborate.
"This is a new low for the movie industry," said renowned movie critic Roger Ebert. "I suspect we'll find that many producers have been following Lucas' lead in this. With the recent release of such terrible movies as Bad Boys II, Dumb and Dumberer, Hollywood Homicide and Legally Blonde 2, I bet this new technique is much more rampant than we realize. How else can you explain such a run of really bad movies?"
"This is an insult to Star Wars fans everywhere!" said TheForce.net editor Joshua Griffin. "But I guess it's not all that surprising. How can the man who wrote The Empire Strikes Back come up with lines like 'You've grown,' and 'So have you... more beautiful, I mean'?"
"This is hilarious," said insult dog Triumph. "All these nerds dressing up, abandoning their imaginary girlfriends, their games of Risk, and any chance of every having sex to wait in line to see movies written by untrained monkeys! I didn't think I could find another reason to poop on Star Wars, but there you go."
"My monkeys are hardly untrained," retorted Lucas. "They go through a rigorous eight-hour training course, consisting of watching the original three Star Wars movies. If you use untrained monkeys, you get Gigli." Lucas seemed unfazed by the fan backlash. "I'm a freaking billionnaire!" he said. "Do you expect me to do actual work, just because you little worms can't get enough Star Wars?"
"Oo oo, aaah aah aaaaaah!" chattered "Binky," one of the refugees from Skywalker Ranch.
This reporter believes that pretty much says it all.