Watch as Stephen Colbert Explains ‘Star Wars’ to China

     December 19, 2015


Though it feels impossible to not be inundated with Star Wars here in the United States, apparently Star Wars fever is not a global phenomenon. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal has said that because A New Hope debuted in 1977 when Western media was suppressed in China, few there are actually familiar with the franchise. In one stellar quote, the WSJ writes, “Chen Fang couldn’t wait to see the new “Star Wars” movie—until, that is, he learned that the main star isn’t a gorilla.”

No, he wasn’t expecting Grodd, but

His confusion stems from the fact that, in Chinese, “Star Wars” sounds a little like the name of the 2014 film “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” Once he learned it wasn’t an “Apes” sequel, Mr. Chen lost interest. “Star Wars?” said the puzzled 27-year-old engineer. “Isn’t that very old?”

Stephen Colbert discussed the article and its findings on The Late Show Friday night, saying that while many Chinese people may not familiar with the Star Wars movies, “they might be familiar with some of the toys,” juxtaposing his words with a picture of Chinese factory workers.

He then launches into a quick explanation of the original trilogy, including things like describing Luke’s training as, “he runs around a swamp wearing a muppet as a backpack.” But his summation of Return of the Jedi’s finale is the very best part, along with a reference to the prequels that echo most fans’ feelings.

(Although here’s an even shorter version: Wuxia in space. You’re welcome, China!)

Check out the video below. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airs weeknights on CBS.

For more on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, peruse our recent links below:


Image via Lucasfilm