Star Wars Kid
"Star Wars Kid" is a viral video involving a video of a high school student from Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada, wielding a golf ball retriever in imitation of Darth Maul's lightsaber moves from the Star Wars films.
Video origins and publication
On November 3, 2002 a Canadian student made a video of himself swinging a golf ball retriever around as a weapon. The video was filmed at his high school studio, and the tape left in a basement. It was taped over a portion of a basketball game (as seen extremely briefly at the end of the clip). The video was discovered by a schoolmate, who showed it to his friend who created an electronic file from the video tape. The video was distributed amongst his school's students when it reached a fourth student, who uploaded it to the Internet under the title Jackass_starwars_funny.wmv. The video eventually became a viral Internet meme through P2P services. According to court transcripts, the video first appeared on the Internet on the evening of April 14, 2003.
An edited version of the video was created, adding Star Wars music, texts, and lightsaber special effects, such as lights and sounds. As of November 27, 2006 it was estimated by The Viral Factory that the video had been viewed over 900 million times. As of 2010, the first copy of this video that was posted on YouTube has over 20 million views.
Harassment lawsuit and settlement
In July 2003, the student's family filed a CA$250,000 lawsuit against the families of four of his schoolmates. The lawsuit stated in part that he "had to endure, and still endures today, harassment and derision from his high-school mates and the public at large" and "will be under psychiatric care for an indefinite amount of time." Legal proceedings against one family were quickly dropped. The lawsuit had been scheduled to begin trial on April 10, 2006, but on April 7, the boy and his parents reached an out-of-court settlement with the defendants.
In 2005, CNET listed the Star Wars Kid as #8 on its Top 10 Web Fads list. In 2007, the G4 TV show Attack of the Show rated it the number 1 viral video of all time. It was ranked #2 on VH1's "Top 40 Internet Celebrities", right behind Gary Brolsma (The Numa Numa Guy). The case raised privacy issues and was extensively reported in mainstream news media worldwide, including The New York Times, CBS News, GMTV, and BBC News.
In popular culture
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The video and its subsequent popularity spawned many spoofs and references on various television programs, including episodes of The Venture Bros.; the American Dad! episode "All About Steve"; multiple episodes of Arrested Development, beginning with "The Immaculate Election"; Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide; Cory in the House; Teen Titans; and South Park. In the episode of Being Ian Blah Blah Blog at the end of the episode, a parody of the Star Wars Kid was shown with Ian in a unicorn outfit doing the same moves as the Star Wars Kid. Popular musician Weird Al Yankovic imitates him in his music video "White & Nerdy".
In 2006, comedian Stephen Colbert initiated a contest, Green Screen Challenge. He presented a video of himself standing in front of a greenscreen, using a toy lightsaber to dramatically fight off imaginary foes in the fashion of the Star Wars Kid. It was then up to viewers to edit and enhance in their own way. Viewers would then send their own videos into the show, on which the best would be featured. The contest eventually culminated with Star Wars creator George Lucas making an appearance, presenting his elaborate version of the video, enhanced by Industrial Light and Magic.
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