This past weekend, nerds worldwide set down their game controllers and curled up with their plush Chewbaccas to watch the DVD/digital release of the latest installment of everyone’s favorite space opera, Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Since the film was released in theaters, it has generated much discussion, from the multiple U-turns director Rian Johnson pulled with the storylines that the previous episode had set up, to whether Reylo is inevitable or a problematic perpetuation of the romanticization of male toxicity in film. These discussions left little room for the brief, dialogue-free scene in which Luke Skywalker is shown milking a giant semi-aquatic mammal then drinking straight from the tap.
The scene to which I refer involves Luke milking a creature who lives on the island and procuring a vividly green-colored milk that he messily drinks as Rey looks on. Articles that have covered this scene have consistently called it “weird,” “gross,” and “bizarre,” nevermind the fact that 1.) We are a species that evolved to drink milk from a breast, and yet 2.) we think that is gross and, instead, choose to consume the milk of another species despite the fact that that it is nowhere near anything like our milk in composition, and 65% of us can’t even digest the stuff. But, I digress.
Today we’re gonna talk about straight-up nerd science. What I’m interested in, here, is not just the question of why the milk is green—We will get to that, but there is SO much more, here! In this brief, dialogue-free scene we are given several “clues” about this animal: various characteristics about its milk—not just the color, but also it’s viscosity, and opacity, and some very unique (and quite memorable) mammary anatomy. We also get some clues about it’s environment and behavior. But for the sake of brevity, I will be focusing mostly on the creature’s very memorable mammaries. If we take these clues and apply some of the known mechanisms (rules) of evolution from our own planet, we can make some guesses as to the evolution and social behavior of this creature. Let’s science the bantha fodder out of this!