It's the July 4 weekend, so naturally our thoughts turn to independence, and bloody, lovely revolution. Unfortunately, overturning your colonial rulers is hard work. So we've collected tips from the ten greatest science fiction revolutionaries, to help you prevail.
Luke Skywalker (Star Wars)
The lesson: Invalidate the governing ideology.
At the end of Return Of The Jedi, Luke doesn't just defeat Darth Vader in combat he also proves that the Empire's main ideology is wrong. The Dark Side of the Force is not stronger than the Light Side. This is as powerful a blow against the Empire as launching a million X-wing fighters, because it undermines the Emperor's whole reason for being in charge. Instead of Vader converting Luke to the Dark Side, Luke brings Vader back to the light.
The Doctor (Doctor Who)
The lesson: Declare victory early.
The Doctor has overthrown more oppressive planetary governments than almost anyone. For a while there, he was toppling two or three a year.
His greatest revolutions, arguably, happen in "The Happiness Patrol," "The Sunmakers," and "The Long Game." And in all three cases, he's very interested in controlling the state's propaganda apparatus. This is especially true in "The Sunmakers," where he takes over the government's broadcasting center and announces that the revolution has been a success before it's even started. Why wait until you've actually won to declare victory? Life is short, even for a Time Lord. (Go to about 3:40 in the video below.)
Flynn and Tron (Tron)
The lesson: Force your enemies to put all their strength into their offensive
When Tron and Flynn lead the attack against the Master Control Program, they're outgunned, even though Flynn has amazing user powers. But when Tron attacks the Master Control Program's main enforcer, the program Sark, the MCP starts to panic. And the MCP makes a crucial mistake, putting all of its functions into Sark. This causes Sark to become giant and super-powerful, but it also creates a giant target and leaves the MCP itself unprotected. Boo yah!
Paul Muad'Dib (Dune)
The lesson: Control access to a key resource
In the first Dune book, Paul proves he's the Kwisatz Haderach, and then launches an assault on the Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV with the help of his Fremen allies. They win partly by riding on the enormous sandworms that are native to the planet Arrakis, aka Dune. But also, when Paul wins an audience with Shaddam, he threatens to destroy the spice, melange, that allows navigators to see and travel between worlds, unless Shaddam steps down as Emperor in favor of Paul. Faced with the loss of the all-important spice, the Spacer's Guild urges Shaddam to fold.
Captain Kirk (Star Trek)
I don't think Captain Kirk ever overthrew a repressive regime without first causing its computer systems to explode. It's just the way you do things, in James Tiberius' playbook: Step one, detonate the mainframe, and the system will collapse like a house of cards. Step two usually involves giving an impassioned speech with your shirt ripped in strategic places. But really, Kirk knows that most evil regimes are either run by a computer, or utterly dependent on a computer for their surveillance and social control infrastructure. And most computers can be talked into self-destructing. Oh, and if someone accuses you of being Archons, just run with it especially if it freaks them out.