The BioShock series is known for its famous plot twists, but one particular twist from BioShock Infinite originates in a galaxy far, far away.
The original BioShock delivered one of gaming’s most famous plot twists, getting players to rethink the nature of agency in video games with the simple phrase “Would you kindly?” The reveal becomes even more potent once players realize that the mind control phrase appears at the start of the game. In BioShock Infinite, the story moves from the depths of the underwater metropolis of Rapture to the soaring heights of the flying city of Columbia circa 1912. Several plot twists occur in the game, but the series foreshadows one early on. Infinite teases the revelation that Elizabeth can open portals to alternate dimensions with a sly Star Wars reference.
Throughout the game, Elizabeth creates portals that seemingly lead to other time periods. Eventually, players realize that these also go to different dimensions. When players see Elizabeth for the first time, she’s examining a painting of the Eiffel Tower. Determined to get an authentic view of the City of Light, she tears open a rift to 1980s Paris. A vehicle careens towards her as she severs the connection, with just enough time for players to glimpse a theater showing La Ravanche du Jedi. It’s a French showing of Revenge of the Jedi, but that title is all eagle-eyed fans need to know to realize something is amiss.
After the success of The Empire Strikes Back in 1980, George Lucas got to work on the third movie in the trilogy. This one would focus on Luke Skywalker embracing his role as a Jedi to save the galaxy. In the original script and early merchandise, the film was called Revenge of the Jedi. But the film arrived in theaters in May 1983 with the title Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. According to rumors, Lucas didn’t like the idea of a heroic Jedi seeking “revenge,” so he changed the title just two months before. Whatever the reason, a Star Wars movie wouldn’t have “Revenge” in its title until the 2005 release of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.
With this knowledge, it becomes clear that Elizabeth didn’t just open a portal to Paris in 1983 but to an alternate dimension. In this timeline, the implication is that Lucas never changed the film’s name, so it opened with its original title. While English-speaking players would normally notice a different title for a famous movie, the French title obscures this. But for any who do speak French, they may wonder why the marquee boasts the wrong title. It’s not because someone got the name wrong. It denotes that George Lucas made a different decision in this timeline, or what BioShock would call a variable.
BioShock Infinite deals heavily with the concept of “constants and variables” and how they dictate the creation of a multiverse. Certain decisions are constants, meaning that they play out the same way in every version of a universe. Others are variables that can change from one universe to another, such as which brooch Elizabeth wears. The release of a Star Wars trilogy reads like a constant in the game’s plot, with a different title becoming a variable denoting an alternate dimension.
The protagonist of the game, Booker DeWitt, has only lived until 1912, so he certainly wouldn’t realize the significance of a different Star Wars movie title. None had arrived by then. He’s mesmerized by the fact that Elizabeth opens a portal to a different time and space. Later in the game, Elizabeth creates a tear and they hop through, with Booker realizing that they’ve entered a different dimension. It comes as a surprise to him as it does for many players. But Star Wars fans who know their trivia get an early glimpse at the biggest twist in the game.
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