With March Madness rapidly approaching (Selection Sunday is barely a week away!), it’s time to roll out the Force Forty: Nerds On Earth’s annual Star Wars tournament. The NCAA’s 64-team basketball competition is one of the great traditions of modern sports, and even the noobiest of ballers can fill out a bracket.
This is the second edition of our tourney; last year’s was a ridiculous romp through the forty greatest pieces of music composed by the legendary John Williams for the films (the beautiful, stirring “Yoda and the Force” brought home the championship trophy after multiple rounds of heated competition).
A new calendar year means new faces and new competition for the Force Forty tournament. This year’s theme: the greatest non-Force users in Star Wars! We’re declaring the 2020 Force Forty to be the Twenty-Funny edition in honor of those good, good McElroys and the name they’ve given this new trip around the sun (remember to fill your life with laugher and love!)
Anyway, down to business (bees-ness? Sorry, still thinking about MBMBAM). The field of 64 NCAA basketball teams competing for the national championship will be announced on Selection Sunday—March 15, to be specific. The first games of the opening round of the tourney begin later that week. Nerds On Earth will be debuting our field of forty competitors on Tuesday of that week.
The time between now and then will be dedicated to debate and seeding the competitors. Seeding is one of the most crucial elements of March Madness, and the Force Forty is no different. A competitor’s seed determines the quality of competition they will face; strong competitors with higher seeds play weaker competitors with lower seeds.
While the data tends to favor high seeds, the best part of March Madness are the upsets. A Cinderella team will come out of nowhere to capture the hearts of fans everywhere. Last year’s Force Forty had its own Cinderallas and upsets, particularly “The Jedi Steps & Finale.” This final piece of music from The Force Awakens made it all the way to the Final Four before losing to the legendary “The Imperial March.” Simply put: look out for some big upsets in this year’s field of competitors.
Finally, we need to understand the measurements by which our competitors are seeded. We should consider the guidelines for this year’s competition too. Here we go:
- We have a new wrinkle to add this year: conferences! The conferences are based on: Original Trilogy (Ep. 4-6), Prequel Trilogy (Ep. 1-3), Sequel Trilogy (Ep. 7-9), and Non-Film Characters (TV shows, books, video games, non-core films, and comics).
- Each conference will have ten characters, and each set of ten will be seeded (ranked) 1-10.
- The characters will be seeded based on abilities, relevance, and memorability.
- Abilities are obviously not connected to the Force, but are based on what a character can demonstrably do.
- Relevance is measured by their connection and/or role in the larger stories told in the Star Wars universe.
- Memorability is connected to their impact on fans—merchandise, online presence, etc.
There you have it, folks. Now that you know what to expect, why not check out last year’s Force Forty? At the very least you’ll find a lot of amazing music and a Spotify playlist for all of ‘em! If you have any suggestions for competitors, let us know!