The VP unveiled the new title during a White House ceremony on Friday to mark the one-year anniversary of the country’s youngest military branch, with the newly christened “guardians” joining soldiers, sailors, airmen and guardsmen in the ranks of the armed forces.
The Space Force announced the name upgrade in a series of tweets, stating the name was chosen after a “yearlong process that produced hundreds of submissions and research” by “space professionals” as well as members of the public.
Despite the Force’s enthusiasm, online observers were quick to rain on the parade, many immediately linking the new name to Marvel Studios’ 2014 blockbuster superhero flick, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ suggesting the military go back to the drawing board.
Some even went as far as to predict legal troubles for the Pentagon, as Marvel is a subsidiary of the highly IP-conscious media monolith Walt Disney Studios.
However, the Space Force preempted such objections, noting that the “guardians” name has a “long history in space operations,” predating the superhero film franchise by decades.
Other commenters offered a litany of suggestions for alternative names, ranging from Storm Troopers, Jedi Knights, the “Science Police” and – apparently a crowd favorite – Space Cadets.
Reactions weren’t all mockery, however, with some observers arguing the pop culture tie-in will help to “inspire young people” and generate interest in space, pushing back against the “troll-bros” savaging the new designation.
“I [gotta] stand behind the branding of any extra planetary forces to match sci-fi,” one user said. ”Every single race asked to call itself something and I am very down with the idea of some other alien race looking up to the technologically advanced humans.”
Friday’s announcement was not the first time the Space Force faced charges of unoriginality. When the service rolled out its official logo early this year, critics pointed to close similarities to the emblem of Starfleet, the fictional space command in the iconic Star Trek series. As with the “guardians” title, netizens also joked that the logo would prompt lawsuits, deeming it a “trademark violation.” To date, no suits have been filed.
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