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How do you feel about the inclusion of “Episode V” in ESB’s opening crawl in 1980?

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I don’t like it because it meant there couldn’t be more than three prequels.

If Plagueis shows up in the ST, not only will I refuse to watch the movies, but I won't so much as watch the trailers, either. - DuracellEnergizer

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You’re right. It should have been Episode III so there only ever could have been one prequel, which is all that was ever really necessary.

a trolling bantha

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I love it.
I like the feeling that we’re in the middle of the story, as we always are with anything anyways. Everything has a backstory, so no use pretending that any given point in any story is “where it all started”.
I liked it more before any prequels were made. I’d still like it more that way, but I still love it.
It’s a cool little weird thing.

Ray’s Lounge
Biggs in ANH edit idea
ROTJ opening edit idea

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There could be ten previous stories if you wanted. Lucas adding numbers after the fact was just the beginning of his now decades-long tampering and gaslighting.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

You’re killing me, Smalls.

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I’ve always loved it. It really made the original feel like we jumped into the middle of the story. It felt more complete with the PT, but I’ve been waiting for Ep IX since Lucas talked about the ST in the early 80’s. To me the original can kind of exist in isolation, but the rest all fit into the saga and need the numbers. If I’m going to do a saga viewing, it has to have Episode IV: A New Hope or it just feels wrong.

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I’d support fan edits that eliminated episode numbers for the OT. It’s probably just me, but it allows for more flexibility in the series and gets rid of needing to watch either the PT or the ST.

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I like it, but I think it should have been like Episode VII, and then went they went back and renamed ANH it should have been Episode V.

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DuracellEnergizer said:

Used to be alright with it, have since come to hate it. The episode numbers are needlessly restrictive, and have since been made pointless with the Anthology films.

I agree with Duracell - it sounds like a neat idea in theory, but in practice it locked Lucas (and his successors) into doing a set number of films in a structure that didn’t have as much room to evolve & breathe as it shhould.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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BedeHistory731 said:

I’d support fan edits that eliminated episode numbers for the OT. It’s probably just me, but it allows for more flexibility in the series and gets rid of needing to watch either the PT or the ST.

I wanted to do this once upon a time, too…

a trolling bantha

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thelonius said:

Better than Star Wars II.

“The Empire Strikes Back” is better than “Star Wars II”, sure.
But the question is: Is having the opening crawl say “Episode V” better than having it say “Episode II”?.

Again, I think leaving out the first three episodes was just very cool. An odd, weird thing that would be better if it just remained that way with no PT ever being made.
(But since I don’t count the PT/ST anyway, I guess it remains a cool/weird thing about the OT for me.)

Ray’s Lounge
Biggs in ANH edit idea
ROTJ opening edit idea

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Honestly, if “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” title cards appeared at the start of their respective movies followed by title-less scrolls, I’d prefer that.

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ANH should have been Episode V at minimum so that there could be an additional movie before it about the formation of the Rebel Alliance.

If Plagueis shows up in the ST, not only will I refuse to watch the movies, but I won't so much as watch the trailers, either. - DuracellEnergizer

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darklordoftech said:

ANH should have been Episode V at minimum so that there could be an additional movie before it about the formation of the Rebel Alliance.

Or they could have simply not made The Phantom Menace

TV’s Frink said:

I would put this in my sig if I weren’t so lazy.

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I think I’ve mentioned before, but as someone who saw it in 1980, it was confusing/unexpected. Clearly Star Wars also dropped you into the middle of the action, but the crawl provided backstory to ease the transition – you knew who the good guys and bad guys were, why they were being chased, and so on. And the beginning of Empire largely followed the same formula. But this was different – the episode number ADDED to the things you didn’t know as the story unfolded. Now you know you’ve missed three of the preceding episodes.

In the end, kids made it work. Clearly a lot of action happened between Star Wars and Empire – Luke becomes a commander, there’s some sort of adventure on Ord Mantell, the Empire regroups, and so on. So retroactively, it became obvious that the three missing episodes were meant to cover all the action between Star Wars, which was obviously Episode I, and Empire, which was Episode V. We didn’t really expect the missing episodes to be filled in by Lucasfilm, so we just made up “Episode III: Rendezvous at Ord Mantell” and stuff like that. We figured the next movie would be called “Episode IX: Revenge of the Jedi” or something and the episode gaps would be designed for us to play around with in our own imaginations.

Which was actually a very cool and weirdly postmodern idea for a bunch of seven year olds to grapple with!

And then a year later, Star Wars got retrofitted with Episode IV, although many of us never learned about that until it came out on home video even later. But by then, our canon was already set: Star Wars would be Episode I forever, and then there was a bunch of “action figures in the backyard” adventures, and then came Episode V. By the time an official Episode IV rolled out, we didn’t need it – we already had our own by then.

And I’m glad they never filled in those missing episodes (kindof like I’m glad they never made any sequels to The Matrix), because there’s no way they could have measured up to what a crew of seven-year-olds came up with. Partially due to the fact that the head kept popping off my Luke action figure, so every episode involved a tragic beheading.

Project Threepio (Star Wars OOT subtitles)

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I grew up on the vhs releases in the early 90s and the episode numbers were confusing to me. Eventually I learned about Lucas’s plans to make prequels and it made a little more sense.

Sometimes I wish there was a version of the trilogy with no episode numbers. I’m not really opposed to the idea of prequels (I just wish they had been good) but I don’t like the idea of labeling the first movie in a franchise episode 4, even if it’s the 4th episode chronologically. I like the idea of Star Wars being the name of the saga, and I don’t mind the title A New Hope. So I kinda wish the original trilogy was episodes 1-3, and then the prequels had a different trilogy name. For example, they could be called the Clone Wars trilogy, or the Old Republic trilogy, or something. ANH and TPM could each be episode 1, but of two separate but related trilogies.