I feel like the ways both the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy end feels sort of inevitable. Perhaps time has added to this feeling, but Anakin falling to the dark side, and then him being redeemed by his son, feel like these are the only ways these stories could’ve gone.
When it comes to the story of the sequel trilogy and the way they end, I feel like those are harder to pin down. I know George said the sequels were about the “grandchildren” and the torch being passed to them, per se, but I can understand the struggle the writers had when trying to figure this out.
I guess I am curious to hear if people feel like the ending of TROS felt like the right or inevitable ending to them. And if not, what do you think that ending should have been? Could you potentially edit TROS to get closer to that ending you imagined?
To be fair, there was no indication that Vader could be redeemed by the end of Empire, and of course he wasn’t even Luke’s father by the end of Star Wars. Only by looking back at the whole trilogy you could connect the dots of an overall story of a son redeeming his father, but things could’ve gone in many different directions at any point in the trilogy. Obviously in the prequels the ending was inevitable, and they leaned on setting up what would happen afterwards, so by looking at the story from ep I to VI as a whole, it does seem inevitable that Anakin would turn back to the light, as we get to see just how conflicted he was in turning to the dark side.
By leaning so heavly into what came before, the way TFA played out did end up giving a heavy feeling of inevitability, by the end we felt we knew how it would all play out, because we had seen it before. We had another Vader, and this time he’s set up from the very beggining as a very conflicted villain, as having a familial connection to our heroes, and as having an old, disfigured Master who turned him bad, and who’s the real evil behind it all. And we had another humble hero, stuck on a desert planet, but destined for greatness. We even had the sage-like figure who dies by the end, followed by a quest to find an old Master.
And so in our minds we could already see how the rest of the trilogy would play out: Rey would go on to be trained as a Jedi, there would be some big revelation about her backstory, Kylo would turn to the light, and together they would defeat Snoke, which would mark the end of the First Order, and the return of the Jedi and the New New Republic. This is why, looking back, I think TLJ was great despite some of it’s flaws, because it was able to take something old and cast it into something truly new. This is also why it was so divisive, because many (myself included) were just ready to simply continue the direct retelling through to the end, we wanted to see Luke training Rey in the ways of the Force, we wanted to see Kylo turn good, we wanted all the speculation behind Rey and Snoke’s backstory to have a cathartic payoff. It took me years of retrospection to realize how fresh TLJ was to the franchise, because it didn’t actually go against anything TFA set up, as many accused it of, but rather it went agaist our preconcieved notions of how those things should play out, of how this story should work. We were shown things aren’t as simple as the Old Tales (OT, get it?), that maybe the Jedi weren’t infallible (as is shown in the prequels), maybe somebody can’t turn good after doing so much bad, maybe defeating an Empire is not as simple as taking down the ‘big bad’ sitting on the throne, and maybe there isn’t some big legacy revelation that sets everything in place.
TLJ freed this new story and allowed it to become it’s own (much like Kylo in the film), it revealed that there was no set place for these characters to fit in (much like Rey in the film), no set story ‘destined’ to play out. It opened the door for the final chapter to be something new, different and original. TRoS closed that door shut, shoving everything back into the original mold: Rey goes on to be trained as a Jedi, there is some big revelation about her backstory, Kylo turns to the light, and together they defeat
Snoke Palpatine, which marks the end of the First and Final Order, and the return of the Jedi and the New New Republic. The Empire is defeated by taking down the ‘big bad’ on the throne again.
So, to answer your question, TRoS is definitely THE most inevitable feeling ending of them all, but after TLJ… it shouldn’t have been.