Sign In

The Empire Strikes Back has a similar problem to The Force Awakens, and it isn't really talked about that much.

Author
Time
 (Edited)

One of the main problems of The Force Awakens is that it undermines Return of the Jedi by undoing the happy ending of the latter and the accomplishments of Luke, Leia, and Han, by bringing back the Empire and confirming that they were never defeated at all. The Empire Strikes Back did the exact same thing to the original movie, by bringing back the Empire and confirming that they were never defeated at all.

The original movie ends on a triumphant note, as the Rebels destroyed the Death Star, and celebrated at the end of the movie. We don’t see the Empire anywhere else besides in the Star Destroyer, the Death Star, and we also see some stormtroopers on Tatooine, implying that the Empire has been destroyed once and for all. However, that happy ending has been undone, as their victories were short-lived and the Empire struck back against the Rebels in the next film.

What’s even worse is that the film was intended to be a stand-alone movie with no continuation at all, meaning that a sequel for Star Wars would be really hard to make. Basically, it shat on anyone (yes, this includes George Lucas himself) trying to make a continuation of that happy ending in the future.

You can’t have a story without conflict and chaos, and therefore you can’t have a sequel set in a world that we last saw happy and peaceful without dropping a new horrible menace in the thick of things and letting them run amok. This is the exact same reason why Tolkien, the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, cancelled a sequel to the latter, as he was worried that he would’ve undone the happy ending of his own work.

I’m not being a troll, I’m just pointing out a problem with The Empire Strikes Back that nobody seemingly talks about.

Adywan’s Star Wars Revisited edits are to Blade Runner: The Final Cut as the original theatrical releases of the original trilogy are to the original version of Blade Runner.

Author
Time

Nobody talks about it because at the end of SW they don’t defeat The Emperor and Darth Vader gets away, Luke doesn’t learn the ways of the Force as promised, and numerous other threads are ripe for sequel.

Yub Nub for life

Author
Time
 (Edited)

I’m not sure what your point is… FTNT2.

Good luck with whatever it is that nobody is talking about.

50 Cent is just an imposter

Author
Time
 (Edited)

I’ve been aware of this “problem” for quite a while, actually; learned about it while perusing the John Byrne forum some years back. It doesn’t bother me, though. Why? Because TESB adds more to the universe than it takes away. TFA, on the other hand, does the polar opposite.

TRANSMODERNISM > POSTMODERNISM > MODERNISM > PREMODERNISM

Author
Time

SW77 is self-contained because Lucas had no idea if any sequels would happen; hence the happy ending. Vader getting away in the end is a classic scenario from the pulp serials like Flash Gordan that Lucas loved so much.

And for the record, ESB has a happy ending. Han was in trouble yes, but they escaped from the Empire, recruited a new ally in Lando, and Luke’s power was rising. The music cue at the end is not “sad ending” music.

“It is only through interaction, through decision and choice, through confrontation, physical or mental, that the Force can grow within you.”
-Kreia, Jedi Master and Sith Lord

Author
Time

Star Wars still had many story threads left to tell, which to the success of Empire Strikes Back, did arguably well to expand upon those story threads. Luke wanted to learn the ways of the Force, to follow in the footsteps of his father. Sure, Luke uses the Force to guide himself successfully to the destruction of the Death Star. However, we’re still left unclear what the Jedi are and what legacy Luke’s father truly had. Han Solo still has a bounty on his head. The Empire, which is responsible for the eradication of Jedi, surely doesn’t dissolve simply because a super weapon is destroyed. The Emperor apparently still has influence in the political sphere of the universe. You can infer the Empire has vast resources and reach to even construct the Death Star in the first place.
No doubt, there is a happy ending, and it is pretty much self-contained, but it doesn’t mean Lucas didn’t leave potential story threads open, pending financial success. It’s not really a fair comparison to draw between Star Wars::Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi::Force Awakens. Primarily, the issue is not that the Force Awakens takes away from the ending of Return of the Jedi, but merely is banking off the success, beat for beat of Star Wars. We’ve already seen it. In what ways does Empire Strikes Back copy the story beats of Star Wars? And before I’m accused of slamming the ST, it is pretty well-documented in this community how much Return of the Jedi is criticized for recycling story points, so obviously, even the OT isn’t quite immune to this ridicule.

The Hope Awakens

Author
Time

Didn’t one of the earlier drafts of the original Star Wars’ script have a closing crawl teasing the setup for the sequel?

Author
Time

Fang Zei said:

Didn’t one of the earlier drafts of the original Star Wars’ script have a closing crawl teasing the setup for the sequel?

From the second draft:

A ROLL-UP TITLE appears:

…And a thousand new systems joined the rebellion, causing a significant crack in the great wall of the powerful Galactic Empire. The Starkiller would once again spark fear in the hearts of the Sith knights, but not before his sons were put to many tests… the most daring of which was the kidnapping of the Lars family, and the perilous search for:

“The Princess of Ondos.”

TRANSMODERNISM > POSTMODERNISM > MODERNISM > PREMODERNISM

Author
Time

pleasehello said:

Happy endings are overrated.

And that’s why Thanos wins in Avengers: Infinity War, kids! 😉

Adywan’s Star Wars Revisited edits are to Blade Runner: The Final Cut as the original theatrical releases of the original trilogy are to the original version of Blade Runner.

Author
Time

I actually do agree with TNT2 and, frankly, if they were gonna make any sequels, it’d be a hard sell not to have some kind of Empire, given the cultural recognisability of the Stormtrooper look etc. Hell, even the post-ROTJ EU books, which didn’t have to worry so much about huge financial turnaround, focussed on Empire stuff until the end of the 90s.

Author
Time
 (Edited)

I would’ve made a corrupt New Republic aided by a corrupt New Jedi Order* the enemy of the ST. The First Order would’ve been the few remaining non-corrupt Jedi allied with the Imperial Remnant and other dissident groups. And I would’ve set the trilogy over a hundred years after ROTJ.

*Yes, Jedi. Not Sith. Not Knights of Ren. Self-identifying Jedi, blue/green lightsabers and all.

TRANSMODERNISM > POSTMODERNISM > MODERNISM > PREMODERNISM

Author
Time

Although it was never a guarantee until after ANH became a success, Lucas always intended (or at east hoped) for SW to be a series. The first couple of drafts (as mentioned above) had an end-crawl promising a sequel, and early drafts even included “Episode 1” and “Saga 1” in the title. Lucas even hired Alan Dean Foster to write a low budget sequel (“Splinter of the Mind’s Eye”) before the film was released, which he of course scrapped once it became a huge success and he decided to do a proper sequel instead.

Author
Time

FreezingTNT2 said:

One of the main problems of The Force Awakens is that it undermines Return of the Jedi by undoing the happy ending of the latter and the accomplishments of Luke, Leia, and Han, by bringing back the Empire and confirming that they were never defeated at all. The Empire Strikes Back did the exact same thing to the original movie, by bringing back the Empire and confirming that they were never defeated at all.

In a “real” world the emperor would have been unable to get enough money to continue the war while he still had not payed for the first death star. Taxing the empire too much would cause recession, “printing” money to spend would cause inflation.

No seriously I think the problem people have with TFA is that the empire is back under a new name and the republic is reduced to the resistance, ie the same status as at the beginning of ANH/SW1. Which flags for a lack of creativity, as well as not being a logical continuation after RotJ. There’s got to be lots of other possibilities for a basic premise for the sequels, infighting within the republic, the empire (and thus the new republic) has shattered after the emperor’s death, war with an alien race, the young skywalkers uncover a conspiracy against Luke’s jedi academy, etc. Fill in what you want and can motivate. But they used the exact same premise again, with no good motivation.

I used to work with a guy whose last name was pronounced Forceborn. Yes, really.