Thoughts On The Original Star Wars Trilogy.

So this weekend I did something that I haven’t done since I was a little kid: I watched the original Star Wars trilogy. Granted, they were the updated versions (which I’ll get to momentarily), but the original trilogy nonetheless. Now, let me prelude by saying most of what I have to say has probably been said thousands of times by more avid Star Wars fans than myself, but I now want to put myself among the (lesser) ranks with my own opinion now that I’ve re-watched the first ones at a more recent time in my life.

There’s really no reason to do a movie-by-movie focus. I can talk about all three at once. The first two are obviously the best (with Empire inching out on top, of course). Return of the Jedi wasn’t terrible, but it had a lot of problems with making me want to actually focus on the film. The whole first part of the film at Jabba’s was great. And the speeder chase through the trees is awesome. The final showdown between Luke, the Emperor, and Vader? Good stuff. The rest, though? It was… alright. And I’m not gonna riff on the Ewoks, either. I think the biggest issues dealt with the fact that the first two films were these gritty, religious, Hero’s-Journey epics, while the third was more of a light-hearted romp into the land of slapstick and fantasy. It just didn’t feel like it fully belonged (outside the specific scenes previously mentioned).

And speaking of religion, I now understand where people are coming from in some annoyance with the prequel trilogy. The Force is symbolic for religion, obviously, and you have to have faith in it in order to be strong with it. And then there’s the ‘good’ and ‘dark’ sides of it. But then you get into the prequel trilogy, and it’s midiclorians? The Force has gone from religion to science? That just doesn’t seem right (or as awesome).

And another thing that made me question the prequels was the fact that in the original, Luke was able to become a Jedi in a matter of a year or so (I’m not sure how long is between Empire and Jedi, though I figure a good chunk of time). However, in the prequels, Anakin is said to be way too old to even begin training (granted, Yoda says the same of Luke), but Anakin was only like… 8. Luke was much older than that. And not only does it take over a decade for Anakin to become a full-fledged Jedi, but they blame starting his training too late (I believe) on him going to the dark side. If it was so late for Anakin at his young age, then Luke really must have been God-like to withstand the Emperor.

But anyway, back to the original trilogy. The biggest issue I had with them mainly started in Empire, which was Han and Leia’s relationship. It comes mostly out of nowhere and doesn’t really develop. It just happens. But besides that, the only other issue I had came with the revamp of the special effects. Because when the stop-motion looks better than your re-done computer graphics, you know something’s up. I would have much preferred seeing the original versions. Not to mention the whole Han versus Greedo issue that stemmed from it. I wasn’t even a hardcore fan, and even I felt like adding in Greedo’s initial shot diminishes the character arch of Han from anti-hero to hero. Though that will annoy me when people say “Han shot first!” Because technically, Han didn’t shoot first. He just shot. It requires two people to shoot for there to be a first or second, and if you say Han shot first, you’re acknowledging the re-vamped version as the appropriate version, in which it is actually Greedo that technically shoots first. So congratulations, you’re stupid in two different ways (sorry, I just felt like making a Role Models reference).

I really don’t want to beat a dead horse here, though. I’m pretty much in agreement with the vast majority on almost every aspect. My opinion doesn’t differ much from anybody else. I’d say the only differences would be that I don’t find the Ewoks to be annoying (just out-of-place), nor do I dislike Jar Jar Binks from the prequels. But the prequels aren’t really supposed to be the focus of this Thoughts On… though I really think I’ve already messed that up. Oh well. Might as well stop while I’m ahead. Though if you’d like my opinions on any of the films or certain aspects of any of the films, just hit me up in the comments, and I’d be happy to converse with you about it (in fact, that’d be quite loverly).

So until next time!


  1. There were three years between A New Hope and Empire and 1 year between Empire and Return of the Jedi. Also, Luke WAS too old. Far too old, but they didn't really have a choice at that point. Well, they did, but the other choice was his twin sister so the age wouldn't have been helped. :P

    So technically Luke becomes a Jedi KNIGHT, not a Jedi Master, in 4 years. That's about right when you consider that he was in a drastically accelerated course.

    But yes, he was special.

    You might find this useful. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dates_in_Star_Wars

  2. Here's the deal with Luke...

    Yoda and Obi-Wan realized that their failure with Anakin was that he was too old to be taken away from his mother.

    So, with Luke, they decided to let the will of the Force take its path. After Owen and Beru died, there was nothing left for Luke - nothing for him to hold on to, nothing to hold him back. He came to Obi-Wan and stated "I want to come with you to Alderaan and learn the ways of the force like my father." And that was the key.

    And yes, Luke did not become a Jedi Master - he became a Jedi Knight. Luke is also different b/c he doesn't have the weight of tradition and Jedi rules on his shoulders - notice he uses the force choke, and wears all black.

    Also, Luke isn't that amazing as a Jedi - his medichlorians aren't near yoda, obi-wan or Anakin - but he had a lot of heart. He only tested his skills against non-force users and an old crippled man who couldn't breathe without the help of machines...

  3. Also,

    There was plenty of build-up to Han and Leia's romance. They hated each other at first, picked on each other like school children do when they secretly like one another - on top of that, near the end of IV Han says "say, you think a princess like her a guy like me could" before Luke cuts him off with a solid "No."

    That's why the romance works - and the romance in the prequels DOESNT work - it moves naturally, it isn't forced.

  4. Thanks for the input.

    However, I still have some comments for you, Adam.

    This can merely be answered as Yoda not knowing otherwise (though he should... I mean, he's freakin YODA)... but Yoda says that Luke is too old, which is AFTER (a whole 3 years after, apparently) Obi-Wan gave his blessing to start his training. So how does your explanation work with that, then?

    Though the rest of what you said (in your first comment) makes sense. However, I still have to disagree with you on the Han/Leia thing. They do bicker in the first movie like crushing school kids. But I saw that line that you quoted as more of a tease toward Luke (because Han is smiling at how much Luke is swooning over Leia (which, in hindsight, is a bit creepy), so he pushes his buttons just to see him react). I didn't see the question as any more than that.

    Granted, there were 3 years that occurred between the events of episodes IV and V wherein their relationship could've built up... and I'm assuming that's what happened more than anything. My complaint is that we're supposed to just accept that instead of see it build. Because they do just go from bickering to "OMG U KNOW U LOVE ME! KISS ME NOW!" I just felt there needed to be some kind of better transition in there somewhere.

  5. if you notica, Yoda says the line about Luke being too old not really to correct Obi-Wan... but to test Luke. Remember, at this moment Luke has no idea of who Yoda really is - up until this moment he was just a crazy old frog in the swamp.

    As soon as luke says he is old enough, stands up and bumps his head on the hut and says he's ready - the real Yoda kicks in, and basically proves to luke that he ISNT ready. That's the point of the whole statement.

    And, possibly, perhaps Yoda IS correcting Obi-wan. Even when Luke leaves Dagobah, Obi-Wan says "that boy was our last hope" and Yoda quickly adds, "no there is another."

    As for Han and Leia, there was a lot of tension there - We are to understand that between Star Wars and Empire, the relationships b/w all three characters bloomed - but obviously something was going on w/ han and leia - the awkward meetings in the hallways, her falling in his life and him grabbing her - there seemed to be plenty of build up, but in the same way -

    it's beautiful how it is so easily dismissed - by C3PO's intrusion, that shows that it isn't quite fully bloomed yet - that they're both as surprised about it as everyone else is.

  6. "I think the biggest issues dealt with the fact that the first two films were these gritty, religious, Hero’s-Journey epics, while the third was more of a light-hearted romp into the land of slapstick and fantasy."

    Bingo. Perfectly and succinctly put.

    "It comes mostly out of nowhere and doesn’t really develop. It just happens."

    Don't forget that a) there was much hinting at this even in Star Wars and b) there are a few years in between SW and TESB (within the film's timeline).

    "Because when the stop-motion looks better than your re-done computer graphics, you know something’s up."

    Yup. The Han/Jabba scene in SW is brutally bad, for example.

    I didn't dislike the Ewoks at he time of its release (I was 7 when I saw it in the theater), but looking back, I do, though my hatred can't touch that of Jar Jar. The problem/question is, who is/was Lucas making these movies for? Contrary to what many might say, and this is big for me, the first two movies WERE NOT made for 8 and 10-year olds (see your original point that I quoted). The first two might have been made for teens, but more along the lines of 16 and 17 as opposed to 13 or younger.

    With Jedi (and even worse, the prequels), Lucas continually made the films for a seemingly younger audience, with the lone exception being the inevitable (and inescapable) final turn to the dark side in ROTS, which cause me to laugh in the theater, because all these little kids that grew up with only the prequels probably never really understood that Anakin was the "bad guy." But I digress...

  7. Well I think, Fletch, that Lucas's point with the prequels was to show that Anakin really wasn't the bad guy - that he was a pathetic, duped victim of real evil

    The Star Wars movies were ALWAYS for a younger audience - too bad all the kids grew up and hated the prequels because they lost site of that. Kids naturally take to things like Star Wars - look at the success of it even now with kids who still manage to fall in love with Yoda and Chewie and the droids etc.

    It's like Indiana JOnes or even Pirates of the Caribbean - action adventure fun with characters that are one of a kind that kids can latch on to.

    People get carried away with the seriousness of star wars - or harry potter - or any of this stuff. They're fairytales.

  8. Adam, if you can honestly watch Star Wars and The Phantom Menace and tell me that you think they're of the same "reading level," then I can buy your argument. But I think you're in the minority there; I'm not claiming that the first two episodes were Merchant-Ivory productions or anything, but they're clearly more mature than the following three episodes (I'll give ROTS a pass as it was forced to grow up a little).


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