Thursday, October 8, 2015

Will Return of the Jedi Be Rendered Meaningless?



We are a little over two months away from The Force Awakens. Given that it has been months since we've seen any new footage, six months since the last trailer, and an awfully long time since any real news, I actually haven't been thinking about it all that much. I'm not spending any time worrying or looking over web sites searching for news. I would guess we will get a new trailer in the very near future, and surely that will ignite my interest once again and cause another wave of excitement. But for now, mostly I'm just kind of sitting here noticing it getting colder and colder outside and realizing that December 18th (or 17th now I guess) actually isn't all that far away anymore.

That said, of course I do think about it sometimes, and I only caught a piece of an article that sparked this question in my mind. Let's remember first that I am not reading spoilers, I would prefer not to discuss them, but like most of us I have at least been trying to piece together some things about this movie based on the official information we have been given, and of course in spite of not reading spoilers, I still speculate in my own head. One of the things I've been speculating on of course is Han and Leia's relationship. Now, when this whole thing was first announced, them being together seemed like a given. The more time that passes, the less sure I am of that, to the point where basically I'm just expecting them not to be. What happened, and for how long they have or haven't been together, I really have no idea. I just have a bad feeling that they will not be together when this movie takes place.

That is bad enough, of course. But another thing that seems inevitable based on what we've been seeing, is that things aren't going so well for our heroes, whether they are the Rebels or Resistance or whatever the not-Empire people are calling themselves these days. Clearly, things are not good there. That of course brings another question, being how bad is it, and how long has it been bad? And has it basically been this bad all along? Did destroying the second Death Star do nothing?

Which brings me to the point of my post. If, in fact, destroying the second Death Star did not actually defeat the Empire, or even come close to it, doesn't that basically mean that the entire movie Return of the Jedi is completely meaningless? I mean, seriously. Think about it. 80% of the movie focuses on this big epic battle and the destruction of the Death Star. At the end of the movie, we're looking at them all smiling and happy, like they truly accomplished something and this long nightmare is over. But what if it isn't? What if they're just going to tell us that everything still sucked and the Empire was still basically in control of the galaxy? Then we just spent a whole movie focusing on a minor battle but then failing to tell us that they lost the war. It'd be like doing a sports movie and focusing on one mid-season game that was ultimately meaningless, but treating it like the win was a HUGE deal, but then coming back later and telling us that that team didn't even wind up making it to the playoffs.

It'd really make me sad if they render that movie meaningless. I mean, it is not completely without purpose. Luke goes through a lot, Anakin comes back to the light in the end, Leia learns of her parentage and connection to Luke, Han and Leia are finally truly together (or are they? I guess this is another thing that might become meaningless.)  But, still. Can you ever watch that movie the same way again if you knew that the "win" meant nothing? That the morning after the above photo they all woke up and things still sucked? If the prequels had come first, and we came back to Episode IV after the end of Episode III and after seeing the bad guys win and the Empire being in control and most of the Jedi dead it wouldn't make any sense to come back and suddenly have the Republic be in power and the Jedi be totally fine, would it?

I guess I'm just worrying more and more that they are going to further destroy the original trilogy. Even more annoying is that there is simply no reason to. I can almost guarantee you that whatever craziness they have going on in the universe when we get back to Episode VII could've been accomplished equally successfully without rendering Return of the Jedi meaningless. These movies are set thirty years apart. That is a very long time during which an awful lot can happen. And there would seem to me to be no reason why they couldn't have enjoyed several years or more of "winning" after that whole Death Star battle and everything, before things turned back around.

It has been nearly three years since they announced we'd be getting this movie. I just need to see it already and stop wondering and worrying and knowing for sure what I have to be enraged over!

34 comments:

  1. I don't think that the empire plotline of ROTJ will be rendered meaningless because they had to continue the story somehow. However, Han and Leia's storyline would be destroyed, for lack of a better term, if they were separated and then possibly other things happen. I posed in another forum that if Han and Leia aren't together-and I'm not talking about whether they have kids or not-then that is a slap in the face to us Han and Leia fans. Thirty-two years later, they bring the characters back and possibly have them be apart? Come on, folks. I will not see the 2nd and 3rd movies if they have been split up. Another thing is is that if they don't have at least a meaningful hug in this movie, after taking the time to bring them back after 32 years, I will be greatly bothered by that.

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    1. Oh, I whole heartedly agree that Han and Leia's entire character arcs will be rendered completely meaningless if they come back and are just like, "Kidding! They broke up a little while later." This isn't like, say, Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2, when Dana and Venkman weren't together anymore in the sequel. That relationship in the first movie was not a character development, it was just 2 of the characters hooking up. Han and Leia's progression throughout the original trilogy was a major arc with lots of character development for both of them. To pull the rug out would be to completely negate any character development there.

      You say "...story had to continue somehow...." I'm not really sure what you mean there. Obviously they need to bring back turmoil in the new movies, or else it's just boring. What I'm saying is that if that entire battle in ROTJ meant nothing and was a mere blip on the radar screen, then there isn't much left for that movie. Like, why have a whole movie focusing on this one battle that didn't really change anything? From a storytelling perspective that doesn't make any sense.

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    2. Well, I would prefer that they leave the ending of ROTJ alone and just start the battle with the "Empire" on whoever they're calling the enemies now. Make it like the "Empire" started up again or something. I'm okay with that part, though. I really only care about Han and Leia's relationship, whether they're together, and if the Big 3 have a scene together. It the 1st and 3rd things don't coincidence with my expectations, I will not see the next 2 movies.

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    3. I meant restart the battle a few years later.

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    4. Ok, I gotcha. I totally agree with that, if the Empire is taken down for a considerable amount of time after ROTJ, then that is different. My worry is that they are going to have it so that they really didn't take down much of anything. We really don't know, and won't until the movie comes out, but it's just something I've been thinking about.

      Of course my main concern is also Han and Leia, but we can only talk about that so much, and there isn't really much debate there because we all agree that would be terrible :)

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  2. First: love your blog. Discovered it a few months ago, and love reading your thoughts and the conversations that ensue. Thanks for what you do!

    I've been having similar thoughts, at least about rendering Han and Leia's relationship meaningless. Hadn't thought much about the whole movie going that direction... That's even more disappointing.

    Now that they're revisiting the characters 30 years later (and I realize I'm not ready to see my heroes -- who were once frozen in time, immortal through the power of movie magic and repeat viewings -- actually get older), I've been thinking more and more about these movies as "coming of age" stories. With that framework, the events in Return of the Jedi become a sort of "senior project" -- trials, tribulations, a great final grade, then yay! Graduation! But of course, they still had to contend with life after graduation, when they found out that their senior project was nice, but there are still deadlines to meet, unappreciative co-workers, office politics, etc... Of course, the characters didn't graduate, they *saved the galaxy*! So yeah, if that's rendered meaningless... very sad. But that framework helps me prepare for what might happen in December...

    (Until December, I'm staying hopeful that *that look* we see on Leia's face in the official behind-the-scenes clip is her giving the evil eye to Han: "Honey, you were supposed to return from your mission yesterday." "Sweetheart, Jakku is a -- look, it's not my fault!")

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    1. Welcome! Glad you are reading and commenting, hope you enjoy yourself.

      I have had mixed feelings since the announcement. I mean, you can go back and read all of the posts as things were announced and see exactly how I felt. It is both amazing and terrifying that they are bringing them back. Like you, part of me just wants them to be immortalized 30 years ago. Or also maybe that they had done this 10 years ago, before a few of them got undeniably REALLY old. But then part of me also thinks it is crazy and amazing that they are going to show them to us again, and we get to see them play the most iconic characters in movie history once again. But, well, let's just hope they don't tarnish them.

      Very interesting way of looking at it. I certainly had never thought of that. At this point I just want to see what we are getting into, and almost don't want to be thinking of anything or expecting anything. It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be seeing this movie for the first time, and anytime I am in a theater to see another movie (just saw The Martian, would recommend) I occasionally think of myself watching this movie unfold in front of me for the first time and not knowing what is going to happen, in an audience full of people probably at close to the same level of emotion and anticipation, and it is just going to be incredible. But, hopefully it won't suck!

      It'd be great if Leia were giving Han that look. I for sure want shared screen time, and of course please, please, just let them share one more kiss.

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    2. Great post. In that "behind the scenes" reel, Leia is actually looking at Poe. That's not to say that she won't give Han that look, though.

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    3. Zyra,

      Yes, some screen time together would be nice and a kiss. But I don't need a big passionate one. Just a peck on the lips would be adequate for me or even one by Han on Leia's forehead.

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  3. I'm going to continue to withhold judgment. I don't think we know anything concrete yet.

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    1. No, of course we don't know anything concrete yet. But I've found these things interesting to wonder about, especially given what little we know. The less we know, the more worried I am.

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    2. I agree to some degree. If they were together, why not just say Han and Leia are together and are dealing with another war in the galaxy, etc.?

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  4. Honestly, I'd be more disappointed if Abrams expects his audience to believe that the destruction of the second Death Star at the end of ROTJ brought down the Empire and restored peace and order to the galaxy.

    That's what Lucas somehow wanted us to believe with the celebration scenes that he added to ROTJ starting with the 1997 Special Edition (and has continued to revamp with every release). As much as I love the song that replaced Yub Nub, that particular slice of revisionism is hard to swallow, especially the Coruscant celebration that looks planet-wide and well-organized. I could imagine rioting in the streets by Imperialists and rebel sympathizers, but Coruscant is still Imperial Center and probably would be the LAST place in the galaxy to be liberated.

    Yes, from ANH to ROTJ the Rebel Alliance had destroyed two WMDs and killed two significant figureheads, not meaningless, but the Imperial leadership remained. I find it hard to believe that so many people with money and power invested in the Empire would just move aside and let the Alliance take control of the galaxy. Realistically THAT seems like the real fight —wrestling control of the galaxy back from Imperial warlords — long and largely anti-climatic.

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    1. Well, sure, for everything to be totally fine wouldn't be believable either. I liked the way the EU dealt with it, still a lot of remnants to fight with, but overall the New Republic was much more in control of things.

      I never gave the added celebration scenes that much thought. I think I still don't think of them as really being part of the movie. You do make a valid point about that, it is a little silly that that one battle would've been cause for galaxy-wide celebrating, or that there weren't still tons of beings loyal to the Empire there.

      But I do think the loss of Vader and the Emperor would be a major, MAJOR blow. No more leadership there.

      But all that said, just from a story-telling point of view, it had to have been a significant victory at the end of ROTJ to have any real meaning or bring any closure to the series. It just doesn't make any sense otherwise.

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  5. Agree with you, Zyra. Although I do think thinking logically there had to be at least one more giant battle to take down the heart of the Empire after the leadership vacuum caused by the death of Vader/Palps. (And I've been working on a fanfic over on fanfiction.net about just that, called "The Battle of Coruscant" which has been going sooo slowly but clearly has to get done by December or...well, it will probably be rendered moot. Ok, I'll end my ad for myself here) But I totally agree with you that -- more battle or not -- what Jedi seemed to permanently settle was the relationships between these three characters. Coming back to a totally different status quo among them would be really disappointing -- and, with with regard to Han and Leia, kinda devastating as they're really the reason I'm aboard with Star Wars. No Han and Leia happy life for the 30 years between these movies, and I'm not only not interested, I'm looking at everything Disney does is just incredibly well-funded fan-fiction like everything else somebody other than Lucas made up.

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    1. Yes! And I love it of course. I would do a post but I am just going to wind up writing another one tomorrow when the trailer comes out. Can't wait! And now I have ticket buying anxiety.

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  7. I love it, too! Han and Leia made it! Han and Leia made it! Yeah!

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  8. Uh, oh. You may delete that if you want.

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    1. Delete it why? Maybe I missed something.

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  9. I'm just gleaning that off of the poster. Maybe it was a spoiler?

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    1. Drawing a conclusion from a poster is not a spoiler. Discovering a leaked script online and posting major plot points would be a spoiler. Any officially released info is not a spoiler. Spoilers is anything Lucasfilm hasn't shown us themselves deliberately.

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    2. I have the same hopes due to the poster but who knows...

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    3. By the way, Zyra, I really love your fanfic.

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    4. Why thank you for the nice compliment on the fanfic :)

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  10. Have you guys seen the little teasers already? I mean, how sad are we that they are actually teasing the trailer and I am flipping out about it? I also can't believe I have to watch football tonight. I don't think I've ever watched Monday Night Football in my life, but I will be all over this.

    On another note, for any of you paying attention, I'll try to get up a post ASAP after the trailer airs so we can keep the discussion about it there. I'll do my best with that because I have to find somewhere to watch it, and have my lap top with me, since I recently moved and don't have TV set up. But I *should* be able to get something up pretty quick, so we can lose our collective minds in one tidy space.

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  11. US people: 1 more hour until we can buy our tickets!

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    1. I'm all over the football game too. I thought tickets wouldn't be on sale until after the trailer, but heard 8:30 too. They're on sale now! So get them if you can. I'm in for Thursday. Woo!!! IMAX 3D baby.

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    2. And no, I would normally not watch Monday Night Football. College football (and really basketball) all the way.

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  12. Did anyone else have tons of trouble with Fandango? It was totally uncooperative. And the theater I had planned on buying the tickets at didn't seem to have them selling online yet, which caused a panic of searching other local theaters, some of which have reserved seating and were already just about sold out. I did finally get some though. That was probably the most stressful thing I've ever done.

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    1. The sites are definitely acting up now. As soon as the game started. Fandango is completely down. AMC is taking forever. I can't believe how easy it was for me. Super lucky! I did notice fandango putting up times over time. Did you go for IMAX 3D?

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    2. No, keep trying if you having bought tickets yet. I got mine last night for 12/17 at 7 p.m.

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  13. Woohoo! H&L moment!!

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  14. OMG, just saw the trailer and there's a quick shot of Leia resting her head on Han's chest and him hugging her. She looks worried or scared. Beautiful.

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