Deja Vu: The Last Jedi and The Empire Strikes Back
The fan reactions to The Last Jedi are strikingly similar to those of The Empire Strikes Back when it was released in theaters. This could either demonstrate the fickleness of the fans or the consistency of the entire story since, back then, people didn’t like The Empire Strikes Back either. They felt there were simply too many questions and not enough explanation to the story, and that jumping back and forth between different points of the story was extremely confusing. Crosscutting, which allowed for moving back and forth to different characters in different situations, was still something people were getting used to and wasn’t as common of a practice at that point. In fact, writer David Gerrold had something to say about it:
“Structurally, the film is flawed by its need to imitate its predecessor’s “formula” of fast-paced cross-cutting. We cut back and forth between Luke and Yoda on Dagobah and Leia and Han in the asteroids, and the time sense of both sets of events is distorted. How long were Han and Leia fleeing? How long is Luke studying?”
As a seasoned film enthusiast, I can understand where Gerrold is coming from, considering it was a newer style of filming. However, the fact remains that there was so much going on in the story that they couldn’t really stay with one individual for a great length of time since it would have taken away from the screen time of the others that needed to be developed. In The Last Jedi, the character development could use a lot of work, especially in the case of Phasma and Luke. They were two of the most anticipated characters, and they got very little in the way of an explanation as to why they were in the situations they were. Plus, Phasma had a horrible death scene.
Love and War: The Empire Strikes Back’s Controversial Scene
But there’s more that people had to say about The Empire Strikes Back, such as this comment from Jeannette Vogelpohl:
“Somebody should tell Harrison Ford that when a woman tells a man, “I love you,” “I know” is not an acceptable response. That scene was not funny, it was infuriating.”
At least this person wouldn’t have had to deal with this in The Last Jedi or The Force Awakens since Han was already gone. But honestly, as I’ve learned, Harrison Ford made the line up on the spot since saying “I love you” back seemed too sappy for Star Wars. People lost their minds about these kinds of things, however, and couldn’t seem to understand just why Lucas would go to the trouble of making this movie and then create such tension by leaving so many things wide open. It’s enough to elicit remarks like this from Sean Bernard:
“I know they wanted to leave something to settle in the other sequels, but they left a little too much. For instance, Han Solo’s predicament. The movie should not have ended until Han was either killed by Boba Fett or Jabba or rescued by Lando Calrissian or Chewbacca, the former, preferably. Also, the fate of Bespin is not told. Was it taken by Lando’s troops, taken by Imperial troops or destroyed by Vader? I like Lando Calrissian and Billy Dee Williams was very good playing the part.”
Star Wars Fans: A Constant in the Galaxy
This just proves the point that Star Wars fans don’t really change. They have always been passionate and opinionated about the films, and that’s part of what makes the Star Wars community so vibrant and enduring. As a seasoned writer and film enthusiast, I can appreciate the similarities between the reactions to The Last Jedi and The Empire Strikes Back. It’s fascinating to see how history repeats itself, even in the realm of fan reactions to beloved films. So, whether you loved or hated The Last Jedi, remember that the same debates and discussions happened decades ago with The Empire Strikes Back, and that’s just part of the magic of the Star Wars universe.
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