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Saga Saga Narratives -- The Different Things Going On

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Cryogenic, Feb 22, 2013.

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  1. Cryogenic

    Cryogenic Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 20, 2005
    Anyone ever noticed this one or considered it significant in any way?




    In the words of Mike Stoklasa/Harry Plinkett/RedLetterMedia (I will invoke him without wanting to turn this into a firefight), these first four films, in production order, display an "Ending Multiplication Effect":

    ANH has one main action/narrative strand, TESB effectively has two, ROTJ has three, and TPM tops the lot with four. Then the process begins anew with AOTC (one long action strand) and ROTS (two intercut duels for its climax).

    I dunno. I just find that... interesting. If nothing else, it coincides with the saga getting itself "digital", the rousing of the clones, the forbidden marriage of Anakin and Padme, and so forth.

    Numerically, with respect to production order, it can be expressed the following way:

    1:1 - 2:2 - 3:3 - 4:4 - 5:1 - 6:2

    Removing the first integer:

    1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 1 - 2

    Or "story" order:

    1:4 - 2:1 - 3:2 - 4:1 - 5:2 - 6:3

    Removing the first integer:

    4 - 1 - 2 - 1 - 2 - 3

    I know it's a bit arcane being presented like this, and I'm rabbiting here, but I think it's interesting to examine the "topography" of the story like this. Symmetries/asymmetries.

    Has anyone else got any other "stories within a story" they've noted? Any other patterns? Any other structures -- whether they can be expressed with simple numbers and ratios or not?
    obi-rob-kenobi4 likes this.
  2. Darth_Nub

    Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Apr 26, 2009
    I suppose it does illustrate a certain pattern, but I'm not sure if it necessarily means anything past TPM - up to which the pattern reflects the style of filmmaking on a technical level, rather than the story itself (more tools and resources available, so they tend to use them for the sake of it).
    Incidentally, I'd say that AOTC has two narrative threads, not one, although it comes about by the story splitting off into Anakin's journey & Obi-Wan's investigation, then joining again at Geonosis - almost exactly the same as ESB.

    For anyone interested in joining in this discussion, Cryo's request is not optional - flame wars over the notorious RLM reviews aren't welcome in this forum, regardless of your position on them. There's a thread in the PT forum for all such wailing & gnashing of teeth.
  3. Joe

    Joe Jedi Master star 6

    Dec 25, 2012
    AOTC somewhat splits at the end into Anakin and Obi-Wan's travels on Geonosis and the ground battle on Geonosis. It's not as major as the split in the other films, but it's present,
  4. kubricklynch

    kubricklynch Jedi Knight star 3

    Dec 10, 2012
    I think maybe it's just George Lucas thought 5 different strands at the end of Episode 2 might be a stretch. Plus there was a lot of criticism of the unfocused nature of the end of TPM.
  5. Cryogenic

    Cryogenic Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 20, 2005
    Ah, I wasn't meaning to talk about about the main-body narrative strands. AOTC obviously shares its splitting-of-the-leads with TESB, which is very cool, but that's not the intended structure I outlined. Rather, I was attempting to annotate the action climaxes of each film.

    Good place to raise that one, though. The films seem to obey a somewhat simpler structure on that level:

    In production order:

    1:1 - 2:2 - 3:1 - 4:1 - 5:2 - 6:1

    Minus first integer:

    1 - 2 - 1 - 1 - 2 - 1

    In story order:

    1:1 - 2:2 - 3:1 - 4:1 - 5:2 - 6:1

    Minus first integer:

    1 - 2 - 1 - 1 - 2 - 1

    They're exactly parallel.

    Of course, ROTS and ROTJ do somewhat retain the "splitting" structure, with Obi-Wan and Luke going off on their respective jaunts (Obi-Wan to battle Grievous on Utapau, Luke to see Yoda, and then Obi-Wan to his surprise, back on Dagobah), but they're not as extreme with it as the middle installment of their respective trilogies, so I've ignored them for the sake of convenience/clarity.

    Well, yeah. Extreme aesthetics have to give way to practicality at some point. I can't argue that.

    Yet there seems to be something like a "hard reset" after the first four films in production order. It's very Vader-ish (birth scene) in a way: learning to walk again.

    * * *

    Anyway, I realized that there is something approaching a TRUE "Ending Multiplication Effect" if you consider the actual movie endings, or denouements. In the prequels, anyway:

    1) Victory celebration (Naboo).

    1) Ships leaving for war (Coruscant).
    2) Anakin and Padme privately wed (Naboo).

    1) Padme state funeral (Naboo).
    2) Anakin at Emperor's side overlooking Death Star (unknown location).
    3) Bail takes Leia home (Alderaan).
    4) Obi-Wan takes Luke to Lars farm (Tatooine).

    On into the original trilogy, we have something that is more akin to a quasi-"Ending Multiplication Effect":

    1) Medal ceremony (Yavin).

    1) Luke and Leia watching from medical frigate (unknown).
    2) Ships recede from camera, inc. Chewie and Lando in MF off to rescue Han (unknown).

    1) Victory celebration (Endor).
    >>>> victory montage:
    -------- 1) Bespin
    -------- 2) Tatooine
    -------- 3) Naboo
    -------- 4) Coruscant

    It's all somehow a little messier in the OT's case (as I think you can see).

    Those multiplications aren't quite as neatly partitioned as the ones in the prequel endings. A single location tends to constrain the effect: Yavin (no multiplication), an unknown location for the rebel fleet, and Endor, respectively. The prequel endings, by comparison, surge more obviously in location, tone, meaning, intent, etc.

    Yet we still get a kind of "fake" multiplication effect in the OT as above. Though, interestingly, the victory montage that rounds out ROTJ, since 1997/2004, at least, is not like a typical closing montage, as if accentuating this "fake" effect further, and is more apt to be compared to the Order 66 montage firmly bracketed within its prequel "cousin" in ROTS (which there has more planets and sort of wraps back round on itself).

    * * *

    I dunno. Just some stuff to chew on.
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