Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by Mond, Oct 12, 2011.
How Return Of The Jedi Should Have Ended
The faults being pointed out in this short are easily explained, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment at all. I lol'd several times, especially at the "Oh, kill me again" line from Obi-wan at the end.
ROTJ was a relative disappointment for me when it first came out. There was a lot in it I did like. But overall I had hoped it would retain the slightly darker edge of TESB.
There's still a lot in it I like, but even to this day I can't help but wishing the Lucas had managed to prevail upon Spielberg to direct it. It would have been even better, probably.
Having said that, now my feeling is that the PT helps appreciate the OT a bit more, or at least allows us to look at it from a new perspective.
You didn't think it was dark enough? I don't know how dark it could have feasibly been since it was the 'triumphant' finale to the saga, and for me, seeing the hero tortured nearly to death with lightning just after almost killing his father...is pretty dark. And all this after seeing Leia as a slave chained to a gross slug crimelord (who she later strangles), and Yoda dying, and Ewoks getting blown to bits...I'm not sure what you were expecting, then, if that all wasn't 'dark' enough for you. Thematically, it just wasn't possible, but then you might have had some ideas about what could have happened to make it more like ESB without sacrificing the victorious ending.
No offense to Spielberg, but I shudder to think what would have happened had those scenes on the Death Star been filmed any differently. They are, IMO, flawless.
Now that would have been kind of dark.
I kid, I kid.
Heh. That screenshot is deceiving. I've never beaten that particular level as the Empire.
Me either. It's hard! Every time you think you have a command post, some damn Ewok screws it up!
The worst is seeing Darth Vader knocked on his silly butt by an Ewok slingshot. More than once.
Or seeing your character running around with a spear through his head in third person.
I didn't have a problem with those scenes (the whole final duel) or with the space battle, those were awesome considering they were done in the pre-digital era.
Just try to imagine ROTJ if the overall tone throughout the movie had been closer to the tone in ROTS and - hopefully - you'll have a better idea what I'd originally expected from ROTJ. The Ewoks, I didn't mind so much per se, but I did think the tone of many of their scenes was a little *too* cutesy. Overall, the direction didn't seem as sharp as ESB, though the action scenes seemed a bit better than the rest of the stuff. The acting also seemed a bit off, at least as far as Carrie Fisher went (we all know why that was, I guess).
Mind you, that's just describing the initial reaction I had to at the time of its release. Those things don't bother me very much any more, if at all.
ROTS was about threads unraveling - ROTJ was about tying them back together. I don't see how ROTJ could have mirrored the "tone" of ROTS any more without ceasing to function as the triumphant finale to the saga. Did you have any specific ideas as to how ROTJ could have been 'darker'? Excluding the Ewoks, of course.
Well I'm not arguing it should have "mirrored the tone" of ROTS - which of course didn't even exist at the time. Just saying that after ESB, I was kind of hoping for more of that "serious, darker" mood/tone.
I suppose there's a time in everyone's adolescence when you start trying to distance yourself from the more "childish" things, at least for most people. Watching ROTJ at just that point in time may have been kind of a common experience for many, and thus a certain level of discomfort with certain things being a little too kiddie-oriented in ROTJ, maybe more in the tone of the Ewok scenes, for example, than in the Ewoks themselves (in a darker version of ROTJ, they could have been portrayed as being no more interesting/cute/cuddly than the ugnaughts from ESB).
In the larger vision of things, especially now that all 6 movies have been made, it kind of makes sense that you have some very "kiddie-friendly" parts and characters and others that aren't so much. Thus the "cuter" parts of ROTJ and TPM don't seem so jarring any more, at least to me. I've reconciled with the vision that GL had, where you have some very dark, serious stuff happening at certain points of the saga, while there are also a lot of parts in some films that are more light-hearted, cute, or more children-oriented.
It's a kind of balance that Walt Disney perfected early in his career; I think GL comes very close to finding the same kind of balance between the dark, scary stuff and the fun, cuddly, child-friendly things, even if he's not generally given any credit for it.
So, looking back, you appreciate the lighter moments more?
Everyone who dislikes ROTJ always calls the Ewoks too childish or "cutesy". I distinctly recall that those "cutesy" Ewoks were about to eat the heroes. There was always a dark humor attached to their presence in the film, and I wonder why more people don't notice or appreciate that.
Well, yeah, but even as a kid, you didn't *really* believe the Ewoks were about to eat Han and Luke and Chewie... you knew it was being set up for laughs. Well, I think most kids did.
Only insofar as any foe isn't "really" going to kill the hero. Like Jabba wasn't really going to kill Luke, and the wampa wasn't really going to kill Luke, and Vader wasn't really going to kill Luke, and the Emperor...you get my point (poor Luke!) The fact that it didn't happen didn't make the idea any less macabre, at least for me.
Jar Jar, the other oft-complained about "childish" character, did not even approach such a dark tint to his 'cuteness.'
I'd prefer an ROTJ that served as the inverse of TPM: whereas the latter is a fairly light affair with seeds of darkness buried below the surface, the former could have been oppressive, with glimmers of light needling through until the sunspot of a conclusion.
But we'd already had the oppressiveness and the darkness: it was called "The Empire Strikes Back."
I'm sorry, I don't understand this argument - that ROTJ wasn't good because it wasn't gritty and angsty enough - at all.
Sorry, who's making that argument?
As I used to aver, ad nauseam (unfortunately): Lucas's chief failure with ROTJ is that he never seriously explored the psychological ramifications of being the child of Darth Vader. In rendering Luke the veritable White Knight from the first act on, Lucas squandered tremendous dramatic potential. Better that we saw Luke and Leia struggle with Vader's legacy, only gradually moving into the sphere of grace and forgiveness.
Perhaps for a fanfic nut like me, the 'psychological ramifications' are better left to the written word, and not the big screen. I don't see how they could have been included in the film without losing that "Star Wars feel."
But like I said, I do appreciate the desire for a deeper look into Luke and Leia's emotions - I've lamented a few times, in fact, that so few authors are willing to touch the Leia/Vader relationship, when it seems like it should be a huge part of her character's development. But the saga showed what it needed to show, all while keeping that magic of the first film. After watching A New Hope, how many people do you think said, upon learning that there would be a sequel, "Man, I sure hope we explore these characters' emotions in the next film"? About zero, would be my guess. I think the general consensus was "Space fights are awesome! Darth Vader is awesome! I wanna be Han!"
I just don't like making Star Wars anything but what it is: blockbuster movies about good and evil and heroes and villains with amazing visuals and characters you love. I've never asked nor wanted the movies to be anything more than that. It's not the right time or place. Now, the EU? Yes, give me gobs and gobs of angst and character exploration and all that other good stuff. There are a few fanfics I dearly love because they enhance the original story by exploring those places, thus deepening my connection with the characters. But I don't want that on my television. They don't belong next to Lucasfilm's logo and the main crawl. For this reason, ROTJ is practically perfect, because it tells us so much about Luke and his father while still having the lightsabers and explosions and awesomeness. In other words, it does explore Luke and Vader's relationship - in the Star Wars way.
*ahem* In my opinion.
*slides soapbox back under table*
Although I would maintain that there were ways to tease out the vulnerability of these heroic characters without compromising the space-opera purity, you've explained your position very well.
I would imagine that such things were intended to be dealt with in Eps VII-IX, or, at least, referred to. Luke's dealing with it, anyway.
ROTJ felt very much like a rush job - let's just get this trilogy done, tie up the loose ends as quickly & easily as possible (e.g. Leia is the Other), finish it, worry about the future of SW later - and the grander scheme of things suffered somewhat as a result. The 'trilogy of trilogies' concept was abandoned, and the PT was shelved.
My own theory is that the original plan was that the OT would lead directly into the PT by ending with a heap of questions as to why the situation came to be in the first place (which it did), but in a far more open-ended, unresolved way. The PT would then be told, with certain plot elements setting up the Sequel Trilogy of Eps VII-IX, which would then also resolve the story of the OT (Luke's journey) and lead into its own.
I don't think GL had all that much planned out for the ST, but it's important to understand that way back in 1979/1980, the plan was that there would be a new SW film every three years, with the 'Middle Trilogy' being followed by the PT, then the 'Final Trilogy'. Ep I would follow directly from Ep VI: ROTJ, and Episode VII would follow on from Episode III. Not in the narrative sense, but in the way the Saga was being presented to the public. As such, there would have to be a hook at the end of each trilogy to get people to care about the next one, even if it didn't follow chronologically - again, the OT does so in relation top the PT.
When it came to making Episode VII, you'd also want some reason for audiences to wonder about what happened to the heroes of the OT (from four episodes before), not just that they lived happily ever after.
I think GL's desire just to wind up SW indefinitely & as quickly as possible in 1983 led to him ignoring certain aspects of whatever 'grand plan' he may once have had.