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Discussion Will Episode VII have a downer ending?

Discussion in 'Star Wars: Sequel Trilogy (Released Films)' started by vypernight, Jun 7, 2014.

  1. Chained Prometheus

    Chained Prometheus Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 24, 2013
    I think it'll either have a foreboding ending or a happy ending. Episode VIII is where we'll be getting a downer ending, probably.
    Artoo-Dion and DarthIshyZ like this.
  2. aleja2

    aleja2 Jedi Master star 2

    Aug 4, 2005
    Sorry, on iPad, cutting and pasting is difficult.

    1) No one in 1980 doubted that the Rebels would eventually win or that Han would be rescued. The OT was a Flash Gordon-type 1930s serial writ large, like Raiders of the Lost Arc that followed, and the spirit was never, ever "downer." ESB has the best script and arguably the best direction of the three, which is why it is so highly regarded today (a reputation that increased with time, BTW). Subtext is awesome and adds depth and yes, emotion, and ESB delivers.

    It's also a second act. Of course things have to get perilous before the final victory - that's just good story structure. And of course the heroes have to face danger, including life or death situations, or the story is boring and the final victory ultimately meaningless. But there's a difference between a crapsack, grimdark universe and a universe where the spirit/emotion is fun, exciting and ultimately uplifting.

    Others in the thread mentioned George RR Martin before I made a reference. There's a ginormous chasm between a Disney theatrical release and a premium cable TV show in terms of audience size expectations and ancillary market performance.

    So maybe we're talking about two different definitions of "dark" and "downer."

    Will there be moments of peril, i.e. when thing look "dark" for the heroes? Of course. It's an action/adventure story. Will characters die? A few will, undoubtedly, to punctuate the peril or to allow the hero to stand on his/her own feet to defeat the Big Bad.

    Will the tone of the films be grim and unrelenting, i.e. a "downer?"


    I'm betting anything the ST won't even be as tonally dark as even the PT. Don't forget, while TPM made over a billion dollars in worldwide box office, AOTC made only $650 million worldwide despite tickets costing a little bit more due to inflation. ROTS made just under $850 million in box office.

    When box office receipts are adjusted for inflation, the OT far out earned the PT in initial theatrical release, although of course the OT was released in a much different era when it came to competing for audience time and attention. Still, Disney will want Pirates of the Caribbean or Marvel type numbers at the box office for ALL the films, not just the first (which will draw big audiences based on nostalgia and curiosity alone, even if the reviews are less than raves).

    And that means films that ultimately make the audience feel good as they head home, excitedly texting or tweeting or Facebooking about the awesome movie they just saw and telling everyone they HAVE to see it.

    2) Hunger Games: Katniss wins and also saves Peeta. Catchjng Fire: Katniss and her allies are rescued and the rebellion against President Snow is revealed. Katniss is not alone in her fight. (Also, I wouldn't call The Hunger Games a kids' franchise. There aren't a lot of toys and other merchandise out there. It's a teen franchise, definitely, but not ages 5-10.)

    Harry Potter: with the exception of the 7th film, which is the only half of the 7th book: Harry wins, every time.

    Even the Christopher Nolan Batman films, which are tonally dark, end in victories.

    But the model Disney is going for with Lucasfilm, when it comes to building a franchise, is the Marvel film universe. But Star Wars can skew even younger. And so they're not going to do anything, tone wise, to jeopardize the goose from laying the golden eggs for the largest, widest audience possible, including young kids.

    If any Star Wars film turns grim and gritty, it will be a stand alone, with subsequent lower audience size expectations. But not an Episode. IMO!
    ChildOfWinds likes this.
  3. WriterMan

    WriterMan Jedi Knight star 3

    Nov 26, 2012
    First, I would say that The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones both mirror their counterparts from the original trilogy (A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, respectively). Thus, TPM ends on a good note. The battle has been won. The day is saved. Hooray. But AOTC's ending is the launching point of something bigger. In several regards, our heroes failed. Count Dooku escaped, defeating Obi-Wan, Ani and Yoda. The Death Star plans have been successfully transported to Palpatine. Several Jedi died at the hands of battle droids. The Confederacy has been officially launched and "Begun, the Clone Wars has."

    I would say that is in no way a happy ending. In fact, if the PT was a standalone trilogy, ROTS would not have that downer ending.

    I would say that Episode VIII will have the negative, darker ending. But it has to be for a new generation. I've been looking at some pictures from shooting ( and I've seen in an article that J.J. wants to do as little CG in this film as possible. I personally think Abrams is going to bring classic filmmaking ideals back to the masses (much as Nolan has with his Dark Knight trilogy).

    I'm more excited than ever for Episode VII!
  4. Claire1976

    Claire1976 Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 20, 2013
    If one of the Big Three bites it then surely that has got to be during the climax of the movie, it's too big an event to stick half way through. So if that happens, it will be a total downer for sure.
  5. DarthMane2

    DarthMane2 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Sep 20, 2003
    It'll have a positive ending. Biggest loss will be Hans death of course, which I guess you can call a downer.
  6. Darth Downunder

    Darth Downunder Chosen One star 6

    Aug 5, 2001
    Well if you're going to say that just because you knew as a viewer that in movies the good guys always eventually win then it's impossible to have a "downer ending" in a film series like this. That theory renders this a pointless discussion. I thought we were looking at things from an in universe on screen perspective. By that measure, & I'll say this again, ESB had a very very dark ending. The good guys were in a seemingly hopeless situation. They were also in emotional pain, or incapacitated altogether. The film made the Empire seem like an unstoppable juggernaut that the tiny Rebel forces had no hope of ever matching. If you try & pretend for a second that RotJ & any post ESB story does not exist then you'll realise how much of a dark place the story was left in. The only real glimmer of hope was the likely rescue of Han, but that's not the main game. The Rebels actually defeating the Empire?? Forget it (apart from "good guys win in movies" off screen reasons).

    We're only guessing about the tone of the ST. I think it's quite possible for them to go ether way. There are obviously limits to how dark anyone would allow a Star Wars film to be, but relative to the rest of the Saga I see it being quite dark at some points of the trilogy. Like you said, the middle film is always the most likely candidate for darkness. I think the end of Ep7 will end on a mixed note. Things will likely be quite upbeat & happy at the beginning, bcs look at where we left the story in the last episode. Therefore I expect things to get more grim as it goes & then it will finish in a semi positive ending with sinister overtones. The end of Ep8 will be the truly dark one.

    Ps. RE Harry Potter, if we're talking about tone the end of the last few films were very dark, regardless of the good guys having token "wins" at the end. For one example, in Goblet of Fire Harry might "win" the tournament but only as part of the bad guy's plan to resurrect Voldemort, who then murders a student in cold blood & Harry delivers the corpse back to his grieving father. That to you wasn't a dark ending??
  7. DarthIshyZ

    DarthIshyZ Chosen One star 6

    Jan 8, 2005
    The second of the movies, The Dark Knight, ended in a questionable victory, at best. Yes, Batman defeated the two villains, but he did it at the expense of his own reputation. Batman had to retire because of what happened in that movie. I don't call that completely a "victory." And then, what happened? A downward spiral of Bruce so that he became a recluse and Wayne Enterprises foundered.

    Let's see... I serviced the client's needs. He's happy. But I lost my job. Hey! It's a great day! Yeah, I don't think so.

    EDIT: Also, consider that Hollywood hates sad endings. Any movie that wants to show "real life" has an uphill battle. Consider the movie The Player (1992). The movie featured a script that the writer pitched as ending with a sad ending... a real life ending... and no stars. Everyone thought those were GREAT ideas. As it's going through the mill, you see the final film. It has stars galore and the hero wins in the end. Again.
    Dak Oolron likes this.
  8. CarboniteSolo

    CarboniteSolo Jedi Knight star 3

    Oct 11, 2013
    I think it will be the same type of ending as TPM. Yes, the heroes win, but at a huge cost (Luke? Han?) Somebody is going to get it at the hands of the bad guy. Perhaps even someone (Max or Adam) taunting the hero and kills them in front of the person or group. Then they might get angry, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering and death.

    Positive ending with a little foreboding much like The Phantom Menace.

    Episode VIII, I predict lots of death and a huge space battle, all is lost.

    Episode IX, struggle, and a confrontation at the end. Happy ending with force ghost Luke Skywalker looking on.
    Dak Oolron likes this.
  9. DarthBane93

    DarthBane93 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 11, 1999
    It will end like ANH and TPM did. Death of a hero (most likely Han and Chewie), a battle won, and a villian twirling a moutache somewhere.
    Dak Oolron likes this.
  10. aleja2

    aleja2 Jedi Master star 2

    Aug 4, 2005
    No, actually, that IS my point.

    And it's not a theory. It's a time honored trope, one that both Disney and J J Abrams have made very lucrative businesses out of using.

    Very very dark? Please. ;)

    Dark would be:

    Fett kills Solo in front of Leia, spattering her with Solo's brains. After all, Jabba doesn't really care if Solo is dead or alive. Putting Han in carbonite was an obvious cheat that gives the audience every hope in the world that he will be recovered.

    Lando turns out to be a bad guy through and through. Chewie is given to slavers, Threepio is melted into slag, and Artoo's memory is wiped.

    The gold bikini makes an earlier appearance, and Leia is the prize display in the windows of Cloud City's red light district.

    Instead - hey, look, Lando is a good guy! And stormtroopers can't hit the side of a barn! The Millennium Falcon escapes! Not even Vader can hold them!

    Luke either:
    a) says, "Hey. Dad, y'know what? Joining you and ruling the galaxy under twin fists of evil sounds like a lot of fun! Let me tell you where the Rebel fleet is located."
    b) is captured by Vader. The last we see of Luke is him screaming and then Vader shutting him with some sort of Force choke/hold. Or he cuts off another of Luke's limbs. When Vader releases him, Luke's eyes start to glimmer with yellow. Vader murmurs, "Yes, yes, that's it, give in to your hate, my son. My apprentice."
    c) Luke falls down the Bespin shaft and the antenna.
    Well, the choices are endless.

    Instead, Luke resists Vader. He loses a hand, but saves his integrity and spirit. Yay! He is rescued by Leia, who indicates she might have the Force as well. They are taken to the Rebel fleet, which seems to have survived the evacuation of Hoth with lots of ships and firepower still left. Luke gets a new hand. Lando and Chewie leave to find Han - rescue is already on its way. Luke joins Leia at the viewport, assures her that, yes, they will find Han, and the two stand united. It's a cliffhanger - Vader is still out there, the Empire has yet to be defeated, Han is in carbonite, Luke hasn't finished his Jedi training & is aware Kenobi misled him - but we know there is a conclusion to come. You don't leave the theater discouraged and upset; you leave wanting to see the next film RIGHT NOW. Which is, from a business point of view, exactly what it needs to deliver.

    There is plenty of hope. The heroes are still acting like heroes. Han is still alive. The Rebels are still fighting.

    JJ's been pretty vocal about his love for the OT, even before he took on Episode 7. It's a pretty educated guess Also, Disney. Disney is very, very successful at a certain tone and certain story tropes, and they have a specific business rationale for buying Lucasfilm and putting such an aggressive production schedule together. There's only so much money, even for Disney, and they need these films to pay off in a HUGE way.

    Humans are hardwired to understand story structure.

    Therefore, we expect, even need obstacles before the final victory can be won.

    So, yes, there will be "dark" moments when all looks lost. In story structure, it's even called the "black moment." In Campbell's Hero Journey structure, the hero has to face the "ordeal," and then the "resurrection," which are usually life and death moments where the hero faces his deepest fears.

    But dark moments - which are necessary for successful story telling - do not equal "downer endings" and a dark tone.

    See: humans are hardwired to process story, above.

    Goblet of Fire is the midpoint of the series, or Campbell's Ordeal moment. Harry faces off against Voldemort in a life or death moment in which his life is immediately on the line - this foreshadows Campbell's Resurrection moment at the end of the series, in which Harry must once again face Voldemort but now it's the fate of the entire wizarding world at immediate stake.

    However, we don't doubt that Harry will ultimately defeat Voldemort. The only questions are how and when.

    And the film does end with good guys winning. Voldemort is not fully successful. While Cedric and others do die, Harry rescues their spirits after they were absorbed by Voldemort's wand. The fake Moody is revealed, and the real Moody rescued. And the threat of Voldemort has been fully revealed. It's not just Harry and a few select others who think he is coming back - now everyone knows. The heroes' resolve has been strengthened, not taken away.

    I'm not arguing everything will be all sweetness and light and rainbows and unicorns. Far from it. Dark moments are very much necessary.

    But I highly, highly, very much doubt Episode 7 will end on a "downer." I doubt Episode 8 will end on a complete downer. There might be black moments to give the heroes meaningful obstacles to overcome, but you aren't going to leave the theater feeling upset and depressed (unless the script/acting/story are on the suckitude end of the scale, in which case people will mostly be just angry). And I extremely doubt Episode 9 will end on a downer.

    See, I think The Dark Knight is one of Nolan's most humanity affirming movies.

    Yes, the victory is costly for Bruce Wayne. (You forgot Bruce losing the love of his life and Harvey Dent's betrayal, both of which are far more personally devastating to him than the loss of Wayne Enterprises.) But the cost of the victory is outweighed by what the victory gains for everyone in Gotham City. Law and order win over the forces of chaos. The prisoners on the ferry refuse to blow up the law abiding citizens on the other ferry, demonstrating that humanity is worth saving. Batman takes the fall for Dent's crimes, to preserve society as a whole.

    If Bruce lost everything AND humanity was demonstrated to be unworthy of his sacrifices, then that would be a complete bummer. But he sacrifices himself to save the many, which is a very powerful heroic trope. And the Joker has been apprehended. The Joker did not win, and his theories about humanity and social order were proved wrong.

    Hollywood loves only one thing, and that's making money.

    Sad endings do not make money. Nor do they sell toys, clothing, comics, books, theme park experiences, movie sequels, stage shows (just you wait...),TV spin-offs, etc. Disney isn't hoping just for a great outing at the box office. Disney wants this to be a tentpole franchise for generations to come.

    'Nuff said!
  11. Force Smuggler

    Force Smuggler Force Ghost star 7

    Sep 2, 2012
    The good guys win but trouble is about to come.
  12. mratm23

    mratm23 Jedi Knight star 3

    May 13, 2014
    Well, Episode I mirrored the end of Episode IV, so I think VII will do the same.
  13. DarthTunick

    DarthTunick SfC Part IV Commissioner star 10 VIP - Game Host

    Nov 26, 2000
    I'll agree with that sentiment as well... however, I could see an ending in which everyone's at the funeral of Han or Luke, who perished in during the (victorious) final battle. Maybe.
  14. CarboniteSolo

    CarboniteSolo Jedi Knight star 3

    Oct 11, 2013
    I agree with Aleja2

    I also think Disney has plans for Episodes X, XI, and XII. They have to make their 4 billion back somehow. They probably won't say nothing until after this trilogy is complete. Can you imagine another trilogy after this one? They will also probably wait 6-8 years, so that the characters that survive this trilogy will be older. I can already see them taking this further, probably start working on the outline for the next trilogy in the middle of production on Episode IX.
    Skaddix likes this.
  15. Artoo-Dion

    Artoo-Dion New Films Jedi star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 9, 2009
    Six movies (episodes VII-IX) plus merchandise should recoup that $4b, surely. I definitely think they have plans for more movies, but I think they'll continue in the side-story of the spinoffs.

    As for a "downer" ending, no way. People need to feel elated after seeing this movie, pumped and talking about Ep8 and OMG did you see the awesome trailer for Boba Fett: Galactic Badass?, not worrying about the fate of the heroes they've just met.
    ChildOfWinds likes this.
  16. Luminous Beings Are We

    Luminous Beings Are We Jedi Knight star 3

    Jun 10, 2014
    Overall, I strongly believe VII will end on a happy note in order to kickoff the Disney Era of Star Wars movies. It'll be relatively safe and made for plenty of repeat viewings in theaters through February 2016.

    I expect more risks to be taken with VIII and IX.
    ChildOfWinds and Artoo-Dion like this.
  17. Ditolus

    Ditolus Jedi Master star 2

    Jan 22, 2005
    Like others have said it 's going to be a bittersweet ending kinda like ep.1. Han will die after sacrificing himself someway. But that will cause John Boyega's character to want to learn the ways of the force from Luke.
  18. JediKnightWax

    JediKnightWax Jedi Master star 4

    May 21, 2014
    EP7 :)
    Ep8 :(
    Ep9 =D=
    DarthIshyZ likes this.
  19. phatdude1138

    phatdude1138 Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 2, 2005
    I say it will mimic the OT. However the strong consensus is Han will die in EP7, so how the heck can you have a happy ending with the death of Han? The logical idea would be to kill off Han in EP8 to get the real downer. Unless they are going for the TPM ending where Qui-Gon dies but overall everything is happy and such.
  20. HankSolo

    HankSolo Jedi Knight star 3

    Dec 3, 2012
    I imagine it'll be something between EP1 (very pyrrhic) and EP4 (celebratory first step).
  21. Luminous Beings Are We

    Luminous Beings Are We Jedi Knight star 3

    Jun 10, 2014
    "Unless they are going for the TPM ending where Qui-Gon dies but overall everything is happy and such. "

    That's probably it, except that Han is too iconic a character not to make fans sad.
  22. Rickern

    Rickern Jedi Knight star 4

    May 1, 2014
    I see Han's death as fan speculation gone out of control. My bet is he'll leave us in VIII not in VII.

    The Big 3 comeback is too much of a deal, I don't see Disney wanting to end it soon. VII is a celebration, SW is coming in full force. They need the fans to be happy, they must get back their 4K spent so they must play safe. No Han for at least one more episode could leave lots of angered fans.
  23. Darth Chiznuk

    Darth Chiznuk Superninja of New Films star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Oct 31, 2012
    ROTJ ends with ultimate victory so I actually think VII could end with a reversal of fortunes for the heroes. Probably not complete defeat like ROTS but not a great victory either. Then I think things will really get bleak in VIII with a stunning victory for all time in IX.
  24. Force Smuggler

    Force Smuggler Force Ghost star 7

    Sep 2, 2012
    Something like Vector Prime perhaps? They stop the one fleet but know that more are coming? Or something similar?
  25. TX-20

    TX-20 Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 21, 2013
    Since Episode I mirrored Episode IV, I think Episode VII will mirror Episode I. That way they rhyme.

    But in all seriousness, I think VII will end like all beginnings. Hopefulness mixed with the fear of the unknown.