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CT When you first saw ROTJ, what did you think was the status of the Empire at the end?

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by darklordoftech, Mar 12, 2020.


When you first saw ROTJ, did you think the Empire still existed at the end?

  1. I thought the Empire was gone (I saw the original version first)

    55 vote(s)
  2. I thought the Empire was gone (I saw one of the versions with celebrations around the galaxy first)

    19 vote(s)
  3. I thought the Empire still existed (I saw the original version first)

    18 vote(s)
  4. I thought the Empire still existed (I saw one of the versions with galaxy-wide celebrations first)

    6 vote(s)
  1. Hernalt

    Hernalt Force Ghost star 4

    Jun 29, 2000
  2. jaimestarr

    jaimestarr Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Sep 13, 2004
    I thought the Empire was gone (I saw the original version first)

    Yet, the EU and, in their own way, The Prequels made me reconsider my original viewpoint.
  3. Emperor McClane

    Emperor McClane Jedi Youngling star 1

    Nov 21, 2019
    As a kid, I was like: "yay, sunshine, rainbows. The empire is gone."
    As a teen I reconsidered, that the empire might fall, but there will be splinter groups, power struggles and politicians trying to keep it alive or resurecting it. Especially when I started to follow the EU it made perfect sense.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
    Iron_lord likes this.
  4. Sarge

    Sarge Chosen One star 6

    Oct 4, 1998
    In my headcanon, Palpsidious wanted people to believe that was true. Makes him less of a target.
  5. dick rodgers

    dick rodgers Jedi Master star 3

    Feb 23, 2016
    First time i saw the film was Special edition but I watched the theatrical lots of times afterwards. I never once thought the Empire would survive and become the "First Order"..... if that's what your asking. There shoulda been a brand new threat after the 2nd Death Star explosion in RotJ imo.
  6. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 10, 2011
    Perhaps, but I don't think his ego would permit him to keep up the charade forever. Eventually he'd want people to know he was the ultimate power.
    Tosche_Station likes this.
  7. T-R-

    T-R- Chosen One star 5

    Aug 13, 2003
    Seeing it in 1983 I thought the Empire was destroyed. Reading the novelization a few years later confirmed it.
  8. moreorless12

    moreorless12 Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 4, 2016
    Part of that I would say is the way the rest of the Empire beyond The Emperor and Vader were shown as the OT progressed, in ANH I think its much easier to see some other official along the lines of Tarkin or Motti looking to gain power but in ESB and ROTJ I think you see imperial military looking increasingly spineless and brown beaten. Piett and Jerjerrod are arguably in the two most vital roles below the Sith and there both basically lapdogs so it doesn't really inspire confidence that the rest of the Empire is ready to bounce back.
  9. RIP.CommanderPonds

    RIP.CommanderPonds Jedi Youngling

    Feb 2, 2020
    When I watched ROTJ for the first time, I was probably 12 years old, with the galactic Celebrations afterwards. It had occurred to the younger me that in one fell stroke, the empire met its demise. As I grew older and began to read history and understand the way empires actually work, it became apparent that empires crumble and then fall. Even though Palpatine's Empire lasted only 25 years, he still managed to produce and maintain an astonishingly complex military infrastructure all across the galaxy, with a hierarchy to govern his many, many territories. Another thing that I noticed about the Empire was, at least in Legends (the better version of Post-OT content in my opinion) managed by a fairly meritocratic system. The only thing hindering an immediate Imperial retaliation to the destruction of the 2nd Death Star, in my opinion, was Palpatine's arrogance and the lack of a contingency plan if he was to die. But still, the Death Star was only, at best, a fraction of a Galactic Empire's might. It wouldn't make sense for the whole thing to instantly go down in flames with the loss of only a small percentage of its military hardware. Although with the loss of its mastermind, its fate was inevitable, I still think that parts of it would not go out without a good fight- and the old Legends fills out that concept beautifully.
    Sarge and Triad Moons like this.
  10. The Senate

    The Senate Jedi Knight star 3

    Feb 12, 2020
    I figured most of the Empire was destroyed since I figured most of their forces were on Endor.I thought it would take maybe another year or two to defeat the remains.
  11. darklordoftech

    darklordoftech Force Ghost star 6

    Sep 30, 2012
    I dislike how both Legends and Canon downplay the Empire’s civilian government in stories set after ROTJ. Shouldn’t Mas Amedda become Emperor upon Palpatine’s death, and wouldn’t the military continue to obey the Imperial government? It’s not like John McCain II became President upon Kennedy’s death.

    I also wonder what would happen after ROTJ if the Imperial Senate wasn’t dissolved. Would they pick a new Chancellor?
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2020
  12. SlashMan

    SlashMan Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 5, 2012
    I saw the SE editions first, and that ending montage really helped sell that there were ramifications all across the galaxy. The ultimate evil had been wiped out, so taking on the rest of the Empire's forces would only be downhill. I'm curious as to how it would've been capped off if Return of the Jedi was number 9 as had been originally planned. Would we have seen the rest of the Empire's downfall and the recovery of the Republic?
  13. May The Force Be With Stu

    May The Force Be With Stu Jedi Padawan star 1

    May 9, 2019
    That the Empire was gone and the story was over.
    Deliveranze likes this.
  14. Deliveranze

    Deliveranze Force Ghost star 6

    Nov 28, 2015
    I always looked at SW as a fairytale, so with the SE, I always saw the Empire as completely dissolved and the Rebel Alliance would head to Coruscant after celebration on Endor and arrest the final Imperials and create the New Republic.
  15. Bazinga'd

    Bazinga'd The Mandalorian / Manager of WNU/CT/Saga star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Nov 1, 2012
    I distinctly thought there would be sequels, because the entire Empire could not possibly have been destroyed or captured at Endor.
    Sarge likes this.
  16. FightoftheForgotten

    FightoftheForgotten Jedi Knight star 2

    May 19, 2020
    I had this same feeling, but I was also introduced to Star Wars in 1995. This was right as we were ramping up to the PT with the special editions and Shadows of the Empire. I kept reading all the interviews from Lucas about him doing I, II, and III AND THEN VII, VIII, and IX. I assumed the Empire would limp on and be something along the lines of what the Thrawn novels were.
  17. Darthvader1975

    Darthvader1975 Jedi Padawan star 1

    May 2, 2020
    When I saw jedi all those years ago I felt that was it for the empire but looking at it now just because vader vand the emperor were gone didn't mean a whole empire was gone.

    In the years that followed warlords appeared to try and fill the vacuum left with the emperor passing and of course admiral thrawn almost defeated the Republic. But yeah on seeing jedi the first time I thought that was it.
  18. Ubraniff Zalkaz

    Ubraniff Zalkaz Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 26, 2014
    I was so young I didn’t think about it.

    QUIGONMIKE Jedi Master star 2

    Jan 5, 2009
    Was ROTJ supposed to be episode 9? I didn’t know that! Hmmm. That means we’d have seen a lot of in between stuff prior to ANH or mixed between the other original trilogy films. Interesting. I think seeing a recovery of the republic would have been damned cool.

    As for the thread, IMO the empire was done at the end of ROTJ. Sure, a few scattered pockets would always exist but they were done and no longer mattered at that point.
  20. SlashMan

    SlashMan Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 5, 2012
    Star Wars was still supposed to be a few trilogies long by the time of Empire Strikes Back, so needless to say a LOT was condensed into Return of the Jedi. The Emperor's death was still always reserved for the last episode though.
  21. christophero30

    christophero30 Chosen One star 8

    May 18, 2017
    the last line of the novel said something like "the Empire was dead. Long live the rebellion." But things change. As a kid I thought the Empire was done.
    afterlight likes this.
  22. someoneinpassing

    someoneinpassing Jedi Knight star 2

    Dec 25, 2019
    At the end of ROTJ, I thought the Emperor had cheated death in a way some might consider unnatural, started creating clones, and decided to lay low for several decades to unleash the nefarious Final Order at just the right time.

    I also bought a single lottery ticket right after watching ROTJ, guessed all the right numbers, and retired at the tender age of 8.

    Just kidding. I thought the Empire was dead. No lucky lottery ticket either.
  23. TIE Mechanic

    TIE Mechanic Jedi Padawan star 1

    Sep 1, 2019
    I thought that the empire still existed (I saw it when it originally screened) and as a student of Roman History, I expected the empire to devolve into civil wars started by competing generals and admirals vying for the position of emperor.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2020
    BlackRanger, Sarge and afterlight like this.
  24. Jordan1Kenobi

    Jordan1Kenobi SWC 100 Day Star Wars Challenge Host star 6 VIP - Game Host

    Sep 30, 2012
    I thought it was completely goneskis.
    BlackRanger likes this.
  25. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2009
    No matter how many episodes you have, you will never get to see this kind of stuff, other than a few brief "epilogue" scenes. Narratively, it just doesn't have any logic. You need dramatic tension to drive the story: you build up the tension to the maximun in your last episode, and then you resolve it at the climax. And then, they just "lived happily ever after".
    Other than a few wrap-up scenes/montage, you just can't have an entire movie devoted to how the Republic is rebuilt or any of that stuff. That's just filler for fans. The fact that episode IX ended up exactly the way episode VI ended is a good enough prove of that.
    So no, the last movie would always end with the confrontation with the Emperor, the climax, and the ending celebration/parade.
    SlashMan and BlackRanger like this.