Many Star Wars fans consider The Empire Strikes Back the best movie of George Lucas’ original trilogy, and also the best Star Wars movie overall. And there’s no doubt that the 1980 classic directed by Irvin Kershner is also one of the best sci-fi movies of all time too. But after the so-so Return of the Jedi movie in 1983 followed Lucas’ disastrous prequel movies, which were overblown with CGI, and seriously lacking in emotion or excitement.
Thankfully, though, Disney resurrected the franchise in 2015 with J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a film which no doubt was strong in the Force and which got Star Wars fans dreaming again. This was followed by last year’s spin-off movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Soty, another strong entry with a grittier, darker tone than its predecessors, and also a fine Star Wars movie overall.
So given what a strong start to Disney’s Star Wars era this has been, it is logical that fans are eagerly awaiting Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the next instalment of the franchise which will be hitting theatres this December.
And the question in every Star Wars fan mind is likely whether The Last Jedi will be able to top 1980’s Empire Strikes Back, and turn out to be another genre-defining film too. But the truth is that this is a very unlikely thing for several reasons.
For starters, neither J.J. Abrams’ or Gareth Edwards’ later Rogue One managed to surpass any of the original trilogy of movies, and it’s unlikely that director Rian Johnson Star Wars: The Last Jedi film will be able to achieve this feat either. Actually, unlike J.J. Abrams’ and Gareth Edwards, Johnson is something of an unknown quantity when it comes to directing sci-fi, and is better known for comedies like The Brothers Bloom.
Also, The Last Jedi will likely be missing that sense of urgency that the Empire Strikes Back had, and this is mainly due to the way Daisy Ridley’s character was portrayed in the earlier The Force Awakens movie. Because while many have argued passionately that The Force Awakens’ Rey isn’t a Mary Sue, the truth is that Daisy Ridley’s character was a tad overpowered in J.J. Abrams’ film, with the impetuous girl actually beating villain Kylo Ren in a climatic lightsabre duel at the end.
This presents a problem for the filmmakers of The Last Jedi, as presumably Rey will be trained in the ways of the Force by her wise mentor Luke Skywalker, but much of the tension and drama of this will be lost as she’s already capable of feats like the Jedi mind trick and is quite handy with a lightsabre already. And there’s no escaping the fact that Rey will in fact be training to beat an opponent whose butt she already kicked the last time around…
And taking into account the movie’s ominous title “The Last Jedi”, does this mean that we could see Luke Skywalker’s demise in Episode VIII? If so, will he fall duelling against The First Order’s scary leader Snoke, who happens to be a CGI character? Because the truth is that no matter how skilled Rian Johnson’s and his team of filmmakers are, such a duel could end up looking a bit cheesy and bring back memories of Lucas’ dismal The Phantom Menace movie…
But still, hopefully The Last Jedi will live up to the hype and be a blast for Star Wars fans this year, even if it’s unlikely we’ll get to watch another classic like The Empire Strikes Back this fall.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back,
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (Lucasfilm)