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‘Star Wars’ The Original Trilogy – Q&A Love Letter


I don’t really think it’s necessary to go through and do a full fledged post for each film in the original Star Wars trilogy. Instead, I’d like to talk about the whole trilogy in one post. I want to give my personal thoughts to what makes these movies so special to me. So to be clear, this isn’t exactly a review of these, but just a post on my own experience with them. I don’t need to go over what’s already been said by everyone else.

These are amazing movies. They changed the way films were made. While ‘Jaws’ created the blockbuster, this defined the blockbuster, and how an entire franchise could be built around it, with sequels, merchandise, cartoons, holiday specialzz?zz. You get the point.

To help me get across these points, I’ve compiled a bunch of questions. Without these, I would probably veer off task as I could honestly talk about Star Wars all day long if I could. A special thank you to my girlfriend for coming up with these questions!

So let’s start.

Which movie of the original trilogy is your favorite and why?

My personal favorite of the original trilogy is ‘Return of the Jedi’. I’m well aware of the flaws that the film has, in that there’s some exposition scenes that might not be necessary now that we have the prequels, and maybe some other things. I hear the complaints about the Ewoks, and that it’s totally unrealistic that they took out all of these stormtroopers with sticks and stones. But I just don’t care. The Ewoks are cute and I love that battle. What totally grasps me with ‘Return of the Jedi’ though, is that it almost feels like the best parts of ‘New Hope’ and ‘Empire’ are mixed together. I’m also a fool for conclusive happy endings, and this movie is the epitome of what a grand finale should be. Growing up, I think I watched this one the most, and I remember seeing the Special Edition in the theater. It’s very close to me for nostalgic reasons, and the confrontation with Vader, Luke, and the Emperor is the key element to why I feel so emotionally invested in this movie.


What is it about the Star Wars movies that makes you love them so much?

I’m a firm believer in a quote that I’ve seen many people say over the years. “You either love Star Wars, or you’ve just never seen Star Wars”. For the original trilogy, this is pretty accurate.

It’s a cultural phenomenon. We all know this. But what is it about these 3 movies that I love so much? What does it all mean to me?

The first time I saw ‘A New Hope’ was when these Special Editions were being released. My father showed me the unaltered cut, but only once. After that, I can vaguely remember watching ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ the next day, and then seeing ‘Return of the Jedi’ in theaters shortly after that. So I was only exposed to the original cuts once. And that didn’t even include ‘Jedi’. Soon after, the VHS set of the Special Editions were released, and these were the tapes that I watched every single day of my life starting at age 4.

Right after seeing all of these movies, I started collecting any merchandise I could get my grubby-toddler hands on. I became just as obsessed with Star Wars action-figures as I was for the movies themselves.

I’d put these movies on, run around acting like Luke Skywalker, and play with my action-figures simultaneously. I even remember before owning a toy lightsaber, I would run around with cardboard tubes from wrapping paper and whack everything in the house.

So basically, I was obsessed. And I still am. But now to a different degree. Instead of action-figures, it’s the Star Wars sub-reddit. Instead of pretending I’m Luke or Vader around the house, I’ll watch ‘The Clone Wars’ on Netflix or the show ‘Rebels’.

I just feel like these are more than just movies when I watch them. There’s just something weird about it that I can’t truly explain. I watch them, I see flaws everywhere, and yet I still love them so much, and always want to re-watch them. I think it’s because there’s such a rich mythology that exists beyond the films, that they give me something that I can think about and discuss endlessly with friends. This is why I can never bring myself to hate the prequels. Even though the acting can get rough and there’s annoying characters, those films opened up more to the mythology that has really come into play with a lot of theories and speculation among fans. We have two television shows, books, comics, video games, and all this stuff that help expand on this to the point where it’s not about just the movies anymore. It’s basically a religion.

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What do you like/dislike about the Special Editions?

The Special Editions are the versions I grew up with. I know that there are a lot of fans out there that hate on them. I on the other hand, feel a little bit differently.

Over the years I’ve seen comparisons with how the films looked before all of these alterations, and I have to be honest and say that many of them were done for the better. I love just about everything that was done in ‘Empire’, between adding more footage of the Wampa on Hoth, and having Ian McDiarmid as the Emperor hologram. The addition of background visuals to the Cloud City of Bespin made the universe seem larger, and more grand in scale. This was something the prequels accomplished, and I think it’s good to see that it was touched up on where it could for these older movies.

Some changes that also improved the movies were some effect shots in ‘A New Hope’, with the Falcon and the X-wings. Perhaps my favorite change is the music that now closes out the trilogy. I like the song ‘Yub Nub’. It’s cute and really catchy. But ‘Victory Celebration’ is so much more fitting and the shots of different planets like Naboo, Corusant, and Tattooine showing their celebration of the Empire’s fall is very cool to see.

There’s a lot of changes that I don’t really have an opinion for. I don’t really care who shot first. If George Lucas says that’s how it happened, then I don’t really care. I agree with the overall critique of this Greedo/Han scene, but Han still kills Greedo, and the Blu-Ray edition is actually edited it so they shoot simultaneously. Now it looks like Greedo fires his weapon as a reaction to Han’s shot. So at the end of the day, this is just something I don’t feel the need to waste my breath and complain about.

The Jedi Rocks scene is a bit weird, but I enjoy the song and I don’t find the CGI all that horrendous. It’s a bit dated, but it doesn’t really take me out of the movie.

Hayden Christensen’s Force ghost at the end of ‘Jedi’: Whatever. I don’t care who it is. Fans will make the argument that Anakin was redeemed and was a Jedi as an old man and should have taken the form of his old man self. He was also a burn victim with no arms or legs. This whole thing could go either way, but I think the reason I don’t hate this change is because it just helps the continuity. If it wasn’t Hayden as the ghost, I kind of feel like anyone coming into this series that’s new to it, would have a slight moment of confusion as to who that is. The people that really complain about this one are those who hate the prequels, and we all know I don’t hate them. So this change isn’t something I feel obligated to hate.

The one change I do hate though, is Jabba the Hutt in Episode IV. This is the worst CGI in the world and it truly takes me out of the movie for that one scene. The dialogue is also completely unnecessary as it’s basically the same thing Han and Greedo talked about earlier, but paraphrased.

As these are the versions I grew up with, they are actually my preferred versions. Although, I wouldn’t mind owning both if they decided to release them unaltered on Blu-Ray someday. It’d be cool to watch both. It would remind me of theater, and how nothing is the same each performance when you watch something live. Something different always goes wrong in different spots, while another element shines better in one presentation than it does another. In the end, these types of flaws add to my enjoyment of the series for some reason.

Do you remember your reaction the first time you watched the “I am your father” scene, and found out that Vader is Luke’s father?

For ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, I got to hear the famous words muttered before any parody or something stupid could ruin it for me. I do remember ‘I am your Father’ giving me a sense of shock, and even though the memory is vague, I can honestly say that I got to experience the twist in a decent way. But I can only imagine how epic and shocking that line was for those who got to see it in 1980. I envy those individuals.

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Who is your favorite character from the originals?

I think there’s something to love with every character. If I had to pick one, it’d be Luke. I always wanted to be him as a kid. As I’ve gotten older though, I feel like I can relate a lot to Han. He’s a normal guy that is seeing all of this crazy stuff happen. He helps where he can, but he knows he can only do so much, but he always does what is necessary. I think Han is the coolest and most fun character. But Luke on the other hand is an epic character. When you first meet him, he’s honestly pretty lame. Then when he learns that he is destined to become something greater than he could ever have imagined, he gets very interesting. Luke in ‘Return of the Jedi’ is my favorite character because this is the wisest we’ve ever seen him, and he’s no longer there to make careless mistakes. He shows the greatest amount of development in the series and that’s probably the biggest reason he’s my favorite.

Which plotline do you find most compelling?

Like I said previously, with Luke being my favorite character; it’s his Jedi training that I find most compelling. It’s really the backbone of the series, and there’s so much to learn from it.

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Speaking of learning: Seeing as you grew up watching the Star Wars movies and have loved them from a very young age, what are some lessons and morals you have that these movies have taught you?

There’s tons. Just thinking about all 6 movies, I think I take something new away from them each time I view them. A big one to take away is that even some of the most evil beings out there can be redeemed. In retrospect, you almost see this coming when you take a character like Han, who is by no means evil, but he is a scoundrel and you’re not so sure if he cares about anything but money. When you see this character flip around and help Luke at the Death Star, it’s just awesome. Then jump forward, you see a truly evil and twisted character like Vader, who is redeemed completely.

One of the big things that Yoda teaches to Luke in ‘Empire’ is for him not to focus on what could happen in the future. He urges him to stay and train, but Luke resists because he wants to rescue his friends before he is even ready to do so. He leaves to help his friends, but sure enough, he failed. Han was taken into custody by the bounty hunter, and Luke got his hand chopped off.

This is definitely something that I feel applies to me, and should apply to everyone too. I’ve always been one to kind of go with the flow a little bit more than worry too much about what’s to come. I much prefer to focus on the present. This is because I’ve known people that seem way too focused on where they want to be in 3-5 years, and meanwhile they don’t even see that there are aspects of their life right at this moment that are causing them stress. Things that could easily be changed if they weren’t so burnt out on managing a life that isn’t even in motion yet. I myself have fallen in this trap before, focusing on what I want so much that when it doesn’t happen, I’m a wreck and feel lost.

I guess this lesson Yoda teaches is a bit hard for me to explain, but at least it’s something that I understand and try to apply in my own way of life. I’ve just found that my happiness has always come to me through patience, and not having too many expectations.  It’s good to have ambitions for yourself, but it’s not good to let them define who you are, because in reality, these things haven’t happened to you yet. I consider myself to be very happy and content with my life at the present moment, and I think that’s all to do with the fact that I didn’t let my ambitions come between me and the other things that I found along the way.

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How does the fantastic score by John Williams contribute to the movies for you?

If I could choose a film score that plays over my every day life, it would be this one. And that’s kind of already a thing. I listen to this music constantly.

As far as contribution to the movies, I think without it, these movies would be completely different. The correct emotions that you’re supposed to feel when watching these films are all heavily complemented by this music. If it wasn’t there, these movies would probably suck. I think this is a big case where the film score has an equal importance to the visuals, story, and script.

Victory_Celebration_ANH

Do you think Vader is the ultimate villain?

Yes. I remember the first time seeing ‘A New Hope’ and being so scared of his figure and his breathing that I ran over to my Mom for comfort. As a 3 or 4 year old he really scared the living crap out of me.

Now I view him more as a tragic hero, which also lends himself to being a great villain. Even knowing that somewhere underneath that suit is a good person, actually makes him more haunting. He’s definitely one of the greatest characters ever put to screen.

Favorite scene of the three movies?

Luke just letting loose on Vader, knocking him down, and Vader raising his hand up for mercy. This whole scene is so powerful, with the music and just showing all of the emotion coming from both sides. Then after realizing he just used his hatred to defeat his own father, Luke then resists to fight any more. His father then sees that his own son would rather resist and die, than go down the same dark path as his father did. Vader takes this to heart, turns back into Anakin Skywalker , and becomes the hero.

‘A New Hope’, ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, and ‘Return of the Jedi’ all get an A+.

Do they have flaws from a filmmaking perspective? Yeah sure, maybe they do. But what matters is what they mean on a personal level. These are the most important works of art that I’ve seen in my life, and for that reason alone, they are perfect to me.

And finally, I have great news to leave you with. The Force Awakens opens this week. That is all.

 

7 comments on “‘Star Wars’ The Original Trilogy – Q&A Love Letter

  1. I skimmed a lot of your recent posts and, to be honest, was a bit uncomfortable with your defense of the prequels, and here too with many of the Special Edition changes. I was born in 1990, so that’s probably the beginning of the phase where today’s secondary SW fans were born, i.e. the second generation, the children of the original SW films who saw them in the late 70’s and 80’s. As such, I’ve never understood Lucas’ incessant need to withhold the original films. I find it offensive, actually.

    I always found the SE changes odd, and find it hard to sympathize with George Lucas’ “auteur” excuses given how he keeps making minute changes over and over, and often changes things *back* in later editions. He seems more like an obsessive-compulsive crazy person sometimes than a thought-provoking, patient ‘artist,’ but that’s just me. The prequels are a whole ‘nother story…

    I for one can’t overlook the cringe-inducing acting, awkward dialogue, or bad green-screen because those things make up the majority of each prequel’s running time. The fight scenes take up 30 min, max, of each film. To that end, I don’t care about any of the characters, and that’s the killer argument against them, IMO. Star Wars is about the characters more than anything else.

    In light of that, I relate to your SW-upbringing and religious worship of the franchise. I was raised in a Presbyterian household but now identify as atheist, and yet SW is as important to me as faith is to any Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist. It *is* my religion, for all intents and purposes. I can’t imagine life without it.

    I particularly enjoyed your analysis about Yoda’s teachings of the Force in relation to your own life: [This is definitely something that I feel applies to me, and should apply to everyone too. I’ve always been one to kind of go with the flow a little bit more than worry too much about what’s to come. I much prefer to focus on the present. This is because I’ve known people that seem way too focused on where they want to be in 3-5 years, and meanwhile they don’t even see that there are aspects of their life right at this moment that are causing them stress. Things that could easily be changed if they weren’t so burnt out on managing a life that isn’t even in motion yet. I myself have fallen in this trap before, focusing on what I want so much that when it doesn’t happen, I’m a wreck and feel lost.

    I guess this lesson Yoda teaches is a bit hard for me to explain, but at least it’s something that I understand and try to apply in my own way of life. I’ve just found that my happiness has always come to me through patience, and not having too many expectations. It’s good to have ambitions for yourself, but it’s not good to let them define who you are, because in reality, these things haven’t happened to you yet. I consider myself to be very happy and content with my life at the present moment, and I think that’s all to do with the fact that I didn’t let my ambitions come between me and the other things that I found along the way.]

    That really spoke to me and I wholeheartedly agree with that philosophy. People can’t live on chills and blunts alone, but without taking time to smell the roses, life just ain’t worth living. That’s just one of many critical life-lessons SW teaches, *in addition* to being a great franchise.

    May I ask: Is your girlfriend a SW fan?

    Liked by 2 people

    • My girlfriend is a new fan of the series. I only just recently showed her them this past summer and fall, and we watched the originals again leading up to 7, and she’s seen 7 with me 3 times in the theater now. She’s new to it, but loves it!
      I’m sorry that my appreciation for the prequels and special editions makes you cringe. Don’t get me wrong though, I notice all flaws with each thing, and if the unaltered cuts were a thing to purchase on blu-ray, I would own them and I would probably watch them more. As I said in the post though, I actually do enjoy certain changes, and as for the rest, they just don’t do anything for me either positively, or negatively. With the exception of a couple of 1 or 2 full scenes. I understand your criticisms of George Lucas coming off as someone that just has OCD and is less of an artist, but all artists are different. He just felt that he was never done with certain things. I went over in my review on one of the prequels that the main problem with Star Wars and George Lucas was that George was trying to further technology, while simultaneously making Star Wars films. He did further the tech, but he did it with the wrong movies. He lost sight in what made the originals special in the process, and probably shouldn’t have been the man behind the camera. He should have made movies with a different story that was new and not apart of an already existing franchise. Maybe like what James Cameron did with Avatar. Instead, he made Star Wars movies that ended up turning a lot of fans off because he made a mess of things.
      With all that said though, I grew up with the prequels, and I grew up with the special editions. I can’t hate them even if I really wanted to. I know that may offend some older fans, but I can’t say I’m sorry. The truth of the matter is, they all exist, and it’s all canon. Many might not like that, but there are many that are perfectly content with it. I’m just happy that it didn’t get worse, and that we’re now back on track.
      I am glad you were able to get something out of this whole post though with the bit about Yoda. I actually really appreciate your understanding of what I was trying to get at. These are the reasons I want to write about movies, and once again this is a prime example of how important film is to the individual person. You dislike the prequels, I’m okay with them, but we both resonated with a certain message from the series in the same way. This is what makes movies so great to discuss, because I love hearing opposite opinions just as much as I love when people have the same ones. As long as people aren’t trolling haha.
      We’re not here to change or influence opinions, but to just exclaim our own personal feelings towards something, and maybe in the process, point out things the reader doesn’t notice.
      Thanks so much for the comment. I look forward to reading more of your stuff and to keep having discussions like this!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree, no one in their right mind, whether in blogging or in politics, should go into discussions or arguments expecting to change other peoples’ minds. No one ever changes their minds, at least not after age 25 and certainly not in public. 😛

        That being said, to claim that “it’s all cannon” with regards to the Prequels is simply a personal preference. I respect the fact that you like them and they further your enjoyment of the series, but for my part, I don’t consider them real Star Wars, and I don’t have to because (1) it’s a work of fiction, rather than an actual historical account with universal truths, and (2) Ep. I-III are conveniently a backstory 50 years in the canonical past for the films most people actually care about. Star Wars (77) —> TFA can exist just fine without the Prequels, and it’s easy to see how purposefully Disney sidestepped everything Lucas did in them with TFA, e.g. no medichlorians, no Gungans, no Naboo cruisers or ships of any kind. Some planet that looks like Courasant conveniently gets blown up after 3 seconds of screen-time, and perhaps Snoke will turn out to be Darth Plagueis, but that’s about it. I think they mention the Sith like once?

        I dunno, I just didn’t find how Vader became Vader nearly as interesting as his redemption. It feels like an unnecessary footnote to the Original Trilogy, and that’s how most of the fandom treats it, I believe. Moreover, that’s how Disney will treat it from now on, too, because bringing back toys of Jar Jar, Dexster Jetster, or Padme would be terrible business decisions. All they have to do is pay lip service to Lucas because he’s a billionaire and owns a few special FX companies. I think the corporate and fan worlds have spoken on that matter.

        Are you familiar with Red Letter Media and their Plinkett reviews? Particularly their work on the Prequel films?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t disagree with you at all. Like you said, you feel happy that I’m able to enjoy them, because for me I get more Star Wars movies in “my canon”. There are definitely other franchises where the opposite occurs. Die Hard is a great example. I really love Die Hard 1-4. The 5th was so abysmal to me that I pretend it doesn’t exist. To give an example of a prequel that I ignore from canon would be X-men Origins Wolverine. I don’t like it, and I also don’t need it.
        I have watched Red Letter Media. The first time I viewed them, I let them influence my opinion far too much. I really enjoy them, they’re humorous, and very well thought out and analyzed. But for me, I feel a bit indifferent about them.
        I’m not saying I don’t necessarily disagree with the points he makes, I’m saying that he just over-critiques every detail of the points he’s trying to make. Things that you normally don’t notice or care about when you’re watching a movie in the context of just kicking back and enjoying a movie. It’s a lot of extended nitpicking. What I’m saying is that if he wanted, he could do this to literally any movie, even if it’s something highly praised. And he has. He’s done these exact type of reviews to JJ Abrams Star Trek movies. I really enjoy those and I know a lot of people that do as well. Don’t get me wrong, the Mr. Plinkett reviews are great. But it’s an analysis that digs so deep that at times you notice that some of the things he makes a big deal of pass within seconds of the movie where you just get over certain flaws right away because of something else that happens that’s actually done very well. I’m not a fan of picking apart every detail of a movie and then saying its crap for those reasons when there are still a lot of things that work. If someone truly hates the prequels, that’s absolutely fine. All I’m really saying is that for me, I was once influenced too heavily by the RLM reviews and nearly forgot that my personal opinion on the movies was that I liked them. Now I’ve gained that opinion back after watching them a couple years after seeing these. I still take RLM’s better points when watching them. Especially with Attack of the Clones, because while I find Episode I to be okay and Episode III to be pretty underrated and entertaining, I can’t really defend Episode II so much. His points on that movie stick to me more because even when I first saw it, that was really the only Star Wars movie that felt SO flat and empty to me. But I admit that some of his points slip away in the context of just watching the film from beginning to end.
        He brings up fair points of why something is bad, but then takes the worst details to showcase over and over and over. It’s edited in a way that makes the viewer think that all of the movie is bad. In reality, he’s displaying the worst aspects in a redundant matter. Aspects, as I said before, that are just small pieces of the film. When viewed in real context, many of these aspects are forgotten about. He does this not only with clips from the movies, but clips from interviews and documentaries, to make it look like Lucas was some kind of idiot on the set. But when you actually watch those full documentaries, it’s clear that Lucas knew what he was doing as far as agenda. He did have a lot of “Yes” men working for him that ultimately affected things in a negative way, but that’s a piece of criticism I do agree with. However, taking clips from documentaries where Lucas seemed confused or lost about a specific detail or decision he was trying to make is a totally different thing. That’s just called hard work. People get stressed and have the tendency to feel lost, confused, or overwhelmed by a certain project or assignment all the time. This applies to any occupation. People need to understand these reviews were edited this way to bring a comedy aspect to the review…and for that, it works! But many people view it as proof that Lucas is some kind of idiot that didn’t know what he was doing. This is what I see wrong with these reviews. Not the reviews and points RLM bring up themselves necessarily, but how people (viewers) took it heart. I think they’re a good watch, but not to be taken too seriously, especially if you initially have an appreciation for them. But for others that felt like the movies definitely are missing something, these are the best reviews to view, and discover what those weird things were. They’re insightful for sure, I just personally can’t get behind them 100% solely because the prequels (while definitely being heavily flawed movies from the most objective standpoints you can think of) just resonated with me a little more positively than negatively.

        Liked by 1 person

      • OK fair enough, I was just curious what your thoughts were on them. Most every SW fan I know of is at least aware of them, so I was sure you had an opinion.

        He does nitpick, I agree, but IMO he really pointed out why most people, myself included, couldn’t connect with the characters, and that was the main dealbreaker. I actually liked how he avoided discussing Jar Jar at length, which is like focusing on one large pimple rather than a person’s entire acne problem, if you catch my drift.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I definitely can’t disagree with you on all that. He makes excellent points and really delves into things others can’t pin-point for why certain aspects felt so off.
        I actually forgot he barely talks about Jar Jar, that was something I remember liking myself too!
        I apologize for that last comment being long winded, I actually just copy and pasted that from a discussion I had with someone on Reddit a few weeks ago who was acting like RLM was the almighty god of movies. I was just pointing out that even though he goes through such deep analysis, he’s still just a guy with an opinion at the end of the day. I hope it didn’t sound defensive or hostile, I just wanted to express how I saw his reviews. And like I said, that came straight out of a totally different discussion. haha

        Like

      • I didn’t even notice! 😛 haha…

        Like

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