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How 'Return Of The Jedi' Ruined 'Star Wars' Forever

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by Drew Taylor
May 24, 2013 12:00 PM
136 Comments
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Imagine it: you've taken off from school and waited in line all day to see "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi," the last installment (ever!) in the "Star Wars" saga. You're wearing your favorite "Star Wars" shirt, have your bucket of popcorn and jumbo-sized soda, and a primo seat in the auditorium, the best possible vantage point from which to watch the end of the trilogy unfold. No more than twenty minutes into the movie the lovable rogue Han Solo (Harrison Ford) dies fighting the evil Galactic Empire, sacrificing himself for the good of the Rebellion. The shockwaves from his death ripple through the audience and a very clear warning is issued from the filmmakers: no one is safe. Co-screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan fought for this to be a reality. So did Ford, who had grown weary of the character. But series overlord George Lucas said no. As Harrison Ford put it in 2010: "George didn't think there was any future in dead Han toys."

This was one of a number of decisions that George Lucas made while constructing "Return of the Jedi" that would forever alter the spirit and tone of "Star Wars." What had been a rollicking throwback to Saturday morning serials had, with the sequel, "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back," become deeper, darker and more spiritual. It was, in short, a downer; a profoundly brilliant, meditative downer. Lucas wanted to turn that around with the third film, so he did everything he could to make it lighter, brighter and more acceptable for families. It was the beginning of the end of "Star Wars" as we know it.

When filming began on 'The Empire Strikes Back,' Lucas was distracted. The massive amounts of money that the first "Star Wars" had brought in turned him from a filmmaker into a company; he had to oversee and manage his own Galactic Empire. Unlike the original film, which Lucas both wrote and directed, 'The Empire Strikes Back' was being handled by a creative team that consisted of director Irvin Kershner and screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett. They were able to experiment and take chances, which they did, with gleeful abandon. The film doesn't end with some huge battle sequence, the Rebels taking another hard fought victory from the Empire. No, it ends with one hero being incased in a liquid metal ice cube, another character betraying his friends and another getting his hand sliced off by a murderous madman that moments before was revealed as his father. Now that's entertainment.

By contrast, all accounts suggest that Lucas haunted the set of 'Return of the Jedi.' Director Richard Marquand was relatively inexperienced when it came to the film's complex visual effects, so Lucas hung around and was at the very least a second unit director and at the very worst a legitimate co-director, with Marquand saying in 2005 that the experience was "like trying to direct 'King Lear' with Shakespeare in the next room."

The indigenous race that populated the forest moon of Endor was originally conceived as a slithery band of reptilian lizard creatures, which would have served the story well – the evil Empire being brought down by something equally scary and slimy (but fundamentally misunderstood.) Lucas got skittish, though, and changed them to the lovable Ewoks – essentially Native American teddybears, ready to be snapped up and snuggled by countless children the world over. The laws of 'Return of the Jedi' weren't governed by art or common sense or the needs and requirements of the screenplay – the revenue generated from action figures, boxes of novelty cereal and pajamas governed them.

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136 Comments

  • Deshra | August 20, 2014 11:46 AMReply

    There's absolutely no way "Return of the Jedi" was supposed to be or is the "end" to Star Wars. Lucas set up the clones seen in the prequels through the imperial troopers " aren't you too short for a storm trooper" ring a bell? That's because 90% of troopers were clones. Lucas setup something else with the clones, Palpatine's ability to avoid death. Palpatine got himself cloned, to prevent an untimely demise, he killed his master Darth Palagieus to learn the way to use the force to stop death, which is how he convinced the best Jedi ever to fall to the dark side. Because Anakin loved Padme her dying was his weakness. All this Lucas setup in the first Star Wars movie "A New Hope". Sure some things have been askew from the Star Wars parts we love. But if one looks a little wider, the intention can be clearly seen.

  • dan | July 30, 2014 6:42 PMReply

    Let's all pretend Lucas was "playing it safe" when he showed that the Ewoks cook and eat humans, set traps using dead, bloody animals, kill people with arrows, and play drums on the helmets of their enemies as they dance with glee. Methinks the haters haven't watched this movie very closely in some time.

  • Daniel | July 30, 2014 6:32 PMReply

    "Lucas got skittish" print proof or retract.
    "The laws of 'Return of the Jedi' weren't governed by art or common sense or the needs and requirements of the screenplay – the revenue generated from action figures, boxes of novelty cereal and pajamas governed them." You have no credible source on this. Take your cynical theories and shove them. All you have is conjecture and armchair analysis. How do you know? It's not like any what you theorize is documented in any way, other than in your own subjective, opinionated mind. So stop lying and acting like you have the truth from somewhere special. Because you do not.

  • John D. | August 15, 2014 10:01 PM

    Maybe you'd be interested in what Gary Kurtz had to say on the topic.

    Since this page won't let me post the actual link, go to Google and type in "Did ‘Star Wars’ become a toy story? Producer Gary Kurtz looks back [Updated]" And in the results, you'll find an article on HeroComplex . com. Be sure to read the entire thing.

    Just be careful not to "shove it" anywhere sensitive.

  • Daniel | July 30, 2014 6:24 PMReply

    As if he didn't sell a ton of toys for Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back, before Return of the Jedi. I know. I was there! The movies have always had aliens, spaceships, etc. that all got made into toys. That doesn't make him a sellout.

  • anon | July 24, 2014 9:54 AMReply

    "The sale of toys seemed to be a prime factor in a number of key decisions with the subsequent films; why else bring back cult icon Boba Fett (and introduce his father Jango Fett?) It certainly didn't make any sense in the context of the story."
    So, anyone else getting tired of this "if there's a 'pointless' character in the film that isn't 100% justified being there by being tied to every major as well as minor plot point, it must've been for selling toys" mantra? How about they just put him there cause it was FUN, or was considered to be something the audience would enjoy to see? How about they put in all those colorful aliens and robots in every frame just cause it's creative and fun and makes the world look "richer", and then giving them all names and selling toys based on them was just the extension of the usual action figure practice that would've been done with all the main and supporting characters regardless?
    Sure, maybe it's frivolous and self-indulgent, and "makes no sense", and that doesn't you mean you can't diss it on those terms, but this automatic "omg they want to sell toys over writing story from the heart" knee-jerk reaction is getting kinda old. Even if viewing it through a more cynical, commercial lense, the primary goal of putting Boba Fett in there could still have been drawing in (and appeasing) a larger percentage of (fan) audience, with the subsequent toy sales as a mere pleasant afterthought.
    .... ooooor it could be the toys. Several possibilities there ;)


    I pretty much disagree with your thesis there, as it kinda doesn't match the facts. The Phantom Menace was most certainly influenced by Jedi, in its childish humor / overall appeal to children, the wacky tribal alien army saving the day and the multiplied action climax (though that last one I happen to think is pretty neat).
    However, I don't see how that in any way applies to the other two prequels - Clones' awkward, unpleasant college romance masking as the epic star-crossed love story of our generation certainly was unprecedented by anything heretofore in Star Wars (passing, clumsy similarities to Empire notwithstanding), and the hammy villainy of Sith was pretty much a new thing, too. Just like the EpI, they've been criticized for an overdose of wacky alien and droid humor, however, the seeds for that have been planted as early as in ANH; they completely lack the cutesiness or cuddliness or whimsicality, aren't really made with children in mind (Clones does kinda try to pander to the Twilight demographic, Sith pretty much full-on adult-oriented), and don't have multiple endings to top it off: Clones has the "Reel 6", a prolonged action showdown that goes through several stages but follows one single plot thread, and the parallel swordfight in Sith is just one of the many "poetic juxtapposition montages" that that movie is filled with.


    Having said all that, however, I do think that the "real Star Wars" ended with Episode V, and VI doesn't really feel like the real continuation of that story - more like a forced wrap-up, or a "possible" conclusion if you will, but it just feels off in many ways.
    And yes, that doesn't just go for its worst bits, as listed here, but for all the great stuff as well - totally worth it as certainly was, it just doesn't seem to fit particularly well. Why is Luke suddenly thinking of converting Vader, where did that come from? Why has Vader given up his ambitions to overthrow his master? Somehow Leia being Luke's sister doesn't seem natural or particularly logical (duh), and when you come to think of it, the original Emperor from V has been pretty much redesigned into an entirely different character.
    And when you view it through that lens, then yes... indeed, Jedi has introduced a lot of the elements that "changed" the Star Wars iconography, and the prequels, along with the rest of pop culture, ultimately hinged upon. The "sad" Vader as a tragic figure, hadn't really been that before; Luke's stoic and distant mannerisms in this movie, without which the stuffy tone of the prequels pretty much would've been unthinkable... plus, A JEDI AS A MAIN CHARACTER IN THE FIRST PLACE! Hadn't been the case in the previous movies, but now pretty much par for the course in Star Wars.
    The increased focus on Star Wars as a "generational family epic", thanks to Leia; the hammy evil space wizard on top; Vader's original name being *Anakin*, for that matter! Kinda silly, isn't it? And a couple others.
    So, yea... this movie did change up some things, and not all of them in the good or right direction, all of which went on to influence all of the subsequent installments. However, not quite to the extent claimed in this article, and mostly in different ways... other than claimed in the article ;)

  • anon | July 24, 2014 10:01 AM

    Oh and yea... Boba Fett being a superhero assassin with kewl gadgets, forgot an important one. He wasn't in Empire :)

  • idiotkiller | July 2, 2014 11:41 AMReply

    Jango Fett's genes were used to create clones for the Republic. So he was essential to the story, yes.

  • John D. | August 15, 2014 10:02 PM

    As I said to "Daniel" above -maybe you'd be interested in what Gary Kurtz had to say on the topic.

    Since this page won't let me post the actual link, go to Google and type in "Did ‘Star Wars’ become a toy story? Producer Gary Kurtz looks back [Updated]" And in the results, you'll find an article on HeroComplex . com. You'll find it interesting.

  • rphb | July 8, 2014 3:09 PM

    No he wasn't, he was a one dimensional character who shouldn't even have been in the film, he had no lines no story, no purpose.
    And the idea of clone troops from the prequels just makes everything a hell of a lot worse. The idea that the rebels had killed possibly millions of innocently drafted men from all over the galexy, was so much better and deeper then the carte blanche for killing that the clones gave them.

  • Jar Jam Freedom | July 1, 2014 1:03 AMReply

    How is this related to the Iraq war? This title is confusing.

  • Deshra | August 20, 2014 11:56 AM

    The clones are the ONLY thing that could have made sense, why else would all storm troopers sound alike, be the same height and shoot so dang horribly? Leia's famous sentiment of "Aren't you a little short for a storm trooper" is what makes the clones so logical and intentional. Plus as I said above, the clones are part of how Palpatine sets himself up as so hard to kill especially with him luring Anakin with the promise to save Padme. Vader turned on Palpatine because he began to reflect inside and admit what he knew all those years, that Palpatine was behind the fall of the republic, and the death of Padme. Luke and Leia make logical sense being brother/sister Anakin was the one to bring balance to the force through his children. Palpatine only seemed different because he was engaging as more of the with lord he was than a simple galactic emperor.

  • Jar Jar Binks | June 19, 2014 2:30 AMReply

    Please grow up and get a life... The fact that you're still obsessing about pointless things like this almost a decade after the very last movie to come out, is just flat out pathetic. Go outside for a change, the sun will not kill you; and try to find a girl who will have sex with you, it's much better than obsessing about old movies.

  • An Ewok | June 5, 2014 10:31 PMReply

    You are such an err...USA-based entertainment consumer. I never understood this type of approach, but it makes no sense.

  • JOE | June 4, 2014 9:07 PMReply

    OH SHUT UP. WHAT A LOSER AND A STUPID ARTICLE.

  • John D. | August 15, 2014 10:05 PM

    Yeah, seriously. I mean, just imagine if someone close to the production - say, Gary Kurtz, the producer of the first two Star Wars films - happened to agree with the ideas in this article?

    Oh wait - he does.

    Google "Did €˜Star Wars€™ become a toy story? Producer Gary Kurtz looks back [Updated]" nd in the results, you'll find an article on HeroComplex . com. Read it.

  • skipit | May 25, 2014 10:40 AMReply

    i can't imagine reptilians instead of ewoks, the way special effects were in 1983. maybe it was a practical decision too?

  • Etienne | June 3, 2014 3:54 AM

    Perhaps, but honestly, the Ewok costumes were horrible.

    Obvious masks with no expression. Planet of the Apes had more realistic makeup effects, and that was decades earlier.

  • Phil Gardner | May 24, 2014 4:56 PMReply

    The only part of the review I disagree on is the comment you made about Lando for some reason Piloting the Falcon, The millennium falcon was owned by Lando before Han So with Solo being on Endor Lando was the obvious choice to take command, It would of been strange to see Lando on Endor but who knows.
    As a kid ROTJ was my favorite film but now watching at the age of 33 it really does make me laugh how so many mistakes were made, They should have used the same team that was used on ESB .
    And don't even get me started on Boba Fetts character In ROTJ, They made him look like a complete fool.

  • LaughterJones | May 7, 2014 8:28 PMReply

    I'll be honest and say, I do not want to agree with you. I've loved RotJ since I was a kid. Like you said, huge space battles, and Luke becomes a jedi! Ewoks were cool.

    But man, I get it. You make points I can't get over. I'm not with you 100%, but I'm close. Why else would we have gotten the drek of Binks if there weren't some history of childish success in the last film? I can fogive Lucas for everything but Binks. That stupid character destroyed it for me, like I guess the Ewoks did for you. No winners here.

  • Darth Magnolia | April 25, 2014 8:52 AMReply

    With all due respect, the author of this blog can go plow himself. Get a life and stop obsessing. All the movies were great, but not perfect. Phantom Menace, of course was very very very far from perfect. I try to forget it sometimes. And now I will forget I ever read this absurdly foolish collection of words.

  • Jov | April 14, 2014 7:12 PMReply

    Leia was raped after Jabba couth her trying to free Solo. That worm Jabba raped her and dressed her for his taste. You all can see that the scene ends when Jabba captures her, and the next sceene is on the morning that follows.

  • Chris | March 2, 2014 8:09 PMReply

    No, Star Wars was ruined when Vader uttered those words, "I am your father" which overcomplicated the original trilogy with unnecessary melodrama. Lucas then felt the need to keep complicating the story line in the 1, 2, & 3 with convoluted and confusing subplots. It should have been kept a simple good vs evil storyline. Both Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark were supposed to be an homage to the old popcorn movie "cliff hanger" serials of the 1930's and 40's like Flash Gordon, and Commando Cody. Those serials did not have complicated stories. They were about good guys thwarting bad guys and lots of action. Star Wars started this way and ended up being wrought with unnecessary allusions to Shakespearean subtexts!

    Second, he sold out to toy licensing back in 1978 which was a huge success and, again, he was either compelled or pressured to make Star Wars more kid friendly. The big bucks came with the licensing of the franchise and selling everything from Star Wars action figures, to bed spreads. This kept pressure, or temptation, to keep cashing in on making muppet like characters in order to sell more toys to kids.

    Finally, I don't think Lucas ever was a big fan of making sequels. He seems to have a certain artistic attention deficit disorder where he makes a movie and moves on. Therefore when he's pressured to make a sequel it usually sucks. For example, More American Graffiti, which he produced and cowrote but did not direct was also confusing, depressing, and filled with melodrama.

    And none of the Indiana Jones movies could even touch the first.

    Lucas, himself, has eluded to the fact that Star Wars was a cash cow which gave him the money to focus on projects that really interest him.

  • anon | July 24, 2014 10:59 AM

    ""I am your father" which overcomplicated the original trilogy with unnecessary melodrama."
    LOL there wasn't any "melodrama" in Empire. A really cynical jerkass might have some ground calling the whole deconcersion and "your true name you've only forgotten" thing from the sequel melodramatic, although it really was just, well... DRAMA; that label certainly can be applied to the Leia subplot in that same movie.
    But the stuff in Empire? Bah gedouddahere!

    Also, there wasn't anything "complicating" about it - first and foremost what it was was SHOCKING, and not so much confusing as RIPPING THE GROUND FROM BENEATH YOUR FEET, incuding a state of desperation and doubting everything once held dear... however, the only thing making it complicated and convoluted would've been a complicated and convoluted explanation in the follow-up - and, well, for better or worse, the one in Jedi was anything but; in fact, it pretty much revealed it to be simpler and more obvious than expected, or hoped for.
    You should read some of the fan rewrites :D


    "Lucas then felt the need to keep complicating the story line in the 1, 2, & 3 with convoluted and confusing subplots."
    The prequels are a different animal from the originals, anyway. The politics, conspiracies, subplots and general focus on "this is how the Republic become the Empire" rather than on a personal story of a handful protagonists, are all things that have been introduced with the Phantom Menace, and have nothing to do with Empire or Jedi.

    "It should have been kept a simple good vs evil storyline."
    Well, Vader had already been established to have turned from a good guy to a bad guy, the only thing changed here was who that good guy was :)
    And really, EpVI didn't add much more on top of that other than turning that bad guy back to good. Again, the moral ambiguity / brainwashing / deception / good intentions and all that jizz was only introduced with the prequels.


    "They were about good guys thwarting bad guys and lots of action. Star Wars started this way and ended up being wrought with unnecessary allusions to Shakespearean subtexts!"
    Well, if that's what you're about, Star Wars pretty much stopped being that right from the first moments of Empire, when the camera started zooming in on Luke in the snow storm while creepy music was playing in the background (well, foreground really) and a clear message was sent: this is where things get dark and scary.
    Our heroes had their fun in the last one... now things get serious.

    And, well, yes, absolutely - the original was a Flash Gordon-esque camp space adventure, and the sequel totally veered off course. One can muse and wonder, what would have been had the series continued more or less in the same vein? Even if did go somewhat darker and hairier? Things wouldn't have been the same :D

    With that said, it's not really about Vader's line, nor there anything that is "complicated".


    "This kept pressure, or temptation, to keep cashing in on making muppet like characters in order to sell more toys to kids."
    Well, why yes, you're talking about Return of the Jedi here, just like everyone else :D


    "For example, More American Graffiti, which he produced and cowrote but did not direct was also confusing, depressing, and filled with melodrama."
    So was Lord of the Rings; seems like the "darker depressing sequel" isn't such an uncommon thing, and has little to do with authors having OCD or being uninspired somehow.
    In fact, with Tolkien kinda having formed the modern high fantasy genre, Joseph Campbell with his "middle part of a story is usually the lowest point", and this pattern even appearing in ancient mythology from time to time (Heracles starts out by going on a series of wacky missions; then later his wife is killed, and he ends up dying horribly from a poisoned cloak; the Argonauts and Siegfried would be two other examples I could recall), one might almost conclude that there's something... natural and primal about this sort of progression? Well I wouldn't know...

    "Lucas, himself, has ALLuded to the fact that Star Wars was a cash cow which gave him the money to focus on projects that really interest him."

    Yea, believe everything that Lucas says - he has a very trustworthy face..

  • That Guy | March 12, 2014 10:49 PM

    What's with all the hate?

  • Sean | February 15, 2014 10:11 AMReply

    If they edit these films any more, they might as well call it Spaceballs.

  • Rod | February 1, 2014 10:48 PMReply

    I completely agree with your views! I even dread how Luke defeats the Rancor by throwing a rock. Couldn't he have at least used the force to throw it?! Even though Lucas wanted to 'kiddy' things up, I find it odd that ROTJ is the only film where they call their weapons 'Guns' instead of 'Blasters!' Why go back to Tatooine when you have an entire galaxy to explore?! Why couldn't Jabba come from a water planet? It seems like he just didn't want innovation for this film. I think JJ Abrams can make a great new trilogy, if they give Ford, Hamill and Fisher decent roles and make a good story.

  • anon | July 24, 2014 11:04 AM

    "I find it odd that ROTJ is the only film where they call their weapons 'Guns' instead of 'Blasters!'"
    Meh, who cares - we say pistols and guns, too. Makes it more grounded imo, and I don't mind characters calling lightsabers "swords" from time to time, either.


    "Why go back to Tatooine when you have an entire galaxy to explore?"
    Already set up at the end of Empire, unfortunately... rewatched it somewhat recently, and was somewhat disappointed - turns out the process of diminishing the heavy impact of Empire had already started in Empire :(

    "I think JJ Abrams can make a great new trilogy"
    Yea, but now he'll have to think of something other than a water planet ;)

  • Guy | January 21, 2014 10:30 PMReply

    Yet another rant from some obsessive fan nerd going on and on about exactly how they would have wanted the star wars movies to turn out. Kind of pointless going into detail about what you would've done differently, since you weren't the director or even involved in the making of the film in any way. Or make your own star wars film if it means that much to you. Its just a movie, you watch it, you either like it or not, and move on. Do you realize just how many of these "articles"/rants are already out there?

  • that Guy | June 3, 2014 3:58 AM

    Yes, and we all read it, and now commented on it.

  • Luis Quadros | December 10, 2013 12:54 PMReply

    well, when Empire Strikes Back finished I was up on my seat and so the group of friends who where there and we couldn't wait to see the unfold of that. We all expected that all the problems would be solved in the end and that it would be a positive one. Sometimes we need happy endings. Killng Han Solo would have been a risk to the story and i think the Return of The Jedi has it´s surprising moments: for example i didn't think for once that a character like Darth Vader would be able to be converted and changed is ways but the love of is son does that, and that is a big moment and turn in the final, you woul have to agree on that. The Ewoks, yea they are kind of silly and pherhaps another race in the same evolution stage but not that "dolly" could defeat the empire troops showing the same resourcefull skills. The return sees the death of Yoda but the reborn in the end of all the death jedi's. It is in the end a proper ending for the trilogy and most important thing of all it maintains the simple and objetiv unfolding of the story and the relation between the characters: things just happen in a fluid way, there are no forced situations. When Luke tells Leia that they are brothers she gives a perfect answer with no dramatic flamboing talk, she says its like she newed all along, and pherhaps so did we. Well that's what I thought looking back. So things fited well. And the ending beeing confused well its the climax and we cant forget that its Empire: to him to fall it would be with several blows not from one. Killing the Emperor alone, or Vader, or destroying only another Death Star wouldn't do the trick. The Empire could survive only with the Emperor (he would train another sith lord) with Vader alive he had the power to continue the fight, and don't forget the amount of comanders spread troughout all systems and their troops. So destroying the emperor his most powerfull comander and the Death Star that would leave the remaining forces abandon. It had to be several blows and they are all condensed. It is confused but in a military point of viewd needed. So this is what i think, ist a proper ending minus some puppets.

  • anon | July 24, 2014 11:36 AM

    I haven't seen people complain much about the Luke/Vader storyline, it's generally regarded as iconic and brilliant I believe.

    All the other stuff, though... well, a happy end WAS probably the best option, but imo it wasn't "earned" enough. There should've been much more anguish and drama involved in unfreezing Han Solo, more trials and tribulations before Luke or Leia would reunited with Han again... anything really that'd give all those premotions and valedictions from Empire even more gravitas (or, rather, live up the one that was already there).
    Luke aside, things are just way too easy and unadveturous imo, even the tension coming from them walking into the Emperor's trap was just kinda... eh! There they get arrested, and there some ship explodes.... but a few minutes later they start winning again, so it's cool. :)

  • Rod | February 1, 2014 10:53 PM

    While I have problems with ROTJ I still enjoy it! So, I agree with what you said. Also, I cannot imagine them killing Han Solo. That would've been horrible.

  • pjess | October 6, 2013 11:19 PMReply

    I sort of agree I hate the goddamn ewoks and jar jar binks. But I honestly think star wars was actually ruined by cynical nerds with nothing better to do than to ponder over the mistakes of the saga's creators. Now you've all destroyed star wars for an entire generation of new fans and taken from them the opportunity to be wowed by all it offers which you had back when the originals came out. Now with star wars vii on the way you'll all flock back with excitement and high expectations once again and then afterwards you'll blow up the Internet for a second time and get frustrated and annoyed at all the little kids who will be just as amazed by it as you were about the originals.

  • anon | July 24, 2014 11:56 AM

    Um, how do the fans/haters ruin anything, again? It's just a natural reaction to seeing something you don't like - and also, the first two films had "mistakes" in them, so why would you say did they end up with a good reputation rather than getting destroyed by the grand army of the cynical nerds? Do we have to thank the fanbase that, for some reason, was (and keeps being) really mature about those movies unlike to these ones, or... because the creators just made two/three really good movies back then, and naturally got the credit they deserved? Would really take away the acclaim from those creators... wouldn't it... if we'd just start making a point out of bowing to the glorious fanbase instead of the creators all of a sudden, wouldn't it? :D

    Besides, I don't see how a bad reputation is supposed to "ruin" anything... when you finally get around to watching that horrible movie everyone keeps hating on, and it's actually ANY good (as the prequels certainly are), the reaction will more likely than not be that of a pleasant, almost euphoric surprise - as in, how could I miss out on that!
    For instance, this is how I felt when seeing Batman & Robin ;)
    So no, you're stupid.

  • Gunther | November 19, 2013 9:09 AM

    It's not just Star Wars, dude. Virtually every major franchise fanbase is like this (Sonic, Metroid, even X-Men).
    But I agree mostly with the fact that he did sell-out his franchise, and not to lessen the extremity of his evil, but let's face it: he wasn't the first, and wasn't the last creator of a major, worldwide franchise to sell out in some way.

  • Kev Dylan | September 13, 2013 12:05 PMReply

    I got out of School early that day in '83 to go to Return Of The Jedi. While there were of course bad movies out there, people had yet to experience the big buildup of a sequel to perfect films only to get a crashing disappointment.
    This was Star Wars. Star Wars could do no wrong. It never even crossed my mind that the film could be bad.
    But 5 minutes into it, even as a kid I knew the Great Star Wars had fallen from it's untouchable heights and had become nothing but a hollow shell exploiting the flashy outer layer of the 1st 2 films while ignoring all the humanity that lied within.
    It was quickly apparent that the adult drama and great creativity had given way to kid's fare with scenes and dialog that were mere imitations of what had come before in the other films.

    I've always thought of the irony of George Lucas creating a story about the hero resisting the 'Dark Side' and winning against evil and the fact that 'Return Of The Jedi' was a confession by George Lucas that he could not resist the lure of 'The Dark Side' himself. Lucas felt the lure of power as it crept into his life through the money he made and he loved the taste of it and he wanted more of it. And so he gave in to 'The Dark Side' as he gave in to the lust for money and power. He abandoned all of what he believed and he sought to use his skills and all that he had learned to serve his New Master: Money.
    And so Return Of The Jedi and all works of George Lucas thereafter became pledges to the power of money and the chase of it.
    As one watches Return Of The Jedi and they see Luke Skywalker defeating the Dark Side they can also see the parallel story of George Lucas losing his fight with The Dark Side and forever becoming a servant to it's power.
    One can only wonder what greatness Lucas had before him had he no given in to his desire for power. The Tragedy Of George Lucas is that he destroyed all that he had built and all that he could have become just to chase after the Power of Money.
    Star Wars is as much about George Lucas' decent into The Dark Side as it is about Luke's triumph over it.

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  • J. Alex | August 13, 2013 4:19 AMReply

    What a bold article. You are the coolest iconoclast of 1993.

  • judge of funny | June 3, 2014 3:59 AM

    It's only funny if you post it once, only post it again if you're a twit.

  • J. Alex | August 13, 2013 4:19 AMReply

    What a bold article. You are the coolest iconoclast of 1993.

  • JUDGE OF FUNNY | June 3, 2014 4:00 AM

    Damn you, twit!

  • Paula | August 12, 2013 11:45 PMReply

    So wrong. Do you know how many protesters there would have been if he died?? I think Harrison Ford is the best actor and I watch it because of him. I want him to be in the new Star Wars movies! He is why I watch!! And I LOVE THE EWOKS!!

  • anon | July 24, 2014 12:18 PM

    "But it is never effective in overthrowing an occupying power, only in making the cost of occupation too high."
    Well... I think the point was that the teddy bears had the advantage of surprise, and, as the saying goes, the battle took place "on their terms". They had set all the traps and planned all the attack positions while the "legion" of the Emperor's most bored troops was just there to arrest a handful of rebel spies and ended up being taken, well, by surprise.
    Also it took place in the woods, so (questions about biotemperature scanners etc. aside) it was kinda believable that they ended up running around aimlessly through the jungle and frantically looking for enemies while those were jumping down from their hide-outs.

    I don't really like that part, either - while fun, it's generally kinda lame and anti-climactic, and its cheesiness kinda ruins the dramatic climax. Also, imo, it should've been the rebels who won that fight, and not some deus-ex-machina village that just conveniently happened to be there. However, when people complain about the outrageousness of those teddy bears "overthrowing the Empire", I think they're missing two important points: first, that, as mentioned above, this wasn't "the Empire" but just a handful of unprepared troops - the main victory is achieved through killing the two evil wizards at the top, and blowing up the WMD that was supposed to keep the population down once all pretenses of democracy were dropped.
    And, secondly, that the storm troopers have been playing this exact role since day one: appear really menacing, either by shooting up a bunch of redshirts or someone talking about them as being really dangerous, and then getting comically and easily picked off by our ridiculously outnumbered, but strong and wide-eyed in their hearts ragtag team of misfits.
    Yes, it was cooler when they did that when escaping from the death star rather than deciding the final all-or-nothing battle for the universe... and it was also much cooler when it was them rather than these new dancing teddy bears. However, the concept is largely the same, so it isn't anywhere the crime people keep saying it is.

    Just... kinda lame.

  • Eric | August 18, 2013 12:53 PM

    But if it served to make the movie better, people would've been okay with Han dying. Great death scenes can define a movie and while Han is one of my favorite characters, I would've been okay with them killing him if his death had meaning to it or fit within the nature of the story. The whole concept of Ewoks was outrageous in my opinion but I guess a small tribe of rock throwing teddy bears can defeat an empire that cemented its power across galaxies through military force and technological advances. Is guerrilla warfare effective? absolutely. But it is never effective in overthrowing an occupying power, only in making the cost of occupation too high. They had like one fight, and it was over, at a site that was seriously undermanned for it's strategic importance. And just because the emperor and vader died, no one else in the empire would've assumed command and continued the campaign?

  • Dave | July 31, 2013 8:58 AMReply

    It is amazing that Star Wars is still as popular as it is today because there hasn't been a good film in the series since 1980. Star Wars and Empire are just great films, top to bottom, and set the the stage for a great finale to the trilogy. Now as I kid, I enjoyed Jedi, but the movie did not pass the test of time. I watched it recently on Spike and was amazed how bad it was compared to Star Wars and Empire. It's not just a drop in quality, its a BIG drop in quality to the point where I actually couldn't get through the movie? I watched Star Wars and Empire that weekend on Spike and they are still as good as they were in '77 and '80, as they are like a fine wine.

    Now the reason I think Jedi is getting more criticism now then it did in 1983, is that the Prequels opened up everyone's eyes that the problem with Lucas and the Star Wars franchise really dates back to 1983. That is where Lucas stopped taking chances and played it safe, and Jedi and the Prequels reflect that. If you look at Empire, NO ONE ever did that with a sequel: Bad guys win, darker story then the original, no retread storylines from the original, etc and that is why it holds up so well today. Jedi is the exact opposite where everything is predictable and many plot points are rehashed.

    In saying all that, this is what happens with all franchises and why I am a believer that less is more. The more sequels/prequels you make, the more you dillute the franchise because it is tough to recapture the magic. I said to my friends back in 1998 that the Prequels would not be as good simply because there was no Han, Luke or Leia, and there is no way Lucas will be able to recreate another set of iconic characters that the public and can root for. In many ways, I sort of wish Star Wars ended in 1977, as it would be looked at much more favorable then it is now.

  • anon | July 24, 2014 12:39 PM

    HERESY! SACRILEGE! YOU MEANT 1980, not 1977, CONFESS SINNER! AUSGEBOORT DES BESN!!

    "NO ONE ever did that with a sequel"
    Frodo was alive, but in the hands of the Enemy? ;)

    All bullshit aside, yea... agree completely. Although I'm not so sure about the "playing it safe" bit... I'm pretty sure introducing the cuddly Ewoks was a risk of sorts, and a lot of the decisions that went into the prequels, both good and bad, don't seem like they were the safest to go with.
    Before EpI came out, Lucas, though being convinced that Jar Jar was the funniest character they've ever had, pretty much said that this might go belly-up pretty easily.
    In EpIII, in contrast, I've heard that the producers or the like were against the graphic fire torture at the end there, but Lucas insisted on it. Of course, one could say that making this movie "dark" wasn't really gonna flop with the fanbse... probably more of a matter of rating and little kid viewers, but still.

    Honestly, looking at the prequels and all the eccentricities in it, it looks much more like Lucas just did whatever he wanted and was out to make whatever ideas he had in mind become reality on screen - largely unchecked by critical voices from his actors and co-workers, and not much dependent on the support of "studios" and "producers", he could just get away with it, after all; and he did.

  • jason | July 24, 2013 1:36 AMReply

    It is not wonder why Lucas sold the franchise. All of the critics who fell in love with the Star Wars movies as children are all grown up with a lifetime of watching and analyzing the movies. Now they are gripping and complaining about the 1,2,3 movies with the arrogant assumption that Lucas made the new movies for them. All 6 movies were written made for children. the ewoks are not much different the the Jawas in the first movie. In childrens movies, you don't kill off one of the Heroes. The children do not understand the meaning of a martyre.
    I also have to say. It is rather rude and presumptuous to assume that Lucas only thought about money while making these movies. First of all, Everyone who was making Return of the Jedi knew it was going to be a blockbuster whether Han was killed or not. his action figure would have sold just as well as bobba Fett's did. (it wasn't until much later that he was brought back to like in the spin off books) So keeping Han alive to sell more toys is an empty and foolish arguement. If lucas was making movies just for the merchandising, don't you think that he would have done the Indiana Jones movies much differently?
    In other words. Lucas had Han live and ewoks instead of lizards because he wanted to, and by then, I think he had kids and had them in mind. besides, Why would giand lizards be living on a forrest moon consisting of soft coniferous trees?

  • anon | July 24, 2014 12:53 PM

    "about the 1,2,3 movies with the arrogant assumption that Lucas made the new movies for them."
    Let's for one moment imagine they didn't think it was made for them - would anything about their sentiments be different? ;)
    How do they react to entirely new movies, that are based on previous installments or franchises and don't have a reputation to live up, but are still mediocre - with thunderous applause? Get a life.

    "All 6 movies were written made for children."
    Actually, it was just Episodes VI and I.


    "the ewoks are not much different the the Jawas in the first movie."
    The Jawas were an eccentric and witty parody of slimy, shady black market merchants, and played a peripheral role in the plot; also, they had a creative design, and had an entertaining combination of creepy and comical.
    The Ewoks, on the other hand, were cuddly, cutesy teddy bears, pretty much a deus-ex-machina device, and essentially hijacked the big climax of the story.
    (And yes, they also were a pretty amusing parody of the "wacky wayside tribe" trope found in pulp fiction etc., and not entirely without edge - however, their prevailing trait is still cuddly teddbears that hijack the plot.)

    "In childrens movies, you don't kill off one of the Heroes."
    Like Thorin wasn't killed off in the Hobbit, right?

    "The children do not understand the meaning of a martyre.
    I also have to say."
    They do if told about it (which, growing up in a Christian culture, is kind of likely), and apparently they also do if that martyr appears as a disembodied voice seconds later ;)

    "So keeping Han alive to sell more toys is an empty and foolish arguement."
    Well, that's the argument you just brought yourself, by insisting that children couldn't wrap their heads around something like that. And who predominantly buys those toys? :D


    "and by then, I think he had kids and had them in mind."
    And before that when in 1977, what kids did he have in mind? :D

    Tool.

  • James | July 3, 2013 7:32 PMReply

    Get bent. Return of The Jedi was terrific. Get a life.

  • Freddie Mercury | June 17, 2013 12:08 AMReply

    I pretty much agree with everything you said, apart from the part about the name of the film. It wouldn't have made sense for it to be called "Revenge of the Jedi" - "Return of the Jedi" is fine. There was an element of magic about the film though, but yes. I have to agree with this article. It probably wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the prequels though.

  • JenT | June 8, 2013 5:35 PMReply

    who Ever said that Evil Dies!?! Like Love, Evil will ALWAYS be Present, usually lurking under a 17yr olds pillow, waiting for one small moment of Doubt.
    Today Evil is the New ''Greed is Good''!
    Becareful, Be Watchful & Keep your LightSaber close!!

  • Anonymous | June 8, 2013 11:05 AMReply

    Funny that you don't mention Mr. Hutt or the Sarlacc pit...

  • Scott | June 7, 2013 10:19 PMReply

    Sadly, this article makes many good points. If ROTJ had the same emotional depth as TESB, it would have been a filmmaking achievement never to be topped. What we got instead in ROTJ was pandering. A 'safe' choice. The bold and correct choice would have been to continue on in the tone established by ANH and TESB. The original is more serious with more dark moments than many give it credit for. Empire just upped the ante a bit. But from Harrison Ford's truly awful acting to basically having a big part of the story a repeat of ANH (another battle to destroy the Death Star, where beyond any reason, it can be destroyed relatively easy), to the teddy bears on Endor, it was all just a disappointing mess. Ian McDiarmid's turn as the Emperor is one of the few bright spots. If the rest of the movie kept the same kind of intensity and tone that the Emperor parts had, we might have had the finale we should have had. Instead, as the article points out, Lucas used its success as justification to stupify Star Wars and claim it's "just for kids" instead of the spiritual odyssey it started out as. And so the new movies were sadly more patterned after ROTJ than TESB or ANH. It shows Lucas's detachment even further that he was "certain" that ROTS would be the least successful movie of the new trilogy. What he didn't get at all was that it was in fact far closer to the kind of movie most fans had been craving. It still suffered from new trilogy problems like bad acting, moving from set piece to set piece, and a reliance on fake green scene CGI than in trying to do as much as possible with real stuff. It is a great irony that the made-for-$10 million original looks like it could have been lifted from a time capsule, filmed as it was to look real while the new trilogy looks all fake because it is all fake. When real stuff is supplemented with CGI, it can all look real. When it's all fake to begin with, it all stays looking fake because there's nothing real to ground it. Hopefully, J.J. Abrams will study long and hard about how to make the new trilogy more reflective of the spirit that Lucas had when the original Star Wars was born rather than the commercial pandering fluff it became...I still love it all though.

  • anon | July 24, 2014 1:04 PM

    "The bold and correct choice would have been to continue on in the tone established by ANH and TESB."
    The two had a very different tone, though...

    "The original is more serious with more dark moments than many give it credit for."
    Less than VI, though, and not quite as dark ;)
    More death involved, but not as dark ;)

    "Empire just upped the ante a bit."
    A *LOT*!

    "instead of the spiritual odyssey it started out as"
    Turned into with the second movie; started out as a fun Flash Gordon homage ;)

    "And so the new movies were sadly more patterned after ROTJ than TESB or ANH."
    EpIII had more in common with Empire (and the dark bits of Jedi), though; Clones also aimed at that, but kinda failed a bit ;)
    The Phantom Menace, though, definitely :D

    "What he didn't get at all was that it was in fact far closer to the kind of movie most fans had been craving."
    Exaclty :)

    (Also was probably at least somewhat pressured into it by the problematic reactions to the previous two)

    "moving from set piece to set piece,"
    The horror...

    "and a reliance on fake green scene CGI"
    Stylized. Not fake - stylized :D ;)

    "When it's all fake to begin with, it all stays looking fake because there's nothing real to ground it."
    Some people say the prequels aren't like Sin City or 300, and, well, they kinda aren't... but then they also kinda are. The originals looked real and rusty, but the prequels ain't the originals ;)

    Anyway, yea.

  • SilliestOwl | June 3, 2013 5:26 PMReply

    This article is ridiculous. You can shoot down (possibly even correctly) the reasons behind certain decisions all you want. The fact of the matter is Return of the Jedi still had great action, great dialogue, great chemistry between the principle characters, and great performances. Star Wars *is* a story for everyone. It's not Game of Lightsabers. It's something that can be enjoyed by everyone, and that doesn't automatically make it juvenile.

    Lion King had *SPOILERS* Mufasa die, but does that make the film is only for grown-ups? No, it's something everyone can enjoy, and it's very quality. Return of the Jedi is a very quality film, and having Ewoks instead of lizard-people doesn't change that. There is justification for having Ewoks be a foil for the Empire, and they fulfilled their role adequately. They are not even in the same stratosphere as Jar Jar Binks, who has no justification. Han not dying has its justifications, and it played out in the story well. Would him dying work? Perhaps. But him living *did* work.

    The bottom line is that Star Wars films didn't die when a decision for marketability was made that influenced a decision. Star Wars films died when they stopped having quality actors delivering quality performances with a quality script. Nothing in the prequels touched the Emperor's chilling performance during the attack on the Death Star. Nothing in the prequels touched Han and Leia's chemistry. Nothing in the prequels touched Luke's growth as a character. Nothing in the prequels touched the feeling of immersion people had when seeing the originals. Nothing touched Darth Vader's redemption scene. Nothing touched the humor of the originals. Nothing touched the space battles that were so elegantly done in Return of the Jedi.

  • anon | July 24, 2014 1:37 PM

    "The fact of the matter is Return of the Jedi still had great action,"
    Except the Ewok battle...

    "great dialogue,"
    Well, some of it was great; most of it at least memorable and entertaining, though.

    "great chemistry between the principle characters,"
    Partially. Ford and Billy Dee, not quite sure what they were going at there... and the one between Han and Leia had dens in it.
    Largely it's really good though, and has some really great moments.

    "and great performances."
    Again... partially. Ford gives a good performance 1/3rd of the time, looks really tired and weary another 3rd, and hams his way through the rest. Still fun to watch though... except the tired and weary part, that is.

    "and that doesn't automatically make it juvenile."
    No... the Ewoks make it juvenile.

    "but does that make the film is only for grown-ups?"
    There's a difference between a work being "for kids", and unsuitable for kids. Empire is perfectly serviceable to kids, but it's not FOR kids. The Ewoks, statistically, don't really age well with the viewer, though...

    "There is justification for having Ewoks be a foil for the Empire, and they fulfilled their role adequately."
    Yea, still kinda eh though, aren't they?

    "as Jar Jar Binks, who has no justification."
    Well, he has no justification to be in half of the scenes he's in, but the basic justification behind him and the gungan army is pretty much the same as with the Ewoks. Who're obviously not half as annoying ;)

    "Nothing in the prequels touched Han and Leia's chemistry."
    There wasn't that much of it in Jedi, though ;)


    "Nothing in the prequels touched the Emperor's chilling performance during the attack on the Death Star."
    A lot of the scenes with the Emperor do touch it, though - especially the proclamation of the Empire, and when he knights Anakin. "When the council learns what has transpired here, they will kill us - along with all the senators". ;)

    "Nothing in the prequels touched Luke's growth as a character."
    Well, Anakin's fall in Sith didn't touch, for instance, Luke's performance in Jedi (which was more stoic than in the other films, hence comparable), but then again, Jedi Han didn't touch the ANH and ESB Han, so...

    "Nothing in the prequels touched the feeling of immersion people had when seeing the originals. Nothing touched Darth Vader's redemption scene."
    Well, EpIII did - although more in terms of scenery / "big events" than the personal individual characters, but for instance I find it to be more immersive than EpVI, overall.

    The scene where he burns, or gets the mask, certainly does "touch" all of that - or almost?

    "Nothing touched the humor of the originals."
    Well there were some hilarious gags there, but of a more gimmicky nature. The multi-layered, character based humor was largely absent, correct - but, again, while for instance the originals didn't beat you over the head with the fact that Han is kind of a cocky loudmouth and not quite as great as he acts (but makes up for that by just improvising through every hairy situation), Jedi, with all the "hey it's me" and "I doubt it'll work... I told you it'd work!", has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer when it comes to that.
    So yes, it IS sub-par.

    "Nothing touched the space battles that were so elegantly done in Return of the Jedi."
    Well, if we're just talking space battles exclusively, as in battles in SPACE - I'd say the trench run and dog fight from ANH were more "elegant", this one was a bit messier. I don't think it was that much better than the one from Menace, and (especially if you exclude the "tunnel run") probably lacks the elegance of Sith's opening shot.


    Generally speaking, I'd say that ROTJ, for all its strengths, is indeed a pretty choppy wrap-up of much greater predecessors, and definitely a let-down in many ways - while ROTS is a lot better than most "prequel critics" make it out to be, and can easily compete with if not beat Jedi.
    Both movies (the bastard child of a great trilogy, and the surprisingly improved sequel to a tacky one) have their own sets of strenghts and weaknesses, and might as well keep duking it out until the 7 trumpets sound - unlike some would like to think :)

  • Matt Fox | June 2, 2013 6:08 PMReply

    This article is trash. Its one man's opinion. A waste of time to read.

  • John Steiner | June 2, 2013 5:44 PMReply

    He has a few good points. The Ewoks, for instance, are stupid. However....

    "The problem with these multiple climaxes is that it's hard to keep track of what's going on, and worse yet, it's hard to actively root for anything because you're constantly being jerked around."

    What kind of frakking moron couldn't keep up with these climactic battles? Show me that buffoon with the attention span of a goldfish.

    "Speaking of story, the forked climax from 'Return of the Jedi' would be compounded exponentially in the prequels, particularly in the first installment 'The Phantom Menace.' That climax involves more a half dozen competing threads "

    Okay, this is outright exaggeration. You STILL don't see more than three sequences at any given moment. The ship-to-ship fight doesn't enter the picture until Anakin gets into it. Is is shockingly stupid that a small child who isn't trained or qualified for that particular craft to win the day? Yes. Jar-Jar Binks annoying? Worthy of a piano-lining. However, the fight scene with Ray Park was the best Jedi fight of the entire franchise. They just should've chosen actors who can act for Anakin's part and scrub the Gungans.

    It's the Revenge of the Sith where their ship-to-ship fights reach the pinnacle of stupidity. Fly side-by-side with the aggressor and give'em a broadside? It's space. You should be picking off the other guy from dozens to hundreds of thousands of kilometers.

  • TheLoudestFan | September 25, 2013 8:16 AM

    I don't think it's fair to criticize the complaint about the climaxes of ROTJ as mere failings of attention span. Even though it is certainly possible to follow along, the fact of the matter is this film was instrumental in beginning a tradition of valuing so-called complexity as an inherently good way to deliver a fit ending for an epic film. Where more things happening in sync that allow for an incredibly difficult or unlikely/surprising ending supposedly means the work is more thought-out and difficult to do. Most of the time, and certainly in this particular film, the end result is just a group of lesser-climaxes that celebrate the creator's supposed cleverness, instead of celebrating the emotional and/or philosophical power of the work itself.

    Really, this cleverness is little more than a demonstration of contrivance, a feature that often serves to weaken a story's success. Which sounds more compelling: a unified ending where all well-developed characters who bring their own motivations and behaviors all end up working together, or a splintered ending where everyone is just off doing their own thing to wrap up the series of events that made up their story lines? Sure, in this case, the disparate threads of the climax are all related to each other well enough, but that just shows the creator knew how to make the weaker choice as well as it could be made.

    As the original author suggests, look to ANH and TESB for stronger story forms. In ANH, the story lines all begin separated, then slowly build into one unified and compelling thread. TESB is even more effective in its choice to limit its focus to just 2 splintered threads throughout (for example, we don't see the actual act of Lando selling out his friends--we only learn about it as the one group does, allowing us to feel the betrayal more effectively). By the end of that film, the unification of the two fractured, perspective-limited threads (as opposed to the sequences of changing/intermingled collections of core characters that also characterize all the prequels and far too many more modern epics) provides the only solace for the devastation of its climax.

    TL;DR: criticizing the climax of ROTJ is onto something so much greater than just a failure of attention span.

  • Steve | June 2, 2013 5:29 PMReply

    If Han had died, there would be no future for star wars. The lineage would be broken, there would be no children from Leigha and Han to learn the ways of the force.

  • Kevin | July 29, 2013 1:35 AM

    There are other men in the Star Wars universe, you know.

  • Craig | June 2, 2013 5:12 PMReply

    Everything in this article can be completely demolished with one viewing of Revenge of the Sith. By far the darkest, most tragic episode which focused on just two very personal battles, did indeed kill characters that we did not expect (even focusing on children being massacred) and had absolutely zero of the toys first, story second mentality you speak of. All 6 films are very different and tarring them with this brush is lazy at best.

  • Antonio | April 1, 2014 9:55 AM

    This article rad awsome

  • Kevin | July 29, 2013 1:37 AM

    Which characters died that you didn't see coming? ^_-

  • Mo | June 2, 2013 8:03 AMReply

    Interesting to see another article in so many days complaining about movies. What is really interesting is that the article writer is forgetting two things. One films or movies were created to make money. If that means the death of a storyline over profit. profit will always win out. The other point is if the article writer could have improved on Lucas' story, why not become a film maker and make your own film trilogy and show Lucas what he should have done right the first time around. Amazing how most people who don't work in the film industry and who don't know the pressures of studio involvement can comment so confidently of what a film director should or shouldn't have done.

  • chris | September 25, 2013 10:36 PM

    saying movies are created to make money is a cop-out and an excuse.
    do you think stanley kubrick would choose profit over storyline?
    absolutely not, and that is why he is remembered as one of the greatest directors of all time.
    or what about woody allen? or roman polanski?
    george lucas is a tool and a pig for doing what he did to star wars, especially since he did it purely for monetary gain. and the said part is that money only lasts a lifetime, or until you spend it. respect and reverence for great art will last until the end of mankind. he chose the path of greed and he will eventually be forgotten like every other sell-out "artist". while people who do their art for the sake of art with amazing ability will always be remembered like shakespeare, tolstoy, van gogh or mozart.

  • Mo | June 2, 2013 8:03 AMReply

    Interesting to see another article in so many days complaining about movies. What is really interesting is that the article writer is forgetting two things. One films or movies were created to make money. If that means the death of a storyline over profit. profit will always win out. The other point is if the article writer could have improved on Lucas' story, why not become a film maker and make your own film trilogy and show Lucas what he should have done right the first time around. Amazing how most people who don't work in the film industry and who don't know the pressures of studio involvement can comment so confidently of what a film director should or shouldn't have done.

  • Mo | June 2, 2013 4:15 AMReply

    Interesting to see another article in so many days complaining about movies. What is really interesting is that the article writer is forgetting two things. One films or movies were created to make money. If that means the death of a storyline over profit. profit will always win out. The other point is if the article writer could have improved on Lucas' story, why not become a film maker and make your own film trilogy and show Lucas what he should have done right the first time around. Amazing how most people who don't work in the film industry and who don't know the pressures of studio involvement can comment so confidently of what a film director should or shouldn't have done.

  • Mo | June 2, 2013 4:15 AMReply

    Interesting to see another article in so many days complaining about movies. What is really interesting is that the article writer is forgetting two things. One films or movies were created to make money. If that means the death of a storyline over profit. profit will always win out. The other point is if the article writer could have improved on Lucas' story, why not become a film maker and make your own film trilogy and show Lucas what he should have done right the first time around. Amazing how most people who don't work in the film industry and who don't know the pressures of studio involvement can comment so confidently of what a film director should or shouldn't have done.

  • Richard | June 1, 2013 3:04 PMReply

    This article hits the light-nail right on the proverbial head! Any chances for Star Wars to become a futuristic and classic epic with sophisticated undertones, (ie. with it's strong initial underpinnings of Joseph Campbell's Mythologies, it had the potential to be a 20-some century masterpiece, comparable to Lord of the Rings, Lion, Witch & The Wardrobe, or Dune) were completely lost and sacrificed for the almighty dollar! Lucas sold his soul and the potential for these films for Hasbro action figure $$$$$$$$$$$$$SSSSSSSSSSS! It's so obvious when you look at his controlled effort to include or incorporate as many possible new characters as possible, that add nothing at all to the story line or plot, but simply provide characters to be made into action figures and bolster his bulging profits! I am so very happy to finally see some established film critics finally speak out on this subject and expose G.L. for what he truly is. (ie. an over rated money grabber.) So many critics and movie-goers have swooned at the psuedo-success of these films based on their rankings at the box office and have failed to see, and more importantly admit that a great opportunity was lost here and that George Lucas's reputation and abilities as a director/producer are way over rated, because when push came to shove, he caved in to the almighty dollar!

  • Obi-John | May 30, 2013 2:01 AMReply

    A shame the excellent ROTS gets lumped in with the other prequels. The PT improved with each instalment, and by Episode III was in the same league as the OT.

  • Luke | December 9, 2013 8:22 PM

    What the heck are you smoking comparing Episode III to the originals? Must be some good drugs, man. Lucas used CGI like a little kid uses a Supersoaker when he's on a pound of sugar. The Prequels give me a headache. The acting sucks. The story is bizzare and full of plot holes (yeah, here's a hologram of Your New Emperor telling Anakin to go kill kids but we're not going to show that to the senate - AND THE SENATE IS IN SESSION RIGHT NOW).

    Just.... ugh. And Episode III has the longest, most boring lightsaber duel ever at the end. It was exciting to see a saber duel for like 1 minute in the original Star Wars. It's old and played out now.

    Episode III sucks. The prequels suck. The only good thing about Episode III is the Emperor, who is fun to watch.

    The end.

  • Tyler Mason | May 29, 2013 9:52 PMReply

    I actually think Disney and Abrams will bring that story element back. They've seen the backlash from Star Wars fans for the videogame, action packed, soulless prequels. Those movies may have made a lot of money, but they came with some nasty PR. I think Disney knows they must have quality control with what they release, and their worst PR nightmare is an army of angry fanboys protest marching on the Magic Kingdom.

    The nature of Stars Wars makes plenty of action inherent in about any story in the universe. They just have to write the write fleshed out characters (which they hired a good team for) and the necessary blockbuster action will come naturally to serve their story. There should be no need to awkwardly shoehorn a laser/spaceship/lightsaber battle in to a movie taking place during a galactic civil war. In retrospect, I think it speaks to Lucas' atrocious screenwriting that the overkill of prequel action sequences always felt that way. (see the Gungan battle/ "yippee" flight in I, the robot assembly line/ human sacrifice to CG arena monsters in II, and General Grievous/the ridiculously overlong platforming game lava level dual in III)

  • david b | May 29, 2013 3:21 PMReply

    I remember the controversy over the changing of the ROTJ titel. As I recall, it came about after the 1st posters began appearing. It was not bc Lucas felt it needed softening, it was bc the fans reminded him- correctly- that Jedis do not believe in revenge, so the title was a bad fit. (does not absolve Lucas of any blame, however, for it points to the fact that he was already losing touch with his own material)

  • Michael | May 29, 2013 12:33 PMReply

    This article is just another example of post-prequels Lucas bashing.

  • Rev | May 29, 2013 5:25 PM

    Except the article is about the original films. Particularly the mediocre third one.

    You're done making films, George. Stop victimizing yourself and go back to playing in your pile of money...

  • Nathaniel Poe | May 29, 2013 4:19 PM

    Yeah? Good! LuCA$H deserves every public flogging he receives. He crafted an epic mythology in ANH, managed to not screw it up with ESB, and then spent the rest of his life crapping on his own legacy.

  • gary | May 28, 2013 10:39 PMReply

    Yub yub....

  • gary geck | May 28, 2013 10:37 PMReply

    PS look up Gary Kurt's interviews where he talks about the bitter sweet original end to Jedi. With a dead Han and Vader Luke was to walk off into sunset and all major chararchters still alive were split up and uncertain of their future. Kurtz kasdan and others had the empire spirit continuing but George gave us hub hub instead

  • gary geck | May 28, 2013 10:20 PMReply

    The author hit the nail on the head. Some fans are too loyal to look critically at anything star wars but the truth is that all of the points in this blog are backed up by Gary Kurtz who was the 2nd in command for the 1st 2 films! I have been researching this for years. Lucas has said it was all about money and that people just want action roller coasters not stories and maybe he's right sadly....

  • Pete | May 28, 2013 4:04 PMReply

    The entire argument splatters into incoherent nothingness when the author argues 3 climaxes is too difficult follow even as site encourages me to "share," "tweet," "comment," "G+," "email," "print" and "subscribe" to the article. But as the author believes a climax requiring the audience to multitask contributed to the "artistic" demise of Star Wars, I wonder if the author actually ever watched the first two movies. In short, Star Wars splits the group into two when they infiltrate the Death Star, and Empire, also splits the group in 2 with Luke going to Dagobah and the rest on the run from the empire. They never fully reunite, and *gasp!* we're forced to follow two whole storylines. However did we manage?

  • Tyler Mason | May 29, 2013 10:23 PM

    Well the split stories in V were more focused and had clear and engrossing developments. They weren't like Episode I, which I think is basically watching three different videogames. The characters are drowning in a sea of flashing CG light, each trying to hit the high score and trigger the end credits. Those split climax battles in Episode I had trouble giving a clear inclination of who was winning what battle, and each cutback was just a new flashing color pallet with no sense of urgency or real conflict. There was no focus on anything but showing off ELM's tech.
    And as for the multimedia on the site: (1) I'm sure the author has no authority over the website layout of The Playlist's social media advertising. (2) Film is a completely different medium than a website editorial, with options to comment or share with your "friends" tacked on. Film is designed to be much more immersive and doesn't give you interactive options you can ignore. (3) Those links were all at the bottom or off in the margins, where you could easily ignore them if you wish. The split plot lines in the films were cut right into the main narrative- no option to scroll on past to the important parts.

  • TJ | May 28, 2013 8:12 AMReply

    I think Return Of The Jedi is a perfect film, like all the originals. All three have a few scenes I kind of found boring when I first saw them. But I've learned to appreciate all of them now.

    I think ROTJ is very dark, in spite of what people say. If you had removed the Ewoks, I think it would have been even darker than ESB. When Luke arrives at the Death Star, it's almost like arriving at Hell, meeting the Devil himself (The Emperor).

    I also think the movie is way more emotional than both ANH and ESB. ROTJ is the only one of the trilogy that gives you both goosebumps and tears in your eyes.

    I applaud Lucas for making movies that are both interesting to adults and kids. They were perfect movies to grow up with. We loved them when we were kids, and most of us will keep on loving them until we're in our graves.

    I can understand why some people would want an adult version, now that they've grown up. But then you're not taking your own history or film history into consideration. Movies are always a product of their time, and has to play on some current cliches. Some which gets embarassing and outdated fast. But that's how it is.

  • Nathaniel Poe | May 29, 2013 4:21 PM

    Go-Mer-Tonic? Is that you? What a shame...

  • J KNOKEY | May 26, 2013 9:03 AMReply

    One relatively irrelevant comment about JJ Abrams: after seeing what he's done to Star Trek, the mindless Star Wars franchise might be just the thing for him. He seems to have left all his smarts on TV. Note: if you want to be really frightened by What Might Have Been, check out (if you can find it) his ideas for the first Superman reboot. Mediocre as it was, believe me: it coulda been worse. Much worse.

  • Uncle Owen | May 26, 2013 8:08 AMReply

    Too much about "Return of the Jedi" is lighter and less dramatic than "The Empire Strikes Back," which has superior acting and direction. The only worthwhile scenes are with Luke and Vader. Harrison Ford isn't trying very hard and therefore seems to be playing an entirely different and completely uninteresting character. The Ewoks look completely fake, a far cry from the great makeup and effects of Chewbacca. It was a terrible way to end the series, and Lucas didn't get things right again until "Revenge of the Sith." Let's hope JJ Abrams brings back the balance of drama and joy of "Empire." One thing: "Jedi" director Richard Marquand made no comments in 2005 about working with Lucas. He died in 1987.

  • Twix Raider | May 26, 2013 6:47 AMReply

    Agree I must. I did not expect ROTJ being an adult orgy (I was 16 and now more in the Heavy Metal comics), but it felt like a birthday party at a fastfood restaurant (see "Golden Girls" episode "A Piece of Cake"). The successful rescue of Han was a ho-hum overture, but it doubled the impact of the speeder bike chase at least. But then the Ewoks... that was no plot buut a flt point. They've spoiled the drama of the battle and made the happy end a happy-happy-joy-joy end. Episode IV made me high, Episode V made me stoned, but Episode VI was an instant hangover. I forgot about that over the years, but Episode I was a reminder and Episode II was the final flashback. Episode III wasn't that bad at all, but even the good parts have been impossible to enjoy. I see Ewoks... EVERYWHERE!

  • dryer | May 26, 2013 5:32 AMReply

    Every criticism against George Lucas' work post Jedi is contained in that beautiful quote from Ford: 'He didn't think there was a future in dead Han Solo toys'

  • Uncle Walt IS Your Father | May 25, 2013 9:23 PMReply

    There's no doubt that Return Of The Jedi was a more conventional film, it was also repetitive too (the destruction of the Death Star - seen it in Star Wars, Luke fighting Vader - seen it in Empire, you can almost smell the desperation reeking off the screen.) The only real surprise was seeing Jabba, he'd been talked about since the first one six years earlier. Lucas decided to digitally insert Jabba into the 1997 remastered version of Star Wars, so the new generation of fans would be robbed of Return Of The Jedi's big surprise making it even more irrelevant and limp. With so many new Star Wars films being planned, I'm sure Disney will be able to cater for the older fans who like darkness and other suitably kiddie fare. They can't do a worse job than Lucas did on the prequels.

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