Max and I are back with another edition of Trilogy Thursday. This week we take a look at the original Star Wars trilogy, starring Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Han Solo and Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa.
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
Claire From the excellent imagination of George Lucas came one of the most influential and popular sci-fi films of all time, A New Hope. We were introduced to all manner of fantastic and mysterious creatures from Jawa traders to fighting Wookies. There was also this strange omnipresent power called ‘The Force’… Lucas dropped the film’s viewers slap bang in the middle of, quite literally, an inter-planetary war. There was your goodies (Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker and Co) and your baddies (Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers). Like thousands and thousands of other people, I was hooked and wanted to know more about this universe.
Max Growing up, A New Hope was always my favorite Star Wars film. It had that epic sense of exploration and a complete plot from beginning to end. It was the beginning of the saga and for the longest time people just referred to it as Star Wars. It was a major risk for Fox to finance such an expensive, unproven movie. The results were astounding though. The world was introduced to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), and Han Solo (Harrison Ford). The plot can be summed up most easily as space rebels have to destroy an evil death star in order to bring peace to the universe. A New Hope will always hold a special place for me and is one of those rare movies that never gets old.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Claire The terrain has changed but the inter-planetary war continues. Stories that began in A New Hope continue, and more is revealed about our heroes. Relationships are strengthened as once again the Rebel Alliance must defend themselves against the Empire. As well as lots of fantastic battles scenes, Empire Strikes Back introduced us to more weird and wonderful planets. From the icy terrain of Hoth to Yoda’s hideaway in Dagobah, our eyes were certainly in for a treat.
Max George Lucas and company had a lot more freedom for Empire Strikes Back. Given the massive box-office success of Star Wars, they ramped up the drama and special effects. The battle on the planet Hoth is one of the greatest war sequences ever filmed. Hoth remains the most unique planet the team of Star Wars ever visited. This time the rebels are on the run from the Empire after having destroyed the Death Star. There’s a few news faces included in this chapter including Yoda, Lando Calrissian and the bounty hunter, Boba Fett. Over the years, I’ve seen the genius that fueled this particular chapter. The reveal at the end of the movie is one of the greatest ever. The Empire wins in every way imaginable and the ending doesn’t leave much hope for the fate of the galaxy.
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
Claire Picking up the pieces left from a series of startling revelations in Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi sees our heroes thrust straight back into the action. Apart from that teeny weeny problem called The New Death Star, there are lots of other stories that need tidying up. Once more, however, the action has taken us to a new planet, Endor, as yet another planet has fallen prey to the Empire. As Max rightly says, Endor brought us the most memorable creatures in the Star Wars universe: the adorable, yet charismatic and dangerous, Ewoks.
Max Return of the Jedi has the unfortunate task of ending the franchise. It seems a little tired that the rebels would have to destroy another Death Star. Sure the romance between Leia and Han Solo is in full bloom at this point. They have great chemistry together that it’s hard to imagine she could’ve ever been romantically interested in Luke. Easily, the most memorable part of Return of the Jedi is the creatures known as Ewoks. I can’t imagine how many puppets had to be made for these sequences of a David (Ewoks) vs Goliath (Empire) battle. The other subplot was the struggles Luke must face knowing his father is Darth Vader. George Lucas might’ve always planned the story around Darth Vader because of the outcome of this film.
Claire I’m going to be honest, I can’t say which one of these three excellent films is my favourites. Visually, Return of the Jedi takes top marks for the lush green of Endor and the wonderful Ewoks. However, Empire Strikes Back is, arguably, the most important film of the trilogy: Luke started his Jedi training, the Rebel Alliance takes a serious beating from which there couldn’t possibly be a return and, of course, there is that bombshell. Saying that, though, A New Hope was the one that started it all and began this wild journey… Nope, I can’t do it!
Max One of the biggest success stories in the history of cinema, Star Wars still stands up to the test of time. While the special-effects will continue to show their age as new technologies come out, the character interactions will always hold up this trilogy. The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite chapter in the series, followed by A New Hope and then Return of the Jedi. While none of the movies are true disappointments, Jedi could’ve been a lot more. Star Wars is one of the most beloved franchises ever and I’m sure that love will continue for generations.