I have to start this review by admitting something: I’m not a very good Star Wars fan. While I can’t tell you the exact number of times I’ve seen the original trilogy, I’m fairly certain that it’s less than the number of fingers I can count with. That said, there was no way I was going to miss watching the new Star Wars movie in theaters, and I knew I wanted to do some sort of re-watch before going. But first I had to figure out in what order that re-watch would take place!
Having recently heard about the Machete Order for watching both the original and new movies, I was debating whether I wanted to try it or not, because I’m not usually someone who watches things out of chronological order (whether that’s release or plot chronological doesn’t matter). The Machete Order, for the uninitiated, involves watching the movies in the following order: IV, V, II, III, VI. You don’t watch Episode I in the Machete Order. I decided I was a fan of spending less time with the new movies, and ending with Return of the Jedi, my favorite of the old trilogy.
Return of the Jedi essentially has two parts in my head: escape from Jabba the Hut, and facing off against the Empire on Endor. The former includes the infamous Slave Leia gold bikini, and the latter includes one of my favorite Star Wars races, the living teddy bears known as the Ewoks. Luke also learns from Yoda (right before my favorite Jedi dies) that there is “another Skywalker” and Ghost Obi-Wan confirms that Leia is his twin sister. Darth Vader and the Emperor try and fail to turn Luke to the Dark Side, and Vader turns on the Emperor when he tortures Luke, sacrificing himself to save his son. The Rebels blow up the Death Star, and the Ewoks throw a grand old party down on Endor.
I think part of what I’ve always loved about Return of the Jedi is the finality of it. So many of the arcs – Darth Vader’s journey, Luke’s journey, the Rebels fighting the Empire, the awkward love triangle around Leia – get resolved, that it’s the only one that felt like it had a real ending, as opposed to a glowing “To Be Continued…” sign. But it’s also not a completely happy ending, with everything wrapped up in a neat bow. Luke saw his father redeemed, however briefly, but lost him as a result. The Rebels may have defeated the Emperor and destroyed the Death Star, but as those of us who have been obsessed with Hamilton the Musical lately can attest: “Winning was easy, young man. Governing’s harder.” It isn’t a stretch of imagination to guess that the next couple of years for our heroes might be equally full of challenges, albeit of a different kind than those they’ve just faced.
Return of the Jedi in many ways feels like the most important film to watch leading up to The Force Awakens, because the new film picks up thirty years after the Battle of Endor. The events of Episode VI are naturally going to have a lot of weight in Episode VII, but the bigger question will be what has happened in those thirty years since Endor. That question is what has me so excited for The Force Awakens, and relishing my re-watch so much. It’s not often that we are able to see what happens thirty years after the battle is won (despite the trend towards brief epilogues in epics like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games). Normally we say goodbye to our heroes after they win, but with The Force Awakens we’ll get to see the after effects of their actions. And I don’t know about you, but I find that to be pretty damn exciting!
Will you be seeing The Force Awakens this weekend? Did you do any sort of ritual before going to see it? Tell us in the comments! And get ready for Friday morning, for Dalin’s (SPOILER FREE) review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens shall be posted. It is, indeed the post you’ve been looking for! Until May The Force Be With You!