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Return of the Jedi is the Destruction of Star Wars

Discussion in 'Original Trilogy' started by The Birdwatcher, Jun 23, 2020.

  1. The Birdwatcher

    The Birdwatcher Clone Commander

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    I don't understand why so, so, SO few people have reached this conclusion. I'm beginning to think that people are re-iterating and saying the same things over and over like parrots.

    -It's Disney's fault for Star Wars' current condition.
    -It's the SJWs.
    -It's Kathleen Kennedy's fault.
    -It's the toxic fans' fault.

    No, no, no. The stupidity reaches back further. If there is one thing that fans have done, it's accept the stupidity from the past- namely.

    -Accept that certain plot points are good based solely on the quality of music, without focusing on the logic and script of characters. I.e. the 40-second Dark Side Beckons music
    -Focus on cinematography- i.e. right-to-left panning shot in the throne room, while ignoring the baseball bat
    -Praise the cinematography, even if it is inferior to TESB
    -Accept the (what is often) a shallow message in ROTJ- i.e. don't go to hell

    Why does no one really question and think of what is causing problems in Star Wars' plot? Why?

    I have attempted to recently compile several different resources that have led me to this conclusion.

    First of all, The Making of Return of the Jedi by J. W. Rinzler. I suppose that Skywalking, Lucas's old autobiography from the early 80s also counts, but few have access to it now.

    One of the reasons I think the ST has hit SW fans in a negative manner is because (drumroll) they are ardent fans of ROTJ and have fully accepted most of its logic.

    I'm not even joking.

    I wouldn't have even arrived at this point, but back in 2011, when the OT (particularly TESB) was uploaded from its original, unaltered format from a DVD set on YouTube, someone made a comment that special effects/(and/or plot) were now a backseat to Empire, never to be emphasized in film again. "Well, I didn't think that", I thought. That led me on the course of being more critical towards ROTJ, which I believe very, very few are willing to, besides disliking Ewoks.

    It's very hard to find articles critiquing ROTJ. I've combed through several different resources.

    There is an archived (says 2001 but is probably 1999 or 1998) review on 50 things wrong with ROTJ:

    https://filmthreat.com/uncategorized/50-reasons-why-return-of-the-jedi-sucks/

    Reviews from the North on YouTube had a review on ROTJ, where he gave it a whopping two stars out of ten, which shocked me at the time around 2013. He has since taken it down, I believe, but he is still around to respond to comments, so one can ask him about it.

    One Dodgy Dude (who disliked both TFA and TLJ) had a great ROTJ two-part, where he discusses the film's flaws.





    There is a YouTube user DoccoGero, who addressed issues with ROTJ:


    The Force.net had a discussion about the emperor's character in ROTJ, which is probably what DoccoGero is referring to in his video about Palpatine being compared to a used cars salesman:
    https://boards.theforce.net/threads/anyone-prefer-the-original-clive-revill-emperor.28211728/

    Most recently, the Rusty Cheeseknife has had a few videos on ROTJ and why a lot of the film doesn't work (and yes, he made a video criticizing Mauler's method of analysis, which may be unappealing towards many of you. But I agree with a lot of his points on ROTJ).

    I could also cite The Cosmonant Variety Hour and The Warp Zone on YouTube for their analysis, but I can't say if they get into the heart of the matter, and I think that probably don't dig far enough into the plot, so I will just recommend them.

    Beard vs. Jedi on YouTube also does a deep-dive into arguing for the purpose of certain characters (such as Vader) in TESB and how that purpose is taken away in ROTJ:











    I believe that the July 1981 story conference between Lucas, Kasdan, Marquand, Kazajian, etc. is the death toll bell for Star Wars, and no one has ever really thought about it. EVER.

    I can't tell you how many times Lucas brings up a bad idea and Kasdan fights against it, or the group is forced to accept it. And basically, they are forced to accept some of his ideas (like get rid of the lava-pyramid imperial capital planet) because Lucas couldn't think of anything better. And he really wanted to keep the Ewoks, which potentially caused some structural problems in ROTJ's story.
    --- Double Post Merged, Jun 23, 2020, Original Post Date: Jun 23, 2020 ---
    Now that I have your attention I shall move on to part 2. Bear with me.

    Okay, so my argument starts as follows:
    ANH- with some logical issues, at least a few> TESB- with little retcon and a slightly greater degree of logical issues > ROTJ- lots of retcon and logical issues, especially through repetition of altered/same dialogue.
    The snowball hits hard by ROTJ arrives, in other words.
    A lot of people are willing to make ROTJ their base, since it was the last film in the OT.

    There is one quote that stands out to me in ROTJ, that if it weren't for a scholastic promotion (I believe of the 1997 special editions back in the day) of SW magazines, that I wouldn't have even have paid attention to this quote from ROTJ. Han says this during his meeting with Chewbacca in Jabba's palace:

    HAN: "Luke? Luke's crazy. He can't even take care of himself, much less rescue anybody."

    Which is the point of the film, and I think a line that only justifies what happens at the throne room scene later in the film. Also, it is shown that Han is "wrong" by Luke "saving" the group at the Sarlacc pit, which is all well said and done, except that Luke's great plan, in the end, was just to throw the bad guys into the pit, according to The Making of ROTJ book. So, Luke DID have a plan, and that plan was "throw the bad guys into a pit".

    Okay.

    I'd argue that the ROTJ throne scene is one of the worst scenes I have seen in SW, and it has taken me some time to come to this conclusion. The more I think about it, the worse it generally gets (except for Vader's determination during the scene before the fight).

    Many fans don't share this opinion, I have noticed on account of a specific set of alternating major-minor chords during the scene. In other words, the forty seconds of bliss that even I admit I get chills from. Also, the long and sustained and somewhat unique right to left panning shot with Hamill struggling to fight against Vader and overpowering him in the end.

    Okay, but does that still mean that the scene makes coherent sense?

    No.

    It does not.

    Well, to be fair, I guess it depicts Luke as finally getting mad at Vader, although is nothing new from TESB, with Luke's "I'll never join you!". And the really, really wonky thing is that it depicts Lucas' vision of Luke almost going to the dark side, but Lucas utilizes the symbolism of the red lights on a pillar. Also, Lucas equates if Luke accepted the emperor's offer then Luke would have gone to hell, which I think says volumes about the scene's potentially actual intent. It's not so much about Vader's redemption and Luke genuinely realizing what he's done is wrong, it's do good, refuse the emperor, or go to hell and become a heartless and uncompassionate machine-man like your father was.

    And this is why I find it difficult to emphasize with individuals who say that it's heroic or noble of Luke to defend his dad or say that's he's a true Jedi. Also, One Dodgy Dude notes that this is a repetition in the film itself, which I agree with. I also believe that it's a (possible although probably unintentional) repetition of TESB's sacrifice scene with Luke from him jumping to his supposed end. In the original film, Luke does this soundlessly, in ROTJ, Luke monologues.

    And frankly, the taunt of Leia somehow turning to the dark side, is a really poor reason for Luke to consider going to the dark side.
     
    #1 The Birdwatcher, Jun 23, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2020
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  2. Embo and His Pet Anooba

    Embo and His Pet Anooba Rebel General

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    I LOVE COSMONAUT VARIETY HOUR! Anyway, yeah, nobody really critiques ROTJ. Han, who in my opinion was the best character in ANH and ESB, completely changed. The rescue scene made no sense, and i also have always thought it funny that people thought that Luke did almost no wrong, but he seemed to force choke two (innocent?) gamorean guards.
     
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  3. Andrew Waples

    Andrew Waples Jedi General

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    The whole point of the dark cloak was to show that Luke had dark side tendencies.
    --- Double Post Merged, Jun 23, 2020, Original Post Date: Jun 23, 2020 ---
    I get so tired of fandom hyperbole sometimes: "no, this thing ruined X or this thing ruined Y."
     
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  4. Flyboy

    Flyboy Force Attuned

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    I'd stop short of calling it the destruction of Star Wars, but I do think it's a frustrating movie... and I'm gonna leave it at that.
     
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  5. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Jedi General

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    Hmmm... to each their own. I certainly have no reason to convince you to like the film, but I will say that ROTJ is my favorite Star Wars and I also like the Sequels. Which I guess is circumstantial, though I think linking things in the reverse is as well.

    Just for discussion's sake though, what irks you about the Throne Room?

    It seems, if I understand, that the threat of the dark side maybe doesn't feel genuine to you?

    I can understand that from an audience standpoint that it's rather obvious Luke wouldn't fall to the dark (even if that was still an option on the table) but I've always thought the film did a good job balancing this threat in the film.

    Luke is driven by competing compassions- his friends, the Rebels, his father, the Jedi.

    He cares about the Rebels and wants them to win, but he also knows he needs to continue in the tradition of the Jedi (Battlefront II's campaign does a good job further exploring why this dichotomy can be frustrating for him, but in the movies look no further than him yeeting off to Dagobah after the retreat at Hoth).

    Then there's his father, who he fears both as a dark lord and yet sympathizes for as a fallen father and former Jedi.

    And finally, his friends- perhaps Luke's deepest attachment, and also his greatest weakness.

    ROTJ teases Luke's potential fall to darkness early on- his confidence, his black attire, even a force choke against a Gamorrean. He's far more like the arrogant Imperial officers than the scrappy Rebels, at least in Jabba's Palace. And that's why I think the sail barge scene is important- sure it's kind of silly, but it allows for the tension to deflate for a moment, with Luke and friends in a swashbuckling heist.

    Then, Luke is so confident in his ability to turn Vader that he surrenders to him. A move that's both a bit of a power play and one that simultaneously strips him of power in the scenario.

    In the Throne Room, we see Luke play only defending himself. Not unlike Bespin, maybe- but this time, it's not because he's utterly outmatched, but because he's trying to save his father. It's really almost a reversal of the Bespin fight, where Vader was holding back punches to bring Luke in alive. Definitely a moral victory for Luke, here.

    Palpatine taunts Luke with the threats to what he holds dear- the end of the Rebellion, Luke becoming his apprentice and ending the Jedi line, etc. But it's not until Vader threatens Luke's greatest weakness in his friends (specifically his sister) that Luke gives into the dark. And if the Dark Side is an analogy for hell, then what Luke is doing is a sacrifice- he's giving in to the pain and suffering so that Leia and his friends won't have to. And through it, he's able to overcome Vader.

    Yet., the Dark Side is not strength in and of itself. Sure, it helped him win a fight, but if he had struck Vader down then he would have lost, both morally and literally (the likely superior Palpatine would've overwhelmed him). Instead, standing at the cusp of victory, Luke throws his saber.

    And that's what matters.

    Because that's what defeated Vader. That's what brought Anakin back. Already shaken to his core, this act of mercy showed Vader how wrong he was. To say that this is just a rehash of what happened at Bespin... I just don't think I can agree with that.
     
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  6. Viper78

    Viper78 Rebel General

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    ROTJ is the weakest of the OT but still better than any Star Wars that has come since.
     
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  7. Flyboy

    Flyboy Force Attuned

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    I think saying, "It's obvious Luke wasn't gonna fall to the dark side" is revisionist. In a post ROTJ world and after being teased the same thing with other characters, it's extremely easy to say, "Well obviously Luke wasn't gonna turn!" But being in that theater in 1983, with Star Wars still being so new and without any tropes, I don't see how someone could be so confident that Luke wasn't gonna turn. Especially considering, like you said, it very much was on the table at one point.
     
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  8. eeprom

    eeprom Force Sensitive

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    I’m reading a lot of generalities and links to other people’s thoughts. What are your thoughts? What specifically do you think is poor with the movie? If you want to engage and have an earnest discussion with peers on this topic, you should probably provide specific examples and supporting evidence of your own. Not what some YouTubers had to say.
    Can you please cite some of these retcons and logical issues so they can be examined in greater detail?
    Can you expand on how you came to this conclusion? Because it shares similar beats with their encounter in ESB, despite the context being wildly and deliberately different?
     
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  9. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Jedi General

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    Agreed as well!

    Audiences certainly weren't idiots in the past, but I think this HBO generation has really changed how a lot of people watch movies. We're more trained to expect massive plot twists, including major character deaths.

    But part of every movie-going experience involves the suspension of disbelief that conflict is a threat. The "dark middle chapter" often delivers on that tenfold, but in the finale of a trilogy we can pretty reasonably expect that the good guys are gonna win. There might be sacrifice, but ultimately it's very rare for a trilogy to end in utter defeat. And Star Wars is not gonna do that (until the prequels I guess, but that was predictable as well).


    And to reiterate, this is almost every single trilogy and series. It's not unique to Star Wars or ROTJ. Like, can you imagine being upset that it was obvious the Ring would be destroyed in Return of the King, or that Thanos would be defeated in Endgame?

    I dunno, but I do think it's kinda silly to call a 40 year old movie "predictable", when the given example isn't all that different than what we're getting today.
     
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  10. The Birdwatcher

    The Birdwatcher Clone Commander

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    I think part of the problem has to do with how wrapping up Star Wars in Return of the Jedi is rushed. At one point Lucas did really want to end it here, I think.



    The rescue scene almost seems to be improv from the writers. You have to understand, along with any other person (and I've come to realize that this perspective could be important when understanding the content of a plot) that with the production of a film or video game, especially, where collaboration between multiple members that a product is being made, not just a film. I think that the thing that could terrify SW fans is how ROTJ was especially constructed. THERE WAS LITERALLY NO PLAN during the 1981 July story board meeting, just several ideas being thrown at the wall from Kasdan, Lucas, and Marquand. It would have been better if Lucas had taken the earliest drafts before that meeting and primarily utilized them for the film (and cut out the sister plot twist). (Some parts from the drafts are used in the actual film, but there is more consistency between TESB and ROTJ in the early drafts). It's hardly different than how Disney Star Wars seems to have been produced, except Disney has more of a board room environment and may be more controlling.

    Worse yet, they didn't really have the time (from what I've read), the money, and Kasdan and Lucas were at odds with one another.

    This is how some of the Jabba's palace scene with its major beats were constructed.
    Revenge of the Jedi Story conference transcript, July 13 to July 17, 1981- summary.- from The Making of Return of the Jedi
    (Lucas, Marquand, Kasdan, and Kazanjian are present)
    p. 62
    Lucas: We have a few ideas and things. It's very rough. What we are going to do is discuss it in general terms and then Richard and Joe [Johnston] and everybody are going to have to go out and storyboard it, and then we''ll come back and fill in the blanks. (Lucas then addresses Kasdan). You don't have to write the action parts. We'll just describe them in a very general way.
    Marquand: The only thing that we have changed is the ion cannon. Now there is an enormous dish.
    p. 66
    Marquand: Can I suggest that Lando is actually in Jabba's in disguise, that he has infiltrated?
    Kasdan: The real problem is to figure out a plan; if you figure out a plan you can stick those people wherever you want.
    Marquand: What if the next arrrival is Chewie in chains, with a bounty hunter, which is in fact Leia dressed up. Luke's not there yet.
    Lucas: I could go with that.
    Marquand: I think if you go along with that idea, then she could be discovered, which is why she is then turned into a dancing girl. That would be neat.
    Kasdan: Then you don't have to deal too much with how Luke was going to use Chewie. He just wanted him to be there. We have to give Chewie something meaningful to do, but it may be physical.
    Lucas: The only thing that makes me nervous, is that it's the same trick that they used to get Leia out of the Death Star, which was to dress Chewie up as a prisoner.

    The one positive thing I can get out of this exchange is Lucas' awareness of repeating himself. He doesn't like repetition in the script, but he is later forced into it, because creatively they are out of ideas, wants to keep the Ewoks as the second phase of the film, and they don't have the budget or time for the imperial city-lava planet.

    Lucas' idea that Lucasfilm can just cover up the details or fill them in to cover up or explain major story beats, I think has impacted the film. These main story beats have to relevant to the characters and make sense first, but Lucas is hoping that the group can correct it later, apparently. I don't think that has really worked much in the film.
    Kasdan seems to be hit or miss with his involvement. I disagree with his "plan" idea; the characters need to be set in relevant positions, not just thrown in there. Also, he is aware to use Chewie meaningfully, which Chewie does have a meaningful scene with Han in the film, one of the very few parts of the film that I actually enjoy. It might be even the best part of the film for me.

    I don't judge fans, but they have been trusting in this creative process that produced a large chunk of ROTJ for at least 37 years now.
     
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  11. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Jedi General

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    That's definitely an interesting transcript, but is it that radically different than typical storyboarding for an ensemble cast? (I ask because I genuinely don't know, and have only my own assumptions and comparisons to far smaller creative endeavors I've been a part of).

    And perhaps my trust in the process is too high, but my personal satisfaction with the end result kinda validates that for me. Of course, that'll vary on an individual basis.
     
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  12. eeprom

    eeprom Force Sensitive

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    To echo @cawatrooper, is it really relevant to the quality of the end product how exactly the sausage was made? ‘The Wizard of Oz’, for example, had one of the most grotesquely mismanaged productions in cinema history. That it turned out watchable at all is itself miraculous, let alone the unassailable and cherished classic it’s become.

    ROTJ was the result of roundtable spit-balling based on George’s very vague concepts? OK. Are you saying that’s why the movie doesn’t work? That it was fractured and ill-conceived from the beginning and the end result is a reflection of that? Are you saying that the ‘rescue Han’ plot of the first act is nonsensical or too derivative? That it’s this perceivably haphazard approach to the script construction that led there?
     
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  13. The Hero With No Fear

    The Hero With No Fear Jedi General

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    I don’t know where this idea that every movie and series has to be completely mapped out from the beginning came from.

    I’m guessing it has something to do with the great success Marvel has had with that sort of thing, but even then, plenty of ideas changed late in the game with those films.

    Sure, the Sequel Trilogy as a whole could’ve benefitted from a more coherent plan, but not adhering to a pre-planned storyline is kinda the Star Wars way. Plenty of late changes have been made throughout the saga.
    • It’s widely known that the original Star Wars film was saved in the editing room. It could’ve been a colossal failure if it had been cut differently. (Stuff like Tosche Station would’ve killed the pacing and made it a completely different film.)
    • We all know that the Vader twist in ESB was a last minute change during filming.
    • The script for Attack of the Clones wasn’t finished until shortly before production began. Order 66 also didn’t happen in this film like it was originally planned to at one point, so the title doesn’t really make much sense now.
    • Anakin turned to the dark side quite earlier on in Revenge of the Sith than he did in the final cut. He would’ve been present during the “it’s treason then” scene and Sheev would’ve used Anakin’s lightsaber against Mace and the Jedi Masters.
    • A large amount of Rogue One was re-shot and changed, as well as the near-entirety of Solo. Despite their imperfect productions, fans tend to really like both of these spin-off films despite the latter’s poor box office returns.
    A lot of your points about the actual story and themes seem like a rather reductive way of viewing them. @eeprom and @cawatrooper did a far better job explaining why then I ever could.

    I do appreciate getting such an original point of view in here though. It’s far less common to see people critique the Originals compared to any of the other Star Wars films, let alone considering one of them to be flat-out bad.
     
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  14. DarthSnow

    DarthSnow Master of Coin
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    I'm pretty sure the documentary behind Lucas and ANH echoed the same. The crew and anyone watching the raw footage didn't believe they even had a movie on their hands. It was "saved" in the editing room, and by the effects team and musical score.

    Look at it from a different angle... Lucas was more than willing to listen to his team and take their creative input for some of the "less impactful" parts of the story line. That he was not authoritarian on every aspect of the OT may lend more to its greatness than it does to take away from it. I'm by no means a Lucas expert, but the way I understand it things were a bit different by the time the prequels came along and he had nothing but "yes men" and look how those were received for comparison's sake.
     
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  15. The Birdwatcher

    The Birdwatcher Clone Commander

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    Most of what these Youtubers say are part of my current opinion.

    What I specifically dislike in ROTJ:

    -The emperor's cartoon characterization and his threat as "the big bad", as tv tropes.com would say.


    The Rusty Cheeseknife expands on this characterization, which I hadn’t considered before watching his video.


    The emperor, despite some great acting and line delivery from Ian, at times is too goofy to accept as the big bad guy. You could wrap up all the goofiness in the new SW trilogy, and the emperor would still eclipse it, just because of how rock-bottom some of these lines go.


    There is also evidence that an idea used for Vader- "You have controlled your fear- now release your anger, only your hatred can destroy me!" was utilized for the emperor's character in ROTJ

    So, I heavily dislike the transposition of themes and ideas from Vader to the emperor. I feels like Lucas and co. are watering Vader down. The only thing he really says is "give into the dark side, it is the only way". If he means to Luke to give into his hate, okay then, but Vader's still not being specific about it.


    Lines in Empire that Vader uses, such as, “Join me, and I will complete your training”, are rendered obsolete by the emperor’s statement of:

    EMPEROR (to Luke)

    I'm looking forward to completing your training. In time you will call

    me Master.

    The shift is towards the emperor, but the problem is, the emperor has little connection to Luke, besides having said to have been behind it all- the conversion of his father, the empire, the destruction of the rebels, etc. It rings pretty hollow if you ask me. I mean you could call the guy, Gary Billy Bob Smith, who happened to acquire force powers and get elected, and everyone in the empire just follows his orders with no qualms (except for Jerjerrod, apparently). Like why should Luke even care about what this guy says, besides being a dictator.


    In contrast to Vader’s role and offer to Luke, which is WAY more relevant and personal, and actually challenges Luke. A. Vader’s offer flips the table on its head, revealing that Luke’s father, whom Luke has wondered about, is still alive. B. Vader offers the empire and the galaxy to Luke; the emperor merely says for Luke to join him; it is unclear if Luke will actually rule with the emperor, although it may be implied. C. Vader offers to fulfill the remaining need of being his last family member, since Uncle Own and Aunt Beru are dead. Also, Luke’s best friend is dead, so the only friends that he has left are the rebellion and Han, Leia, and Chewbacca. Until ROTJ revealed that Luke had a sister, Luke had a need to connection with a family member.

    The emperor’s offer is basically power and possibly ruling with Luke. That’s it. That’s all he does to seduce Luke. The emperor tries to wipe the floor clean by saying- “oh yeah, your friends- oh yeah their gonna die soon, so you better join me anyway, or you’ll die or end up in jail.” To make this appeal to Luke. It’s inevitable that the rebels (all of them???) are going to die, so join me.


    It’s a dumb appeal. You have to assume (and Reviews from the North pointed this out in his now defunct review) that Luke would have to first believe that the emperor is even telling the truth about it. Also, Luke only fights back against the emperor’s words once, and doesn’t really react to the news (or try to warn his friends, as Reviews pointed out), he just anxiously stares out the window as the Death Star II (slowly kills off rebel ships, which don’t really move), and then accepts the emperor’s claim by attacking him.


    The deleted scene in ROTJ with Vader calling out to Luke, saying “Luuuuke, Luuuuke, join me on the dark side of the force. It is your destiny.” may also avoid Vader desiring to complete Luke’s training, but it is unclear.


    So, the emperor is also utilized as an inferior substitute for Vader. That grates on my nerves, because it takes away from Vader’s characterization. I would put TESB Vader in my top five villains/antagonists in any media, but Vader is ripped apart in this film.


    -I really dislike the throne room scene. It's uncreative compared to the multi-set Bespin chamber/Cloud City and even Luke and Leia and co. escaping the Death Star in A New Hope. It's Luke and Vader literally stuck in a room with an old guy, while focusing on Luke's supposed tension with turning to the dark side. Vader and Luke are just there, and the old guy (annoyingly) tries to seduce Luke (rather pathetically compared to TESB Vader). If I was Luke, I'd probably just facepalm myself the whole time while he was rattling on about "the dark side", "it is your destiny", and ignore him.


    -ROTJ Luke,- second to my dislike of the emperor


    I don’t like imitation Luke. I don’t. I want the real thing. In ROTJ, Luke imitates both Obi-wan and Vader, scarcely being his own character at times. He’s less whiny, which might be why some people like him more, and I think is supposed to show his “patience and maturity”. But if there’s anything that I’ve learned from The Angry Birds Movie, it’s that questioning things isn’t a bad thing, and ROTJ Luke questions things far less than ANH and TESB Luke. In essence, he becomes a “Jedi” “good-guy” robot, whose automation actually leads to some bad things happening in the film (such as, deciding to not kill the emperor, when it was the right choice).


    And when Luke isn’t imitating Obi-wan and Vader, he is often scared or nervous, without showing much other emotion. At least Luke still cracked a smile after he was in the recovery wing at the end of TESB. Of course, Luke’s fear in ROTJ is basically Luke being scared of Vader, being scared of being forced to kill Vader, since he desires to graduate from Jedi college, or going to the dark side. At the same time when Luke actually meets Vader, he is completely chill about it, even having a nice “family chat” with Vader on the bridge, with Luke switching from stoic to desperation (“Let go of your hate!”) at times. I think TESB Luke would speak more gingerly (as Luke DID at the end of TESB) in his interactions with Vader or be more emotionally involved.


    -Destroying/ignoring Vader's motivation and making him more passive (in order to defer to the emperor as the big bad, apparently)

    What is TESB Vader’s motivation at the film’s end? To “end this destructive conflict [the rebels]and bring order to the galaxy” and “rule the galaxy as father and son”. Both of these ideas are largely ignored in ROTJ. These two ideas are also some of my favorite from the OT and Star Wars period.


    Also, there is less “evil” imagery associated with Vader in ROTJ. There’s no snake metaphor from TESB (“You would become a servant of evil”- Obi-wan says as Luke gets near/removes a snake near his X-wing as he decides to leave, associating Vader with the snake, which was considered, as The Making of The Empire Strikes Back says). There’s no storyboard saying that Vader briefly flies like the devil in Cloud City when he jumps. The Exorcist-style chucking objects at Luke in Cloud City. The only thing I can think of is the red lights metaphor/imagery on the pillar, but I think that’s probably more to do with Luke and the fact that “He might fall to the dark side-AHH!” mentality that ROTJ has in throne room.


    Often camera angles, like when Luke stands over Vader, show Vader as being weak (Thank goodness, Vader gets up and “brushes himself off”, so to speak during the throne room scene when Luke is being electrocuted.). We don’t have any really powerful close-ups of Vader besides when he initially gets off of his shuttle at the film’s beginning.


    -Leia being changed to being more motherly/overtly feminine- It wasn't really the point in ANH and TESB. Leia usually had nerves of steel (except when it came her feelings about Han in TESB). And her mentality was even compared (Han says in a deleted TESB scene) to the coldness of Hoth. In ROTJ, Leia's being kind to the Ewoks and needing to be held in typical Hollywood/romantic fashion to Han when Luke leaves (which is more understandable in Han's case).


    -Han being sighted to function more as comic relief. He's making wisecracks before Jabba when he could be killed for his punishment. Way different than in Empire when he took things seriously when he was put into the Carbon Freeze, was upset/scared when he saw Vader at Cloud City, and got upset at Lando after being tortured.
     
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  16. Snazel

    Snazel Force Sensitive

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    This thread makes me sad. Return of the Jedi is a beautiful film. It was always Carrie's favorite of all of them. It also is the only American action film I can think of where the primary protagonist wins by throwing his weapon away and refusing to fight. So it has a poetic theme to it all.

    Return of the Jedi did nothing but make the brand even more delightful.

    And Star Wars isn't dead or dying or ruined either. It's a multi-billion dollar brand, bigger and stronger than it's ever been in its history. Miles beyond anyone's conception in 1983, I know I was there.
     
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  17. The Birdwatcher

    The Birdwatcher Clone Commander

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    My point was, as SW fans seem to believe that there needs to be a clear-cut plan, but as others here have noticed, Star Wars was edited into being a film.

    Some of it was ill-conceived. I still actually like the initial rough draft summary of the film, with Vader sticking to his guns, to the point where is he willing to let Luke kill him in order to inherit half the galaxy with the emperor. He really wants a legacy, and I admire that; it's reflective of TESB Vader, without destroying the character and making him into a victim (of the emperor), which ROTJ, at least partially does. Also, Vader's being a "victim" is something carried and emphasized in the prequels and even utilized for Kylo Ren's character, which is nuts. To what point, can these characters not be responsible for their own actions? (This is why I like TLJ Kylo Ren; it might be others' fault, but Kylo still chooses his own path and to do evil at the end.).

    I do think that there was spit-balling involved. What I posted was just a small bit (seriously, everyone should find a copy somewhere of the book) of a larger transcript, we have an instance where Lucas decides to make Vader's motivation implicit just to save a plot twist at the end of the film, where Vader kills the emperor, even though it was explicitly said in the last film that Vader wanted Luke to kill the emperor. It's unnecessary drama.

    Yes, I think that there was a haphazard approach to to the script consultation; it's toss some ideas up-fill in the blanks, cross one's fingers and hope it's logical. The rescue Han plot is nonsensical, and I only posted a part of it. There's more of what Lucas says:

    p. 67- Lucas:What Luke want to do is get on that barge and the only way he can do it is as a prisoner. He has to become a prisoner and Chewie has to become a prisoner; they have to unfreeze Han and they all have to be at the same execution, which is what his plan is. He figures once he kills the rancor, then they have to go into the pit. ....

    The plan is, "I am going to knock everybody overboard into the pit and we're going take off" ...

    Kasdan: You can assume that Luke's plan is multilayered....

    So, the primary plan was for Luke to knock the bad guys into the pit. I'm surprised that a lot of people say that Luke had no plan. Actually, he did have one, it's just how it was organized. Apparently, Luke was to negotiate and give Jabba multiple instances of giving up Han to show "Luke's mercy and his role as a strong Jedi". The problem is that Luke threatens the lives of many friends, gambling on their safety in order to rescue just one friend. Maybe Leia, Lando, and Chewie were okay with this and even created the plan, but their safety is still at risk.

    Luke has no real reason not to immediately kill Jabba, especially if he decided to choke the guards. If his approach is nonviolence, then why the violence at the beginning? Self-defense? Maybe? Also, if getting knocked into the pit equates to 1000 years of slow suffering or at least slow suffering, then why not just kill Jabba (and Jabba is actually given a merciful death in comparison) and his cronies to begin with to to be more merciful. They deserve it for other crimes, right?
     
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  18. eeprom

    eeprom Force Sensitive

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    Much obliged. Definitely appreciate the time you spent putting this together.
    What ROTJ decides to do is reposition Luke’s conflict internally rather than externally. Our hero isn’t fighting a person, he’s fighting an idea. He’s fighting the darkside. This notion is personified with the Emperor. The Emperor is the outward expression of the evil of the Empire, Luke’s father, and Luke himself. He isn’t really a character. He’s the abstract aspect that has to be resisted and ultimately rejected. “You don't know the power of the dark side. I must obey my master.” They’re one in the same.
    The temptation is to Luke’s attachment to his friends. “Bury your feelings deep down, Luke. They do you credit, but they could be made to serve the emperor.” Luke doesn’t care about power or ruling. He doesn’t even care if he lives or dies. “Soon I'll be dead, and you with me.” He does care about what happens to the friends he believed he was safeguarding by leaving behind. Only to discover they’re now being used as leverage against him. To save them, he has to kill the Emperor. To kill the Emperor, he has to go through his father. To do that, he has to knowingly sacrifice his humanity and embrace the darkness. That’s the dilemma. It’s an evolution from ESB, not a reiteration or redefinition.
    Shifting to the Emperor reveals that Vader, despite his depictions earlier in the series, is really nothing more than a sad slave to his hate and anguish. He's suffering. “It is too late for me, son.” It serves to coax sentiments of sympathy and soften reception as redemption for the character is eventually what’s driving to be achieved.
    The crux to ROTJ is that Luke fundamentally disagrees with Obi-Wan’s assessment of his father “He's more machine now than man, twisted and evil.” He directly questions his mentor, his teachings, and is entirely vindicated for it. “I can't kill my own father.” “Then the emperor has already won.” It’s put in pretty uncertain terms: to defeat the Emperor, Luke must kill his father. Which, as it turns out, is exactly what the Emperor himself wants. Luke rejects both and forges his own path forward.
    Some would call that attitude ‘Zen’. Remember what Luke was there to do: convince his father or die trying. He had supreme confidence the attack on DS2 would be successful. If Vader takes him to the Emperor aboard the space station, then that’s the end. It’s a one way trip. Luke went to confront his father fully prepared to die. That’s what Leia finds him mulling over at the teddy bear treehouse of silliness. That’s why he’s so troubled. “If I don't make it back, you're the only hope for the Alliance.” Yeah, he’s chill. He’s come to terms with his fate and is prepared to die.
    Leia, and Carrie Fisher, gets the short shrift in ROTJ. No doubt. Her role was reduced to prop up Ford. So Han, who was otherwise superfluous after his rescue, would have something to do. Kind of criminal. She uses the chains of her bondage to throttle her oppressor . . . that’s something. Otherwise, pretty inexcusable. No argument here.
    This isn’t something I want to cite since it’s my absolute least favorite moment in all of Star Wars, but Han’s demeanor there is completely consistent with that abortion of a scene added back to ANH. That god awful sequence has our nerf herder dictate terms to Jabba, step on his tail, patronize to his face, and then bugger right off scot-free. I’d rather it didn’t track, but it does.

    To be clear, I definitely feel ROTJ is the least of the OT. There’s a lot of things I wish had been handled better, but it’s far from awful. I very much respect your opinion and how you came to it though. I’m approaching it from a much different place than you I think.
     
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  19. The Birdwatcher

    The Birdwatcher Clone Commander

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    Sorry, I didn't mean to make you feel sad. (Honestly). I didn't want to be negative either, but just critical in the analysis of the film. I still appreciate and like the effort that was put into the film (they used a Xerox printer to make a Tie Fighter shot!), and their are a lot of beautiful shots in the film.

    Marquand's usefulness is in his approach towards lighting, in which he uses shadows to deftly show the action- Jabba's barge when Leia chokes Jabba, the throne room when Vader is hunting down Luke, etc. And he does come up with an interesting idea in the script form time to time.

    I try to be careful when using the term "ruined", since a lot of fans are using it. Sometimes, it's more of a misunderstanding towards a scene. (i.e. People critquing Portman's reaction to Anakin killing not just the men but the women and the children, too.) It's possible that a scene in which Anakin confessing to his act of killing people is just awkward for the other party, and it's best to be silent about it.

    I'd argue that there are things in TESB that have hurt the franchise. Obi-wan making wisecracks at Vader in ANH is weird, too, but people have accepted it.

    "It also is the only American action film I can think of where the primary protagonist wins by throwing his weapon away and refusing to fight."

    Disagree. I know that's the point of the film, and the point that nearly everyone assumes is true. I understand Pikachu not wanting to fight his clone because it solves nothing, and Pikachu is taking a stand. I even understand Captain America not fighting against Bucky in The Winter Soldier, since they were friends and cared for each other once. I don't understand this scene because of the emperor. If it was a private battle, and Luke realized that what he was doing was wrong, it would have been stronger. The problem is the "dark side" is involved, Luke's opportunity to "go to the dark side" is stressed over genuine love/compassion for Vader. It's the fear that Luke may

    It was stronger earlier in the film when Luke said, "Father, I won't fight you". Granted, Vader's relationship to Luke is marginal, and I believe that's why he seems only curious about Luke going to the dark side/having Luke join him later. He doesn't even know if Luke is powerful or not until he jumps out of the carbon freezing pit. ("Perhaps, you're not as strong as the emperor thought...").

    So, Luke wins by disarming himself. Okay. I would think you mean win by not giving in to the dark side. Which technically was already done when Luke was at his most extreme end in TESB, he was offered power, family, a life (being spared from the Cloud City pit), potentially being forced into the dark side through torture/other means, and galactic domination with Vader, and he chose to jump to his death. Now, is it fine for ROTJ to stress this point again that Luke will sacrifice himself?

    I think Luke being sacrificial in ROTJ is noble, and it appeals to a lot of people. Nevertheless, Luke has nothing to win if he dies in ROTJ, now that I think of it. He assumes that Death Star II will possibly kill all of the rebels, so is Luke dying for nothing? In TESB, he was dying for his friends/the rebellion, in ROTJ, it's because "that's who I am"! A noble gesture, but a potentially pointless one.

    Also, if Luke's friends die, he gives up? Why not give justice to the emperor or save other planets under duress from the empire?

    Reviews said in his review (and this shocked me when I first watched it) that he thought that Luke's character was ruined when he just gave up instead of killing the emperor, who would have gone and killed his friends or the rest of the rebellion if he had survived. If Luke really cared about his friends he would have killed the emperor. I can understand with him having compassion on Vader for it being a family member (I would better if it was actually done out of love, instead of fear for Luke's self/afterlife/destiny. To be honest, it kind of makes Luke to be selfish to decide not to kill Vader out of possibly going to the dark side and being stuck there, at least for a while- because it's inevitable?). But why not kill the emperor after he decides to spare Vader? It's not in his character, then, as a "Jedi"?

    There is actually a reason for not killing the emperor as well. In the Making of Return of the Jedi, I believe, Lucas states that the worst thing that one can do is the kill an innocent man, especially a disarmed or helpless one. This is shown with both the emperor and Vader, when he is held at Luke's mercy. The emperor taunts Luke with the fact that he is "unarmed", in order to have him fight Vader. The only reason why Vader permits it is because Vader and the emperor had a pre-arranged discussion where if Luke were to try to strike the emperor down, Vader would parry. So, in short, Vader only attacks Luke because he assumes that the emperor would force lightning Luke out of oblivion/attack Luke, even though I think this would momentarily take the focus off of Vader. Also, the emperor would be mad with Vader and probably would have hurt/killed him if he failed to parry. What if Vader had combined attacks with Luke, then? In early drafts (and the novelization), Luke uses the force to shield himself from the emperor's force lightning. So, Luke could have been electrocuted, Vader could take action/and or create a shield, and then Luke recovers and kills the emperor.

    So, the emperor gets away with Luke or Vader not killing him because he is OP, essentially. There is no other real reason.

    Luke only doesn't kill the emperor/has moral qualms about killing him because he assumes that the emperor is unarmed, and this is supposed to be the worst thing that one can do. Except that a. the emperor isn't innocent at all and deserves justice for what he's done, even in the OT. b. the emperor is shown to be armed "with the force" and "with his army" before he zaps Luke. The emperor is lying to create inner conflict when there should be none.

    You can call it a win by refusing to fight, but that's the point. It's the reason why so many people are upset with the line from Rose; "That's how we're going to win. Not by killing what we hate, but saving what we love". How do you save your friends without killing or disarming the opposition, a target who can threaten and give bodily harm to your friends? Do you stall for time with illusions and tricks? This idea probably comes from ROTJ (and personally, it stinks of ROTJ's logic).

    Star Wars isn't dead, dying, or ruined. But it has been broken and glued back together many, many times. Leia was once Luke's love interest, now she's his sister. Plot threads have been abandoned. Vader was once only seduced by the dark side, now it's the emperor that drove the good out of him as well as him being seduced by the dark side.

    I guess one can't take Star Wars seriously? There's too much going on that's inconsistent.
    --- Double Post Merged, Jun 25, 2020, Original Post Date: Jun 25, 2020 ---
    Agree 100%. But this is why I have a hard time with the emperor's character. In TESB, the emperor was still a person; he gets afraid of Luke's potential power and debates things with Vader. Almost like co-rulers. There's still an idea of co-rulers (actually I believe Lucas wanted to emphasize the relationship between Vader and the emperor more in this way from The Making of The Return of the Jedi), in ROTJ, but for some reason, Vader is intent on being submissive to the emperor, even in the deleted scene with him choking Jerjerrod, he puts his hand on his chest in sympathy as soon as the emperor's mentioned. Maybe Vader was making a power play by doing that, but it's unclear. He's more of an idea, the "it is your destiny" idea that rings during Luke's training with Yoda and the film's end, with Vader saying, "it is your destiny". But it robs the emperor of being a character, and ironically, it makes the emperor to be the ultimate machine.

    The ROTJ emperor, I find, is part Vader, possibly part Tarkin by his belief in the Battle Station (totally the opposite of Vader), and part theme of "it is your destiny, Luke. You will turn to the dark side- because it's in your blood, and it happened to your father".

    "The temptation is to Luke’s attachment to his friends. “Bury your feelings deep down, Luke. They do you credit, but they could be made to serve the emperor.” Luke doesn’t care about power or ruling. He doesn’t even care if he lives or dies. “Soon I'll be dead, and you with me.” He does care about what happens to the friends he believed he was safeguarding by leaving behind. Only to discover they’re now being used as leverage against him. To save them, he has to kill the Emperor. To kill the Emperor, he has to go through his father. To do that, he has to knowingly sacrifice his humanity and embrace the darkness. That’s the dilemma. It’s an evolution from ESB, not a reiteration or redefinition."

    Why leave at all? Luke was trusting that the Ewoks and other rebels could keep themselves safe, but no one else knows how to use the force, and (from Luke's perspective) Vader could have easily commanded a search party to be conducted if he had left. Luke was taking a big risk.

    "Shifting to the Emperor reveals that Vader, despite his depictions earlier in the series, is really nothing more than a sad slave to his hate and anguish. He's suffering. “It is too late for me, son.” It serves to coax sentiments of sympathy and soften reception as redemption for the character is eventually what’s driving to be achieved."

    Which is dumb. I don't even know if Vader, for all his talk about hatred being able to destroy one in TESB, really emphasized this, as much as he did control, with his determination to find Luke throughout the film.

    I think that Vader's redemption could have been better handled, too. I don't buy Vader's redemption in ROTJ anymore; I used to. If I had seen him actually decide to fight for the rebels, it would have been more believable in ROTJ. I believe his redemption in the first rough draft summary for ROTJ, though. Vader really wants Luke to inherit the empire to the point of having Luke kill him in order to do so. Luke refuses, honorably, by tossing his lightsaber to Vader. The emperor then wants Vader to kill Luke. Vader is reluctant about this, so the emperor then proceeds to electrocute Luke. Then, at some point, Vader pushes the emperor and himself into the lava part of throne room, killing them both.

    The crux to ROTJ is that Luke fundamentally disagrees with Obi-Wan’s assessment of his father “He's more machine now than man, twisted and evil.” He directly questions his mentor, his teachings, and is entirely vindicated for it. “I can't kill my own father.” “Then the emperor has already won.” It’s put in pretty uncertain terms: to defeat the Emperor, Luke must kill his father. Which, as it turns out, is exactly what the Emperor himself wants. Luke rejects both and forges his own path forward.

    Yes, this is Lucas' point. (I've heard this before). But why not kill the emperor instead? The option is do nothing?

    "Some would call that attitude ‘Zen’. Remember what Luke was there to do: convince his father or die trying. He had supreme confidence the attack on DS2 would be successful. If Vader takes him to the Emperor aboard the space station, then that’s the end. It’s a one way trip. Luke went to confront his father fully prepared to die. That’s what Leia finds him mulling over at the teddy bear treehouse of silliness. That’s why he’s so troubled. “If I don't make it back, you're the only hope for the Alliance.” Yeah, he’s chill. He’s come to terms with his fate and is prepared to die."

    He was pretty chill/poker face during the transmission and negotiating with Jabba, too. Maybe that's necessary for negotiations. And when the group went to the Sarlacc pit- "don't worry, I have a plan", Luke was calm, perhaps too much.

    It's also to create drama that "Ahh, Luke might die!" by emphasizing that Leia's the only hope for the rebellion, despite her not knowing how to use the force well at all, beside sensing Luke in TESB.

    Otherwise, nice observation about Luke at the tree house storytime. I always thought that he was pained when Cloud City was being brought up because he knew that he had to confront Vader.

    "Leia, and Carrie Fisher, gets the short shrift in ROTJ. No doubt. Her role was reduced to prop up Ford. So Han, who was otherwise superfluous after his rescue, would have something to do. Kind of criminal. She uses the chains of her bondage to throttle her oppressor . . . that’s something. Otherwise, pretty inexcusable. No argument here."

    Leia's character is sort of there, but I wonder if the maternal stuff was added on because her character seemed too cold for some people in ANH and TESB.

    This isn’t something I want to cite since it’s my absolute least favorite moment in all of Star Wars, but Han’s demeanor there is completely consistent with that abortion of a scene added back to ANH. That god awful sequence has our nerf herder dictate terms to Jabba, step on his tail, patronize to his face, and then bugger right off scot-free. I’d rather it didn’t track, but it does.

    Stepping on Jabba's tail was added on. Also, Jabba was a Scotsman, or something. In addition, it showed that Jabba could negotiate with Han. Otherwise, yeah, I suppose one could call it consistent. Some of the humor with Han, the wisecracking before a potential death sentence deflates the tension. Weirdly enough, Han was taking Jabba seriously when he was unfrozen earlier; he sounds desperate in that scene. Was he just so fed up later on that he didn't care?

    To be clear, I definitely feel ROTJ is the least of the OT. There’s a lot of things I wish had been handled better, but it’s far from awful. I very much respect your opinion and how you came to it though. I’m approaching it from a much different place than you I think.

    Hey thanks.
     
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  20. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Jedi General

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    I gotta say, out of all the criticisms I've seen of ROTJ, I haven't seen one before that specifically beefs with both the Emperor and Luke's portrayals.

    While I disagree, I still find the perspectives interesting, @The Birdwatcher
     
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