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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 really know why people think that ROTJ is the pinnacle of Luke's character simply because it's the last film in the OT and because Luke has a green lightsaber instead of a blue one. And Luke can do rad flippy-flips off of Jabba's diving board, I guess.

    I had forgotten, but I ran across a line on p. 73, where Lucas is discussing Luke in the throne room. And part of it says:

    Lucas: .... But Luke turns off his lazer sword, throws it at the Emperor. "I have controlled my hate; I don't hate my father. If you are so much on the dark side, you kill me-- I dare you."

    This is another reason why I find it hard to believe that Luke's stand against the emperor is heroic, which is normally assumed by anyone watching the film. In the production of the film, Luke was actually DARING the emperor to kill him- a come-at-me-bro moment.

    Actually, the part of the quote is incredibly useful. I'm going to post the paragraph.

    p. 73

    Lucas: .... Luke is angry and is using the dark side and the Emperor keeps saying, “See how much stronger you are becoming—hate him more!” Like the thing that we did in Empire, but on a grander scale. And just when you think Luke is about to kill an unarmed defenseless man; we’ve never done that before. If he kills a defenseless man, especially a defenseless father, then he has gone over to the dark side. But Luke turns off his lazer sword, throws it at the Emperor. "I have controlled my hate; I don't hate my father. If you are so much on the dark side, you kill me-- I dare you."

    Also:

    p. 72

    Lucas: Vader is totally the Emperor’s plaything. ….

    Anyway, Luke is symbolically heroic, maybe. But logically and from a consistency point of view with TESB and ANH, this Luke is very different.

    Luke is supposed to be patient in ROTJ. But the thing is, there is a time and place for everything, his "patience" and "non-violent disposition" is often what gets people that he is supposed to be responsible over in trouble (i.e. Jabba’s palace-risking the lives and safety of his friends. Not to mention that it gets Leia into the slave bikini suit with Jabba, so technically she was (at least indirectly, since she may have been complicit with Luke’s plan) sexually exploited/exposed by Luke’s carelessness through his plan.). Also, he acts patient (and “wise”) (I seriously don’t know what’s going on with Hamill’s acting in ROTJ at times; I really would call it a weird poker-face or a “I’m a really wise and mystical Jedi” face that Luke puts on throughout ROTJ) when he suggests the plan to C-3PO to trick the Ewoks into thinking that he’s a god. C-3PO is reluctant to follow, so Luke (and I find this a bit ironic) snaps back into his usual whiny self and says, “Just tell them!”. So much for acting like you’re patient, Luke. Well, at least, Luke’s plan here was more improv, which is in character for Luke. In addition, Luke’s patience during this part may have nearly cost Han and Luke their lives, since Han is shown (comedically) blowing out a flame as they are about to get roasted.
     
    #21 The Birdwatcher, Jun 25, 2020
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  2. eeprom

    eeprom Force Sensitive

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    Probably because it’s the completion of his arc from this “I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi like my father.” To this: “I am a Jedi, like my father before me.” He starts his journey with a declared destination and then reaches it at the end. So, journey complete - character actualized. Makes sense to me why that would be considered the peak. He wanted to get from 'A' to 'C' and he did.
    Regardless of whatever discussions and brainstorming that occurred during production, that moment is a pretty unmistakable callback to what we’re blatantly told in ESB.

    LUKE: How do I know the good side from the bad?
    YODA: You will know when you are calm, at peace, passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.

    Luke recognizes that he’s playing dutifully into the Emperor’s scheme, pulls back, and refuses to take any further part by discarding his weapon. A hell of an easier option now that there conveniently isn’t a giant cyborg trying to chop him up anymore, but the theme still matters. He’s calm, peaceful, passive, no longer aggressive. He’s purposefully removed his option to even be aggressive. He’s acting as he’s been told a Jedi should.

    The conflict between Luke and the Emperor is a moral one. A spiritual one. They’re fighting over the inevitability of corruption and the lure of temptation. Luke’s victory is in him overcoming these and proving the Emperor wrong. “You've failed, Your Highness…” “So be it...”
    Star Wars was designed as a fairy tale - an allegory - a parable. It’s all ‘symbolic’. It’s about conveying ethical ideals using archetypal figures and situations. They’re larger-than-life people and scenarios that communicate general lessons of principle. You can’t fight hate with more hate. That might not be an ethos you agree with, but that’s the message being imparted by the material. Within its own context and ruleset, the gesture is heroic.
    Yes, it demonstrates his growth as a person toward his stated goal: become a Jedi. We’re told by Yoda in ESB “A Jedi must have the deepest commitment...The most serious mind.” Luke, in ROTJ, is on the cusp of achieving his objective. His characterization reflects that. He’s more serious and contemplative now. He’s acting like a Jedi. But not entirely, he’s still impulsive in places. He isn’t fully realized yet. He’s evolving as the story unfolds from one situation to the next.
    The mission was to rescue the man she loves. Complicity is implied, isn’t it? I’m not a fan of her treatment in ROTJ, but let’s not rob her of any agency whatsoever. If she’s there, then we have to assume she knows the stakes and has assumed the risks, right? They all have (well, not 3PO, I guess). Han, for them, was worth it.

    This movie isn’t perfect and I know at least a decent chunk of my defense is rationalization and things I’m bringing to it, but I feel in parts that your assessment is hypercritical. That you’re investing effort in finding fault. To find reasons to not enjoy it, rather than the opposite. Maybe I’m way off base though and I apologize for that.
     
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  3. The Birdwatcher

    The Birdwatcher Clone Commander

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    "Probably because it’s the completion of his arc from this “I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi like my father.” To this: “I am a Jedi, like my father before me.” He starts his journey with a declared destination and then reaches it at the end. So, journey complete - character actualized. Makes sense to me why that would be considered the peak. He wanted to get from 'A' to 'C' and he did."

    I really don't want to stomp over people's mud pies/sand castles (I really don't), but I feel that this was poorly handled in ROTJ.

    The "I am a Jedi, like my father before me" is quite possibly one of the over-exaggerated lines in SW. People will laser-focus on this line. I understand the notion, the idea of it- Luke being the hero and finally being a Jedi on his own terms and connecting to his father by showing his belief in Vader, but It is flamboyant just by Luke declaring it when he doesn't have to. (and Luke doesn't say a word when he jumps in TESB and literally does the same thing) 2. Childish in respect to the theme given. - "A-ha!, emperor. I didn't fall for it! Now you will have to kill me/hurt me/ do nothing, since I have deliberately disarmed myself to show my claim." Like, "I didn't fall to the dark side!" That's Luke reason for tossing away his lightsaber??? He's rubbing in it (albeit courageously) like a six-year old.

    It's far more succinct with Luke's quick "I've never join you!" in TESB. Luke's transition to that true Jedi hero status was rushed, in ROTJ. He was more heroic when he wasn't a full-fledged Jedi in TESB, anyway.

    I suppose this is what makes me immune to these discussions of ROTJ Luke being a great character.

    Regardless of whatever discussions and brainstorming that occurred during production, that moment is a pretty unmistakable callback to what we’re blatantly told in ESB.

    LUKE: How do I know the good side from the bad?
    YODA: You will know when you are calm, at peace, passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.

    "That is why you [the ROTJ script} fail(s)." (Or maybe you can tell the difference between the good and bad side, because one has fluffy bunnies, the other doesn't ;) ). At least in TESB, it was still up for debate for Luke to decide if Yoda was right or not. (Making tough decisions is a theme in the film, to connect and have children identify with making difficult decisions.). And it seems that Luke chose to attack Vader/borderline defense/attack to save his friends/get revenge on Vader or justice for the death of the rebels, Biggs, Obi-wan, Han and Leia's torture, etc.. In ROTJ, we're rounded into a corner where a Jedi MUST NEVER use the force for attack, despite Obi-wan telling Luke to do so to blow up the Death Star I, or maybe that was a defensive tactic?

    Luke recognizes that he’s playing dutifully into the Emperor’s scheme, pulls back, and refuses to take any further part by discarding his weapon. A hell of an easier option now that there conveniently isn’t a giant cyborg trying to chop him up anymore, but the theme still matters. He’s calm, peaceful, passive, no longer aggressive. He’s purposefully removed his option to even be aggressive. He’s acting as he’s been told a Jedi should.

    Well, yes, duh. (Not trying to be rude, but it's obvious). The fact that Luke was stupid enough to even do so when the emperor is sitting there monologuing about it is inevitable that Luke will become his servant and that Luke will choose the dark side, and egging on Luke to give in to his hatred is face-palm worthy.

    And yes, instead of a force-sensitive cyborg, there is a healthy yet at the same time decepit politician, who has all of his limbs, who is force-sensitive. Watch the scene I'm half-convinced that the only reason why Luke didn't strike him down initially and didn't see him as a threat was because the emperor said that he was unarmed. Also, this would have made Luke reluctant because of what Yoda said.

    Luke is not only not acting aggressive, he is not acting defensive, either, which is stupid and actually un-Jedi-like by Yoda's definition in TESB. He at least followed Yoda's advice with remembering his training. Save him, it did- with jumping out the carbon freeze chamber and summoning his lightsaber. In ROTJ, Yoda warns him about the power of the emperor, and Luke DOES NOT LISTEN. Even when he is given hints about the emperor's power IN THE THRONE room, Luke is still convinced that the emperor is unarmed.

    Granted, maybe discarding a weapon is a throwback to Yoda's "your weapons, you will not need them" line. Maybe Luke is showing that he is not giving into fear by doing so. (Even so, having a weapon at one's side is common sense.).

    In that scene when he defies the emperor, Luke heaves with his chest- there is a momentary tense moment, he knows he is committing suicide here or doing something that might be worthy of sufficient punishment. I guess one could argue that Luke was sacrificing himself to save his dad, but then why cry out to Vader? Did Luke have this planned out? Was it really worth the risk?

    This is one of the most insane and reckless things that Luke has ever done, and to be fair, it also exposes his friends if he had died, since it would expose them to the emperor with an untrained Leia. In many ways, it is the opposite of being heroic.

    The conflict between Luke and the Emperor is a moral one. A spiritual one. They’re fighting over the inevitability of corruption and the lure of temptation. Luke’s victory is in him overcoming these and proving the Emperor wrong. “You've failed, Your Highness…” “So be it...”

    Maybe, but Luke overcame that already in TESB when Vader gave him the ultimate temptation: being with a family member that Luke once looked up to, who was thought dead and having ultimate power with him over the whole galaxy. If Luke overcame that, then when the emperor comes along and offers him half of that reason (maybe even less- "take your father's place at my side"-Vader wasn't exactly a co-ruler with the emperor, especially if he was often submitting to the emperor), of course Luke would resist.

    Star Wars was designed as a fairy tale - an allegory - a parable. It’s all ‘symbolic’. It’s about conveying ethical ideals using archetypal figures and situations. They’re larger-than-life people and scenarios that communicate general lessons of principle. You can’t fight hate with more hate. That might not be an ethos you agree with, but that’s the message being imparted by the material. Within its own context and ruleset, the gesture is heroic.

    I agree that Star Wars is a fairy tale. "It's a long, long time ago, in a galaxy, far, far away." There was complexity to a lot of the characters. Han was ambivalent in ANH. Obi-wan was a good person, but had a dark past with Vader in ANH. Luke himself is more complex than many take for granted; he's responsible but tired of not joining something big. Also, what if it's not hate but justice? Who says that killing is always done out of hate? It's hard to say that Luke even hated Vader in that fight (the emperor says, "your hate has made you powerful", but why should I believe that Luke was actually hating Vader, what if he was defending Leia from falling to the dark side?), the reason why is even more baffling if Luke did hate Vader (Your sister may turn to the dark side!). That is still (imo) not a great reason to nearly decapitate Vader for.

    Yes, it demonstrates his growth as a person toward his stated goal: become a Jedi. We’re told by Yoda in ESB “A Jedi must have the deepest commitment...The most serious mind.” Luke, in ROTJ, is on the cusp of achieving his objective. His characterization reflects that. He’s more serious and contemplative now. He’s acting like a Jedi. But not entirely, he’s still impulsive in places. He isn’t fully realized yet. He’s evolving as the story unfolds from one situation to the next.

    The mission was to rescue the man she loves. Complicity is implied, isn’t it? I’m not a fan of her treatment in ROTJ, but let’s not rob her of any agency whatsoever. If she’s there, then we have to assume she knows the stakes and has assumed the risks, right? They all have (well, not 3PO, I guess). Han, for them, was worth it.

    Maybe, Leia was complicit in it. I have no idea if the writers considered that Leia knew the stakes or not; I think it's possible that the whole thing plays out like a lucid dream. Leia goes along with Luke's potentially questionable plan because... because the plot says so? Seems like she was relying on Luke to bust her out or avenge her ("We have powerful friends; you're gonna pay for this."). Ironically, she doesn't seem the least bit mad at Luke after the whole ordeal. I think a normal person (especially a woman), as much as we like swimsuits and are sensitive about how out undergarments fit, would NOT like being put into that thing and then chained up like a dog.

    On a side note, Reviews from the North pointed this out, why didn't Jabba just threaten Luke if he had a hostage (with Leia) (or had one of his guards hold a weapon to Leia's throat) and say: "Jump into the Sarlacc pit or the girl dies!" That could have stopped Luke in his his tracks. It would be game over for the group. Granted, Jabba was so arrogant (and foolish) that it didn't happen, but it could have easily have been done.

    This movie isn’t perfect and I know at least a decent chunk of my defense is rationalization and things I’m bringing to it, but I feel in parts that your assessment is hypercritical. That you’re investing effort in finding fault. To find reasons to not enjoy it, rather than the opposite. Maybe I’m way off base though and I apologize for that.

    That's fine, but I respectfully disagree with your assessments. I know that the film is a "fun" movie, in the line of Saturday morning matinees of the past. I'm not trying to find reasons to not enjoy it; I'm saying that it's not very effective as a story. Is it a fun film, yes. The cinematography and music are good. And I get the film's symbolic points.

    There's this idea that's progressively becoming more and more evident to me that the whole of modern Star Wars (i.e. prequels, even sequels) is dependent on this film. Fans are depending on Luke's depiction in this film to justify that Luke couldn't have been dark, negative, while ironically, TLJ just pastes TESB Yoda with his negativity onto Luke's character (and gives better reasons than- "oh the Jedi are all but dead", "you're too old to learn", "I think that you aren't patient", and "I'm negative around you Luke because your dad was basically space Hitler"- by Luke realizing that the Jedi ended up being responsible for terrible, terrible things, and he wanted them to end to prevent suffering).

    Maybe ROTJ Luke wasn't overtly negative, but he doubted himself A LOT throughout the film (except for when his plan was crazy beyond reckoning. He even doubted that Vader was his father when he believed in the last film- that's why he screamed in horror and initially denied it. The ONLY reason why Luke even questions that Vader IS his father is because Lucasfilm took a poll to see if young children (and other demographics, I guess?) would understand if Vader was telling the truth, apparently they couldn't tell. Also, Lucas contacted a psychiatrist about it and the psychiatrist thought that they wouldn't be able to tell. BUT IN TESB, BOTH LUKE AND VADER KNOW THE TRUTH, AND THEY ACCEPT EACH OTHER AS FATHER AND SON. There is A SCENE FOR IT that many, many, many, many! people gloss over.

    Darth Vader: Luke.
    Luke: Father!
    Vader: Son.

    So simple, so effective. It's right THERE.

    And why did Luke decide to not warn his friends when he believed the emperor that they were going to die? Was it too late for him? Why not run off? Why even believe the emperor? It's "oh, I'm afraid, I'm afraid, I'm afraid" once Luke stops acting overtly cocky to the emperor. Actually, cross that out, Luke mostly flips back forth between fear and delusional confidence ("I feel the conflict within you", "You've failed your highness", etc.). TESB Luke was afraid but confident even at the beginning of his duel with Vader. When he became more afraid (and exhausted) as the duel went on, he still had the nerve to fight back or find a way out. In ROTJ, Luke is just standing around, being afraid in the background. Afraid and helplessly on the floor when he gets electrocuted. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen.

    TLJ takes a scene from ROTJ when Luke looses his mind over Leia maybe turning to the dark side, tweaks it a bit into a scene where Luke attacks Ben, but with a much better reason. with a bit of And there are a lot of questionable changes that happen with this film, and I think that a bulk of Star Wars' problems start with this film (some of that is from other Star Wars silliness- Lucas' decision to have the audience project their own feelings onto the characters, i.e. Luke barely/or not mourning his Aunt and Uncle, Obi-wan, and Biggs, or Obi-wan wisecracking/making cheesy lines before Darth Vader). Empire has funny/cheesy moments, while a lot of it was in good fun; I think it took its stakes seriously. So did A New Hope with the rebels dying at the Death Star. There are still serious moments in this film, but it BECOMES UTTERLY RIDICULOUS with the light side/dark side talk with Luke and the Emperor especially.

    If one looks at David Lynch's Dune, there's almost no jokes in the film (except maybe the floating fat man joke); it's a film that takes itself very seriously with its drama.

    If someone pulls the ROTJ out, most of Star Wars collapses. And ROTJ is terribly faulty (script-wise, from a logical perspective) to begin with, which may be a reason why fans will defend this film, or say "it's not as great as ANH or TESB", or "it's the weakest of the trilogy, but it's still a good film", or "it's not an "A" film like the last two films, but it's a "B" film". But almost NO ONE (especially among Star Wars fans) will DARE say that the script is terrible or inconsistent with the past two films or that there are poor reasons given in this film. Because if someone does find out, if someone does say that there are plot holes responsible for further issues down the line in Star Wars movies, comics, tv shows, Star Wars is gutted of 37 years of content, in an instant.

    I don't think that fans want that, so they will defend this film. What's more is that they often don't pay attention to the nuances in the film's script, and will instead pay attention to the main story beats. (i.e. Han being afraid of never seeing the Falcon again, Luke meeting Leia at the rebel meeting and telling her that he'll talk with her later (about her connection to him as his sister), Han saying that Luke's crazy, those weird governor dudes that the emperor meets with (seriously who are those guys?)- ROTJ is full of details that fans will never pay attention to.

    I can find many reasons to enjoy ROTJ. I just don't think that the script (and some of the directing, sets, etc.) are as excellent as they could be, especially in comparison to ANH and TESB.
     
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  4. eeprom

    eeprom Force Sensitive

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    No, he doesn’t ‘have to’ connect those dots for us, but since that’s what the whole point of this drama wound up being about in the end, it makes sense to ensure the audience ‘gets it’, right? This story was never about the good guys beating up the bad guys. Luke, our hero, doesn’t defeat the villain by being stronger physically (or magically), but ethically. Even with that over-the-top demonstrative gesture, people STILL don’t grasp it. They still think he should have actually fought the Emperor - missing the actual message by a whole country mile.
    Luke isn’t flipping old man Palpatine the bird like some pissy little twerp. He’s refusing to be aggressive by removing the instrument of his aggression - his weapon. It's not a show of defiance, it's a sign of resolution.
    There’s nothing heroic about recklessly running head first into a blatant trap like a total nimrod. ESB is structured to make it pretty clear that what Luke does is a failure on every level. It’s the result of someone who hasn’t matured yet. ROTJ is built to be the completion of that maturity. One leads handsomely into the other. I understand if one of these scenarios appeals more to you than the other. But that’s personal preference. Those situations aren’t interchangeable. ROTJ is the success earned from the learned lessons of a previous disaster.
    I suppose so.
    You mean like the decision whether or not to kill your own father for the sake of the universe? Seems like a pretty tough call to me. But that’s me.
    Well yeah, man. Who, in that situation, was the aggressor? The folks with the giant gun aimed at a planet or the folks that were on that planet. Not much of brain teaser there.
    You called the gesture “a come-at-me-bro moment”. So it can’t be that obvious, since you’ve fundamentally misstated the premise. Luke isn’t saying “watcha gonna do now, b*tch?” He’s saying “I’m done playing your game and I’m not taking that bait again.”
    The Emperor stating he was unarmed was meant to goad Luke into striking at him - to enforce the illusion he was helpless when the reality was that he was anything but.

    When Luke throws away his weapon, it’s irrelevant whether Palps is a threat or not. He’d made his decision to no longer engage. Whatever happens next is what happens.
    Right. That wasn’t an accident. That’s called foreshadowing. Luke does the thing he wasn’t supposed to do and then tension ensues.
    So you DO get it? It isn’t about ‘fear’. It’s about inviting hostility. He brought a weapon with him into that cave and what he found was conflict. Same thing. Thanks for the comparison. He’s removing the temptation to continue the violence that the Emperor was deliberately stoking.
    I doubt it was a calculated ploy to get tortured in front of his dad, but again, Luke went into that situation knowing and accepting that there was a strong chance he’d die there. Would Luke have sacrificed his life to save his father’s soul? Absolutely yes.
    “Vader is here. Now. On this moon...He can feel when I'm near. That's why I have to go. As long as I stay, I'm endangering the group and our mission here.” Luke completely believes he’s a danger to his friends being with them. If he goes, ‘maybe’ they’ll be found by the Empire. If he stays, ‘definitely’ they will. He weighed the risk of two crappy options and picked one.
    I’m sorry, but what exactly would be tempting for Luke in that scenario? Honestly. Vader just kicked his ass, cut off his hand, and then shattered his entire world view and sense of self. His offer is for Luke to join him in killing off his friends. Why, in the dankest of hells, would Luke ever be tempted by that? He’s given two options: surrender or death. It’s pretty apparent Luke never, not even for a second, considers the former. Instead of allowing himself to be executed, he falls toward he knows not what - taking the situation into his own hands (erm, hand). There’s no indication he’s swayed by that proposition - that he actually considers it. He rejects it outright.

    The temptation facing Luke in the throne room ins't whether of not to join the Emperor. It's whether or not to give into his hate, when he has so many reasons to be hateful.
    Pretty sure Luke wasn’t frothing at the mouth for “justice”.
    His goal was to turn his father back from the darkside. If he achieves that, then Leia is just as safe from “Vader”, right? Luke’s fear led to anger. His anger led to hate. And that hate overruled his sense of purpose. That’s what Vader’s threat was meant to do.
    Really? Leia isn’t a moron. She knows who Jabba is. She’s knows the situation is dangerous. She’s knows if they get caught the outcome won’t be pleasant. I doubt she knew there was a slave bikini waiting for her, but she surely knew that failure was an option and it would have consequences. Whatever the consequences might be, that’s the risk she knowingly accepted. She wasn’t tricked into being there. She chose it of sound mind because it’s what she wanted - save Han at any cost.
    Because villains, in a fictional world, are allowed to not be the smartest person in the room. This is the same guy who apparently just lets random droids role straight through the front door and right up to his icky face because it has a “gift”. That “gift” could have been a f**king bomb. Jabba’s an idiot - canon.
    I don’t disagree with that overall perspective. I also think a lot of the pushback to grumpy Luke in TLJ was a reaction to their preferred characterization of him in ROTJ. Trouble is, I think that largely stems from a basic misunderstanding of what his character actually is in ROTJ. We see someone trying his damnedest to follow their instincts. To do what they think is right, but not truly sure. Only after the fact is it learned if it was correct or not. ROTJ Luke is him picking with his heart and being right. TLJ Luke is him picking with his heart and being wrong. The suffocating despair he finds himself in is in direct proportion to his triumph at the end of ROTJ. They work in cooperation with each other, not against.
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . .and? ‘Dune’ is a superior film? What’s your point?
    Yeah. Mostly, I hope, it’s because they’ve seen truly awful movies and can recognize a genuinely terrible script. Go watch ‘Xanadu’ or ‘Garbage Pail Kids’ or ‘Cool as Ice’. Those are authentically lousy screenplays that produced legitimately bad movies. ROTJ is mediocre at worst.
    Wow, melodramatic much? I wouldn’t mind hearing some of these plot holes though. Do tell.
    And that’s why it’s bad? Or are you saying people would know it's bad if they paid more attention?
    No argument here. To call it “terrible” though is a tad hyperbolic.
     
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  5. Josh

    Josh Rebel Official

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    RotJ was supposed to be way bigger in scope but the limit of the time and the budget were problems. And Lucas was tired of the franchise and wanted it to end.
    I think the first draft with the Emperors volacono cage, the big city planet sounds pretty epic.
     
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  6. The Birdwatcher

    The Birdwatcher Clone Commander

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    No, he doesn’t ‘have to’ connect those dots for us, but since that’s what the whole point of this drama wound up being about in the end, it makes sense to ensure the audience ‘gets it’, right? This story was never about the good guys beating up the bad guys. Luke, our hero, doesn’t defeat the villain by being stronger physically (or magically), but ethically. Even with that over-the-top demonstrative gesture, people STILL don’t grasp it. They still think he should have actually fought the Emperor - missing the actual message by a whole country mile.

    Yes, it’s an ethical battle. I know the throne room, harps on and on about this. (Luke’s speech about being a Jedi, you won’t turn me as you did my father, etc.). The thing is, at the end of the day, SOMEONE still kills the emperor. When it’s not Luke, it’s Vader. And ironically, this is the thing that’s supposed to save Vader. Which makes no sense, honestly. So, if Vader kills the emperor “to save Luke’s life” he gets redeemed. But if Luke does it for justice/save his friends currently/save his friends from further harm from the emperor, he goes to the dark side? What?

    So, then the end result is Luke tossing his lightsaber away (and forgetting to kill) the emperor. Because if Luke remembered to kill the emperor and did it, he would apparently go to the dark side, if what the Emperor said was true. If the Emperor was lying, then Luke should have done it for justice (the Jedi are guardians of peace and justice, remember), to save his friends, and to save his friends in the future from the Emperor (and his subsequent chain of command).

    The whole scene is confusing because it laser-focuses on Luke snapping against Vader because he was afraid that he would (himself turn to the dark side by being forced into a fight with Vader, which is caused by Vader’s motivation being watered down (being changed to implicit- to rule the galaxy as father and son) and placing Vader’s desire to turn Luke to the dark side to the fore-front, which is caused by Lucas wanting a plot twist with Vader defeating the Emperor at the film’s end.) And by Luke being afraid from (a poorly convincing reason) of Leia somehow turning to the dark side, as Vader suggests. Yes, maybe Luke finally snapped from Vader’s taunt. Maybe he was holding back for so long, maybe the adrenaline and testosterone in Luke’s body finally surged within him and his recklessness (which he WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE OVERCOME by his “calm” and “patient” disposition during Jabba’s place and Hamill’s “calm” acting, “no more training do you require”) in this film finally burst out during the Vader fight. And Vader only fights against Luke because the Emperor is OP and would get upset/shock him if he didn’t parry during a (pre-arranged set-up between him and the Emperor, which is very vaguely implied in the film, but is there in the development of the film). Why Vader didn’t consider if Luke was willing to kill the Emperor right in that moment that he could have aided Luke, as would be the logical thing to do, I don’t know. It was a prime moment for Vader to flip-flop and sike the Emperor, even if we are to assume that Vader was helpless before the Emperor's mind-reading abilities. The ROTJ novelization says that Vader still thought that Luke wouldn’t turn to the dark side if he had struck the emperor down in that moment, but Vader creamed his butt in the last film. Constructing a lightsaber does not make your skills complete, even if it is a metaphor for Luke becoming a man (somehow, IT’S IN THE BOOK!)

    It's absolutely nuts, why all the characters are lined up like this, why they do ALL OF THIS.

    Luke isn’t flipping old man Palpatine the bird like some pissy little twerp. He’s refusing to be aggressive by removing the instrument of his aggression - his weapon. It's not a show of defiance, it's a sign of resolution.

    I argue that the dialogue does show itself as being a bit twerpy, actually. With much great irony.It is very, very interesting that you use the word, “twerp”. Because Lucas actually utilized that term in this quote. The thing is: there ACTUALLY EXISTS EVIDENCE for Luke sticking it to the emperor during the development of the throne room scene.

    p. 73

    Lucas: .... Luke is angry and is using the dark side and the Emperor keeps saying, “See how much stronger you are becoming—hate him more!” Like the thing that we did in Empire, but on a grander scale. And just when you think Luke is about to kill an unarmed defenseless man; we’ve never done that before. If he kills a defenseless man, especially a defenseless father, then he has gone over to the dark side. But Luke turns off his lazer sword, throws it at the Emperor. "I have controlled my hate; I don't hate my father. If you are so much on the dark side, you kill me-- I dare you."

    The emperor gets enraged. The emperor has a temper. He is a hateful, angry person, and so he says, "You little twerp!"

    I am not making that last line up.

    It's not a show of defiance, it's a sign of resolution.

    p. 73
    Lucas: ...."If you are so much on the dark side, you kill me-- I dare you."

    As for the actual ROTJ film, there are still some signs of defiance from Luke towards the emperor. There is a reason why RLM lists defiance as one of the themes that occurred in the OT during his Phantom Menace review, and he shows it specifically when Luke makes his stand against the emperor, I believe.

    Luke gives (a sort of) (brave/excited? Poker face) to the emperor and breathes heavily for a moment or two, keeping the (sort of stoic) emotion. Breathing heavily here after he gives his speech implies that Luke is taking a risk or taking a sort of stand (I suppose in the film’s case, Luke may not know what the emperor may do to him or if the emperor will actually do anything to him, but keeps his stand against the emperor nevertheless).

    Then there is the emperor’s response to this. Just before Luke gave his speech he was excited, saying: “Good. Good. (cackling) Your hate has made you powerful. Now take your father’s place at my side.” He was impressed before Luke gave his stand. After Luke gives his stand, the emperor glares at him (equally matched poker-face) and says: “So be it, Jedi”. Implying a stand from Luke or some sort of defiance. His anger/disappointment isn’t overt, but is still clearly shown through the body language and dialogue here. And later on, the emperor says: “Young fool, only now at the end, do you understand?”

    I will give ROTJ credit here, this is where Lucas’ ideas and Kasdan’s penchant for editing and making dialogue concise comes full throttle. The dialogue is snippy and iconic, despite the subject matter being a bit ludicrous (talking about “the dark side”). It is also effectively set-up, with dramatic emphasis.

    Anyway, the emperor says this with a bit of cold sarcasm (arrogance and disappointment). So, his response is that he’s angry against Luke for making his stand (defiance).

    Now, can it be both defiance and resolution in Luke’s case? Perhaps. And that may be what the film was going for. But it’s clear that Luke was meant to be defiant here towards the emperor. I don’t know why you said that Luke’s display wasn’t defiance here. There are signs both from Luke and the emperor (maybe more non-verbal and ones that have to be inferred through dialogue) that the said act of Luke rejecting the dark side IS an act of defiance, especially for the emperor to get upset at Luke and start pummeling him with volts.

    Even in the February 24, 1981 rough draft summary of ROTJ, where Luke’s throwing the lightsaber stems from, it’s defiant but accomplished with more nobility.

    pp. 28-29- The Making of Return of the Jedi by J. W. Rinzler

    (In the imperial lava throne room)

    Emperor: You are old and weak, Lord Vader. Had you destroyed the boy, you would have been given half the Empire to rule as you will, now the boy shall have that honor.

    Luke: It is your Emperor that wishes you destroyed, not I.

    (Vader looks at the Emperor, then back to his son.)

    Vader: Finish it!

    (Luke looks at the Emperor, then to his father.

    Luke: No, you are my father and there is still good in you. I only fight in self-defense. Not to do your Emperor’s bidding.

    (With that Luke extinguishes the Emperor’s lazer sword and tosses it to his father, who ignites it as he catches it.)

    Emperor: The boy is a fool; destroy him.

    (Vader hesitates, then raises his lazer sword.).

    Equally as crazy, but Luke does it in front of Vader, who DOES care about Luke’s well-being at the very least and is shown to have been (possibly moved by Luke’s stand) to hesitate killing Luke. In the actual film, it’s in front of the emperor, which is more stupid, I’d argue. Vader’s hesitance comes later, as he lets the emperor shock Luke for a while when debating if he should save Luke or not. It’s good for dramatic tension (and for the plot twist that Lucas really wanted to create in the film), but I feel it’s not indicative of TESB Vader’s character (adherent to his ambitions with the Empire but still wanting to save Luke out of a familial connection and legacy), which comes out better in the rough draft.

    Actually, ROTJ Vader comes across as being more sadistic by letting Luke be tortured for a while. Vader is savage in the OT, but if he has feelings for Luke he should act on them, since he’s a man of controlled action and violence (i.e. “You are beaten. It is useless to resist”, switch tactics after torturing Leia isn’t effective, imploring to Luke “If you only knew the dark side of the force”, “Bring me the passengers, I want them alive!”, etc.); he won’t do what is more than unnecessary, I believe.

    There’s nothing heroic about recklessly running head first into a blatant trap like a total nimrod. ESB is structured to make it pretty clear that what Luke does is a failure on every level. It’s the result of someone who hasn’t matured yet. ROTJ is built to be the completion of that maturity. One leads handsomely into the other. I understand if one of these scenarios appeals more to you than the other. But that’s personal preference. Those situations aren’t interchangeable. ROTJ is the success earned from the learned lessons of a previous disaster.

    Yes, that’s the intent of George Lucas by the time of ROTJ to show Luke’s development. It is still unclear and is a stance that I heavily disagree with in TESB that Luke’s recklessness is a flaw. Often, Luke couples his recklessness with boldness, improv thinking, and common sense, which actually makes it an advantage, despite TESB (possibly, but it’s unclear) slapping the wrist down (Yoda rebuking Luke, Obi-wan rejecting Luke’s pleas for help on Cloud City, etc.). And this is a lot more evident with George Lucas in ROTJ’s development, that Luke wasn’t patient, which I still think is a terrible theme, but whatever.

    Also, Luke’s recklessness to jump to sacrifice his life actually saved his life. If Luke had been patient and allowed Vader to cut him down and destroy him/ let Vader capture and torture him before the emperor, how would have things turned out?

    You mean like the decision whether or not to kill your own father for the sake of the universe? Seems like a pretty tough call to me. But that’s me.

    Uh, that’s the Jedi (Obi-wan and Yoda) who say that in ROTJ. And they talk about it very vaguely and contradict themselves. They want Luke to confront and kill Vader in ROTJ (Yoda says confront; Luke says he can’t kill his father in response to Obi-wan). The fact that this even exists conflicts with Yoda’s dogma to use the Force for knowledge and self-defense, never attack, which is utilized to put Luke in a moral conundrum during the throne room scenes.

    Well yeah, man. Who, in that situation, was the aggressor? The folks with the giant gun aimed at a planet or the folks that were on that planet. Not much of brain teaser there.

    Luke still killed (attacked) plenty of (who would likely to be considered) defenseless people, stormtroopers, deskmen, etc. by using the force. Even if it was self-defense, he killed (attacked) these people. And to be fair, Luke could have flown off; there was no need to exercise self-defense with the force; he was defending other people (the rebel base) with the use of the force, not himself. By ROTJ’s logic, this would set him on the dark side. It did not.

    You called the gesture “a come-at-me-bro moment”. So it can’t be that obvious, since you’ve fundamentally misstated the premise. Luke isn’t saying “watcha gonna do now, b*tch?” He’s saying “I’m done playing your game and I’m not taking that bait again.”

    Please look at the dialogue again. I am largely not referring to the finished film; I am referring to the development pointed out during the 1981 July storyboard meeting.

    Lucas: ….But Luke turns off his lazer sword, throws it at the Emperor. "I have controlled my hate; I don't hate my father. If you are so much on the dark side, you kill me-- I dare you."

    Lucas literally said that Luke’s intent here (coupled with the throw of the lightsaber) was a dare. One could argue that the film changed the context of Luke’s stand or altered the content of it, but it’s worth noting that Lucas had determined that this was Luke’s intent at one point.

    Your last statement is referring to what’s in the film from Luke’s “Never. You’ve failed your highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me” and with Luke’s act of throwing the lightsaber to the side to prove that he won’t attack (or strike down, which, in ROTJ’s case means turning to the dark side). However, there is still the brief scene of Luke tensely breathing in defiance of the emperor, waiting for a response- it could almost be interpreted as a dare, but it is rather open-ended, I admit, imo.

    I remember watching a YoutTube Poop spoof or alternate ending of ROTJ once (long before I read The Making of ROTJ, I believe) where Luke is saying, I don’t need a lightsaber, tosses it, and then the emperor laughs and shocks him. There is more truth to that YTP by observing the stupidity actually in that select scene.

    The Emperor stating he was unarmed was meant to goad Luke into striking at him - to enforce the illusion he was helpless when the reality was that he was anything but.

    When Luke throws away his weapon, it’s irrelevant whether Palps is a threat or not. He’d made his decision to no longer engage. Whatever happens next is what happens.


    But by not being engaged, Luke technically gives up on his friends (and leaves Leia to figure out the force on her own, if she were to) when he KNOWS that (the rebels, at least) are being killed off and already dying. This is actually Jake Skywalker here, giving up on his friends (and the rebellion), every OT die-hard SW fan’s worst nightmare.

    Actually, to be fair, Luke was abandoning his friends by letting Leia be “the last hope for the rebellion” when he left the Ewok village to (in Luke’s eyes’ he was hoping that he could deflect Vader’s ire’ from the presence of possible rebels, but given that Vader despises rebels and conflict, who says that Vader couldn’t investigate?). Luke was making the risk that he could die outside the rebels’ camp.

    Right. That wasn’t an accident. That’s called foreshadowing. Luke does the thing he wasn’t supposed to do and then tension ensues.

    Yes, but my point was that Luke was even being more insolent about it in ROTJ, where he is supposed to have matured. In TESB, he wants to go off to save his friends after deliberating with Yoda and Obi-wan. He does listen to them, but decides to save his friends anyway. In TESB, Luke LISTENS to Yoda about REMEMBERING HIS training and it pays off by Luke knowing TO CONTROL his fear when he falls into the carbonite freezing chamber and then JUMPS OUT, like all those jumps that Yoda had him do and to control his fear after the cave scene. In ROTJ, on Yoda’s death bed, Yoda warns him about the emperor, and Luke DOES NOT LISTEN later on and even ignores the warning signs that the emperor gives off. Stupid. It’s a regression of Luke’s characterization and development, if anything.
     
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  7. eeprom

    eeprom Force Sensitive

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    I see it as yet another callback to ESB.

    YODA: ...if you choose the quick and easy path, as Vader did, you will become an agent of evil.
    OBI-WAN: Patience.
    LUKE: And sacrifice Han and Leia?
    YODA: If you honor what they fight for...yes.

    Realistically, what would killing the Emperor actually accomplish in that moment? Would it save his friends? Would it save the Rebellion? Would it save his father? No, it wouldn’t. The Empire wouldn’t just end its decisive victory over their lone enemy because its Emperor was dead. Vader wouldn’t have a change of heart seeing what he expected to happen, “You can destroy the emperor. He has foreseen this. It is your destiny.” It would be a net zero gain, except now with Luke having compromised his principles - taking the easy path and becoming an agent of evil.

    One of the cooler elements to TLJ is the direct examination of that idea. What if the Emperor had been killed for selfish instead of selfless reasons? Then what? Well, you get this:

    REY: Order them to stop firing. There's still time to save the fleet. Ben?
    KYLO: It's time to let old things die.

    Kylo wasn’t saving what he loved, he was killing what he hated. “I see him turning the lightsaber to strike true. And now...he ignites it, and kills his true enemy!” Without having turned his father, killing the Emperor would just put Vader on the throne. Then what? He kills him too? That still wouldn’t achieve what he was there to do.

    What Anakin does at the end is sacrifice himself to protect someone who couldn’t protect themselves by eliminating the threat the only way he could. It was a genuinely altruistic act. Luke, striking down the Emperor in a vain attempt to save everyone, wouldn’t be “justice”. It would fruitless, self-serving vengeance. The opposite of altruism. He would have failed his goal and proven the Emperor right.
    Certainly, the Emperor interprets Luke’s refusal as petulance. That’s the characterization. He believes himself unquestionably superior to everyone around him. He views Luke as a naïve brat and takes his rejection personally.

    What I’m speaking to is your deliberate framing of Luke’s reaction as something childishly taunting that betrays his immaturity, which I believe is a willful misinterpretation of the text that better fits your argument. ‘Defiance’ in the way a toddler defiantly refuses to eat their vegetables. Maybe ‘obstinate’ is a better word? Either way, that’s clearly not what was supposed to be conveyed in that sequence. Luke isn’t trying to provoke Mr. Melty Face by thumbing his nose at him. Though that’s likely how the Emperor character would have perceived it.
    “Unclear”? That was the central theme of Luke’s thread in ESB. “Unlearn what you have learned”. His whole arc in that episode revolves around him learning that his supposed ‘heroic’ inclinations are self-destructive, limiting and have to be redefined. That was the theme for all the main characters in that episode BTW - your previous tactics won’t work, in fact they’ll only work against you, and now you need to evolve in order to endure.

    His racing off to face Vader ends in his being humbled and fully grasping what Yoda was trying to teach him. “Told you, I did. Reckless is he. Now matters are worse.” It’s the moment where he literally falls down in order to learn how to pick himself back up.
    This is just getting silly. Killing someone that is actively in the process of attempting to kill you, and countless others, is not an “attack”. You’ve been attacked. Now you’re defending. This isn’t quantum cosmology here. It’s a pretty simple concept.
    But why? The finished product is what matters, not the preliminary steps that were revised, reworked, reversed, or outright abandoned along the way. Every feature film undergoes numerous iterations while slowly becoming what it ultimately becomes. You’re holding up a protean version of the story like it’s the de facto inarguably realized state. It’s not. It can provide valuable insight into the developmental process, to be sure, but it is not the end-all-be-all.
    It's a delivery on the exchange from earlier, "Your overconfidence is your weakness." "Your faith in your friends is yours." Luke has faith his friends will pull a victory from the Emperor’s overconfidence. He’d faltered before. He’d allowed his fear to overrule that faith. He’d futilely struggled against it. Now, he’s regained that belief and resolve.

    Whatever happens inside that room isn’t going to change what’s happening outside that room. That was the lure. That was the deceit that Luke had fallen for. And that’s what he’s rejecting - what he’s letting go of. Sacrificing Han and Leia in order to honor what they’re fighting for. Having faith in them and faith in himself. Finally implementing the lesson he learned from his failure in ESB.
    I’m not sure if you’re being sardonic here or not, but yeah, the premise presented in TLJ is a direct reexamination of Luke’s tactic in ROTJ - ‘I have to leave my friends in order to protect them’. The same pattern of behavior, but turned on its head.
    He listens to parts. The bits he finds value in, but not the core lesson.

    YODA: The cave. Remember your failure at the cave.
    LUKE: But I've learned so much since then.

    Luke’s failure at the cave was jumping into a situation aggressively without thinking it through. And here he is again, doing the same thing and not realizing it’s the same thing. He lets his emotions and cockiness overrule his judgement, "you'll find I'm full of surprises" and suffers the consequences.
    My personal interpretation (which is all any of this is) is that the “powers” Yoda is warning Luke not to underestimate are his manipulations and temptations. Not the evil zappy hands. But that’s just me. Luke willingly strolls into the spider’s web (not so subtle window design) expecting to be above Palp’s coercions, but falls for it anyway.

    That’s what I feel he underestimates. Not the sparky fingers of doom. Luke was done fighting at that point. It didn’t really matter what pesky tricks Palpotron had up his musty old man sleeves. He could have started flinging jars of bengay at him and it wouldn’t make a difference. That’s probably not the typical opinion, but that’s how I see it.

    Luke was arrogant again. Got trounced again. Then stumbled his way through again. That’s not regression. That’s a character flaw. It’s a faulty pattern that he’s prone to repeating because he isn’t an immaculate paragon. Like strutting into Chalmun's Cantina saying “I'm ready for anything” or bringing his weapon to have a chat with his nephew…unannounced…in the middle of the night. It’s something he does over and over again with varying degrees of disaster. It's who the guy is.
     
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  8. Josh

    Josh Rebel Official

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    Return of the Jedi is a really good flick, but I quickly realized after watching it again that its such a downgrade in terms of cinematography to Empire, its almost painful.

    Peter Suschitzky work behind the camera was greatly missed.
    Has anyone infos why he didnt came back for the last one ?
    I know that Lucas wanted him on the first one, but Fox wanted someone with experience so Gilbert Taylor was hired. When he was prepping his self financed sequel he quickly hired Suschitzky before even hiring Kershner as director.
    So why not bringing him back again for continuity sake ?
     
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  9. The Birdwatcher

    The Birdwatcher Clone Commander

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    This is going to be a lot to answer to, but thanks anyway for replying to my post; I've learned a lot about ROTJ and bout people feel about it.

    Alright, just a fair warning that I’m trying to NOT be negative in my analyzation of this film and my perspective on it. I can’t help but to not be silent after finding all of this information, anywho. Really, I’m not trying to ruin childhoods or one’s perception of ROTJ, but I feel that a lot of this honeymoon glamour attached to ROTJ and other parts of SW is often and easily stripped away just by reading informational books on the film, since a lot of people just don’t mention it or are unaware of it, or have forgotten it. That goes for TESB, too; there’s stuff in that film I don’t like either, honestly, but overall, it’s still a great and interesting film.

    I see it as yet another callback to ESB.

    YODA: ...if you choose the quick and easy path, as Vader did, you will become an agent of evil.
    OBI-WAN: Patience.
    LUKE: And sacrifice Han and Leia?
    YODA: If you honor what they fight for...yes.

    Realistically, what would killing the Emperor actually accomplish in that moment? Would it save his friends? Would it save the Rebellion?


    I think it would because at one point the Emperor gives an order to fire on the rebel ships (both in a deleted scene and in the actual film). The Emperor has control over the Imperial Commanders. Killing him would at least disturb the status quo for a brief time at the very least until another Imperial Commander or Vader arose. I mean after Tarkin died, there was a great power shift (or maybe the plot was significantly altered, and we should consider this a retcon) towards Vader. In ANH, Leia jested that Tarkin was “holding Vader’s leash”- it made him more of an attack dog (or “rabid cur”, in a sense to reference TLJ) figure.

    Also, disturbing the status quo (especially during the battle of Endor) might have saved the rebels some time by creating some confusion among Imperial troopers and commanders. (They would be like, “What do we do now?, etc.).

    Also, it would give justice to Luke’s friends and the rebellion for what they’ve suffered. I did reassess the scene recently, and I think it’s possible and might be the intent of the scene that Luke is contemplating getting revenge on the Emperor

    And I disagree with TESB’s moral of needing to be patient. I understand the virtue of patience, but Luke is absolutely right. It’s not patience in this case; it’s waiting around until Apparently, Han and Leia would have been sacrificed… so that Luke gets more trained in the force until is he is ready to beat/confront/kill Vader and the Emperor. You know, apparently nothing else can’t take the Emperor or Vader down- a random laser blast, someone attacking Vader or the Emperor in their sleep, sabotage of Imperial ships, etc.

    I don’t know why Yoda thinks that Han and Leia were fighting for Luke (unless he meant the rebellion, in which case, yes). It’s clear that the Empire followed them, and they aren’t even BEING ASKED ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE REBELLION BY VADER, so they aren’t even sticking up for the rebellion, other than being the rebellion and having fought for the rebellion. They’re just being tortured because Vader has the foresight to know that this will lure Luke in; he’s remarkably intelligent to bank on this.

    Would it save his father? No, it wouldn’t.

    Yes, it wouldn’t, but saving his father is actually besides the point. If Vader already has good in him as Luke says, then why try getting him back to the light side if he has light already in him? Does one have to deliberately select a side? Why doesn’t avoiding killing Luke or some of Vader’s Imperial commanders near the end of TESB count?; those are acts of compassion too. Why does killing the Emperor (an act forbidden by the plot for Luke to do, either that or confusing machinations by the Emperor, I guess) to save Luke’s life count as turning to the light side? draft In the rough draft, summary of Revenge of the Jedi, Luke refuses to kill Vader because he declares that he still has good in him. While Vader is still guilty of several crimes, this makes a whole lot more sense, then.

    The Empire wouldn’t just end its decisive victory over their lone enemy because its Emperor was dead.

    Special DVD edition of ROTJ ending says hi. It’s clear with the ending of Death Star II and the Emperor, that the Empire was finished. In the original film, it’s more unclear, but Lucas actually DID want a worldwide celebration at the end of ROTJ in

    Vader wouldn’t have a change of heart seeing what he expected to happen, “You can destroy the emperor. He has foreseen this. It is your destiny.”

    True, but so much of this was cut away from Vader in this film. There’s no mention of Vader wanting Luke to destroy the emperor in the film. Period. Just Luke joining Vader, because it is assumed that once they are a team they could take down the Emperor. But the thing is there is at least one or even two! opportunities where this could have occurred (when the Emperor calls off his guards, when the Emperor goads Luke into killing him, and perhaps after Luke cuts Vader down if he had bought time to let Vader recover), and it doesn’t happen at all. When Luke is being tempting to kill the Emperor and even attempts it but Vader parries the blade, that WOULD HAVE BEEN a prime time to sike the Emperor out.

    It would be a net zero gain, except now with Luke having compromised his principles - taking the easy path and becoming an agent of evil.

    Being quick about something is not necessarily bad. There is a time and place for everything under the sun.

    Also, for evil to prosper, good men must do nothing.

    One of the cooler elements to TLJ is the direct examination of that idea. What if the Emperor had been killed for selfish instead of selfless reasons? Then what? Well, you get this:

    REY: Order them to stop firing. There's still time to save the fleet. Ben?
    KYLO: It's time to let old things die.

    Kylo wasn’t saving what he loved, he was killing what he hated.


    “Saving what you love, not killing what you hate (even if killing something would save what you love)” is an ROTJ idea with Luke’s avoidance of killing the Emperor. And Vader still saves what he loves, Luke, and technically kills what he hates by killing the Emperor, unless he didn’t have hate in him while killing the Emperor. It’s dumb, but Rian tries to adapt it and fails because of the idea’s broken logic.

    I’d argue that he attempts to do both in the film. He’s heartbroken when Rey leaves at the end and is concerned about her during the fight with Pretorian guards. Of course he hates the Resistance, he believes them to be “thieves, traitors, and murderers”, according to TFA. But he still wants Rey at the same time.

    “I see him turning the lightsaber to strike true. And now...he ignites it, and kills his true enemy!” Without having turned his father, killing the Emperor would just put Vader on the throne. Then what?

    Then Vader either overpowers Luke, or they both deliberate on the issue of the Rebellion. Still better than Luke being completely killed by the Emperor removing one of the last force users from the Rebellion from off of their team.

    He kills him too? That still wouldn’t achieve what he was there to do.

    If push comes to shove, maybe, if it would save the Rebellion, then yes. That, or Luke puts him in prison, or something.

    What Anakin does at the end is sacrifice himself to protect someone who couldn’t protect themselves by eliminating the threat the only way he could.


    Or Anakin could have snapped the Emperor’s neck, summoned a lightsaber across the room to strike him down, hit him with objects, etc. Unless the Emperor, his lightning, and being able to read minds are so OP that Vader’s attempts at surprise or cunning (like in Empire- holding his breath to fool Luke) don’t matter. Slowly and clumsily lifting and tossing the guy down a really long shaft is not very effective, despite the cool matte painting.

    Also, despite the great pain, I think that Luke could at least have tried crawling around after the initial shock (or have used the force to deflect, both the rough draft summary and the ROTJ novelization show this); there’s enough time. But he’s just helplessly writhing on the ground for the most part.

    It was a genuinely altruistic act. Luke, striking down the Emperor in a vain attempt to save everyone, wouldn’t be “justice”. It would fruitless, self-serving vengeance.

    How? It’s worth a try. The Rebellion would probably dethrone or kill the Emperor anyway if it wasn’t for Luke’s role as a Jedi.

    The opposite of altruism. He would have failed his goal and proven the Emperor right.

    Does it matter if he proves the Emperor to be right? Just save your friends and cause of a Rebellion from hurting other people from getting torched alive like Luke’s Aunt and Uncle!

    Certainly, the Emperor interprets Luke’s refusal as petulance. That’s the characterization. He believes himself unquestionably superior to everyone around him. He views Luke as a naïve brat and takes his rejection personally.

    What I’m speaking to is your deliberate framing of Luke’s reaction as something childishly taunting that betrays his immaturity, which I believe is a willful misinterpretation of the text that better fits your argument. ‘Defiance’ in the way a toddler defiantly refuses to eat their vegetables. Maybe ‘obstinate’ is a better word? Either way, that’s clearly not what was supposed to be conveyed in that sequence. Luke isn’t trying to provoke Mr. Melty Face by thumbing his nose at him. Though that’s likely how the Emperor character would have perceived it.

    It's mostly the repetition (“I will not turn”- bridge scene, “You won’t turn me as you did my father”- to the Emperor) that makes this scene childish to me. It’s also Hamill’s bizarro acting here- his superficial/overexaggerated heroism that takes me out of it. The “tell not show” nature of it makes it appear child-like and obvious. It was rather clear in Hamill's looks and heavy right before his turns off his lightsaber that he's clearly courageous and doing the right thing by rejecting the Emperor's offer.

    I don’t think that when Luke [Hamill] was scared when looking at Vader’s cut off limb and his own mechanical hand, that his decision to be defiant was bad, if anything that was one of the better acted moments of the film. It’s his subsequent, “Never. I’ll never turn to the dark side. You’ve failed your majesty. I am a Jedi, like my father before me” that takes me out, because Hamill is glaring (and his weird snarky tone) at Ian. Then, he tries to act bold and (enthusiastic?) while addressing the Emperor. It ruins the tone faster than one can say "Rian Johnson".

    This is just getting silly. Killing someone that is actively in the process of attempting to kill you, and countless others, is not an “attack”. You’ve been attacked. Now you’re defending. This isn’t quantum cosmology here. It’s a pretty simple concept.

    Defense doesn’t have to end in a death; it could be as simple as setting up a shield. Shields don’t usually kill people. Killing is an active state; in order to kill one has to take action-attack.

    I understand defending in relation to an attack, but it reminds me of how Kyle Katarn in Jedi Outcast II would only kill the bad guy after he’d given him a weapon to use and then struck once. “I cannot kill… unless you have a weapon and strike me once!” It’s equally as ridiculous and can be easily abused in its logic. Avoid the dark side… by making sure that you’re attacking or killing someone out of compassion for someone else or defending yourself, however small the act of compassion or defense. I’d like to say too, that Luke was technically defending his friends by attempting to kill the Emperor, unless it is really a rushed attempt at rage against the Emperor, who has no ties to Luke whatsoever until this film in essence.

    Also, symbolically, Luke’s defense of himself and others on Jabba’s barge, since Luke waited until the absolute last minute and gave Jabba ample chances to avoid conflict, IS NOT, as far as I know, treated in a positive manner during the aftermath, despite the fun Saturday Mantinee aspect of it. There’s a brief scene of Luke putting on a black glove over his blasted right robot hand, which was blasted during the encounter on Jabba’s palace. During this scene, Luke has an ambiguous emotion or no emotion, as if what’s he did was probably wrong, but Luke won’t say anything on it. In The Making of Return of the Jedi, the machine aspect represents a lack of compassion, which is utilized later on in the film. The black glove also ties Luke to Vader, showing that Luke is becoming Vader.


    In ANH, Luke has plenty of ample time to fly that X-wing of his to another planet without needing to defend himself.

    But why? The finished product is what matters, not the preliminary steps that were revised, reworked, reversed, or outright abandoned along the way. Every feature film undergoes numerous iterations while slowly becoming what it ultimately becomes. You’re holding up a protean version of the story like it’s the de facto inarguably realized state. It’s not. It can provide valuable insight into the developmental process, to be sure, but it is not the end-all-be-all.

    Often echoes from the film’s development influence the ultimate film or cut. Also, A LOT is often unexplained in a film, which is better explained in its development or written drafts. Why does Vader parry Luke’s blow against the Emperor? The Making of Return of the Jedi says that the meeting between Vader and the Emperor was set up to make Luke fall to the dark side. It’s barely clear, if at all in the actual film, if this is the case.

    Sometimes, there are abstract loose ends which are never explained in the final film, but ARE explained in the development

    But that’s just me. Luke willingly strolls into the spider’s web (not so subtle window design)

    Glad that you caught that.

    Luke was arrogant again. Got trounced again. Then stumbled his way through again. That’s not regression. That’s a character flaw. It’s a faulty pattern that he’s prone to repeating because he isn’t an immaculate paragon.

    Luke’s arrogance is really noticeable in ROTJ. I think that he was a lot more sincere (and serious at the same time) in TESB about things, while getting a little cocky at times (“You’ll find I’m full of surprises” Dack’s “I feel like I could take on the whole Empire” response to-“Yeah”).

    If it was a flaw, then why was Luke using his brain in TESB and listening to Yoda when he deliberated with them and used his knowledge and controlled his fear in Bespin. He should have questioned things or suddenly forgot about Yoda. He LEARNED.

    Like strutting into Chalmun's Cantina saying “I'm ready for anything”

    Luke was a bit cocky saying that (with irony later on), but that also highlights his sincerity or naivety like Spongebob Squarepants- “I’m ready!”. He mostly lacks that in ROTJ; he’s rather aggressive (which isn’t necessarily a negative thing, but it’s how it’s implemented) about things. Except for “I sense the conflict in you- let go of your hate!” and “I will not fight you father”, most lines sound insincere and robotic from Hamill.

    or bringing his weapon to have a chat with his nephew…unannounced…in the middle of the night.

    To reference several things: TESB reference to the cave by bringing said weapon, the ROTJ Luke fighting against Vader finally and snapping because of a reason, and Luke’s vision in TESB of people he cares about. Stick those in a blender, make the location a version of Yoda’s hut, and you have a winner.

    He listens to parts. The bits he finds value in, but not the core lesson.

    YODA: The cave. Remember your failure at the cave.
    LUKE: But I've learned so much since then.

    Luke’s failure at the cave was jumping into a situation aggressively without thinking it through.


    Actually, I disagree with the film here if that’s what it’s going for. Yoda’s lessons I heavily disagree with, though the film tries to advocate for these points, or least have Yoda emphasize and try to coerce Luke into believing it by teaching it to him. More disturbingly is Yoda’s lack of faith in Luke himself over the slightest of Luke’s failures (initially not being patient, etc.). Even when Yoda looks excited towards Luke when he tries to raise the X-Wing, looks bummed when Luke fails, and then tries to be hopeful to Luke, and is bummed again by Luke not understanding. Like how many times will Yoda flip-flop on this? Can Yoda just pick a position on this and not emotionally react based on whether Luke fails or not?

    A lot of Luke’s recklessness actually saved his butt in the film, as I have stated before. The only main thing that Luke should have been called out for is probably attacking first, but even then, Vader’s already committed crimes; I can see why Luke wanted to strike shadow-Vader down.

    On a side note, Luke’s failure, seeing that the implied context later is: “You have controlled your fear” is that he was afraid going into the cave (i.e. though it was common sense to bring a weapon- Luke reacted in fear by bringing it and by attacking Vader). So, the point of the cave was to learn to control his fear (redundant because Luke partially evaded the Wampa by using the force), not to jump into a situation aggressively.

    While Yoda does call out Luke for being “reckless” after he leaves, the point is also to control one's fear.

    And here he is again, doing the same thing and not realizing it’s the same thing. He lets his emotions and cockiness overrule his judgement, "you'll find I'm full of surprises" and suffers the consequences.

    It’s something he does over and over again with varying degrees of disaster. It's who the guy is.

    Or a mix of success with disaster. “I’m full of surprises” has a mixed end result. Luke’s lightsaber is initially knocked away after this line, but Luke shows his mettle by jumping out of the carbonite freezing chamber and parrying Vader’s blow. However, later on, it’s clear that Luke is no match for Vader, though Vader still struggles to subdue him, anyhow.

    My personal interpretation (which is all any of this is) is that the “powers” Yoda is warning Luke not to underestimate are his manipulations and temptations. Not the evil zappy hands.

    Fair enough. (Even though Palp’s temptations are limited to: i.e. give in to the dark side because it is inevitable, because your friends will die. They’re not really convincing.) But let’s say that’s sufficient reason for Luke to be tempted, okay. (I don’t agree with that, anyway). Nevertheless, Luke still avoids the warning signs- Palp being able to read his mind/emotions, unlocking his restraints with the force, etc. Luke didn’t see that this force user could be a threat if he got on his bad side? Or did he deliberately expose himself or risk it- Luke’s paused breath shot after his statement of his identity to the Emperor seems to imply it.

    I’m not sure if you’re being sardonic here or not, but yeah, the premise presented in TLJ is a direct reexamination of Luke’s tactic in ROTJ - ‘I have to leave my friends in order to protect them’. The same pattern of behavior, but turned on its head.

    But in this case, Luke’s not protecting anyone if he gives up. Luke wanted to give up the Jedi way to prevent more suffering. In this case, the suffering is ensured, especially since there is an immediate threat with the Emperor.

    It's a delivery on the exchange from earlier, "Your overconfidence is your weakness." "Your faith in your friends is yours." Luke has faith his friends will pull a victory from the Emperor’s overconfidence. He’d faltered before. He’d allowed his fear to overrule that faith. He’d futilely struggled against it. Now, he’s regained that belief and resolve.

    Whatever happens inside that room isn’t going to change what’s happening outside that room. That was the lure. That was the deceit that Luke had fallen for. And that’s what he’s rejecting - what he’s letting go of.


    He has faith, but does he have common sense, too? Luke can believe in the abilities of his friends all he wants, but there was ample opportunity for them to be taken down at any moment (spending more time in space around DS II to give Han and Leia more time to disable the shield on Endor, the imperial officers and storm troopers acting stupid- right when Han and Leia got to the control room –“Rebel Scum”- instead of killing them on the spot, just having them surrender, also when a storm trooper shot one of them, and caused Han and Leia to momentarily surrender, instead of shooting and killing them). In reality, Luke’s friends survived due to luck (or I guess the Force? Or is it the imperials’ incompetence?)

    Also, on a side note- the overconfidence is probably forced from Lucas, because they didn’t have time for the imperial planet and had to have it like the Emperor was going to the Death Star II. Lucas admitted that it did make the Emperor seem a bit stupid, but he thought that he could make it less stupid by filling in the details. Making the Emperor overconfident might be a filled-in detail here.


    Sacrificing Han and Leia in order to honor what they’re fighting for. Having faith in them and faith in himself.

    Frankly, that’s a terrible lesson, and crazier still, Han and Leia weren’t sacrificing themselves for Luke at all on Cloud City- a complete fabrication. The only thing they really do (and before on their time at Cloud City they aren’t interrogated about Luke’s location or anything that would be sacrificial, unless Han allowing himself to be put into carbon freeze is a sacrifice, but he didn’t really have much of a choice) is “Luke, don’t!- It’s a trap! It’s a trap!”, which is still possibly more of a warning for Luke to not save them because Vader/Empire will hurt/ take advantage of Luke. This happens when Luke appears on the scene, too. So, this is probably only potential time when Leia says that.

    But why the honor part? “I respect that you’re willing to protect me [Luke]”? Luke wants to save them from harm, which is also honorable, and KNOWS that he may be hurt going into this. He was willing to make that sacrifice when he went.

    Finally implementing the lesson he learned from his failure in ESB.

    That was not a failure. Luke did absolutely the right thing, though it was a tough call if he was going to be overwhelmed by Vader. While Luke was beaten, he still escaped (thanks to recklessness, likely). He didn’t manage to directly save them or kill or beat Vader, but it’s still better to say “no” to injustice than to wait around until his friends will eventually killed by Vader if Vader would have kept torturing his friends on Cloud City.

    “Unclear”? That was the central theme of Luke’s thread in ESB. “Unlearn what you have learned”. His whole arc in that episode revolves around him learning that his supposed ‘heroic’ inclinations are self-destructive, limiting and have to be redefined. That was the theme for all the main characters in that episode BTW - your previous tactics won’t work, in fact they’ll only work against you, and now you need to evolve in order to endure.

    His racing off to face Vader ends in his being humbled and fully grasping what Yoda was trying to teach him. “Told you, I did. Reckless is he. Now matters are worse.” It’s the moment where he literally falls down in order to learn how to pick himself back up.


    Yes, he knew this, but was willing to take the risk. He doesn’t really pick himself up. His last shot in the film is a mellowed-out look; uncertain of the future but possibly humbled from Vader’s revelation and being beat from him. Can’t say if he’s picked himself back up, but he’s been affected by the experience.

    And to be fair, Luke’s willingness to sacrifice himself can be seen as reckless, although it can also been seen as him not choosing an easy (evil) path with Vader’s offer.
     
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  10. eeprom

    eeprom Force Sensitive

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    This is generally the case with most films though, yeah? Movies are magic tricks. Once you learn how they’re done, you often nullify the wonderment. You demystify the fantasia. A lot of ROTJ’s path to life was messy and disjointed and, in execution, not the truest expression what it could have been. The same can pretty much be said for all the Star Wars movies though. I’m not sure why that’s supposed to be such a mark against this one that, in my anecdotal experience, is rarely regarded as anything approaching perfection anyway.
    “I have my orders from the emperor himself. He has something special planned for them. We only need to keep them from escaping.”

    The premise is that the Imperial Navy had the entirety of the Rebel fleet trapped. Whatever notions admiral fish-head had about ‘retreat’, the Rebels were f**ked. They were going to die there. Period. The commanders already had their orders. They don’t need the Emperor for that. Whether it was from a giant laser gun or an endless barrage of TIEs, this was the end of the “insignificant Rebellion”. That’s the plot.
    So ‘an eye for an eye’, huh? Luke should make the Emperor pay for his lack of vision? I think you might be mixing up some of the themes here.
    It’s about the dangers of unchecked attachment and allowing them to control and exploit you. It’s one of the core tenants of the series. “It is you and your abilities the emperor wants. That is why your friends are made to suffer.” It’s bait and Luke, like a fired up halfwit, takes it and gets schooled.

    What if Luke doesn’t go to Bespin? Here’s one possible version. Lando still facilitates Leia’s escape. And since the hyperdrive was only disabled on account of Luke’s presence, the lot catch up to Fett right then and there and rescue Han. Hooray! But Luke, busy playing hero and trying to even out the score of his big brother Han constantly saving his ass, ‘torpedoes’ the whole thing.

    I’m not saying that’s what we were supposed to construe, but it’s a ‘certain point of view’ of the text “...you would destroy all for which they have fought and suffered.” They fought and suffered to get away from Vader. He plays right into the Emperor’s hand in ESB and then again in ROTJ. It isn’t until he ‘let’s go’ and refuses to bite at that worm again that he’s victorious.

    You don’t have to agree with me. You’re totally entitled to your own interpretation and see it as inconsistent. For me, it’s a straight line from one to the other - a direct causal relation. Pretty satisfying.
    A truly intelligent foe would killed two birds there and done both, but then maybe the audience wouldn’t have gotten the motivation.
    LUKE: I feel the conflict within you. Let go of your hate.
    VADER: It is too late for me, son.

    He believes he’s beyond redemption. It’s Luke’s role there to help convince him that he’s not. Rescuing his son, irrespective to whatever harm it might bring him or whatever selfish motivations he might have previously had is the manifestation of him ‘letting go of his hate’ and acting out of love. That’s the turn.
    OK, first, choosing not to execute someone for failing at there job isn’t “compassion”. It’s not being an irrational psycho for once and practicing a modicum of self-control. It works to show that his encounter with his son has softened him to some extent. It starts him on that journey toward redemption that’s continued in the next episode.

    Second, Vader’s motivation in sparing his son was still totally self-motivated. “Son, come with me.” He doesn’t want to go have a catch with the kid, he wants to make him into a homicidal instrument of evil - just like him. There may have been a glimmer of good driving it down deep, but the ‘why’ of it was still entirely selfish: turn Luke to the darkside.

    I feel I’ve covered this pretty thoroughly at this point. You just don’t seem to want to acknowledge it. If we really want to add up the ethical arithmetic here, had the situation been reversed and the only way to save his father was for Luke to kill the Emperor, then that would have been morally justified. But that, by design, wasn’t the circumstance we were presented.
    Hmm, maybe tell it not to interrupt unless it has something important to say :D
    It’s clear, after blowing up the Death Star, that the Rebellion had won that battle. You’re suggesting that without that, with just the death of the Emperor alone, the Imperial forces would have simply stopped attacking a trapped and woefully outmatched opponent?

    Cutting the head off the snake could plausibly lead to its body dying eventually, but to think they would just give up and run away during the battle, while they had the upper hand, blows way past the suspension of disbelief for me.
    Yeah, I’m not going to argue the point here too hard. The idea is that Vader thinks his approach to turning Luke previously won’t work. He’s completely onboard with his bosses assessment “Only together can we turn him to the dark side of the Force.” That doesn’t totally track for me either. Surely he knew Palps was planning a double cross, right? Wouldn’t he want to get the jump on the old coot? He went from ‘let’s betray my master’ to ‘I must obey my master’. Meh, clunky to be sure. No objection from me on that.
    That quote refers to not standing up to evil. Luke is literally standing there, in front of evil, saying ‘no’.
    The logic is that ‘why’ we fight is just as important as ‘what’ we fight. That might not matter much to you, but it probably should. The line was used at the dumbest possible point in TLJ, but the sentiment is still sound.
    Selfishly. He wants her to become as corrupt and broken as he is. He doesn’t want what’s best for her. He wants what’s best for him. The same thing Vader wanted from Luke.
    “Deliberate”? What, they retire to the sitting room and cordially discuss the matter over tea and crumpets while the hope of the galaxy dies outside the window?
    This is like saying Christianity is stupid because Jesus should have just used all his super God powers to kick everyone’s ass. However fun that might be to watch, I think you might be missing the bigger picture here.
    Yeah, he’s defenseless before his attacker. Anakin, the returning Jedi, is defending the defenseless.
    Seeing as that was the thematic crux to the whole hexalogy: overcome your fear and hate in order to do what’s right no matter the cost, yeah, it sort of matters to the story.
    “The films were designed for 12-year-olds. I said that right from the very, very beginning and the very first interviews I did for A New Hope. It’s just that they were so popular with everybody, that everybody forgot that.” - George Lucas

    “Childish” is an odd criticism to lob at a movie meant for children.
    Personal preference. Doesn’t work for you. Totally works for me.
    I’d love to hear your alternate version of ANH where the Deathstar is defeated by a shield, thus removing its threat and dismantling the plot. The premise was ‘kill-or-be-killed’ with the fate of the galaxy in balance. Those were the stakes. Trying to rewrite that to defend a position is fairly unproductive.
    I think I’m just about to give up here and call it a day. I can’t keep trying to find new ways of writing the same thing. “Defending his friends” is what the Emperor wanted. It was a pretense. It was a fabricated condition. Just like the Clone Wars. He made it up. Just like defeating the Separatists was never going to bring peace to the Republic, just like exterminating the Jedi was never going to save Anakin’s wife, defeating the Emperor was never going to save Luke’s friends. It was all a ploy. It was a means of corrupting his character by granting the illusion of nobility. That’s the guy’s M.O. It’s all connected.
    This reads more like a compliment than a criticism. This is a wonderful analysis of the sequence and how it fits with the overall motif of the picture.
    Right. He’s choosing to defend the Rebellion, which is about to be eradicated, and with it, the last hope of liberty in the galaxy. “…other star systems will suffer the same fate as Alderaan.” Those were the stakes. Stop the Deathstar here and now or countless more lives will be lost.
    He saves himself by relenting. He stops struggling. He calms himself and reaches out to Leia who, in turn, rescues him because of it. Recklessness got him into the situation. Thoughtfulness got him out of it. He fell down. He learned to get back up. Setup > payoff.

    Sorry, but there’s just no way I can respond to every single point here. This has been a lot of fun, but I think I’ll have to excuse myself. I don’t think I can keep up with these epic back-and-forths. Too rich for my blood. I fold :D
     
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