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Thom Price
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L’Homme Diabolique

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Posted: 17 December 2016 at 2:12pm | IP Logged | 1  

I have mixed feelings about EMPIRE.  I think it's the second best of the STAR WARS films.  Issues like Ben being a liar or the Empire making an unlikely comeback don't irk me because, to me, they've always been the case; I saw EMPIRE (and ROTJ) before the original film.

There are two major things I dislike about EMPIRE that prevent me from regarding it as the equal to its predecessor.  I dislike that it splits the core team; I think sending Luke into his own storyline is a narrative blunder.  It would have been better, IMO, to have Luke's training take place in between the films to keep the ensemble together.

The second problem I have with EMPIRE is that, unlike the first movie, it's not a complete story.  Sure STAR WARS ended on a cliffhanger -- Vader's escape -- but it's an entirely self-contained tale.  Not so with EMPIRE - it leads directly into ROTJ, a movie I utterly despise.  And since I have no interest in watching ROTJ, I tend to just skip EMPIRE too.


Edited by Thom Price on 17 December 2016 at 2:13pm
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Tshombe K. Hamilton
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Posted: 31 December 2016 at 9:08am | IP Logged | 2  

Just found this. Had Leigh Brackett not died, we may have gotten a more satisfying movie:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-cronin/was-darth-vader-n ot-origi_b_7788770.html


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John Byrne

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Posted: 31 December 2016 at 6:11pm | IP Logged | 3  

Leigh Brackett, by virtue of her being married to Edmond Hamilton, really leapt off the page when I read that interview, a long time ago in a Calgary far, far away, in which Lucas said Vader being Luke's father was her idea.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 31 December 2016 at 10:53pm | IP Logged | 4  

As the story goes, Brackett turned in her first and only draft shortly before she died, and Lucas was unhappy with it. Brackett's death led to Lucas writing the second draft himself, and this is when Father Vader entered the story. Lawrence Kasdan then came aboard to polish the next few drafts and rework the dialogue, with Father Vader remaining a closely-guarded secret until the very end.

The basic structure of Brackett's draft was essentially the same as the final film, but the ghost of Father Skywalker was there on Dagobah along with Yoda and Ben's ghost to train Luke. The leading theory is that Lucas, disappointed with Brackett's draft, and seeing the redundancy of having three Jedi mentors for Luke (Ben having been created to replace the Father Skywalker character from the earlier drafts of STAR WARS, and Yoda being created to replace Ben after it was decided to kill him off), decided to combine Father Skywalker with Vader while writing the second draft. This eliminated the redundancy, and also provided the dramatic meat of what would become the prequel trilogy (and this is also where EMPIRE went from "Chapter II" to "EPISODE V", since Lucas now planned on making the three prequel films to tell the story of Father Skywalker becoming Vader).

It's entirely possible that Brackett suggested the idea of Father Vader to Lucas during story meetings, or shortly after turning in her draft, but nothing concrete has been uncovered to support that idea, so the truth may well be lost to the mists of time.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 31 December 2016 at 11:48pm | IP Logged | 5  

Greg, do you know the deal with this?

http://io9.gizmodo.com/5684916/in-1978-darth-vaders-
actor-spoiled-the-empire-strikes-backs-ending-to-a-local-
newspaper/


Fake? An instance of Prowse bullshitting the crowd and getting lucky?
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 01 January 2017 at 12:08am | IP Logged | 6  

Yeah, that story's been floating around for a few years. Apparently, Prowse was spitballing and just got lucky, since most accounts have him being surprised by Vader's revelation when he actually saw the finished film, at the premiere.

It should also be noted that at least a few shots of Vader during that pivotal scene don't even feature Prowse. At least one non-dueling shot ("Don't make me destroy you.", as Vader is looming over Luke) appears to feature (presumably) Bob Anderson, Prowse's swordfighting double. You can tell it's not Prowse, because the actor doesn't fill out Vader's armor (particularly the shoulder bells) the way Prowse does. Perhaps they needed some extra shots, and Prowse was unavailable, or maybe he'd already been deemed a security risk, and so was excluded from some of the more spoileriffic stuff. Hmmm.
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Steven Myers
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Posted: 01 January 2017 at 10:30pm | IP Logged | 7  

My take: Star Wars was, and still is, my favorite movie. I think I was in 3rd grade when I first saw it.

I liked Empire, but didn't think it as good as Star Wars. Now, I'd say because it had less fun action, and too much serious stuff.

I loved Jedi probably mostly because it returned to the fun action of Star Wars. Not as good of a story, but I think it's harder to get the heroes out of a jam than get them into one.

I never knew until I was well into my adulthood that Empire was considered the "best" of the trilogy. I respectfully disagree.

(I think Clones is the best prequel, didn't care for ep 7 and will see Rogue someday, but I'm not in a hurry)
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John Byrne

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Posted: 02 January 2017 at 7:46am | IP Logged | 8  

It's entirely possible that Brackett suggested the idea of Father Vader to Lucas during story meetings, or shortly after turning in her draft, but nothing concrete has been uncovered to support that idea, so the truth may well be lost to the mists of time.

There MUST be something concrete out there! There is no other way I would have learned it.

GAH! I am so sure there was an interview in which Lucas just casually tossed off that Brackett had suggested that Vader was Luke's father (based on Obi-Wan's "hesitation") and he'd immediately embraced it.

As I said, this stuck in my mind because of her connection to Edmond Hamiltion. I can't imagine how I could have made it up!

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 02 January 2017 at 8:04am | IP Logged | 9  

JB, in what year would that interview have been published?
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John Byrne

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Posted: 02 January 2017 at 8:40am | IP Logged | 10  

JB, in what year would that interview have been published?

Some time soon after the second movie, I would think.

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Bill Collins
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Posted: 02 January 2017 at 10:39am | IP Logged | 11  

Vader failing and being promoted,is realistic,it happens all the time in government and management!
One thing that bugs me in Empire is the At-At walkers...you have vehicles that can fly and hover above ground,but you use vehicles that `walk` at a snails pace in snowy/icy terrain?
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John Byrne

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Posted: 02 January 2017 at 12:17pm | IP Logged | 12  

Vader failing and being promoted,is realistic,it happens all the time in government and management!

All the time? How about you give us THREE examples of someone who utterly failed in their assigned task, leading to the destruction of their side's power base (whatever form it takes) and then being promoted to what is effectively the second highest position.

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Thom Price
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Posted: 03 January 2017 at 8:14am | IP Logged | 13  

Maybe he lied and blamed it all on Tarkin?  He is a bad guy, after all.
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John Byrne

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Posted: 03 January 2017 at 11:50am | IP Logged | 14  

Maybe he lied and blamed it all on Tarkin? He is a bad guy, after all.

Darth Vader as Uriah Heep? Seems that the Emperor would blame it all on Tarkin automatically. And Vader, being Tarkin's stooge, would not get a lot of respect.

Again, we come back to the transformation that occurred between the original movie and first sequel. The major (and conclusive) victory for the rebellion morphs into a minor skirmish for the Empire.

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Anthony J Lombardi
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Posted: 03 January 2017 at 12:58pm | IP Logged | 15  

Perhaps the Emperor being the great leader that he was compartmentalizes. Since Tarkin was in charge of the Deathstar. Whatever happens ultimately falls on his head. 

The Emperor is gonna go to great lengths to let nothing tarnish his golden boy Vader.
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Thom Price
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Posted: 03 January 2017 at 1:05pm | IP Logged | 16  

I was being (mostly) facetious, of course; but also to put it into context, this is the same Emperor who though the solution to the Death Star debacle was another Death Star.
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Tim O'Neill
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Posted: 03 January 2017 at 2:48pm | IP Logged | 17  



Part of the appeal for me as a kid when seeing THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK was that it did not pick up right where they left us with the original movie.  They somehow made it to Hoth and I didn't know how - I thought that was pretty cool.



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Jason Czeskleba
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Posted: 04 January 2017 at 2:56pm | IP Logged | 18  

The thing that amazes me (from my perspective as someone who saw Star Wars at age 10 in the summer of 1977) is the inability of those in charge to conceive of a Star Wars film that doesn't either attempt to extend the storyline from the first film, remake the first film, or both.  Every single sequel or prequel they've made is dependent on the original film, leeching off its story in some way.  When I first heard that there was going to be a sequel, I assumed it would be an additional adventure of the main characters.  But what we got is sort of analogous to the producers of the Bond films deciding that every single film had to feature Dr. No and in some way revolve around his original plot to disrupt the space launch.  It's a really odd way to set up a franchise, with the original film being the axis around which everything else revolves.  I can't argue with how it worked out for them financially, but from a creative/entertainment standpoint, it's not very interesting to me.  The entire Star Wars series strikes me as barnacles attached to the first film.


Edited by Jason Czeskleba on 04 January 2017 at 2:57pm
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 04 January 2017 at 4:13pm | IP Logged | 19  

They blew up the ship and made whatever use they wanted of the flotsam!
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John Byrne

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Posted: 04 January 2017 at 4:31pm | IP Logged | 20  

A good analogy, Michael. All the sequels and prequls have been built from pieces of the original, all the while ignoring the structure of the original.

All of which reminds me of a LOST IN SPACE episode I have mentioned before. The Robot is stolen by aliens and disassembled. The Robinsons find it spread over several acres. Carefully they gather up the parts and diligently set about putting it back together. At one point John Robinson turns to Don West saying "This piece doesn't fit. Hand me that file!"

"No-ooh!" I almost shouted at the TV screen. "If it doesn't fit, it doesn't GO there!!"

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Steven Myers
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Posted: 04 January 2017 at 6:26pm | IP Logged | 21  

this is the same Emperor who though the solution to the Death Star debacle was another Death Star.

/////

Sorry, but that's not true. Building the second Death Star was nothing more than a trap to lure the Rebels out of hiding in order to finish them off once and for all. Which also points out the Emperor getting desperate as he is losing control of his Empire. One of my favorite ideas in Jedi is how much the rebellion has grown since Star Wars, as evidenced by the diverse races present in the second Death Star fight.

If you ignore the Rebellions inability to do anything right on ESB, it does seem that the destruction of the (original)Death Star leads to their defeat.
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Thom Price
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L’Homme Diabolique

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Posted: 04 January 2017 at 6:47pm | IP Logged | 22  

Building the second Death Star was nothing more than a trap to lure the Rebels out of hiding in order to finish them off once and for all.

***

"Nothing more"?  The staggering amount of resources needed to build a bigger Death Star as nothing more than a trap that fails; quite frankly, that paints the Emperor as being even dumber than my original point.

Also the opening crawl of ROTJ calls the new Death Star an "ultimate weapon", so no I don't think it was "nothing more" than a trap.
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Steven Myers
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Posted: 04 January 2017 at 7:52pm | IP Logged | 23  

The Emperor admits it was a trap. It was in the movie. He had "foreseen" everything happening. After defeating the rebellion he would have kept it, of course, to make the rebellious systems fall back in line.

Still, the point of building the new Death Star was to sure the rebel fleet out of hiding and deal with them once and for all. He had even planted false intel that the new Death Star was undefended, with the Imperial fleet scattered across the galaxy searching for the rebels.
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Thom Price
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L’Homme Diabolique

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Posted: 04 January 2017 at 8:59pm | IP Logged | 24  

I didn't dispute that the Death Star II was used as a trap, but that's not the same as being built as a trap ("nothing more"); it was built as the "ultimate weapon", because that worked out so brilliantly the first time around.  
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 07 January 2017 at 12:59pm | IP Logged | 25  

I think part of this issue has to do with the age of the people writing about the films.  Many people on this board speak about the films in narrative of having seen the first film, years pass, seeing the second film, and having the second film change everything.

Maybe I'm a young punk and should get off the lawn, but I was 6 when Empire came out.  So by the time I was aware of Star Wars, Luke was already Vader's son, and all the other changes were just 'Star Wars' when I learned about it, they were never perceived by me as retcons.  Frankly, I learned about Star Wars through action figures and storybooks before I saw either of the first two movies.  It was only RotJ that I saw in the theater, and I was 11, so it all just seemed awesome to me.  I wasn't yet old enough to sit back and critique it and decide that elements were 'wrong'.

I think a lot of the love for Empire is based on these factors.  First, for a lot of folks my age, Empire was their first Star Wars movie, effectively.  Second, relatedly, none of it seems like 'changes' or undermining of the story because it was part of the story when first encountered.  Third, it introduced a lot of visually cool elements and characters (see: Boba Fett) that had that same attractive air of mystery around them that made Wolverine so popular.  Fourth, it was probably, in hindsight, a better film than RoTJ.


Edited by Steve De Young on 07 January 2017 at 1:00pm
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