Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Recycled or Revolutionary?

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been the topic of heated debate in the world of cinema, with fans split down the middle on whether or not director Rian Johnson does the legacy of the films proud. One of the more prominent reasons why the movie is disliked is that people claim it bears a striking resemblance to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Ahead will be the similarities and differences between the two movies and a look at each movie’s perspective.

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD, do not proceed if you have not watched either of these movies.

 

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Similarities
The Training/Trainer:

Luke, early in the movie is told to go to the Dagobah System to learn from the Jedi Master Yoda by the ghost of Ben Kenobi. He follows the order and after crash landing there meets the guru. Yoda then teaches him the ways of the force.

The Training/Trainer:

Rey goes to the planet in which Luke Skywalker went to train the next generation of Jedi, to learn the ways of the Force. Luke is reluctant to train her, but after being reminded of the past with help from R2-D2, he agrees to give Rey 3 lessons in the Force and why the Jedi order must end.

The Traitor: Lando Calrissian

When the heroes land on Cloud City they are greeted by Han Solo’s old friend Lando, who says he can fix their ship. Lando, however sells out Han, Leia, and Chewbacca to the Empire saying they forced him to do the evil deed, leading to Han’s freezing in carbonite.

The Traitor: DJ

Finn and Rose require DJ’s help in hacking the First Order’s security system to shut down their trackers. He however sells them out saying it is just business, because of the money he earns. This leads to Finn and Rose nearly being executed.

The Twist:
Arguably the most famous twist in movie history, Darth Vader reveals that he did not murder Luke’s father; he is Luke’s father
The Twist:

In Star Wars: The Force Awakens we are led to believe that Supreme Leader Snoke turned Ben Solo to the dark side and caused him to kill the students Luke was training. In the later half of The Last Jedi, Luke reveals the true story in which he feared Ben’s power and for a second thought about killing him. He immediately took it back, but in the end it was too late. His action led to the creation of Kylo Ren

The AT-AT Scene:

The iconing opening to the Empire Strikes Back sees imperial AT-AT walkers attack the rebels on Hoth, with the Rebels attempting to stop them with their snow speeders

The AT-AT Scene:

After the resistance flees to Crait, Kylo Ren orders a full scale invasion of the planet. The First Order uses a squadron of AT-AT walkers to attack. The resistance has only a small squad of rusty ships to fight them

“Join Me”:

After revealing the truth, Darth Vader tells his son that if he joins him, that they can overthrow the emperor and rule the galaxy as father and son

“Join Me”:

After killing Snoke and an army of his guards, Kylo Ren tells Rey to burn the past and join him so that they can rule the galaxy together.

Differences:
Characters/Setting

Characters include, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2, Darth Vader, Yoda, Lando Calrissian, Boba Fett, and the Emperor. The 3 main settings are the planets of Hoth and Dagobah, and the large outpost known as Cloud City. many scenes also occur on the Millenium Falcon.

Characters/Setting

Although some characters such as Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, and Yoda return, the cast is mostly comprised of new faces. These include Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Rose Tico, Kylo Ren, Snoke, General Hux, Captain Phasma, DJ, and Vice Admiral Holdo. The main settings are the planets of  Canto Bight, Ahch-To and Crait, as well as both the First Order and Resistance ships.

Emperor Still in Charge

Although Darth Vader is often seen as the main villain of Star Wars he still is not on top. He takes orders from his master the Emperor. This remains throughout the course of the movie, even though Darth Vader tells Luke they can overthrow the Emperor.

Change in Power

Kylo Ren similarly is not the highest ranking in the First Order. That title goes to Snoke, who is supreme leader. A little more than halfway through the film, Kylo Ren kills Snoke and later declares himself supreme leader when Rey refuses to join him.

One Lightsaber Battle

The only lightsaber battle in the movie occurs when Luke is confronted by Darth Vader. The battle is long, and slowly paced. This helps add to the dread the watcher feels for Luke, as he struggles to fight.

Epic Lightsaber Battles

With the magic of CGI lightsaber battles are much easier to film. The movie contains two battles, one pits Kylo Ren and Rey against Snoke’s Guards. The other puts Luke against Kylo Ren.  Both battles are fast paced and intense. They are more used for action than suspense.

Luke Loses His Hand

After dealing one hit to Darth Vader, it seems as though Luke has a chance at beating his opponent. This takes a complete 180 when Luke gets his hand cut off.

Nobody Loses a Hand

A “tradition” of the Star Wars canon is in the second film of every trilogy someone loses a hand. First it was Luke, and then in Attack of the Clones Anakin lost a hand. In this movie the tradition isn’t continued.

Dark, But There is Still Hope

Although the movie is dark, with the Wampa scene in the beginning, Luke losing his hand and Han being frozen in carbonite, there are still many lighter moments. From funny interactions between Leia and Han, Luke getting a new hand and the final scene indicating that Han will be saved, hope is definitely present

Greater Sense of Dread/Fear

With most of the movie being about the Resistance escaping annihilation, there is truly a sense of fear, and dread. Many innocents die, and the entire movie is set up to be a race against time, with a constant reminder that the clock does not stop ticking. The movie has its lighter moments but it is truly darker than its predecessor.

It is truly hard to tell whether or not the newest Star Wars movie is truly an entirely new idea or a clone of one of its predecessors. Although it has similarities to The Empire Strikes Back that cannot be ignored, The Last Jedi still has its own unique personality, and its own individual qualities that make it memorable and highly original. It seems this debate will continue to rage on as does the battle between the light and dark sides of the force.

 

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