Star Wars: The Original Trilogy was a movie trilogy made up of Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983). All three principally starred Mark Hamill as “Luke Skywalker”, Harrison Ford as “Han Solo”, and Carrie Fisher as “Princess Leia Organa”.
I have a pretty long history with Star Wars. I wasn’t even around when the movies were new, but I still saw several scenes over the years as I grew up. The Star Wars movies were on TV a lot, and my dad watched them just as much. One repeated memory I had was me playing outside in our driveway or lawn while hearing Star Wars in the background. When I got older, I eventually had seen the movies all the way through. I started getting into the Star Wars video games, books, and Legos. Then the Special Editions came out at the movie theaters.
I remember we went to the movies three weekends in a row to see the whole trilogy. It was an absolute blast. I had never seen them in the movies since I was too young. Even though they were old movies, they were still just as good twenty years later. Despite the trilogy’s age, the lines of people waiting to see the movie were huge. I had never seen a longer line at the movie theater. The line went back and forth across all the hallways inside. The movies were breathtaking to see on the big screen. I loved how crisp and clear they had made them.
I was already getting into Star Wars before this, but now my interest was amplified. It became a regular yearly tradition to ask for something Star Wars for Christmas or my birthday. I really got into the books. Every few weeks I was going to the library with my mom to pick up another Star Wars book. All the best Star Wars video games were coming out around these years as well. I got several Star Wars Lego sets. That ultimately led me into the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy.
Overall, I love the Star Wars Original Trilogy. Star Wars has had a massive impact on my life. I will always remember my first experiences with Star Wars in every form of media as I grew up. I don’t expect to ever be “wowed” by Star Wars again like I was when I first saw these movies, but I expect to occasionally partake in the continuing richness of Star Wars, whether that be one of the new movies, books, or video games.
A New Hope
I liked A New Hope’s simplicity. It really was just a simple fairy tale story. Luke was the prince and Leia was the princess. Luke had to rescue the princess and kill the dragon, the dragon being the Empire. Of course, what made it unique was its setting. They were so creative with all the aliens, weapons, spaceships, and planets they invented for the movie. Basically, everything surrounded the movie was amazing. I couldn’t get enough of it. I just wanted to see more. They also did a great job with humour. There were several funny lines that kept the movie from getting too serious.
Because George Lucas never thought the movie would become a trilogy, A New Hope had a nice conclusion. As far as the audience knew, the Empire was defeated. Only Darth Vader was alive. I think this is the right way to make a trilogy. Each movie should be self-contained. Even if a trilogy is planned, there’s no way to know how well a movie will do. Maybe one of the movies bombs, and the final ending is never seen. Movie studios should make sure each movie stands on its own.
The Empire Strikes Back
The second movie in the original trilogy is considered by fans to be the best Star Wars movie. The Empire Strikes Back was a lot more serious than A New Hope. The audience didn’t get to see much of the Empire in A New Hope, but this movie focused on the Empire. People got to see just how evil they were. We thought the Rebels were doing pretty well, but this movie showed that the destruction of the Death Star was just a minor setback for the Empire. It was actually much bigger than any of us thought. The Rebels were in for a long hard fight. This was going to be like the American Revolutionary War. It would be years before a winner of the war would become evident.
This movie was hard to watch because it was mostly setback after setback for the Rebel Alliance. They never really got a foothold to do anything but salvage the situation. It started off with the Empire discovering their main base on the planet Hoth, prompting an evacuation that resulted in heavy casualties. Then when they went to get help from Han Solo’s friend, Lando Calrissian, on Bespin, he turned out to betray them. At least the movie ended with some hope. Luke Skywalker furthered his training to become a Jedi Knight. Luke and Leia escaped from the Bespin trap. They even gained a new ally in Lando.
I didn’t like this movie as much as A New Hope because it didn’t have a good ending. The story started well with a nice battle but then just meandered from place to place. I think they could have changed the story to make Bespin into a resourceful planet with Lando as a king of some sort. Maybe this planet made ships or powerful weapons that would help in a battle. Lando could have secretly joined the Rebels. Then in the final battle in the last movie, the Empire would be expecting Bespin’s help, but the Rebels would get that help instead in a deadly surprise for the Empire. The end with Luke, Leia, and Lando getting out of Bespin alive just wasn’t a big enough ending for me. They needed something major that had a big effect on the final movie.
Return of the Jedi
For me, the best movie in the original trilogy is really close between A New Hope and Return of the Jedi. Overall, I have to go with Return of the Jedi just because of its ending. The movie got straight to business, that being rescuing Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt. It gave the viewer a look into the shady underworld of Star Wars. The last time we saw any of this was in the Mos Eisley Cantina in the first film. It was nice to see that there was more than just the Rebel Alliance and the Empire. I loved how Luke Skywalker finally progressed to become a Jedi Knight. He now had full control of the force. He was sometimes an annoying, whiny kid in the first two movies, but now he was a man with courage, determination, and the power to back it up.
Most people didn’t like the next part of the movie, which featured the Ewoks. It wasn’t my favorite part, but I still enjoyed it. My only problem was that it took up too much time. Everyone understood the Ewoks after the first few minutes of seeing them, but then a lot of time in the film was used to develop them. I felt they could have shortened this part of the movie. This would have given them more time to expand the movie in other ways. They could have lengthened the ending to have some scenes of the Rebel Alliance formally transitioning to the New Republic.
The final battle was amazing. Several movies have tried to do a great final battle, but none of them have done better than Return of the Jedi in my eyes. It was great to see the Rebel Alliance finally on the offensive. So long we had to sit through the Rebels being ambushed and picked apart, but now it was time for payback. It was a great decision to have the main characters on the ground. If they were all just flying spaceships, the viewer would mostly just see their spaceships flying around, not the actual characters. Instead, the main characters got to shine in a place where their personalities could really be shown. Also, just watching spaceships fighting for the last hour of the movie would have been boring. The movie creators instead were able to switch between high personality scenes (Endor ground fight) to low personality scenes (spaceships battling) to keep viewers hooked until the end.