When I was younger, I only knew Star Wars as the movie series that my brother had watched and which had caused him to run around the house with his friends yelling “Pew pew! Pew pew!”. Hence, I decided that Star Wars was nothing more than a bunch of movies about people flying around in space shooting at each other.
For years, I was told that I was wrong. Apparently, Star Wars was so much more than that.
Finally, I gave in, and decided to watch all ten main films during the last holiday season. People were particularly excited for me to see the original trilogy – and so was I. I had heard a great deal about it and looked forward to watching the three movies that initiated one of the most popular franchises of all time.
Only to be majorly disappointed. So, in line with this series of unpopular opinions, here’s mine: read below why I believe that the original Star Wars trilogy (OT) is criminally overrated.
** Spoilers for Star Wars Episodes I – VI, obviously
1. Where’s the background? Context? Explanation?
Thankfully, we watched the prequel trilogy before the original trilogy, meaning that we chose the chronological order over release order. For the record – the original Star Wars trilogy consists of what are currently referred to as Episodes IV, V, and VI. After the success of those three Star Wars movies, the prequel trilogy was made, and episode numbers shifted. Anyhow, by the time we started Episode IV, I knew all about the Jedi, the fight between the good guys and bad guys, and so forth. And thank goodness for that, because I would have been very, very lost otherwise. At no point in the OT is it explained how the current situation came to be. How did the war start? How is it being perpetuated? Who is the dark side, and what drives them? It’s smart to start telling a story in the midst of war, but not if you don’t tell the audience anything about how the story itself actually started.
2. Ah yes, sibling love
Ah yes, that classic sibling love: it’s not complete without a love triangle and a kiss, right? Sure, I can excuse the love triangle – after all, neither Luke nor Leia knew that they were siblings. But I haven’t found myself able to excuse the kiss, simply because I don’t understand why it was necessary to include it in the movie. Either, Luke and Leia’s relationship wasn’t properly thought-out at the start (which generally doesn’t bode well for longer-running stories anyhow) and the writers didn’t yet know that they would be siblings, or someone knew that they were siblings and decided that it was a-okay for them to kiss. Someone, please, explain to me why.
3. Where did Leia go?
Episode IV literally starts with Leia being a badass and then she’s gone. She and Luke are the last known force-positive beings, so the future of the Jedi Order, and of the entire universe, rests on their shoulders. Not that Leia needs to be bothered with this, anyhow. I was so intrigued by her character at the start, and now I don’t even remember anything about her. Talking of missed opportunities…
4. “I am your father” – ok, tell me more though
“I am your father” was, apparently, the biggest reveal in cinematic history. And sure, the reveal of itself was fine – it was dramatic, unexpected, and well-integrated into the course of events. But again, no background for this is provided. If Vader is their father – who was their mother? Why were they separated? Leia barely even blinks when Luke tells her of their shared blood, and we never find out anything else about Vader. “I am your father” is thus reduced to barely more than a sentence – and it’s not even a good one.
5. I’m a sucker for character deaths, but not these
If there’s one thing that the OT is good at, it’s anticlimactic character deaths. In the trilogy, two supposedly iconic and legendary characters are introduced: Ben, also known as Obi-wan Kenobi, and Yoda. We’re made to believe that they are some of the greatest Jedi, undefeatable, and masters of the Force. And then… they don’t live up to those legends. At all. Ben is honestly a bit annoying, with how mysterious he is and how unwilling to tell Luke (or the audience, for that matter) anything. He ends up dying by the hands of Darth Vader, which would be fair, if it wouldn’t have been because he just decided to stand there. I think it’s argued in the movie that he can be more “useful” when he’s dead, because he won’t actually die, but other than a bunch of whispers, it’s the last we see/hear of Ben. As for Yoda – Luke leaves him, against his advice, to go on a reckless mission. When he comes back, Yoda literally just lets out his final breath, that’s it. … Sure.
6. There’s open endings, and there’s… this
Just like the OT didn’t have a start, it didn’t really have a finish, either – to the point where I had to google what happened to properly explain why it sucked. After rewatching the last thirty minutes or so, I remembered what was wrong with the ending: it doesn’t exist. Luke blew up a Death Star – so what? They did that before, and then a new one was built. Darth Vader and Palpatine are dead – again, so what? It’s not like they carried the entire dark side – we know that there’s a bunch of powerful generals and whatnot. Still, the trilogy ends with the war being over “just like that”. There are no explanations, no recaps of what happened after, and no elaborations on how exactly the good side came to win. That’s not how you end stories. It’s how you kill them.
I’ve already been practically renounced by both my brother and mother for declaring that the original Star Wars Trilogy – again, known today as episodes 4-6 – is the worst Star Wars Trilogy (it gets even worse when I say I liked the sequel trilogy, but that’s a different debate altogether). It’s also very likely that some of you do not exactly agree with me either. And that’s fine – but I doubt I’ll change my mind on this. From lacking backgrounds to unnecessary incest, and from missed opportunities to an altogether incomplete plot – I am not particularly looking forward to rewatching this trilogy any time soon.
Let me nuance this piece, though, by emphasizing that this is just an unpopular opinion – not a critique of the entire Star Wars universe. The prequels (and sequels, in my opinion) are great, I’ve heard many good things about the Mandalorian and the Book of Boba Fett, the Clone Wars is best unnecessary addition to a franchise I’ve ever seen, and I’m ridiculously excited for Kenobi to come out. Much like the universe itself, Star Wars seems to be ever-expanding, with relatively little critique. That doesn’t mean, however, that I understand how the original Star Wars trilogy was ever enjoyed sufficiently to lead to this. To end this piece on a final controversial note: 10-year-old me was right. The original Star Wars trilogy is barely more than people flying around in space shooting at each other.
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