As one of the most anticipated films of the year, there is no denying that there is a galaxy of hype surrounding #RianJohnson's next installment in the #StarWars franchise. However, perhaps the hardest pill to swallow for anyone who takes the helm of the Falcon is the criticism around one of Hollywood's best-loved franchises, and #TheLastJedi is no exception. Just hours after we heard Luke Skywalker talk for the first time in 30 years, some were already calling The Last Jedi an expensive rip-off of The Empire Strikes Back.
Since then, Johnson has been fighting to protect the integrity of his film tooth and nail — hardly helped when sites like Wired run a whole article pointing out how the trailer to the latest film is just a shortened version of The Empire Strikes Back.
Certainly, with an aged Jedi training a new apprentice, and evil organization regrouping after their galaxy-destroying weapon is blown up, and some mysterious puppetmaster hiding in the shadows, you can spot some slight resemblances between the two. However, after resisting the dark side for only so long, Johnson has finally snapped back.
Jabba The What?
While I am not convinced that Johnson will just be rehashing the story of 1980's sequel, others are reaching for their pitchforks as if their keyboard warrior stance will change anything at this late stage. There have been tweets flying around for weeks, but the situation reached a Luke vs. Vader stand-off when Johnson was engaged by an anonymous internet troll:
Johnson has so far done well in swatting off such tweets, and @ConcernedFan10 was immediately shot down by The Last Jedi's burning lightsaber:
Johnson then thanked the troll and said that if they decided not to see The Last Jedi it would be a shame for themselves.
The Director Strikes Back
It all stems from 2015 when a select few compared The Force Awakens to A New Hope. We had always expected that others would jump on the bandwagon to rip The Last Jedi to shreds, while personally, I can't wait for a bunch of Ewoks to help blow up Kylo Ren's Death Star Version 3.0 in Episode IX and for him to appear as a reformed Force ghost.
It is well established that there are only seven basic plots in cinema and that movies move in cycles anyway, while elsewhere, director Mike Nichols says that there are only three types of scenes: fights, seductions, and negotiations. There are only so many starship chases, family reveals, and furry Wookiees you can see before people start to draw the comparisons. Given that Star Wars is currently 40 years old, I think it is doing remarkably well to keep itself fresh.
Where are those silent Sallys comparing the daddy issues of Disney's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to Luke and Vader, or the star-crossed romance of the roguish Han/Star-Lord and the no-nonsense Leia/Gamora? Even if The Last Jedi were a an updated version of The Empire Strikes Back, I would still rather sit through 2.5 hours of that than Attack of The Clones and trade negotiations.
My only advice is: Look forward and not back. With the George Lucas prequel trilogy, we always knew where the story was going, but as we enter uncharted parts of the galaxy, shouldn't we just take Episode VII–IX as what they are, something new and exciting?
If anything, the comparison should do the world of good for The Last Jedi, because remember that The Empire Strikes Back is universally held as the best film in the series. That being said, if Johnson really does want to piss off the fanboys, all The Last Jedi needs now is a cloud city and Rey losing an arm and we are good to go!