Joss Whedon’s been on a roll today, but the Great Ginger God of the Marvel Universe has some amazing Star Wars wisdom to share with us, so I gotta give it a roll.
Concerning THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, Whedon had this to say:
“Empire committed the cardinal sin of not actually ending, which at the time I was appalled by and I still think it was a terrible idea. […] Well, it’s not an ending, it’s a Come Back Next Week, or in three years. And that upsets me […] I go to movies expecting to have a whole experience. If I want a movie that doesn’t end I’ll go to a French movie. That’s a betrayal of trust to me. A movie has to be complete within itself, it can’t just build off the first one or play variations.”
While I tend to agree with Whedon on this issues, I’m ore forgiving of the greater trend. Where some trilogies are meant to be equally parted 3 piece experiences, like The Lord of The Rings, most trilogies are only ever created after their first solo outing has been successful. In the case of Star Wars, George Lucas created A New Hope as a self contained story, unsure if he’d ever make his sequels. Once the film proved successful, Lucas converted the rest of his tales into 2 co-dependent flicks, with Empire Strikes Back leading directly into Return of the Jedi. This structure has since become typical in Hollywood, with franchises like The Matrix and Pirates of the Caribbean utilizing it for the “false trilogy”.
And that structure’s kinda fun, isn’t it? Audience members stand on their toes for the next 3 years, hotly anticipating the return of their favorite characters. Although, when film creators shoehorn this false trilogy process into every film they make (even the shitty ones), the entire viewing process becomes exhausting (Twilight… I’m looking at you).