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The Star Wars Saga: Episode Two

Updated: Jan 13

Contains Spoilers!!!

Long, long ago, in another blog post…

I discussed Star Wars Episodes One: The Phantom Menace, Two: Attack of the Clones and Three: The Revenge of the Sith and added in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Well, now we come to the proper stuff…

Firstly though…

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released in 2016 to an outstanding reception. Personally, I think it was the best Star Wars film released since the original trilogy, and arguable the best of all. Felicity Jones stars as Jynn Erso, a young and tough renegade who joins the rebellion once she learns her father is still alive. Diego Luna joins her as Captain Cassian Ando rot the Rebellion. Alan Tudyk, well known for his voice acting, plays a reprogrammed Imperial Droid called K-2SO. Between them, and with help from countless others, the tell the long-awaited story of how the Death Star plans were obtained. Rogue One ends days, if not hours before A New Hope. Technically very clever, Rogue One uses digital likenesses to include Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin and the ever-loved Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia from the first ever Star Wars film.

Episode Four: A New Hope introduced the world to the universe of Star Wars in 1977. It was the first film made of the franchise and was an epic phenomenon. 20th Century Fox famously refuse the merchandising rights, so George Lucas (the director and creator) kept them for his production company, Lucasfilm Ltd.. The rest is history, as they say. This new, fictional galaxy is in the grips of the Galactic Empire, controlled by the tyrannical Emperor Palpatine (who doesn’t appear until the next film) and his second, Darth Vadar (David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones). A young moisture farmer’s nephew, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is pulled into a war between the Empire and a Rebel Alliance. We meet all our favourite characters; Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and his pet human, Han Solo (Harrison Ford); Kenny Barker and Anthony Daniels as droids R2-D2 and C-3PO respectively; Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi, a Jedi Master; Carrie Fisher as the unwavering and strong-willed Princess Leia and the legendary Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin.

Episode Five: The Empire Strikes Back came out in 1980 and gave us the forever misquoted line of “I am your father”. Luke Skywalker continues his training to become a Jedi and the Empire continues their war against the Rebels. We are introduced to a few new names here, like Boba Fett (voiced by Jason Wingreen), a Mandalorian bounty hunter and Lando Calrissian, an old friend of Han Solo and Yoda, the Jedi Master voiced by Frank Oz. Captured by Darth Vadar, Han Solo gets frozen and given to Boba Fett to claim a bounty, in the hope that Skywalker will fall into a trap in order to turn him against the Rebellion.

Episode Six: Return of the Jedi landed in 1983 and produced the epic ending to what was thought to be the greatest science-fiction trilogy ever made. Han Solo is rescued by Leia and Luke, we learn further truths about the Skywalker family and the Emperor is defeated (sorry, but you MUST know this!). We are introduced to Ewoks, the key one played by a very young Warrick Davies.

In the years following the original series, George Lucas made numerous changes to the film across multiple releases as technology got better and as he changed his mind about things. The most notable is that at the end of Return of the Jedi, we see Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vadar as Anakin appear to Luke through The Force. Originally David Prowse, the man in the Vadar suit in the original trilogy, appears. But after the prequel series was released, Hayden Christiansen was put in his place in order to connect the films more for the younger audience that had now been introduced to the franchise.

There are a number of interesting points about the original series revolve about the production of the films. One I found out only a few years ago is that Chewbacca had a script! Peter Mayhew was given lines to say from within his costume so Harrison Ford could respond appropriately and for pacing purposes. In a few rare clips, here and here, you can see how it worked.

Jabba the Hutt was a talking point for film lovers all over at the time. Originally, he was humanoid, as seen here in a deleted scene. It was cut for various reasons, pacing and excessive exposition, and other stories say George Lucas was going to add in a stop-motion character instead. However, the Jabba we all know and "love" appeared the 1997 special edition re-release with the slug form of Jabba, and you can see Han Solo walking over his tail. Look more carefully and you’ll see how he jolts up and down, where they have altered the footage. Talking of Jabba, in Return of the Jedi, the puppet used weighed over one ton! We all knew he was fat but come on!

Solo with the original Jabba

So, ratings…

Rouge One: A Star Wars Story: 8/10

A New Hope: 7/10

The Empire Strikes Back: 8/10

Return of the Jedi: 7/10

Look out for Episode Three coming up soon!

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