E Is For Empire

Having been precisely the right age for Star Wars when it was released, I was also exactly the right age for The Empire Strikes Back a few years later. Like most people, I am of the mind that Empire is the best film of the entire Star Wars saga. It has humor, drama, romance, action, and it ends with a cliffhanger. Also, it has Lando Calrissian. I saw Star Wars more times than I can count in the theater – so many I truly don’t remember them all; but Empire I can count (and recount) every single viewing.

All that love aside, I also despise Empire for one teensy little thing: The Big Reveal. The Big Reveal was the first true misstep in Star Wars from my point of view (and even from my point of view as a child). The Big Reveal began the mutation from the saga being an epic narrative of a giant universe where anything was possible into the silly little story of one dysfunctional family that somehow happens to be the most important group of people who ever lived. I refused to believe the Big Reveal at the time, certain that it was a ruse by both The Revealer and The Author to mess with the heads of The Protagonist and The Audience. I searched my feelings, and I most certainly didn’t know it to be true.

So for me, Star Wars was at its best from the opening of what they now call “Episode IV” (which was not labeled as such originally) through about two thirds of Empire. Give me a wide open galaxy where anything is possible over a family drama any day. Maybe this same proclivity is why I don’t care for Dickens and Tolstoy, either? Ah, but that’s a discussion for a different time.

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