Star Wars, Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (Part II)
Welcome back once again to Snark Wars, the Star Wars fan blog that takes the bold approach of enjoying Star Wars and its content. (That’s right, I’m a renegade like that.) We’re in for some Skywalker Saga Fun today, so I’m glad you’re here!
Let’s rewind a bit, as usual, to level-set where we were when we last visited That Time They All Definitely Lived Happily Ever After: the Ragtag Group of Rebels had headed over to Tatooine (“Come for the Scum, Stay for the Villainy“) because Han Solo had gone and gotten himself Space Frozen at the hands of Anakin “Darth Vader” Skywalker in the last movie, and apparently despite Han’s near-constant complaining, arguing, and unrelenting smugness for the last several years of the Star Wars timeline, the Rebellion has a crush on him anyways and so they want to rescue him.
Things went a little sideways with Operation Save Our Stupid Boyfriend, though (as things pretty much ALWAYS go with such operations in this galaxy), and so now everyone’s in trouble with Jabba the Hutt, who had been hoping to keep displaying Darth Vader’s haunting carbonite sculpture (An Idiot, Frozen. c. 3ABY) in his living room for all eternity. Leia had given Jabba some words of warning about not crossing her supernaturally-gifted secret wizard brother, but I have a feeling that Jabba, like many people in this universe, is gonna have to learn not to mess with the Skywalkers the hard way.
So. We good? We’re good! All right, please form an orderly line and follow the signs and join me on yet another visit to Wacky Spaceland. Here we go!
Recurring Theme: Chewbacca, Han Solo’s Legal Guardian
Han gets tossed into a jail cell with Chewie for what is definitely something like the 7,000th time, possibly just in the last few years. Han is still half-blind from the carbonite, but he hears his buddy and awwwww I’m definitely OK:
Chewie starts to tell Han something about Luke, and Han, incredulously, spits back: “Luke?! Luke’s crazy; he can’t even take care of himself!” I…you know, for as much as I give Han crap (as I do with every single character in this entire franchise), he is shockingly correct about things sometimes. He’s got the Skywalker Family’s number all right!
Chewie persists, and Han is floored: Luke thinks he’s a Jedi Knight now?! WTF! And honestly? I’m with you on this one, Solo: who the hell authorized this title change?! Obi-Wan hasn’t shown his face around Luke since Vader dumped the results of Luke’s Ancestry DNA test on him at the end of Empire, and Luke hasn’t gone to see Yoda again yet, so like…Luke just gets to decide he’s a knight now? What, pray tell, did Luke do to earn this title? Yelling and screaming and getting your arm sliced off wasn’t enough to instantly secure a move up to Knight for your dad, Skywalker, so I’m not sure why it should work for you. Is this how we’re handling promotions in Luke’s fledgling new Jedi Order? You’re a hot mess drama queen who takes on an opponent you’re not ready to fight, you get seriously injured, and you get to just unilaterally declare yourself whatever the hell title you want to afterwards? If so, no wonder the new Order didn’t, uh, pan out very well. (This is even funnier to me if the Knights of Ren are, in fact, other fallen students of Luke’s. I hope “Knights of Ren” is a totally bullshit title some dumbass punk teenagers just whole-ass made up and then were like “Yep, that’s us. We’re the Knights of Ren now. Master Luke says you can call yourself whatever title you want.”)
OK FINE, I am sure Luke did many brave and noble things in the time since Empire ended, and please do not send me citations from comics or old EU stuff I didn’t read or whatever. All right, Skywalker: you’re the boss. Congrats on the promotion.
ANYWAYS, this scene ends with Chewie just full-on embracing Han and petting his hair while Han insists that he’s all right, and I did not ask for this sweetness which is now tinged with pain, Star Wars:
Recurring Theme: We Make Entrances in This Galaxy, Damn It
GOD. So Luke Skywalker, Definitely A Jedi Knight Just Look What This Paper With His Own Handwriting On It Says, shows up at Jabba’s house, and I am LOVING that he makes the kind of dramatic entrance that his father would be proud of:
LOL. He looks exactly like Vader in Rogue One!
(Incidentally, I would like to point out to you all that I could EASILY digress at this moment into a 100,000-word recap of Vader Immortal, the new VR series that came out recently which is set in Vader’s Ridiculous Lava Castle of Dramatic Bullshit, which I have played through AND MAY NEVER EVER STOP LAUGHING ABOUT, IT IS DELIGHTFUL AND I LOVED IT AND I NEED 500 ADDITIONAL CHAPTERS OF IT RIGHT DAMN NOW, but I will not — for now — because I am exercising what minuscule amount of willpower I have. You are welcome.)
So Luke parades on in, and straight-up Force-chokes some dudes on his way in? Um, see, this might be one of those things you’d have learned not to do in Jedi School, Skywalker, if you had actually attended classes.
OK then, so Luke’s in the building and maybe summoned the Dark Side briefly, I don’t know, and we see Leia chained to Jabba:
Luke now mind-tricks his way into an audience with the slug himself:
Recurring Theme: Skywalker Self-Confidence
So, everyone in the Skywalker clan is maybe depressed, but damn if they’re not good at at least feigning some major self-confidence. Luke, un-hooding himself for maximum drama, is like “so anyways I’m here to take Han and everyone else I like with me, k thanks bye”.
Jabba, of course, ain’t having it, and tells him so. Luke pushes back: he’s going to take them, and Jabba can get on board, or suffer the consequences. Jabba shouldn’t “underestimate [his] power”! LOL. OK dude, but the last time someone in your family said this, they literally got set on fire like 3 minutes later. Just sayin’.
Luke attempts to start a fight now, by Force-grabbing a blaster, but he’s a Skywalker so he’s also dumb and didn’t realize he was standing on top of a trap door, which he then proceeds to fall through. Whoops!
Leia looks on in dismay, and Lando rushes to her side:
Recurring Theme: Giant Space Monster Attack
I hope the Skywalker family crest, in addition to a picture of Obi-Wan with hearts drawn all over it, also has a depiction of someone fending off a ridiculous space monster, because they sure spend a lot of time doing so. And that’s just what Luke’s about to do now, as a rancor appears in the dungeon he’s plopped down into:
They tussle for a while, and then obviously Luke is eaten alive right there on screen and the movie ends. Ha! Right, no, of course he escapes at the last minute through clever tactics and dumb luck that result in the rancor’s death, etc etc etc same old song and dance:
Luke is relieved! Leia is happy!
This guy? Is not:
Recurring Theme: Boyfriend Banter
So now Luke gets hauled out in handcuffs, as does Han, and so they have a chance to chit-chat and make snarky comments at each other about how things aren’t going so well and ha-ha-wouldn’t-miss-it-for-the-world and then Obi-Wan raises an eyebrow while smirking and oh wait, I’m mixing up my eras.
The boys get taken back in front of Jabba, and Han still can’t see so he asks where Leia is. How long have they been here? Leia had time to get a complicated new hairstyle, but Han still can’t see? When exactly did Luke get here? How long does carbonite take to wear off? I HAVE NO IDEA HOW LONG ANYTHING IN STAR WARS HAS TAKEN, EVER. It actually enhances my enjoyment of it, because the idea that, say, the events of Revenge of the Sith literally took all of 2 and a half total days to occur cracks me up. I mean, it’s not like I think Anakin would need more time than that to utterly and completely fuck up the entire universe. He’s really good at making bad choices! I believe he could do it.
Our guy Threeps is on hand to deliver the great news: Han and Luke and Chewie are slated to be executed by being thrown into a sarlaac pit, where they’ll be digested over a thousand years’ time. I do, of course, need to point out what has been said many times, which is that I’m pretty sure Luke and Han would be dead well before that amount of time, so I’m not sure why it matters how long it takes a sarlaac to digest things, but thanks for this little astrobiological factoid anyways, I guess, Threepio.
Luke and Han are less than enthused about this:
…but Luke is undeterred from his whole little “oooooh, I’m a scaaaaaary Jedi Knight and you should alllll be veeeeerry afraid” routine, ominously informing Jabba that he “should have bargained” with him, and then saying that this is “the last mistake [Jabba] will ever make” over his shoulder as he’s led away. LOL. Oh Luke. I love you.
Recurring Theme: I’m Declaring It Canon
We cut to a herd of banthas, and I’m just going to go ahead and say that, canonically, these are Obi-Wan’s bantha family and they will live long and happy lives, and that the banthas that Jabba and GODDAMN ANAKIN were party to the murder of in that one comic were NOT Obi-Wan’s bantha family, because I refuse to accept that Anakin just kept right on killing the only things Obi-Wan ever loved EVEN AFTER OBI-WAN WAS ALREADY DEAD, even though this is EXACTLY the sort of thing Anakin WOULD do because he is the fucking worst. Thank you; I will not be taking feedback on this.
So we ride through the desert on Jabba’s sail barge, and Artoo is slinging drinks:
(We have the Lego set of this, and the drink cart Artoo minifig is the best.)
Leia watches forlornly out the window, and I for one am really ready for us to get a MOVE ON AND LEAVE TATOOINE ALREADY. Good LORD the beginning of this one always feels like it goes on FOR-EV-ER to me. I guess I’m just even more of a Skywalker than I realized: I, too, can’t wait to get the hell off this planet.
Hilariously, I wrote that last bit before I remembered what happens next, which is that Han observes that his vision is improving: he can see a big light blur now! Luke immediately counters: there’s nothing to see, because Tatooine is terrible and boring and he hates it and it’s filled with horrible, horrible sand. He used to live here, you know! Han replies:
LOL! That was solid, Solo. Luke seems unfazed, and tells Han to leave everything to him: he’s “taken care of everything”! Hahahahahahahaha. This movie is comedy gold.
Artoo and Threepio collide with each other on board the ship, and despite Threepio’s freakout about Luke’s fate, Artoo seems awfully sure that Luke’s gonna be OK. I legitimately love that Artoo is in on Luke’s plan, because of course he is.
Recurring Theme: Skywalker Show-Off
Over at Ye Olde Sarlaac Pit, Luke tells Jabba that he has one last chance to “free them or die”, and when this is predictably met with laughter, he nods to Lando, who’s with them, still in disguise:
Luke then does the Kenobi-Skywalker Jaunty Salute (TM), and proceeds to flip himself into the air, and catch his lightsaber, which Artoo chucks at him and LAUNCHES ALL THE WAY OVER THERE. I am also going to declare it canon that Artoo can only do this because Anakin put some ridiculous mod on him way back when.
I would, naturally, be doing you all a great disservice given this blog’s long history with the Animated Fever Dream that is The Clone Wars if I didn’t point out that the nerds at Lucasfilm can never, ever help themselves and so of course Anakin did THIS EXACT SAME ROUTINE WITH ARTOO back in Season 4 (aka “The Season When Someone In The Writers’ Room Really, Really Wanted to See Obi-Wan Get the Shit Beat Out of Him Repeatedly”). Let’s briefly reminisce, shall we?
Yes, they literally did it all, right down to the Jaunty Salute! It was really very thoughtful of Luke to go back and familiarize himself with the canon before choosing a plan here. (I kid: we all know Artoo, the actual hero of this entire series, put Luke up to this. It was so cool the last time he did it!)
Recurring Theme: Boba Fett Half-Does Something
A melee ensues and everyone’s fighting and random pirates are falling into the sarlaac pit, and Boba Fett briefly joins the fray basically so that he can die by comically falling into the pit:
…periodically people speculate that he’s going to pop up again in the Mandalorian series. There’s a part of me — the rational part, however small that part is — that’s like GOD NO FOR FUCK’S SAKE WILL NO ONE EVER STAY DEAD LIKE WE DID NOT NEED TO TAKE “NO ONE’S EVER REALLY GONE” THAT LITERALLY YOU GUYS COME ON, and then there’s the part of me that is so deep down past the Star Wars Point of No Return that I’m just giggling uncontrollably at this idea and I’m like “well sure, why the fuck not?” While we’re at it, why not go back and CGI in Maul’s hand popping up out of the sand in this scene, too?
Leia Organa, Huttslayer
So while everyone’s distracted by Luke’s heroics, Leia cuts some of the lights on board the barge and proceeds to choke Jabba the Hutt to death. I am so mad at Anakin for being evil and apparently way more OK with slavery now than he used to be, because HE WOULD BE SO PROUD OF THIS. LOOK AT YOUR GIRL, ANAKIN. SHE DID THAT.
There’s a whoooooole bunch more fighting that I’m not going to cover beat-by-beat here, but basically everyone’s a hero and amazing and Luke prowls around on the sail barge all “WHO ELSE WANTS TO DANCE???”
…at one point Threepio gets one of his eyes partially pulled out, and the Skytwins get to swing away on a rope, both of which needed to happen for Mirroring Purposes. The day is saved, and the gang really goes all out here, because they don’t just kill Jabba and all his guys and break shit, they blow the entire barge the fuck UP:
Recurring Theme: Luke Skywalker’s Neverending Personal Destiny Quest
Who the hell knows how much later (we all know I SURE DON’T), we see Luke’s X-wing and the Falcon flying off in separate directions. WHY is Luke going off on his own, you ask? Ha! You must be new here, as Luke is doing this ALL THE GODDAMN TIME. He never STOPS doing it. HE DIES BEING ON A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PLANET FROM THE BATTLE HE AND HIS FRIENDS ARE IN.
Yes, Luke’s off on a Destiny Quest again. He’s got a promise to keep! To an old friend! Nah, I wouldn’t sweat it, Luke: I’m pretty sure Yoda has long since resigned himself to being let down by his grandkids. I don’t think he’s been holding his breath here. The poor guy’s lineage contains not one, but TWO actual Sith Lords.
All right! WE ARE FINALLY OUT OF THE GODDAMNED DESERT. Thank the Maker. I don’t know if it’s Stockholm Syndrome or what at this point, but I’m with you, Anakin. Sand sucks.
Recurring Theme: Sheev Palpatine, My Favorite Puppetmaster
Meanwhile, back on a Super Star Destroyer, Vader’s getting a visit from his boss and OH MY GOD YOU GUYS. YOU. GUYS. Can I even begin to describe to you all my complete and utter JOY at THIS BITCH POPPING UP IN THE EPISODE 9 TRAILER?
Indeed, I am a total fangirl for Space Satan. Even with my ceaseless, borderline-demented devotion to the Jedi Order, I will eternally stan this wicked gremlin and his AMAZING LINES OF DIALOGUE.
I have had a very complicated relationship with the Sequel Trilogy since The Force Awakens came out for a number of reasons, but I sincerely laughed until I cried when I saw the Rise of Skywalker trailer at Celebration this year. I am very rarely caught by surprise by Star Wars, in part because I’ve never met a spoiler I didn’t immediately read, and so having that COME OUT OF NOWHERE genuinely filled me with pure glee. I have no idea what the fuck Sidious is doing there, I have no real idea what dumbass story Star Wars is going to throw at me, but at this point the fact that Sheev is ANY part of this portion of the story is so flat-out funny to me that I’m pretty much willing to just give in and enjoy the ride at this point. (Also I am cackling at how many times over the years on this very blog I have said some variation of “nice try, Sequel Trilogy, but SIDIOUS IS THE ONLY BIG BAD I WILL EVER ACCEPT AND YOUR VILLAINS COULD NEVER.” I feel like JJ Abrams read this and was like “…well, she’s got a point.”)
All right, so Sids and Vader are doing a walk-and-talk and Vader gives a quick update on Project “Let’s Rebuild the Death Star Again I Guess”, and Sidious is pleased with where they’re at. He commends Vader for doing a good job, and while I’m sure Anakin was thrilled because we all know that guy has a serious praise kink, I have to laugh because all Vader really did was hover around and threaten people. I mean, I guess that technically means he was an effective project manager here, but since Vader has to put exactly zero effort into appearing threatening, he didn’t actually really DO much.
Sidious divines that Vader wants to keep looking for Luke now, probably because Obi-Wan’s dead so he figures Vader’s gotta fill his days somehow. Vader confirms that he does, and Sidious blahblahblahs about how they have to turn him to the Dark Side, and Vader just sounds hilariously depressed about absolutely everything in this conversation. GOOD. YOU DON’T GET TO HAVE FUN, ANAKIN.
Sidious caps off this discussion by proclaiming that everything is proceeding as he’s foreseen. I love this a lot. God, you guys: what if this crazy asshole’s insanely intricate plan CALLED for everything that happens in this movie? WHAT IF HIS GRAND PLAN was like “OK, so then Vader will betray me because he’s an idiot, I’ll sort of die, I’ll preserve some part of myself through Sith Magic Bullshit somewhere, lay low for a while, wait until that pirate knocks up Princess Leia, exert my influence over some random bad guys somehow, poison the mind of Anakin’s grandson through my intermediary(ies), wait for him to inevitably murder all the Jedi again, THEN wait for him to murder his boss, THEN Luke will of course die projecting himself across space, and THEN AND ONLY THEN WILL I BE READY FOR THE FINAL STEP.” Oh, sure: you all say you think this is too stupid for Star Wars to ever seriously propose. But you all know, in your heart of hearts, that NOTHING is too stupid for Star Wars.
This concludes today’s journey through Anakin Skywalker’s Ongoing Bullshit: The Series. Thank you for joining me, friends, and do come back and join me again next time, when Luke swings by his grandpa’s house for a little more Family Pathos, and Obi-Wan, YET AGAIN, has to clock into work despite being tired and also dead. I look forward to it — thanks for reading!