The Star Wars saga has thus far mostly relied on trilogies to tell its stories, which means clear parallels can be seen between the films. In fact, with Star Wars: The Last Jedi about to premiere, many fans have already started to pick up on the tonal similarities that it shares with The Empire Strikes Back. CinemaBlend recently had the chance to ask Mark Hamill about these parallels during the recent press junket for The Last Jedi, and he explained that this film similarly needs to go dark so Episode IX can round out the trilogy on a hopeful note. Hamill explained:
Well the film itself is comparable to Empire because Empire was more cerebral. It was more cerebral with the addition of Yoda. As you say, the characters basically were trashed and there was so much tragedy and very little triumph. You can do in the middle act so that you can tie it up all together and let the good guys win in the third one.
Like A New Hope, J.J. Abrams' The Force Awakens introduced us to a new world and a new (with some exceptions like Han Solo and Chewbacca) cast of characters, and took us on an adventure with them. In the middle installment, the franchise is once again taking its ensemble of heroes and putting them through the physical and emotional wringer, while also diving deeper into the more spiritual side of the Star Wars galaxy. From there, at least according to Hamill, Star Wars: The Last Jedi will "trash" Rey, Finn and the rest of the heroes so the next film and bring them back from the brink of destruction.
This makes sense from a structural perspective, and it has long been a standard method of storytelling for many other franchises. The Empire Strikes Back is typically referred to as the quintessentially dark sequel, but other films like Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Captain America: Civil War have similarly gone darker in subsequent installments in order to give the heroes low points to come back from in later outings.
If you're looking for a better glimpse at CinemaBlend's interview with Mark Hamill from the Star Wars: The Last Jedi press junket, then take a look at a clip from the event below!
Rian Johnson will take the new trilogy's middle installment into fresh and dark territory when Star Wars: The Last Jedi premieres in theaters on December 15. Make sure to pick up your tickets for the highly-anticipated Star Wars film now and start gearing up for the latest adventure in the galaxy far, far away!