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SPOILER ALERT: The following article contains massive spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. If you have not yet seen the film, and don't wish to know any major details about it before you do, please bookmark this article and return after your screening!
It's no secret that the reaction to Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been divisive. While there are many - especially on the professional critic side - who have openly appreciated the big swings the movie takes and the new direction it takes the franchise; there are others who don't love the choices made or how certain questions are answered. It's surely a debate that will rage on for weeks, months and years - but what may surprise you is that folks were having almost the exact same arguments following the release of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in 1980.
ACriticalHit has done some digging and discovered some very interesting pre-internet fan commentary about one of the greatest sequels of all time in Starlog - the biggest sci-fi magazine of the era. Looking at a few issues from the early 1980s, the site discovered some very interesting write-ins from Star Wars fans, including this little bit that should remind you about the on-going fight regarding the revealed identity of Rey's parents in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Wrote reader Robert L. Beedy-Scarola about The Empire Strikes Back,
Is Luke related to Vader? Most think so now that Vader came right out and said it. Well, I say, do you believe everything you hear? Vader may have lied just to enlist Luke to his side. Vader would then dispose of Luke once he got what he wanted.
Because many fans were hoping to learn that Daisy Ridley's Rey comes from some important bloodline in the Star Wars universe, there are many who have convinced themselves Kylo Ren might be lying to her about her parents being nobodies as an attempt to rattle her during battle. It turns out that this was very similar to an idea that was pondered by folks once it was said that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father. Folks apparently wondered if maybe that big revelation would ultimately be reversed in what would become The Return of the Jedi, but we all know that didn't end up happening (and Rian Johnson himself has confirmed that Kylo is telling the truth).
Some Star Wars fans have also taken some issue with the sense of humor portrayed in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but it should also be recognized that there were some who didn't love the tongue-in-cheek-ness of The Empire Strikes Back either. While Han Solo's response to Princess Leia's "I love you" is now considered an iconic line of dialogue, there were evidently some back in the 1980s who didn't really care for it. Wrote Jeannette Vogelpohl,
Somebody should tell Harrison Ford that when a woman tells a man, "I love you," "I know" is not an acceptable response. That scene was not funny, it was infuriating.
In the decades since the release of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, of course, the movie has gone on to be seen as one of the greatest follow-ups of all time, adding some incredible depth to the 1977 original while further exploring and establishing characters who would go on to become pop culture legends. Whether the same will happen with Star Wars: The Last Jedi is certainly unclear at this point - but we'll certainly have a clearer vision of the future and the movie's place in the franchise's legacy when the untitled Star Wars: Episode IX arrives in theaters December 2019.