With the release of each new Star Wars movie, comes rampant speculation as to just how good (or bad) it’ll be. Will it echo the prequels and come in just under our expectations? Or will it outpace even Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and become the greatest Star Wars film ever made?
Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story met us somewhere in the middle of that scale. The former managed to relaunch the franchise with an engaging (albeit derivative) new story. The latter took us back to the early days of the Rebellion, while giving us the best Darth Vader scene the saga has ever featured. But what will Star Wars: The Last Jedi bring fans when it hits theaters this December? Based on where the new trilogy currently sits, we have high hopes for a whole mess of reasons.
1. Middle chapters have a marked advantage
The way a trilogy is structured gives each chapter in the story a specific role. The first film is designed to introduce the characters, start the story, and wrap up on an open ended note. Conversely, the final installment needs to tie up loose ends and bring that story in for a smooth landing. Wedged in between is the middle chapter. In it, our primary players are already well-established, the narrative gets to pick up on the momentum of the first film, and we end at the climax of the action to set up the final installment.
All this is why the second season of a TV series is typically the strongest, and why middle chapters like The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Empire Strikes Back were the strongest in their respective trilogies. The Last Jedi holds a similar advantage, and that in turn, sets it up uniquely to build on everything The Force Awakens laid the foundation for.