In this episode of the Fictionphile Podcast, the crew analyzes why Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is a work of art. Topics include the production quality getting a major boost, whether Yoda is too silly or not, and what every geek’s favorite movie could have done better.
For those experiencing hearing loss, and simply for your reference regardless, please see the transcription below.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – Podcast Episode #5
Jason Boyd 0:22
Hello, everybody, welcome to the Fictionphile podcast where we explore the wide world of narrative entertainment, from movies to literature and everything in between. My name is Jason Boyd. I’m the editor of Fictionphile and I’m joined remotely today by managing editor Corrine Asbell. Hey, Corrine.
Corrine Asbell 0:38
Jason Boyd 0:39
Como estas. Also somewhere else in cyberspace. We have associate editor Dalton McCay, good day to you, Dalton.
Dalton McCay 0:47
Oh, Konichiwa. I did hola, I did hola last time. I don’t know. I did hola last time, so I couldn’t do it this time.
Jason Boyd 1:01
Okay, that’s fair. You know, I will, um I will prepare better next time with my languages.
Corrine Asbell 1:09
See that you do.
Jason Boyd 1:09
Thank you, so that you can throw any language at me you want. And I’ll say hello back. Well, hello to everybody in the world listening. So today, we’ll be poring over a single work of fiction. And after we introduce this work of art, we’ll discuss what makes it enjoyable. What makes it a work of art in the first place. What makes it universally relatable. And finally, we’ll talk about what it could have done better. So now that we’ve got the introduction, and we got our format, what piece of narrative entertainment are we talking about today, Corrine?
Show Topic Introduction
Corrine Asbell 1:26
Well, we’re going to be following up on our last show. With Star Wars Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back. It’s widely considered the best of the original trilogy, it was one of the highest grossing sequel films of all time. Empire was released on May 21, 1980, produced by Lucasfilm and directed by – distributed by 20th Century Fox. The screenplay was by Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett and the film was directed by Irvin Kershner. And, of course, the story originated in George Lucas’s mind. Other than the big three. I’m sure you don’t need a refresher on the names of the stars. We also have Billy Dee Williams, Frank Oz, Kenny Baker, Anthony Daniels and James Earl Jones.
Dalton McCay 2:30
After the rebels are brutally overpowered by the Empire on the ice planet cos Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader, and a bounty hunter named Boba Fett all over the galaxy.
Jason Boyd 2:48
Huh, very nice, very nice. So let’s go over the critical opinion for this movie, for Empire Strikes Back. So now on IMDB, and of course these numbers are subject to change. On IMDB right now. It’s currently 8.7 out of 10. Metacritic, it’s 82 Metascore, Rotten Tomatoes critics have it at 94% an audience has at 97%. So almost 100% there. Yeah. Well, that’s kind of no surprise on that one, honestly that the audience would rate that so highly it is, as Corrine said, one of the most beloved Star Wars. So now that we’ve gotten all that out of the way, let’s let’s get on to our first topic. What makes Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back enjoyable? Corrine, let’s start with you.
What Makes Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Enjoyable?
Corrine Asbell 3:42
Visually, the film just seems to be more stunning than Episode IV. They had a bigger budget and they were able to do a lot of different special effects, because they had a lot of different people. Actually, a lot of Industrial Light and Magic actually left the company to start a different special effects company and we’re working on Battlestar Galactica. It’s actually something that frustrated Lucas a lot. But due to the changes, we’re able to see more sweeping visuals you know from the frigid tundras of the ice planet Hoth to the swamps of Dagobah to the bowels of Cloud City. I mean as impressive as the you know, landing area was up in the clouds in Bespin, I just thought it was it was a lot prettier and a lot more intricate once you were inside and you could see everything they did on the set. I just I really think the filmmakers enjoyed getting to have more scenery than just inside ships and Tatooine. And it really shows
Jason Boyd 4:41
Yeah, there are some there are some sunsets, and like not sunsets. Well, on Bespin there’s a few scenes where it’s just it’s like, just the light is gorgeous. Just everything’s like beautiful about it. Yeah, there’s some real, which the first one had some great stuff too, but really, it’s it’s like they just got better film quality or something.
Corrine Asbell 5:04
You know, I actually read this and I’d have to look it up again. I’m sorry, I’m not prepared, but they actually invented a camera for Empire Strikes Back. So maybe that’s it.
Jason Boyd 5:20
All right. Well, that would make sense.
Dalton McCay 5:21
And I was I was thinking that maybe, you know, I was thinking that maybe this one was the movie that was gonna break your, your theory of people love sand. Because there’s no sand in this movie and its touted as the best in the Star Wars trilogy. So I was like, yeah, that you know, the the mysticism is broken over sand, but then I, but then I realized that Hoth is just white, and sand. I mean, it’s, it’s snowo but it’s basically sand. You know, it’s a White Desert. I don’t, I don’t know. Maybe Maybe there’s still something to it.
Well you do have something to that. Because, you know, a desert is a tundra. And so is Hoth so…
Jason Boyd 6:07
Dalton McCay 6:08
And when when Luke rolls down that snow bank, I was thinking, oh, he might as well be rolling down like a white sand bank. It’s the same thing.
Jason Boyd 6:17
It took him back to his childhood. Yeah.
Dalton McCay 6:19
Oh, yeah. I’m sure on Tatooine, that was pretty much the only the only pastime you have as a small child is just rolling down the dunes. And moving on.
Jason Boyd 6:34
Dalton McCay 6:37
For me, it’s simply the continuation of a story that I was already invested in like, end of end of New Hope. You’re like, boy, you know that that ended that ended well, but I hope there’s more to it. And then you know, three years later there is. And if you think about it in today’s terms, it’s like waiting three years between episodes of Game of Thrones. You know back when we actually were looking forward to episodes of Game of Thrones. You know you have all the characters back you get to see the situation get worse, to go on another adventure in this in this universe and that’s what really sold it for me was that it’s just more of the same.
Jason Boyd 7:23
Yeah no I uh, it definitely delivers on the expectations. But for me if I’m just gonna put my finger on enjoyable i think i think this movie has a lot of good things going for it. But some of it’s not necessarily enjoyable.
Dalton McCay 7:41
Jason Boyd 7:41
But you know, it’s dramatic or you know, over the top but like enjoyable for me it was Yoda. So for me, Yoda for one thing regardless of what you think, Dalton.
Dalton McCay 7:56
We’ll go over that later.
Corrine Asbell 7:57
Jason Boyd 7:58
Yeah but, to me, he makes his movie a must watch. Now for one because it’s funny to me. I think it’s a it’s like one of the most light hearted parts of the movie, which it kind of needed something.
Corrine Asbell 8:12
Jason Boyd 8:14
Everyone loves a training montage. Just like they love sand. If that training montage is in sand, I mean Rhema Williams, if you’ve seen that movie, those are the best but I digress. Everyone loves an overly stern sensei. That’s Yoda basically. And the the other movies the, you know, prequels and the sequels to me kind of ruined it because, and I mean, you can’t blame them for not recreating Yoda, but they kind of ruined the streak by not having explosive scenes stealing new character in that second film. Because to me, that’s what really takes the first trilogy, and it makes it so that it pushes it through that trilogy arc because you have such a dynamic game changer as Yoda. It’s like, Oh wow. So there is The Force we’ve already come to accept The Force. Now we learned that there’s this little friggin green guy who can like make things fly. You know, it’s like, Whoa, okay, well, that’s huh. And now he’s going to teach Luke how to do it, you know, so Luke’s gonna be even more powerful. And like, wow, okay. So it changes the whole dynamic of it.
Dalton McCay 9:27
Jason Boyd 9:28
And it adds so much creative energy to that story. That just kind of to me, I think that that’s the thing that makes it pick up speed as soon as he goes off, because, you know, I’ll get to my love hate relationship with Hoth. But as soon as he as soon as Luke goes off to Dagobah. It feels like the movie was slow to begin with and then suddenly picked up as soon as he like leaves for Dagobah so that’s just my opinion.
Dalton McCay 10:07
Yeah. I mean, my my, my final points touch more on this subject later but basically, the the whole Dagobah scene and the exposition of The Force and the revelation of the The Force is, you know, the crossing of the threshold into the secret world, which is a trope in literary fiction, which everyone loves.
Jason Boyd 10:40
He meets, he meets the he meets his mentor, you meet the mentor, the the master.
Dalton McCay 10:46
Jason Boyd 10:48
Kind of part of it too. I mean,
Dalton McCay 10:49
Jason Boyd 10:50
I guess. Yeah, I guess. I mean, he already had Obi-wan but to me, Obi-wan was almost like a Sherpa. He was just kind of an introduction to It’s like he got him to the mountain but he was going to the mountain to see the Dalai Lama, which was Yoda.
Dalton McCay 11:07
Corrine Asbell 11:07
He was kind of like a stop gap.
Dalton McCay 11:10
Obi-wan was the call to action and then Yoda is the actual Master Master in the in the hero’s journey, but we’ll get to that. Anyway.
What Makes Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back a Work of Art?
Jason Boyd 11:21
So, let’s let’s talk about our next topic. What makes Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back a work of art, and I’ll start Corrine, you already touched upon it really. It’s the visuals. Because I think there’s a lot of things that’s got twists, drama, action, so on but what sets it apart is art specifically is the visuals. It looks like visual art. I mean, it’s so crispy and it’s clean. It’s moody and textured. It just feels like Star Wars to me in a way that A New Hope, didn’t it, and it gets carried forth in Return of the Jedi. To me there’s just something about that super baked in feel that everything has to it, just from a crispness standpoint and the colors and it there’s just something about that quality that like it looks it, it doesn’t look like every other film and it looks really cinematic at the same time.
Corrine Asbell 12:22
Jason Boyd 12:24
So to me that’s it’s it’s set it up so that you could have all these crazy locales but it still look believable. Even on ice planet Hoth.
Corrine Asbell 12:40
Obviously I agree with that about the visuals.
Jason Boyd 12:43
Yeah, yeah. Well, let’s see, Corrine, let’s see, what did you think of, uh. What did you think make Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back a work of art?
Corrine Asbell 12:54
Well, I’m pretty sure this is gonna make me sound like a broken record because I still think it’s the characters of the story. I was reading about an interview that the director Irvin Kershner did. He said he wasn’t really interested in movies with a lot of special effects. George Lucas actually had to convince him to work on this movie. And once he was on board, though, he said he really pushed through to make the film more about characterization than it was about the effects. Said he spent several months trying to humanize the characters. And I think it really shows compared to A New Hope. I love seeing Luke’s arc in this, in Empire. He was this whiny little farm boy in A New Hope. And now we see him as a leader. He’s taking charge in the fight on Hoth, and then we see him going to Dagobah to learn about the Jedi ways. And then even though being a Jedi is important to him and following in his father’s footsteps, which he doesn’t realize that’s a bad idea at the time, he’s quick to drop it just to go save his friends. I think I really think it’s Empire where we realized that this is Luke’s story, period. I mean, that’s it. It is his story. I mean, it’s not the rebellion. It’s not about Han and Leia or anyone else. Then of course, there’s also the romance between Han and Leia. As you might not be aware of I’m a bit of a Han Solo fangirl. So I really just enjoyed seeing him able to open up, you know, with the banter. I mean, you got to look at it’s got some of the best one liners in the film. I mean, everyone knows that Han is a stuck up, half witted, scruffy looking nerf herder, even if they don’t know what it’s from. And then, like Jason was saying earlier, I just really loved Yoda. In the film, he kept a great balance between the comic relief and the wise teacher kinda trope that’s going on it just above anything else, you could just pick just about any character that you know had more than a couple of lines and you could see a large difference. between them and the first movie, and it just really like they built on that and just really just shines through; the characterization.
Jason Boyd 15:13
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you know, it’s broken record because it’s the case, you know, the best, the best works of art have the best characters, best works of narrative art is really all about character. So well.
Corrine Asbell 15:30
And a lot of times that gets lost when you’re doing movies, because they focus on the special effects and the visuals, and you know, the plot even. So I like that they took time to develop the characters and their relationships.
Jason Boyd 15:43
Yeah, yeah, that could have been easy to do with a movie like this. But you’re right, that kind of intention to focus on the characters really is what holds it in. Let’s see, Dalton, what would you say is what makes Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back a work of art?
Dalton McCay 16:03
Well, Empire is absolutely the closest thing that we get in the Star Wars universe to like a Shakespearean drama. Its Hero’s Journey meets modern tragedy, and we get to see it unfold across this wide spectrum of emotions and character moments. I mean, it’s about demons from the past that finally catch up with the heroes. And by the end of the film, you’re left wondering how they could possibly fix what’s been broken or indeed, if it can be fixed at all. It’s the crossing of the threshold. Now, now that now that Luke knows that his enemy is his his family once you know something, you can’t unknow it. So it’s uh, you know that that’s the burden of knowledge playing out right there. And it’s it’s used beautifully to sort of end this, end this movie on a down note that we don’t know if it’s going to get picked back up and the next the next chapter. The best thing that I can say about that is that it leaves it wide open for the sequel.
Corrine Asbell 17:27
Dalton McCay 17:28
Unlike New Hope, where it’s like, well, we could be done with this, if we wanted to it that there’s such a finality to A New Hope’s ending that we don’t get with Empire, Empire’s like, oh, no, we’ll be back.
Jason Boyd 17:42
Corrine Asbell 17:43
Well, I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that George Lucas honestly thought Star Wars was going to tank. A lot of people thought Star Wars was going to tank so I mean,
Dalton McCay 17:53
Corrine Asbell 17:53
I guess he proved him wrong. And then Empire, and in Empire Strikes Back. He left them, no choice but to have a sequel.
Jason Boyd 18:02
Yeah, yeah, I mean they kind of I’m pretty sure at that point they were kind of I just geared it up for another two movies. Yeah. It was such a smash hit and you know winning the award and everything. Let’s see, Dalton let’s stick with you, but let’s move to our next topic. Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back. What makes it universally relatable?
What Makes Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Relatable?
Dalton McCay 18:27
Well, this is a movie about climbing out of pits sometimes literally. And as in the case of Han Solo flying the Millennium Falcon out of the meteorite pit. You know, that ends up being a living being you know, a la Dune giant sand worm. But sometimes figuratively, without an abundance of knowledge, Luke seeks out training training to harness his powers like that he’s he’s developing and without an abundance of power, Han and Leia seek allies to keep themselves out of the hands of the Empire. The entire movie is an uphill battle. It’s a struggle to continue forward and it relates to the struggles that we face every day: the uphill battles to stay afloat. Bills and responsibilities.
Jason Boyd 19:27
You have, uh. No, good point, uh, you know is I mean, it’s like, you know, the only thing that’s missing is Luke struggling to get a girlfriend.
Corrine Asbell 19:39
Dalton McCay 19:44
Corrine Asbell 19:49
I have afun fact about that if you’re curious.
Jason Boyd 19:51
What’s that? Did he, did he have a girlfriend in the first draft?
Corrine Asbell 19:55
No, um in Empire Strikes Backm Leia wasn’t supposed to be his sister yet, actually, there was actually
Dalton McCay 20:04
Jason Boyd 20:05
You mean in A New Hope,
Corrine Asbell 20:06
No, Empire she wasn’t supposed to be his sister yet. George Lucas actually wanted to do a trilogy, another trilogy, where Luke goes off to find his lost sister. Leia just shuts him down because she’s in love with Han.
Jason Boyd 20:22
Corrine Asbell 20:22
In the original.
Jason Boyd 20:23
So oh my gosh, really? Okay, so yeah, there is another isn’t referring to Leia.
Corrine Asbell 20:29
Yeah, not at the time. But the reason why they made Leia his sister because George was literally like, nah I don’t want to do that after all. So, actually, Luke was struggling to find a girlfriend in this one.,
Dalton McCay 20:41
I think it wasn’t until actually most of the way through Jedi that they decided to make make the sister thing happen because I think that there’s deleted footage even in Jedi, Return of the Jedi, where Luke and Leia Share, share kisses some more.
Jason Boyd 21:05
You know, they could have kept it in it.
Corrine Asbell 21:08
It worked for Game of Thrones.
Jason Boyd 21:09
It would have been…
Dalton McCay 21:12
Oh man. No.
Jason Boyd 21:13
It would have been acceptable.
Dalton McCay 21:14
No, it wouldn’t know like Disney Disney doesn’t like kissing in the first place. No, no, no kissing no no sexual references no no lovey doveyness, lovey doveyness is fine, but like no physical affection allowed no PDA.
Corrine Asbell 21:29
Oh, that’s fine. This was 20th Century Fox Lucasfilm. They could have had incest
Dalton McCay 21:33
If it was made today, there would be no PDA.
Corrine Asbell 21:40
Can’t argue with that.
Jason Boyd 21:41
Yeah. Let’s just be thankful that we got ourselves some sweet sweet PDA.
Dalton McCay 21:46
Jason Boyd 21:49
Because we’ll never have to give that baby back. So let’s see. I think I guess it’s my turn. What makes Empire Strikes Back universally relatable? I think what what really does it to me is torn allegiances. So you see this like really with Luke. But then you also have Lando kind of having like, Is he a double crosser, but he’s not a double crosser which one which, you know, what’s he going to do? But Luke, you know, he’s training and then he’s like, ah, I gotta go and Yoda’s like ehh, you can’t go because that will be bad for you. And but Luke’s got to decide whether he’s going to do it or not. So it’s like his responsibilities to his friends or his responsibilities to like something more than himself. And so he has to choose between that and then at the end, he finds out you know, this guy is his dad and so he’s kind of like well now I really don’t know what to do, you know?
Corrine Asbell 22:50
Jason Boyd 22:51
So like, it’s all about like, you know, kind of being torn between two different things. You’re tearing us apart mom and dad. It’s a lot of that kind of stuff.
Dalton McCay 23:00
You’re tearing me apart Vader!
Corrine Asbell 23:03
Thank you for that, Dalton, I was hoping you would chime in with that.
Jason Boyd 23:08
Exactly. Uh, yes. Very good. Um, I think Tommy Wiseau should try and remake the Star Wars.
Dalton McCay 23:15
I really think I really think he should make a fantasy film for his next film.
Jason Boyd 23:21
Dalton McCay 23:22
Like I want to see a Tommy Wiseau fantasy.
Corrine Asbell 23:28
Wasn’t that what the last one was supposed to be? I don’t remember the name of it, I don’t remember anything about it.
Dalton McCay 23:36
His next, his next movie is gonna be about sharks.
Jason Boyd 23:41
Dalton McCay 23:42
Anyway so that’s, yeah, that’s gonna be fun.
Jason Boyd 23:45
The emerging shark market.
Dalton McCay 23:47
The emerging shark market.
Corrine Asbell 23:49
Hey, Shark Week’s a thing for a reason.
Jason Boyd 23:52
But yeah, I think it’s I think it’s just the torn allegiances because to me, that’s Empire is really the dark night of the soul of the whole thing. And to me, what makes it even more so is that there is a moral conundrum in the center of it. So it’s not just like, well, yeah, it sucks that Han got put in carbonite. It’s like, it’s not just that everything sucks, but it’s like, oh man, I got hard choices. And both are kind of bad. Like, I’m kind of screwed either way. So that’s this kind of upset the ante with that. But let’s see, Corrine, what do you think makes this movie, Empire Strikes Back universally relatable?
Corrine Asbell 24:39
Well, to me, it’s the movie itself. Nothing goes right. Everything’s broken. The hyperdrive is broken on the Falcon. It’s too cold for Han to take a speeder to go look for Luke on Hoth. Luke crash lands in the swamps on Dagobah, because he can’t see and his scopes aren’t working. C-3PO gets dismantled. Lando sets a trap. Han gets stuck in carbonite hibernation and Luke loses a hand and finds out about dad Vader. If you think about it’s the only movie in the original trilogy where the Rebel Alliance loses every fight. It almost makes you want to lose all hope. And I know we’ve all had days, or even weeks or months like that. And I think that just you can relate to it because you can see they’re still struggling. They’re fighting for something better, and they’re having all these setbacks, but they don’t give up.
Dalton McCay 25:33
Yeah, precisely. Yeah.
Jason Boyd 25:36
Yeah, it almost makes you want A New Hope.
Dalton McCay 25:42
Jason Boyd 25:44
A second hope.
Corrine Asbell 25:45
Dalton McCay 25:45
I mean, I really think that Rian Johnson could have benefited from like a second, third, fourth or fifth rewatch of Empire to understand that when when things go wrong in this series, it’s… oh man, I don’t I don’t know where I’m going with the thought, hang on.
Corrine Asbell 26:14
I’ll fight you over The Last Jedi
Dalton McCay 26:17
Well, basically it’s like the they go on this mission in Last Jedi and they they’re betrayed just like Lando betrays Han and whatnot. But it’s like they’re trying to draw a parallel there that doesn’t work for the the characters in in that particular setting.
Corrine Asbell 26:48
Dalton McCay 26:49
So I get that they were trying to do something there too homage Empire but Empire did it way better
Corrine Asbell 27:04
I can’t argue with that. Empire did it better.
Dalton McCay 27:06
I think it’s a lot because there was already a, a background, there was already a reason to trust Lando. In someone in such a sense, um, there was no reason to trust that random guy that they broke out of jail. Del Toro/s character, there was no reason to trust him whatsoever. Yeah.
Corrine Asbell 27:32
Yeah, no, it was desperation that made them trust DJ. And yeah, that was a dumb move. But I mean, honestly, the whole Canto Blight scene was just dumb and not needed.
Jason Boyd 27:46
I think the whole let’s just keep running. And but no, we shouldn’t keep running. But yeah, we’ll just keep running. Like that was just such a weird who cares, it was just, it made me just go you know, I hope they run out of time gas and I hope they just like get gobbled up. I don’t care anymore. But um
Corrine Asbell 28:06
That’s another podcast.
Jason Boyd 28:09
Yes, exactly the one where we hate on films.
Dalton McCay 28:11
Corrine Asbell 28:13
Jason Boyd 28:14
It’s good. I can’t wait to bitch
Corrine Asbell 28:15
I like the sequel trilogy. Fight me.
Jason Boyd 28:19
Dalton McCay 28:20
Well, I will fight you on that. Well, we’ll have we’ll have a battle royale episode somewhere.
Jason Boyd 28:28
I think maybe I need a few decades to let the sequel trilogy seep in, and then maybe I can accept it a little better.
Dalton McCay 28:36
I don’t. I don’t whatsoever.
Jason Boyd 28:38
Dalton McCay 28:40
Jason Boyd 28:40
While Dalton remains bitter, let’s move on with the next topic for the good trilogy. What could Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back have done better, Corrine?
What Could Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Have Done Better?
Corrine Asbell 28:52
I’m gonna kinda have to take a cop out answer on this. I really can’t think of much could be done to make it better. It’s visually stunning. It’s got beautiful cinematography, some of the best dialogue in any Star Wars movie. And I think it’s one of the most realistic arcs for a space opera sci fi fantasy movie. I mean, the good guys don’t always win, but they don’t give up. I mean, I, I thought about this long and hard and I just, I can’t think of anything that I would add or change that would have made a difference. Like, even the little edits George Lucas did when he re=-released the movie didn’t bother me that much.
Dalton McCay 29:37
Didn’t hurt it.
Corrine Asbell 29:39
Dalton McCay 29:40
Jason Boyd 29:40
Yeah. All right. Well, that’s high praise. Dalton, what do you think could have could they have done to gotten, to get that extra 3% on Rotten Tomatoes for the audience score.
Dalton McCay 29:54
All right, well, here I’m cracking my knuckles over here. Because I know we’re about to fight again…
Jason Boyd 30:01
Let’s do it.
Dalton McCay 30:03
Ding ding. All right. So honestly, my biggest problem with the Empire Strikes Back was Yoda.
Jason Boyd 30:10
Dalton McCay 30:11
So literal – Yoda comes to us as a literal Muppet. He and he just he’s acting a fool. He’s going through Luke’s stuff. And we all realized what now what was going on like he was trying to deceive Luke in an attempt to reveal his character to the audience. But honestly, there was no reason whatsoever for him to do that other than the fact that it was supposed to be fulfilling some sort of trope. Like he. Some people will use the argument that oh, he was he was on Dagobah too long. He’s gone, gone a little crazy, it’s like, but it doesn’t really hold up. because number one, we know that Yoda isn’t cut off from The Force, because he’s talking to the ghost of Obi-wan. Like, he could be up and up in force ghost land with all of the past Jedi, and talking with them, like he wasn’t alone. Um, so second, it doesn’t hold water because he flips it off like a switch. He’s not crazy. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Um, but so when, when Luke is on Dagobah, the first thing that Yoda does is try to deceive him. And it’s really not warranted because even if Yoda had told the truth, if Yoda had gone up to Luke and said, Oh, you’re looking for Yoda. I am he, Luke would have had the exact same reaction. Like Luke would have been like, no, you’re just you’re not even this person. Like they have even worked a biblical reference in there like Yoda, Yoda could have done all this stuff. Like he could have told Luke the truth. He could have followed Luke around like watching him and saying hey, I could help you with that and then Luke like could deny him like three times or whatever before Yoda just pulls the x-wing up out of the swamp and then and then Luke would’ve seen, like oh, yeah, totally, you’re, you’re Yoda and I feel like a jerk. And there would have been that same, that same moment where Luke, where Luke feels like uh like an asshole. Like, or where Luke feels like a jerk. And finally recognizes Yoda. Um, to me, this is just one of those things that takes it takes it out of out of character. Um, the problem beyond this Is that the prequels are a thing. And Yoda is completely out of character in this movie now, because we get to see his true self later on. It’s a problem with the sequels because they try to shove this nutty Yoda back in our face as a throwback and it falls flat because we as an audience have now learned better. There’s just there’s little, little, um, little justification for this, for-for Yoda’s characterization here. And I think that there could have been a stronger bonding moment between Luke and Yoda if Yoda had just told the truth and let Luke get enough rope to hang himself with, in-in that regard.
Jason Boyd 33:49
Yes, well, here comes justification.
Dalton McCay 33:53
Jason Boyd 33:53
Dalton McCay 33:54
Jason Boyd 33:55
So I’m gonna have to fight you Dalton, which sucks because I don’t like getting beaten up. But to me, Yoda is supposed to be a kook. Okay? So he’s supposed to be a kook at first, because he’s basically calling back to the kung fu masters of like the old black and white kung fu movies that Lucas is like a fan of. And it’s not that doesn’t make it better per se, but it’s supposed to be kind of like, Oh, he’s like a Drunken Master or something, you know. And there’s that, but then also there is, I kind of liked the fact that a Jedi is not necessarily a squeaky clean person. That he can lie and deceive in order to test somebody. Because Yoda does that Yoda like proves that like, I mean, and by the way, Yoda and the frickin masters in the council, like lie to everybody. They’re such like little, you know..
Corrine Asbell 34:58
Dalton McCay 34:58
That is true.
Jason Boyd 35:00
I’m protecting you for your own good kind of guys, you know, but like, he’s just, he’s, he’s lying for a good cause, which still makes it okay. And I mean, it’s morally ambiguous. It’s morally ambiguous. But the idea is that I think the real idea is that like Jedi Knights aren’t supposed to be saintly. They’re just supposed to have the best intentions. And there’s kind of like, you know, we think the light side of The Force means you’re supposed to be like a white knight person, but like, not necessarily. But anyway, I like that. And I’d like to call back to the old master stuff, because then later he is kooky. He is kind of, he’s kind of crazy later. Because, you know, he’s like, Oh, yeah, well, you know, yeah. Oh, yeah, you did that. Like he still acts like it a little bit. So it’s not a huge stretch at first. I think he has gotten a little crazy on Dagobah for being there for so long. But I think he is obviously playing it up. So I don’t I don’t mind it at all. And I think in fact, it’s kind of funny and I think as a prequel comparison, I think you don’t see Yoda for the first A New Hope. And you’re like where’s Yoda? What’s up with Yoda? Why’s Yoda not here? And then you see this character, oh, I’m gonna go see Yoda and then Yoda is like not Yoda and it confuses and tricks you and they are no he is Yoda. Well there you go. There’s my boy. Like to me that just works in a different way.
Corrine Asbell 36:37
I kind of just want to real quick I know you’re gonna move on but um, I do want to agree that the reason why he did act so crazy is a way to test Luke.
Jason Boyd 36:47
Corrine Asbell 36:47
But I also want to add on to one of Dalton’s points where he talked about obviously he’s, Yoda’s not so isolated on Dagobah because he’s talking to Obi-wan. He had to clearly have been talking to Obi-wan before Luke even got there, because you know, you see the scene more and then we go to his house. And you know, Luke’s losing it and Yoda just, I can’t teach him this boy has no patience. So he obviously knew what was going on beforehand
Jason Boyd 37:14
So, right, but he he’s, he’s worried that Luke is going to be like Anakin.
Corrine Asbell 37:20
No, no, no, I know. But I was just agreeing with Dalton on he’s not isolated. And that’s not why he’s acting. I’m just saying it was a test. Was it a weird test? Yes. And also, as to the point about the prequels, the prequels are garbage and they don’t count, so don’t worry about that.
Jason Boyd 37:42
But, uh, to make the point of what I actually think could have been better. And I mean, it’s not really like it could have been, I don’t have like a way to fix it. So maybe I shouldn’t even mention it. But it might be an unpopular opinion. But I think Hoth is the weak part of the movie and I can’t put my finger exactly on why and maybe it’s because Americans don’t love snow as much as they love sand even though as we learned earlier
Dalton McCay 38:10
Yeah, I think that’s it.
Jason Boyd 38:11
Tou know it is it is the second cousin of sand, but still not quite sand. Also, the whole thing with Luke being out in the snow and Han having to go get them and then they cut open the tauntaun. That’s gross. And it was just kind of like, guys this is it’s it’s like an episode of Bear Grylls or something. And, well, it just pales in comparison to the glow, you know, to the galaxy trotting quests that they need to go on.
Corrine Asbell 38:44
And you know that the tauntaun thing was actually inspired by a Native American who hid inside of a bear to survive the elements.
Dalton McCay 38:55
Jason Boyd 38:56
Great. I’m glad Lucas could steal from reality as well as fiction.
Corrine Asbell 39:01
Dalton McCay 39:03
I mean, the tauntaun scene is now iconic. Like there’s no denying right? Um, I do. I do see what you’re saying about Hoth. I mean, it’s the first, gosh, that I think it’s because the scene drags so long. It’s like the first it’s like the first third of the entire movie that we’re that we’re on.
Exactly. And then Han’s like, where’s Luke? Oh, well, I don’t know where Luke is he went out just a minute ago. And then we see Luke and he’s out there and they’re like, well, but where’s Luke? I gotta go get Luke. Just Okay. Get the fucking guy. Sorry, excuse my language.
Just go get him. Ahh, just go get him.
Corrine Asbell 39:44
Your Harrison Ford voice is terrible.
Jason Boyd 39:49
Sounds like Lucas, yeah.
Dalton McCay 39:50
But yeah. I think I think a lot of it has to do also with the lack of scenery. Um, yeah, I mean, and that that was probably intentional. Just so they could shoot the same like five cubic meters of Antarctica or wherever and
Corrine Asbell 40:07
Dalton McCay 40:08
Norway and and get away with it but um you know it’s if there’s not a lot to look at it drags on for a long time it’s it’s pretty bleak um i do think that it was probably meant to slowly ease you back into the universe after being away for like three years. So I mean that that could be one reason why that that that happened and dragged on for so long
Jason Boyd 40:39
Like I guess it’s just we went from man this kid just blew up the friggin Death Star. Where’s Luke it’s cold out there. It’s just two completely different.
Corrine Asbell 40:55
If you think about it, like, Luke, it kind of it’s scene mostly exists to break up Luke from Leia and Han. Because otherwise there would have been no reason for them to go their separate ways. Because if he hadn’t been delirious and half dead, he wouldn’t have been hearing Obi-wan’s voice because he hadn’t opened himself up that much. But also it does, I think focus a little bit on Luke’s Force sensitivity and his powers because like, he sees that uh what he thinks is just a meteorite go down. But he’s automatically like, ooh, I need to check that out. And it’s an empire probe droid. So I mean, it is slow. It is it does drag on, but it did have some good plot devices to move the story forward in my opinion.
Dalton McCay 41:39
Oh, of course. Yeah.
Final Thoughts on Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back?
Jason Boyd 41:40
Right. I mean, there’s uh thank god there’s a few reasons why they did it. I just know that. I don’t know if it wasn’t for that, the to me the battle with the you know, the AT-ATs is really what makes that worth it. And it was pretty good. Yeah. So let’s, let’s move on and wrap it up. Let’s like talk about our final thoughts about Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back. So I’ll keep the ball on this one. You know, I think, really the final thought. And we, I mean, obviously, it’s talked about how great it is. But it’s not often that you get a sequel that’s better than the original.
Corrine Asbell 42:09
Dalton McCay 42:24
Jason Boyd 42:25
And this is a better movie than A New Hope. But yet it doesn’t even properly end. I mean, the cliffhanger is neat, but it’s kind of cheap in retrospect. But still, even with the feeling of being cheated somewhat. It makes for the best of the Star Wars, like it still feels like a complete movie.
Corrine Asbell 42:49
Well, if we didn’t have that cliffhanger, we never would have the fever dreams of Han Solo that brought us Indian Jones.
Dalton McCay 42:59
Jason Boyd 43:00
Totally worth it. And it’s good that it happened. And that’s honestly where entertainment was headed. It’s just things were. I mean, back then a sequel was usually like really bad. And the fact that they were like, yeah, and then we’ll end it on a cliffhanger. I mean, they kind of they took some chances, honestly with like, one of the biggest movies of all time to follow it up with this with this pagentry. But uh, yeah, yeah. You know, clearly, clearly to me the best movie of all the Star Wars is just a great great one. Um, but yeah, let’s move on to Corrine. What do you think final thoughts. Star Wars Empire Strikes Back.
Corrine Asbell 43:46
Empire Strikes Back is gonna be my favorite Star Wars movie of all time. I’m including all the trilogy is the I mean, the entire Skywalker saga, the supplemental movies and that kind of stuff. Empire’s probably my favorite. I mean, and I, I just I just love it. Like I said, I couldn’t even decide, discuss anything about what could be better because I just, I’m so biased against the movie, I guess. I mean, and then
Jason Boyd 44:15
Get one of those
Corrine Asbell 44:20
George Lucas actually had very little to do with this movie. I mean, he didn’t have a lot to do with direction because, you know, a new director, he stepped back he didn’t have anything to do with the screenplay. It was just basically his story. And I think it really shows and maybe that was a good thing. I mean, cuz you know, the less control Lucas has maybe a better Star Wars film. Prequels anyone?
Jason Boyd 44:46
I mean, you look at you look at Lucas and his ideas, his idea they’re solid,
Corrine Asbell 44:51
It’s the execution.
Jason Boyd 44:52
Like you know, Indiana Jones and just like he’s always got good ideas and, yeah, the execution I don’t think he understands humans.
Corrine Asbell 45:04
Well, yeah, you don’t learn that in a pod.
Dalton McCay 45:10
Corrine Asbell 45:12
I mean, even Indiana Jones, Lawrence Kasdan was the screen screenwriter on that one too. So I think it’s just it’s like, I think he’s actually – Dalton talked about this in our last episode about how a lot of people had to work with George Lucas to make it better. You know, they had his wife, Marsha, Lucas, they had other people, script doctors, and they kind of had to talk him down off that ledge. And it’s like I said, he does great. He’s got wonderful ideas. Bad execution. He needs to accept help.
Jason Boyd 45:44
Yeah, I do want to say Lawrence Kasdan, good old Larry Kasdan.
Corrine Asbell 45:50
Jason Boyd 45:51
He’s one of the best screen writers of all time for these for this stuff, if nothing else, but uh, yeah, he’s really something else. Let’s see. Dalton what would you say is your final thoughts about Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back?
Dalton McCay 46:11
The Empire Strikes Back is the place where our heroes step over the threshold into a new world. A New Hope set up the world as a place of knowns of good and evil, empire and rebellion, Jedi and Sith. After Empire however, so much becomes unknown. It is the the, the loss of innocence is complete, and the galaxy will never be the same. afterwards. You have The Force becoming a known entity like in in A New Hope, The Force was something talked about, something hinted at, we don’t really see much of it beyond Vader’s slight manipulation to like crush people. But in Empire we find out, you know, it’s, it’s something that you can be trained in, it’s something that you can, you can touch, you can feel it, it can go through you, it binds everything together. It becomes, it becomes a known. And once that happens, it feels like, there’s so much more that’s possible. And, you know, it’s, it’s the, it’s the secret world. So there’s, you know, it’s, it’s that literary device. It’s the same one it’s in Harry Potter. It’s in. I’m having I’m drawing a blank on examples of the secret world, but it’s in a lot of of of, of fiction, where, where our hero starts off as someone who believes that they know everything that there is to know about reality. And then someone comes along in this case, it’s Yoda –
Corrine Asbell 48:20
Dalton McCay 48:20
Yeah, The Matrix exactly. That’s a good one. Someone comes along and completely changes everything that they know. And then once they once they know what they didn’t know they can no longer unknow and that’s what this that’s what this movie is.
Jason Boyd 48:40
I, I don’t think I’ll ever know what I’m not supposed to know and unknow of that was very deep, Dalton, I’m 15 miles deep. I don’t think I’m ever gonna recover.
Corrine Asbell 48:52
I always like that we can count on Dalton to come up with like the deep literary analysis of the movie.
Jason Boyd 48:58
Yeah. And I try really hard too so
Corrine Asbell 49:02
You know, he’s busting out the tropes in the last hero’s journey so like that so I’m glad we can count on Dalton.
Dalton McCay 49:08
I always got to bring my a game with this group because I’m like, I can’t I can’t let them I can’t let them show me up.
Jason Boyd 49:14
Dalton McCay 49:15
I gotta, I gotta, I gotta do it. It’s only because you guys are so good that that I have to try so hard.
Jason Boyd 49:25
Aww stop, though, so nice. Well, yeah,
Corrine Asbell 49:31
Dalton McCay 49:31
Jason Boyd 49:34
So, now that we’ve kind of wrapped it up, and I think we got all of our thoughts, so where can we find the streaming Corrine?
Where Can I Find Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Streaming?
Corrine Asbell 49:44
Well, the House of Mouse has all the Star Wars movies and TV shows available as part of your Disney+ subscription. You can also buy the movie digitally at your favorite movie place like, Vudu, Apple TV or Google Play. Oh, as an alternative, you can always go to Fictionphile.com and click on the Amazon banner to buy your copy through Amazon.com. It’s a great way to help support us so we can keep bringing you the content you’ve grown to love and it doesn’t cost you a thing.
Where Can I Follow the Fictionphile Crew?
Jason Boyd 50:12
Excellent, excellent. Okay, now Corrine, if I want to find you after this is over and become your best friend, where can I find you?
Jason Boyd 50:33
Excellent and don’t work can I become your number one fan?
Jason Boyd 50:48
Very good, very good. And I do recommend following them both, insightful and fun. Well, thank you Corrine. Thank you Dalton as always,
Corrine Asbell 50:58
So, Jason, where can we find you?
Jason Boyd 51:01
Well, you can, you can find me. Where I don’t want you to know. No, I, uh fictionphile.com actually has everybody’s social on it on the staff page. You can find mine, Dalton, Corrine’s if you don’t remember this, but I’m @theFictionphile on Twitter and sagehazzard on Instagram if you want to follow me there. Those are really the two that I use the most. But it has all all the kit and caboodle because I have like, you know, 20 accounts, I just never use them all. But yeah, if you can find me on there on the staff page on fictionphile.com.
Jason Boyd 51:41
So I think that makes it for another installment of the Fictionphile podcast, I want to invite you to fictionphile.com for more scintillating analysis like you heard today. And don’t forget to rate us if you like today’s episode, and subscribe to make sure you don’t miss the next episode. Until then, thank you for spending a little storytime with us today. And for Dalton McCay and Corrine Asbell, this is Jason Boyd and the Fictionphile family wishing you a happily ever after.