Here's why Joss Whedon doesn't like Empire Strikes Back

Illustration for article titled Heres why Joss Whedon doesnt like emEmpire Strikes Back/em

Joss Whedon has a big problem with The Empire Strikes Back. It's a problem he's had since he first saw it back in 1980. Honestly, once I heard it, I wasn't sure whether I should laugh or cry.


As reported in the article about the interview Whedon gave to Entertainment Weekly:

Empire committed the cardinal sin of not actually ending,” Whedon noted during his 10-page deep-dive interview with Entertainment Weekly in this week’s issue. “Which at the time I was appalled by and I still think it was a terrible idea.”

To which your EW interviewer blurted: “You think Empire had a bad ending?”

“Well, it’s not an ending,” Whedon explained about the 1980 film, which had a cliffhanger leading into the next entry of the series, Return of the Jedi. “It’s a Come Back Next Week, or in three years. And that upsets me. I go to movies expecting to have a whole experience. If I want a movie that doesn’t end I’ll go to a French movie. That’s a betrayal of trust to me. A movie has to be complete within itself, it can’t just build off the first one or play variations.”


I think it's obvious how Joss Whedon would have preferred to end Empire; by fan-favorite Han Solo dying in the last four minutes for no other narrative purposes other than to make viewers completely distraught (probably from a stray laser blast) and with Luke, Leia, Lando and the Droids running down a Cloud City hallway with blasters and lightsabers raised to fight Darth Vader, 1250 Stormtroopers, three Rancors bred specifically to kill, and then Ponda Baba with a cybernetic arm, looking for revenge on Luke. Cut to black. Roll credits. Now that's an ending Joss Whedon approves of.

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The lack of an ending is precisely why Empire is the best of the Star Wars movies; that and the fact that it doesn't have a beginning. It wastes no time on build up or world-building or Lucas' godawful award ceremonies. Pure in media res.