Joss Whedon Doesn’t Like the Ending to ‘Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’

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Joss Whedon Does Not Like Empire Strikes Back Ending Joss Whedon Doesnt Like the Ending to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

There’s no doubt about it – Joss Whedon (The Avengers) is a fan of Star Wars. All it would take is about ten minutes of watching Firefly to come to that conclusion.

But that doesn’t mean that the writer-director doesn’t have any issues with the franchise. Case in point: Whedon recently revealed that he’s not much of a fan of the ending of The Empire Strikes Back, particularly its unresolved nature. In fact, his exact words were: “It was a terrible idea.”

(Keep in mind – Joss Whedon does NOT think that Empire is a bad movie in the slightest. In fact, the only reason the film was even brought up was because he was citing a sequel that managed to “get it right.”)

Courtesy of EW, here’s the full exchange:

“[Empire Strikes Back] committed the cardinal sin of not actually ending. Which at the time I was appalled by and I still think it was a terrible idea.”

The interviewer was a tad surprised by this, so he asked Whedon if he really thought that Empire had a bad ending.

According to Whedon:

“Well, it’s not an ending. 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.”

Everybody’s seen The Empire Strikes Back, right? We all know that near the end of the movie, Han Solo is frozen in carbonite and taken by the bounty hunter Boba Fett to be sold to Jabba the Hutt; we all know that Luke Skywalker gets his hand lightsabered off by Darth Vader, who claims to be his father, Anakin Skywalker. It’s such a fixture of pop culture that even people who’ve never seen the film know what happens.

Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in Empire Strikes Back Joss Whedon Doesnt Like the Ending to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

“That’s not true! That’s impossible!”

While Whedon is certainly free to feel however he wants to about Empire, it could be argued that the film IS a complete experience. Many of the character arcs started in the film are concluded, more or less, by the end – they’re just not feel-good conclusions.

No, you don’t know precisely what becomes of Han Solo, but that’s as a result of the mistakes he made in the story. Against Leia’s wishes, he took the crew to Cloud City and he paid the price for doing so; off to Jabba’s Palace he goes!  Likewise, Luke left his training way too early – against Yoda’s wishes – and Vader wiped the floor with him, emotionally, mentally, physically, and otherwise. Maybe if Luke had stuck around for more Force training, he would’ve been more capable of withstanding any paternal revelations.

That’s why there’s a cliffhanger. It’s not just there because the producers are saying “See you next movie, everybody!” It’s also there because of the mistakes these guys made as characters. Their actions had unsatisfying and semi-inconclusive consequences. They lost because they screwed up.

Han Solo in Carbonite in Empire Strikes Back Joss Whedon Doesnt Like the Ending to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Now, there will undoubtedly be people who say, “But Joss, what about individual TV episodes with cliffhangers? You’ve made so many of those!” In fairness, Whedon is differentiating here between a film experience and an episodic experience (never mind that the Star Wars movies have long been considered episodic, and they’re steeped in the stylistics of the movie serials of yore).

However, a better example would be a cliffhanger to the end of a series. Has Joss Whedon ever produced a major cliffhanger for one of his TV shows that left a lot of things unresolved?

Yes. Perhaps one of the more notorious examples of unresolved series finales is Whedon’s Angel, which saw Angel and his crew running headlong into battle against the Senior Partners’ massive army (made up of all manner of monsters, including a dragon). Before we can find out what happens to them, the credits roll.

Is this a good analogy for Empire‘s ending? I would argue that it is, though some might say that it’s more akin to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which rather famously didn’t depict the fate of its two protagonists against an army of Bolivian soldiers.

However, I would counter that the difference between these two “endings” is that we absolutely know what happened to Butch and Sundance – they died. Straight up. There’s no doubt about it. They did not hold their own against an entire army because they are not supernatural creatures of the night magically imbued with souls.

Angel TV Cliffhanger Ending Joss Whedon Doesnt Like the Ending to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

The series finale of ‘Angel’

As for Angel and his friends, we have no idea what happened to them (unless we’ve read the comic book continuation). Did they win their fight against the Senior Partners? Were lives lost in the process? We’ll never know because it never played out onscreen.

Much like Empire, the ending to Angel left some major life and death questions to be answered, and yet it was still an incredibly satisfying and bittersweet experience for fans. Unlike Empire, we never got answers to those questions, because Angel was canceled by The WB.

What say you, Screen Ranters? Do you agree with Joss that The Empire Strikes Back doesn’t really have an ending? Drop us a line in the comments.


Joss Whedon’s next movie, The Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters May 1st, 2015. Star Wars: Episode VII is rumored to be scheduled for a December 2015 release.

Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

Source: EW

Follow Ben Moore on Twitter @benandrewmoore
TAGS: Star wars
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  1. I disagree.
    I like the ending of Empire.

  2. Totally disagree with joss on this one. Absolutely nothing terrible about that ending to empire strikes back. One could argue that he pulled kinda of a cliffhanger himself with Thanos appearing at the end credits of Avengers. What’s up with that? What’s his agenda? What’s the deal with courting death? Those are questions some movie goers are asking which probably won’t get answered quite yet being that the sequel will deal with ultron.

  3. Whedon refused to use cliffhangers for years with Buffy.
    once he did he pretty much changed pace and went, why didnt I do this earlier? (He will change his tune down the line with empire also)

    Empire IMO is done right even with ending and is the best movie follow up to the massive epic star wars.

    Lucas went all wrong with his 3 last movies as he forgot it wasnt about cgi as it was about people and casting the right people……………as I didnt buy the darth vader transformation as Lucas dont get that.

  4. One of the greatest movie endings ever…I must love open ended endings though because my favorite two movie endings are empire and the dark knight. They both give me goose bumps to this day. And they keep me wanting more, while leaving me simultaneously satisfied.

  5. Great write up with some excellent points. I think the ending is perfectly fine. It ends with the consequences of the character’s actions and sets up the next film. I don’t see that as terrible.

  6. The way in which “The Empire Strikes Back” ends only adds to it’s monumental brilliance. It sums up the tragedy in a second act.

    It’s one of the greatest endings in cinematic history.

    If Whedon wants to talk about a bad ending he should look no further than his own flick; Shawarma? WTF cares?

    • Yes, all of this – great points.

    • Would you rather it ended with Luke finding a magical and conveniently placed “off button” in the bowels of Cloud City? Then throw a bomb into some random portal so when it explodes Han Solo magically unfreezes and all the bad guys, no matter where they are, just drop dead right there? A la The Avengers?

      • you = Joss…my bad…

  7. Cause joss has a right to comment on star
    Wars for no reason. I swear this guy talks about the most random stuff. I love the ending of TESB, because its diffrent in the fact that it doesnt end.

    • well, yes, he DOES have the right to comment on it for “no reason”…. much the same way that everyone here who posts on SR has the right to air their opinions.

      • What he meant, is that everything Whedon says gets a big attention because he made these “Avengers”…otherwise you would never heard about his comments anywhere…

        • Exactly 2 years ago he probably made the same comment but nobody cared cause he was nothing. So he decided with his new found publicity he can say what he dislikes without anyone mentioning the end of star wars

        • So because Joss Whedon has gained fame from making The Avengers he’s no longer allowed to voice his opinions lest other people not like them?

          • It’s not that he’s not allowed to, but he’s been voicing his opinion a lot lately. Remember when he was just the creator of several good shows and an ok/decent comic writer for Marvel? He was very quiet back then.

    • Well yeah he does actually, there’s nothing stopping the guy from commenting on what he likes/hates

  8. Agree with all your points, Ben. I think Empire is one of the best all around movies because it does complete character story arcs like you mention and gives a full story, it’s just not happy endings. Besides, it was built in that there would be a continuation because Lucas had planned the trilogy. By Whedon’s points, you could say the same for New Hope, just that it had a happier ending. Vader still lived to fight another day and the Rebel Alliance only won a singular battle, not the overall war, but because a few guys got some medals and Chewie got to roar with happiness, it has the pretty bow on it’s finish.

  9. Just sums this guy up really……

  10. Given the way Whedon usually talks about films, it’s fairly likely he’s speaking in emotional terms here – I’m sure he realises that the film does contain events that are designed to serve as a button to the story, but if he’s speaking on an emotional basis, it is a very open-ended film. Luke’s conflict with Vader is unresolved, as are many other plot threads.

    Empire is an incredible film, which I’m sure Joss acknowledges, but providing that he’s talking in terms of the emotional arc of the film, he’s not entirely wrong.

  11. Great ending to a great movie.
    What have you been smoking Joss??

    • Whatever it is, I want some. He’s not the one whining in a comments section about something YOU said, now is he? 😀

  12. Uh-oh better hope no Marvel fan boys read this. Almost every one of them I see thinks Joss Whedon is God. If they see people disagree with him… Well there’s just no stopping them!

    • I’m not so sure about that.

      Lately, Whedon hasn’t been getting the praise he used to get.

      There are too many fans who are bothered (pissed off) by the way he’s going about Avengers 2: Age Of Ultron.

      1. Stark creates Ultron, not Hank Pym.

      2. NO Hank Pym at all.

      3. His (Whedon) statements concerning Black Widow as to how AV2 will prominently feature her.

      4. Dramatic changes to The Scarlet Witch character.

      Those are just a few things fans are unhappy with.

      Thanks a lot , Joss Whedon….

      • I think Kirk is referring to the cinematic-U fans. Marvel comic fans are 50-50 with him but they do agree that Avengers is awesome. Comic book fans in general are either indifferent and go with the flow with the guy but the changes being made in Marvel phase 2,do irk us.

        • Right on, Miss Jen.

          I, myself, feel no ill will towards Mr Whedon. But shortly after the success of The Avengers, there’s no question that he was seemingly , universally praised.

          Now it comes down to a separation between The MOVIE the Avengers and it’s director.

          When you say, “…but the changes being made in Marvel phase 2,do irk us.” That was the central point I was trying to make. But I was pointing out the particular points that most Marvel fans have with the development of “Age Of Ultron” thus far.

          • I don’t like that they ever made ANYTHING in any other medium than the comic books. The characters are PERFECT in that iteration and shouldn’t be tinkered with. Oh, and I only like ONE particular take on all of my favorite characters. I CANNOT tolerate even the slightest change in narrative even if they do capture the spirit of the character. That’s crap! I want my comic book heroes to be EXACTLY the way they’ve ALWAYS been!!! /s

          • Yeah.I was happy that they’re not going to adapt the awful AOU but the big changes he made thus far aren’t that different from the changes made to X-men by Fox or Spiderman by Sony BUT it’s ok since it’s Joss Whedon…sigh…

  13. I wonder what Joss Whedon thinks about the end of Back to The Future Part II?

    “to be concluded”

    If its suppose to a trilogy, there should be some sort of cliffhanger!

    Empire was by far the best ending.

  14. I’m going to be in the miniority here but I don’t praise Star Wars the way others and I am not trying to troll here, Empire was so boring to me and I agree that it didn’t really have an ending it was just Luke, Leia and the droids looking into space apparently content with Han being frozen.

    • Since they were talking ABOUT the plan to go rescue Han (and actually showed Lando and Chewbacca taking out the Millenium Falcon for that very mission, I have to wonder how much you even remember about watching the film…

  15. What a load of crap.Empire’s ending is unique and stunning.

    • +10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 till the end of time…..

      • Well done you broke the site, I hope your happy with yourself

  16. I agree with him. I hate cliffhangers in any way, shape or form, especially because they are usually resolved by a cop-out. TV shows are very guilty of that. One season ends in a major cliffhanger that could be the basis for the whole next season and an epic season premiere, only to get resolved with some deus ex machina solution in the first 5 minutes in order to move on to a completey different storyline.

    • Then, you probably hated Whedon’s previous film…”Serenity”…right?

  17. Joss Whedon needs a lot of attention. I can’t stand that guy and I never did.

    • +100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

      • I second that Kyptonic.

  18. Seriously? Huh, well, I completely disagree.
    Empire’s ending was fantastic. I think I’m not wrong by saying it had most people on the edge of their seats. For the time it was also revolutionary: I don’t think there were many movies that didn’t end with “hero saves the day and lives happily ever after”. For me, the (almost) ominous ending is one of the things that makes Empire so special…. I loved it!

    What confuses me is, if Whedon wants actual endings to things, why did Dr Horrible have that open-endedness?

    • There’s a difference between a 3 year long cliffhanger and a deliberately ambiguous ending.

      Take Inception, for example. There’s obviously never going to be a sequel to Inception unless some really greedy execs manage to buy the rights. Nolan has absolutely no intention of telling us *spoiler* whether Cobb is still in a dream or not. Empire, on the other hand, was almost certain to get another sequel. So Lucas was always intending to answer the questions raised. People just had to wait three years to find out what happened. Which might annoy some people.

      Of course, I love both endings either way.

      • I completely agree, there is a difference, but we’re not really talking about ambiguous endings here. Dr Horrible didn’t have a deliberate ambiguous ending. The ending was, as I understand it, set up for a sequel if the series was successful enough.

        In any case, what’s so bad about a cliffhanger?
        The LOTR movies ended on cliffhangers, the Hobbit 1 (and soon 2) as well.
        Many movies end on cliffhangers. It’s not the filmmaker’s fault that people are inpatient.

        I’ll grant you the fact that I didn’t have to wait 3 years to see the events of Empire unfold in Jedi, but even if I were alive back then, it wouldn’t have been a big deal for me. Right now I’m waiting to see that teaser for The Avengers unfold, and by the time Avengers 3 comes out, a LOT of time will have passed lol. And that’s cool because anticipation is a big part of the experience.

        • At the end of the day, it’s all about the story. Inception’s ending was directly tied to the nature of the story.
          Empire’s ending was directly tied to the ominous tone that they wanted to set up.

          Some blockbusters (and a LOT of tv series’) end on cheap cliffhangers just to get people to watch the next installment/season, and imo those kinds of endings can be annoying and unnecessary, but in movies like Empire and LOTR/The Hobbit it works because it serves a greater purpose: the narrative

          • While I can kinda see where you’re coming from, there are some key differences between Empire and the examples you posted. Firstly, while Dr Horrible’s ending’s could lead into a sequel (I’ll admit I had no idea that one was planned), it also works as a standalone ending. Empire’s doesn’t. Star Wars couldn’t have just ended at Empire.

            As for Lord of the Rings, there are two major difference between that and Star Wars. Firstly, all the films were filmed simultaneously and only released a year apart, unlike the 3 year wait for Jedi. Secondly, Lord of the Rings is an adaptation of existing fiction, unlike Star Wars, so if you wanted to find out what happened, you just had to read the books. Also, while YMMV, I don’t think any of the LOTR cliffhangers were nearly as dramatic or tense as Empire’s cliffhanger.

            As for the Avengers, you can’t really compare a tiny teaser of things to Empire’s massive cliffhanger, where main characters were noticably still in danger.

            • You make excellent points. I see what you mean.

              I still don”t think the cliffhanger was “bad”, and it really wouldn’t have made me angry or anything (like I said, anticipation is such a huge part of the experience), but I guess I can see how some people would be bummed out by having to wait that long.

              And I stand by my second comment. The ending served the overall Star Wars story perfectly. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

              • I completely agree. I love the cliffhanger and wouldn’t want it any other way. But I also understand why people who saw it at the theatres, like Joss, would be annoyed at it.

  19. Jesus Joss, how dare you have an different opinion to most people on a film! You know that’s not allowed!!

    Seriously though, while I absolutely love the ending to Empire Strikes Back, I can kinda see where Joss is coming from here. Unlike Joss, I suspect the vast majority of people on here didn’t first watch Empire when it was released in the cinemas. We watched it on video/dvd/whatever. The point is, we also had Return of the Jedi available to watch almost right afterwards. Cinema viewers of Empire had to wait 3 years for Return of the Jedi to come out. I can see how that might’ve soured some people to the cliffhanger.

    • Thank-you for being a voice of reason.

      I am one of those who saw these films in the theatre, during their original cinematic release. And yes, while the ending “works”, it was a VERY frustrating experience at the time knowing that it would be years before we knew what happened after that cliffhanger.

      And yes, people AT THAT TIME were upset about this. I remember it being a large part of the discussion revolving around this film. It was recognized as definitely superior to the 1st film, and was praised for its qualities. However, it was also criticized for leaving a completely unresolved ending as though it was nothing more than a TV show season-ending cliff-hanger.

      • Funny…That must’ve been a critiquing party thrown by you and your friends. I, too, saw it in the theater and everyone I encountered thought the ending was absolutely perfect for a film that showed that evil does not always lose.

        It WAS, after all, called “The Empire Strikes Back”.

        • Well considering, when it was first released, Empire received pretty mixed reviews (although it’s obviously been vindicated since), I have a feeling that Mikey and Joss weren’t the only ones peeved off with the cliffhanger.

          • They might not have been the only ones; that, however, does not mean they were of the majority opinion.

  20. Wow. Whedon couldn’t be anymore wrong if he tried. Oh, waitaminute…he’s doing what in Avengers 2? Nevermind.

    • He can’t be “wrong”. It’s his opinion and he’s allowed to think whatever the hell he wants. We don’t agree with it, that’s fine, but he has the right to say what he thinks.

      • You’re absolutely right. He has the right.

        And so do we!

        And the “majority” of us on this thread think Whedon is a bit of an idiot to criticize one of the very finest (and original) films of all time, simply because of its ‘ending'; The Empire Strikes Back! 33 years old and still “timeless.”

        Thank goodness for “rights.”

        Fact: If it wasn’t for ANY of the first three Star Wars flicks, there would NEVER have been a thing called “Firefly.”

        Whedon simply made up his own idea of the REBELS in Star Wars and bastardized it with various elements from Star Trek.

        • And other people on this thread have the ‘right’ to call out those people when they’re missing the point or when they’re being jerks.

          “(Keep in mind – Joss Whedon does NOT think that Empire is a bad movie in the slightest. In fact, the only reason the film was even brought up was because he was citing a sequel that managed to “get it right.”)”

          Also, did you miss this bit? Whedon loves Star Wars + Empire Strikes Back. He’s just not a fan of the ending.

          • Why is Joss Whedon even talking about other movies when he has the very difficult task of pleasing the fans of his last flick?

            Shouldn’t he be busy typing up who, and how exactly, will Ultron be created?

            • So you’re saying the guy shouldn’t be allowed out of his study (or wherever he writes) until his next movie is done?

              • He should indulge himself voraciously with copious servings of Shawarma.

            • Because Joss Whedon should definitely spent every single minute of every day of the time until Avenger 2 starts filming, just working on the script. That makes perfect sense.

              It’s not like giving interviews about the Avengers 2 will help build up the hype towards the film. And, seeing as apparently you didn’t read the text I JUST QUOTED, he was only talking about Empire because it was an example of a sequel that ‘got it right’, like he obviously hopes to do with the Avengers 2. The discussion just got slightly sidetracked.

              Also, you’re saying it like Joss has no idea how Ultron is going to be created in Avengers 2. He knows exactly how Ultron will be creating. He’s just not tellling us for obvious reasons.

              • We know Ultron is NOT created by Dr Henry “Hank” Pym.

                Pym has nothing to do with the story.

                That, in and of itself, says volumes.

                “We’re not going to see Pym and all the accoutrements….”

                J W

                • Speaks volumes about what?

                  • NEVERMIND !!! (SMH)

                • This again? REALLY?! We haven’t seen so much as a single trailer of the damn film, I get that the whole fake Mandarin thing annoyed some people but Joss Whedon had nothing to do with that and we could at the very least give him a chance.

                  At this point judging the movie based on the freaking teaser trailer would be progress.

        • well, thank god you’re here to tell us what is or isn’t the “finest (and most original) film of all time”.

          I’ll disagree with you. Empire Strikes back was the best of the Star Wars films. But there, your comments lose a grip on reality. It is FAR from being anywhere near “one of the finest” films ever made. And it is certainly nowhere near being one of the most original, considering how much of it is simply ripped from Joseph Campbell’s work.

          The “majority” of you in the thread who think he is an idiot need to get a grasp on reality. You get to expound your opinions, well so does he. And he’s not wrong. it’s HIS opinion. Much like your opinion is yours. Of course, he is in a FAR better position to substantiate his opinion on film or TV, since he has the necessary baggage to back up his opinions. He has the credentials.

          Saying that Empire is “one of the very finest” films ever made tends to diminish the value of your opinion. There are dozens, if not hundreds, or even thousands, of films that are “finer”. Which pretty much nullifies the comment “one of the finest”.

          • …and that’s YOUR opinion 😉
            Seems a little hypocritical to make statements implying he’s “wrong” for saying it’s one of the finest films ever made. In his opinion (and as a matter of fact, mine as well) Empire IS one of the finest films ever made, and we’re certainly not the only two who shares that sentiment.

            You disagree, that’s okay with me, but does that give you the right to say we Star Wars fans have no grip on reality and that the value of our opinions are diminished by not coinciding with your view on what makes a “fine” film? I’d say no.

  21. His ending of The Avengers and Buffy didn’t compare to the ending of Empire… He should study his craft and learn more about story telling before critising such classics of modern cinema… Next he’ll be spouting off about something else which bares no relation to anything yet somehow warrants reporting in the media as something significant?

    • Hey, did you make the third highest grossing film of all time? Or several famous and widely beloved Tv shows? No? Then who do you think you are to criticise Joss Whedon.

      Now, before I get angry replies from people who’ve completely missed the point, I should say that I think Xandra is perfectly welcome to criticise whoever or whatever he wants. I was just using his own logic to make a point.

      Also, can people please actually read the article before they start whining? Empire only got brought up because Joss was using it as an example of a sequel that managed to ‘get it right’, like he hopes to with Avengers 2. He’s just not a fan of the ending.

      • TESB was the sequel “that got it right”…except for its ending. THAT is what’s got people so up in arms. True, there are (and always WILL be) many who overreact, but Whedon DOES offer up an opinion that seems a tad bit hypocritical.

        • Yeah, I get that disliking the ending is what’s annoyed most people, but there’s an annoyingly high number of people who seem to believe that he hates all of Empire and/or wonder why he’s talking about it in the first place.

          Also, it’s hypocritical how? To my knowledge, Whedon never made a major cliffhanger that took three years to resolve.

          • “Serenity”.

            It resolved nothing EXCEPT that the crew was going to adventure further. There was no sequel, so you’re right that its resolution did not take three years to reach…it NEVER reached one.

  22. Kinda strange someone with his level of experience, and with a background in TV, working on comic book films does not appreciate the concept of a serial. IMO the best films have you not knowing what will happen next, and leave you wanting more. Why should this be against the rules in cinema?

    • “Kinda strange someone with his level of experience, and with a background in TV, working on comic book films does not appreciate the concept of a serial.”

      Bravo, Flash, MAGNIFICO !!!

      You ARE the “Savior Of The Universe!”

      • Except there’s obviously a difference between a cliffhanger in a serial, which’ll only take about a week to be resolved (or a year, if it’s a cliffhanger in the series finale) and a cliffhanger between films that takes about 3 years to be resolved.

        • Based upon your example, it’s just a “matter of time.”

          • Partially, yes. There’s also the fact that a) Star Wars was a huge franchise and b) there wasn’t a single other major film that had done this before (to the best of my knowledge) so people weren’t expecting the wait at all.

  23. I love ESB. It is my favorite of all the SW movies, and it’s the most beautifully shot, too! However, I do agree with Whedon—to a point–that’s how I felt upon my initial viewing of it. “What!? That’s it? Really!?” I remember being jipped as a kid! However, it’s different now that you can easily watch it in succession with video.

  24. So…how did “Serenity” end?


    • Well… it didn’t end with a massive cliffhanger, if that’s what you’re suggesting.

      • No, actually, I’m suggesting that it DID NOT END. Almost nothing was resolved.

  25. Oh boy. That’s Joss Whedon’s opinion. Who cares about his opinion. People have different taste about the ending. So what! I enjoyed the ending anyway.

  26. I think this is what set Empire/the Trilogy apart from other films that employed more than one movie to tell the whole tale. It was more of a Wagnerian Ring cycle than small instances of stories. Lucas even said it himself, it’s a space opera, it has multiple acts. Rather than 12 hours of movie watching with intermissions we get separate movies. Frankly, it was a unique idea that hasn’t been repeated since.

    • The Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

  27. He also voted for romney…. I know rgis doesn’t matter on the sueface. But it just speaks to his character……

    • Who cares who he voted for? Unless he shoves his political view unnecessarily into his films it makes no difference.

      On that note, however, I’m pretty sure he didn’t vote for Romney. Did you not see his Romney zombie apocalypse vid?

  28. I loved the ending. It rewards those who love the franchise and come back for the next one, leaves you wanting to find out more and manages to tie up some plot points while leading into brand new strands.

    Then again, I’m one of those people who love standalone movies like Cloverfield and Chronicle that don’t give answers as to what happened and why because we don’t need movies to dumb down and be explaining everything constantly.

    • I love standalone movies too, but there’s a noticeable difference between an ambiguous standalone ending and the cliffhanger that Empire did. If Star Wars had ended at Empire would you have been satisfied?

      • The fact that the movies title themselves as “Episode IV” and “Episode V” would’ve made me think that there’d clearly be another part coming and wonder what parts 1-3 would be about.

        So yeah, I’d have been satisfied.

        I mean, Cloverfield ended with the audience having no clue whether the monster was killed or whether the main characters survived the napalm that was dropped on Manhattan. There are no plans to make a sequel and fans of the movie are left to either praise such a great movie or hate on the fact that nobody knows what the hell happened at the end or how things were resolved.

        I’m in the former camp, satisfied that we don’t quite know so yeah, I’d have been satisfied at the Empire ending too, even if I didn’t know there’d be another part to come.

  29. I think many people are missing the point. When Joss saw it there was no Return of the Jedi to slip into the DVD(or VHS)player. It wasn’t even made yet, and there was no guarantee there would be another movie. In those days, two(or more)sequels were not nearly as common. For the average movie goer back at the time of release it had to be at least a little bit of a huge letdown that you didn’t find out what happened. Yes, now, everyone sees it as just basically a second act (and a great one at that), but at the time a moviegoer was probably like WTF(!?) at the end of the movie.

    • Agreed people here are seeing it now, as in with whole set/trilogy but back then there wasn’t.