– article and video study by HanSpinel
Several commonalities exist in the form of plot lines and visual parallels between The Last Jedi (TLJ) and the Original Trilogy (OT). Here, I explore the similarities among the “Throne Room” scenes of Return of the Jedi and The Last Jedi, most of which play out in a beat-for-beat fashion (video below).
[personal perspective] One of the biggest knocks against The Force Awakens (TFA) was that it too closely resembled A New Hope in plot lines, visual parallels, and callbacks. However, The Last Jedi shares just as many, if not more, similarities in plot lines, visual parallels, and callbacks to the Original Trilogy as does TFA; and yet is often heralded as one of the most original Star Wars movies to date. I personally love the parallels in both films, and will ultimately love the Sequel Trilogy for all of the unmistakable parallels and callbacks to the OT and Prequel Trilogy. I also find the difference in praise between TFA parallels and TLJ parallels quite peculiar to say the least. Why is one a rehash, but the other is original?
As will be shown below, the visual parallels are not just a long string of coincidences. They are specifically set up and directed to mimic established sequences and shots from the OT. Regarding the theory that Rey represents an unrelated new hero in the Skywalker Saga, it would be an odd choice to undermine the independence and freedom of said new hero by, quite literally, Forcing them to walk, talk, and act like the Skywalker heroes they are allegedly establishing new identities from, no? Alternatively, if Rey is related to the Skywalkers, the abundant parallels present in both TFA and TLJ suddenly become narratively poetic, just as Anakin and Luke were intended to be between the Prequel Trilogy and OT….[/personal perspective].
Regardless, I’ve compiled a Throne Room scene walk-through from Return of the Jedi (RotJ) and TLJ, bouncing back and forth, and at times overlying one with the other. At times, the beats are so strikingly similar, it appears as if the directing and cues were done so while pacing precisely with RotJ as a frame-for-frame reference. Take a look, and let us know what you think in the comment section! And for those interested, I’ll provide my own thoughts and analysis below:
For fun, I’ll be referencing the following terms to signal visual parallels between characters:
The Supreme Emperor: Parallels between Snoke and Palpatine.
Kylo Vader: Parallels between Kylo Ren and Darth Vader.
Rey Skywalker: Parallels between Rey and Luke Skywalker.
0:00:15 – Unromantically Pleading with the Villain
“Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi
Rey steps in, with pleading eyes and a cute button nose, and attempts to lure Kylo Ren from the Dark Side as the two are alone and speaking freely face to face.
This scene has been used as evidence for and suggestive of romance between Kylo Ren and Rey. However, I’ve personally never seen it this way, and it’s likely because I view the Sequel Trilogy through the eyes of Luke Skywalker. When you do – I see those same pleading eyes and cute button nose on Luke. Luke is also stepping in to get closer to, and in a more intimate position with, Darth Vader, and just as adamant that Vader turn from the Dark Side. It’s actually quite uncanny – Rey and Luke could almost be mistaken for twin brother and sister. I wonder where Rey gets her good looks from?
0:00:27 – Young Rey…. Young Skywalker
The Doors to the elevators open, The Supreme Emperor sit at their thrones, awaiting Kylo Vader to present the surrendered Rey Skywalker.
I’ve edited this to play on the theme I believe was being directed – Rey is, quite literally, walking in the shoes of Luke. Hence, the edit takes Snoke’s line of, “Young Rey….” and blends with Palpatine’s line of, “[omitted “young”] Skywalker.” This is more than coincidence.
0:00:55 – You No Longer Need Those or Those
There are plenty of ways to film someone’s shackles being Force-removed. But why reinvent the wheel, am I right? The camera focuses in on both Rey’s and Luke’s shackled hands. In beat-for-beat fashion, the shackles suddenly drop to the floor, and the camera pans up from the hands to the faces of our Jedi protagonists. Here, both the shots and editing are essentially frame-for-frame.
0:01:08 – Your overconfidence is your weakness. It will be your downfall.
Rey Skywalker will not be intimidated, and they aren’t afraid to get a little cocky in the face of The Supreme Emperor, either.
0:01:18 – The Supreme Emperor Strikes Back
Young fool, it was I who bridged your Alliance to know the location of the minds.
0:01:39 – Don’t Believe Me? Here, Looks out these Windows to Sees Yours Friends Being Killeds.
Thankfully, Snoke learned from his predecessor, Palpatine, and installed a magnifying window to add emphasis to the dire state the Resistance is in as Rey looks out the window of the Supremacy. This of course relative to Luke looking out of the Death Star II window and at the destruction of the Rebel Alliance fleet.
0:02:07 – Oldest Jedi Trick in the Book
Rey Skywalker turns around in a flash, calling the nearest lightsabers to their grasp. They raise it above their right shoulders to let everyone know they are ready for combat.
Yes, this bit also jumps back to The Force Awakens since the duel in the snowy forests of Starkiller Base also parallels the duel between Luke and Vader – they are simply too relevant not to include here.
0:02:28 – Force-Lightning to the Teeth is Objectively Worse than Going to the Dentist
Rey Skywalker is at the mercy of The Supreme Emperor. Kylo Vader looks on as “young Rey….” “young Skywalker….” “young fools….” are subjected to unbearable pain and torture.
I remember being horrified as a kid, watching Luke’s scene when the Force lightning literally starts arcing between his teeth – I mean, what kind of heinous witch craft is that?! This right here confirms Palpatine to be the most terrifying villain in all of Star Wars. Also, when the scenes begin overlaying with one another, the lightning literally looks like it’s also shooting through Rey’s teeth! The appearance of lightning in Rey’s teeth during the overlap, specifically, is a coincidence (I think).
“In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi
0:02:44 – Oldest Dark Side Trick in the Book
Kylo Vader carefully weighs the situation, and strikes when The Supreme Emperor least expects it, delivering a fatal blow. How does the Dark Side never see this coming?
Hope you enjoyed. Until next time, May the Forces be with yous guys….