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The Force Is Just Too Strong

June 09, 2005

To paraphrase a particularly snappy Variety headline, "The Sith Has Hit the Fans," meaning the sixth and final "Star Wars" episode is going strong around the world, and the long-running saga is all over, except for the counting of the money. After three weeks at a theater near you, the movie had taken in more than $300 million in the U.S.

George Lucas, who has spent half his life working on the phenomenally successful series set in a galaxy far, far away, has announced he has had enough and is coming back to Earth. If that's the case, Lucas will be the only filmmaker ever to turn his back on a guaranteed few billion dollars, which additional episodes would have taken in.

If Lucas means what he says, it is inconceivable to Hollywood that he would allow one of the most lucrative movie franchises ever to disappear. That's enough to create a disturbance in the force. Usually in Hollywood, the trick is to make a sequel out of movies that seem to have outstayed their welcome after a single episode, but in this case Lucas deliberately set out to make nine installments, and now wants to end it at six.

You don't have to be a fan to know that the saga ended in 1983 with "Episode VI, Return of the Jedi." A generation has grown up without knowing how Darth Vader fulfills the prophecy set for him when he was born as Anakin Skywalker.

When we last see Luke Skywalker and his twin sister, Leia, in "Revenge of the Sith," they are newborn babies, being placed with their adoptive parents while Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda hide in exile. The next time we pick up the story, in 1977's "Episode IV: A New Hope," it is almost 20 years later. What were Obi-Wan, Yoda and the kids doing during the intervening years? Forget about just doing nine episodes, Lucas should do a "Star Wars 3.5" too. It's the American way.

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