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It All Comes Together Where It Began: 4 Ways How Rest of the Star Wars Canon Enhances the Viewing Experience of 'A New Hope'

by Art-Peeter Roosve 4 years ago in star wars
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The circle is now complete. Well, actually, it keeps completing itself over and over.

'Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

When a troubled indie movie called Star Wars took the world by storm in 1977, it created an enthusiastic fandom united in their love for the galaxy far away. However, as this galaxy expanded, so did the divide amongst it's fans to a point of having one of the most divisive fandoms out there. Now, while it's hardly a surprise considering we're talking about 40 plus years of hugely varying content, one still can't help but to wonder: is it even possible for the fandom to return to that uncompromised love for all things Star Wars that defined these early years?

via Flashbak.com/AP Photo/Dave Pickoff

Well, most probably not. Perhaps the franchise has simply become too big for that. Yet, this does not mean that that there isn't any common ground left to be found in this huge galaxy. And, well, what better way of celebrating it than returning to a place where there can be no divide.

So, whether it be the prequels, sequels, spin-offs or novels, here are 4 examples on how all that "divisive" stuff has made the viewing experience of A New Hope just that little bit more special.

4. The Legacy of Two Awesome Ragtag Crews ('Rebels' and 'Rogue One')

'Star Wars Rebels'/ 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' [Credit: Disney–ABC Domestic Television/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures]

As the Millenium Falcon lands on the Rebel base on Yavin 4, we're treated to a rather encouraging sight in form of the fledgeling Rebel Alliance. Ragged looking and tiny compared to the might of the Empire, they're also determined, well-organized and—above all else—hopeful. However, a galaxy-wide movement such as that does not simply happen. It takes, courage, ingenuity, sacrifice and just a tinge of madness. And, well, thanks to Rebels and Rogue One, we can finally give it all a face. Several actually.

You see, by following the stories of the Rogue One and Ghost crew, we are essentially treated to a much larger tale about how different individuals form all over the galaxy overcame their differences and united under a common cause. So, as one gets emotionally engaged in their doubts, struggles and triumphs, it does make the mere sight of the Rebellion as seen in A New Hope hugely satisfying. Simply put, they've really come a long way.

'Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

On a more practical note, the legacy of the Ghost crew can be felt in every Y-wing (or Wedge Antilles) that takes flight and—indeed— through the Rebellion's resources in general. As for the Rogue One crew, there is of course the small matter of destroying the Death Star with their presence being felt during the briefing scene and of course in these cathartic moments when Luke manages to destroy the damn thing.

However, perhaps the simplest way of putting their legacy into perspective is the how nice it feels to give a few bittersweet thoughts on the sacrifices of the likes of Kanan and Jyn during the ending ceremony, as Han and Luke receive their medals.

3. Perspective on the Events That Shook the Galaxy ('Lost Stars')

'Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

As A New Hope is predominantly Luke's coming of age story, it makes sense for everything else to take a bit of a backseat to it. However, in form of the destructions of the Death Star and Alderaan, some things are just too big for a supporting role. Granted, it's not like either's impact is glossed over in the film, but the sheer scope of these events does leave one wanting for more in terms of how the galaxy reacted to them. Oddly enough, it's a love story of all things that manages to provide it best—Lost Stars.

'Star Wars: Lost Stars' [Credit: Disney Lucasfilm Press]

You see, by following the story of two star crossed lovers Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell, we're also given a fascinating insight into how the more average persons saw this epic conflict brewing in the galaxy. That, in turn, grants these aforementioned events a considerable amount of additional depth.

For starters, the book provides some nice perspective on how serving the Empire does not make one inherently evil. For Thane and Cienna—two kids growing up on the Empire occupied Jelucan— it's simply the only government they've ever known as well as their only (legal) chance of pursuing their dream of becoming pilots.

It's a notion, which is further developed when Ciena and Thane join the Imperial Academy and come into contact with it's other cadets, thus creating what is essentially a mini Harry Potter experience. Now, what's crucial here is that we see these soon-to-be Imperials as persons with doubts, hopes and dreams and not a bunch faceless minions of a tyrannical regime.

'Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

So, whether it's the shock and disbelief we witness these characters go through after the destruction of Alderaan or the realization that by destroying the Death Star, Rebellion also destroyed many relatively innocent lives, it does make seeing both of these events unfold in A New Hope a lot more tangible. Furthermore, it gives us a great insight into why one would join the Rebellion (Thane) or remain loyal to the Empire (Ciena). Perhaps more importantly, it also makes these pivotal moments truly stark representations on the ugliness of war regardless of one's side and cause. Something, which is good to keep in mind when following a franchise that has 'War' literally in it's name.

2. Ghosts of a Republic Fallen and a Friendship Lost (The Prequels and 'The Clone Wars')

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

Shifting gears a bit, one of the greatest appeals of A New Hope is how it essentially feels like a small story taking place in a huge universe. Simply put, while we do spend the better part of the film on a barren desert planet or a cold and emotionless space station, there's always a sense that it's but a small part of a huge and vibrant galaxy full of fascinating locations to visit and history to explore. Que the prequels.

Here's the thing, for all their shortcomings, the prequels did give us a tragedy of truly epic proportions with a world-building second to none. Now, add to that The Clone Wars , which maximised whatever potential the prequels left on the table and it's a gift that keeps on giving. In fact, all one really needs to put it in perspective, is to join Luke and old Ben in a humble little hut on Tatooine.

'Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

You see, after having witnessed that epic tale of betrayal and loss on this huge galaxy-wide scale, there's something very satisfying—almost cathartic—to having it all retold by an old warrior to a bright eyed kid all these years later. On a more emotional note, this scene also let's us appreciate Anakin's and Obi-Wan's friendship. Granted, an uneasy one that began and ended in a tragedy but genuine nevertheless. So, when Obi-Wan looks into the distance and says "he was a good friend", there are plenty of flashbacks to draw from to see why Obi-Wan choose to put Anakin and Vader into different folders in his mind.

'Star Wars: The Clone Wars/'Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith' [Credit: Disney–ABC Domestic Television/20th Century Fox]

Last but not least, it's also hugely rewarding to see just how much Obi-Wan has learned from these past events. Notice how he never tells Luke anything about restoring the Jedi Order or making it like it used to be. Instead, he simply offers to teach him about the ways of the Force should Luke himself choose it. In other words, it's Obi-Wan acknowledging just how lost the Jedi Order was during the waining days of the Republic, thus inspiring him to follow the teachings of his old master Qui-Gon instead by cutting out the unnecessary and just focusing on the Force itself.

1. Allusions to the Future (The Sequels and 'Bloodline')

'Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope'/'Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi' [Credit: 20th Century Fox/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures]

It's not just the past shaping one's viewing experience of A New Hope however, as we can now also look towards the horizon. And, well, while the jury is obviously still out on how the sequel trilogy will be viewed in retrospect, it is rather telling how well some of it's key character moments complement those of A New Hope.

Starting with the most obvious one, is of course the iconic twin suns scene with Luke. Rightfully regarded as one of the all-time cinematic moments, it perfectly captures that exciting time in one's youth, as Luke longingly glares at the distance towards an uncertain future.

'Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

And, well, now there's also someone looking back at him from that distance. That someone being Luke himself many decades later as presented in The Last Jedi. A wise old man at the end of his road having made peace with his triumphs and failures but still looking towards that horizon.

Another similarly great example comes in form of Han's monologue on "hockey religions and ancient weapons being no match for a good blaster," as we can now have it accompanied by the scene of an older Han telling young Rey and Fin how "it's true, all of it" while standing at that very same place, where he once laid these cocky remarks (The Force Awakens).

'Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope'/'Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens' [Credit: 20th Century Fox/ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures]

The simple beauty here is how it adds a fair bit of excitement to rewatching A New Hope by virtue of knowing the crazy ride (and arc) this everyman of the Star Wars Universe is in for.

As for the last member of the iconic trio—Leia—the best example comes through the small moment of her watching the destruction of Alderaan. Now, during these horrible seconds, there is a cold hand on he shoulder—her father's. That, in turn, leads us to what is perhaps the only major omission in the original trilogy—the exploration of Leia's feelings about Anakin.

'Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

Luckily, that is exactly what we get in Bloodline. A rather excellent political thriller, it also deals with everything from Leia's struggle to make peace with who (or what) her father was to her eventual forgiveness of him. And, well, in it's own twisted way, that short moment on the Death Star does become just about the only thing even close to a genuine father-daughter moment, which Leia can look back to.

In Summation

'Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

All in all, perhaps the simplest way of summing the above said up comes in form of two rather iconic model names—C3PO and R2D2. Simply put, it was with these two droids with whom the audience took their first major steps in the Star Wars universe all these years ago. And, well, the two been bumbling through this vast galaxy ever since. Now, what's crucial here is that while their inclusion has not always been absolutely necessary, it has never felt out of place either.

That, in turn, is something well worth remembering: if this odd-couple can have adventures in pretty much all the parts of this uneven yet epic galaxy, then perhaps we can as well.

Sources: Wikipedia, Wookiepedia

Also read: Brilliance Within Clunkiness: 6 Times When The Dialogue In The Star Wars Prequels Was Actually Great

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About the author

Art-Peeter Roosve

So, to put it simply (and slightly cheesily) I'm fascinated with life. And, well, writing about films, TV shows, video games, music, travelling, philosophy and Formula 1 among other is a fun way to explore it.

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