Librarian of Alexandria


Where Star Wars had a simple, linear structure, Empire Strikes Back has almost no plot, but instead, a sophisticated complex of echoes and foreshadowing. There aren't many X-Wings. The climax of the film isn't an action sequence, but character development. The good guys lose. It is as if Leigh Bracket had pinched George Lucas's action figures and started to act out Ulysses with them.

Good movie, almost certainly: Star Wars II, almost certainly not.

That fans are on the whole not concerned about or even aware of this disjuncture shows the capacity of the fanboy to extrapolate universes where none exist, or perhaps, simply, to read for the plot. Provided the film tells you 'what Luke Skywalker did next' and does not knock over any of the furniture, then the film will be accepted, canonised and treated as a classic. Joseph Campbell said that mythology is psychology misread as biography. I have been trying to think of a way of misquoting that line and applying it to Star Wars. 'Fantasy is imagery misread as history'.

—Andrew Rilstone