SPOILERS GALORE! Don't read this less'n you've seen 'em.
After my wife and I saw Attack of the Clones in the theater, our first instinct was to see it again. As this wasn't possible just then, we settled for watching two previous films in the series on video, ones we hadn't watched for a while: The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. We were immediately struck by the realization that with these new films, Lucas seems to be recapitulating the original trilogy in reverse!
The Phantom Menace and Return of the Jedi:
- Begins with a Jedi embassy, bearing the unmistakable tone of a threat, to an evil alien.
- The introduction of an annoying alien race designed to appeal to children.
- A high-speed chase through a natural obstacle course.
- A climax that alternates between a space battle to destroy the bad guys' headquarters, a kick-ass lightsaber duel, and a ground battle where the annoying alien race triumphs over technologically superior foes.
- A denoument featuring a musical number by the aforementioned annoying aliens as well as a solemn funeral pyre for a fallen Jedi.
Attack of the Clones and The Empire Strikes Back:
A darker feel to it than the previous film.
The introduction of a bounty hunter named Fett.
Frequent use of the Imperial March theme.
A high-speed chase through an asteroid field.
The pilot of one spaceship tricks another into thinking it's vanished by piggybacking on a larger object.
A romance develops between a scoundrel and an aristocrat.
The hero undergoes a profoundly traumatic experience involving a family member.
The hero's hand is cut off during a kick-ass lightsaber duel and replaced by a robotic one.
Ends with the hero and the female lead side by side, with C3P0 and RD-D2 standing nearby, gazing into the distance and toward an uncertain future.
So if this is deliberate on Lucas' part and he chooses to continue down this path, what could we expect to see from the upcoming Episode III? It seems like it would be difficult to parallel the events in this movie with those in the original -- after all, things will pretty much hit rock bottom for the good guys in the third installment what with the Old Republic falling, the Jedi being exterminated, Anakin Skywalker being seduced by the Dark Side and becoming Darth
Vader, and the death of Padme Amidala.
Given the necessary differences though, there may still be parallels:
A frustrated young man who is strong in the Force will be taken under the wing of a powerful old teacher who until now has been hiding his true identity.
gnarl suggests that, just as Alderaan was destroyed in A New Hope, another peaceful planet sympathetic to the opposition might be laid to waste in Episode III.
There WILL be a lightsaber duel between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, in which one will be struck down and presumed dead only to rise again stronger than ever.
Since presumably the third episode will see the end of the Clone Wars, it's possible that this victory will be achieved by the good guys (or even the bad guys!) delivering a single crippling blow to the technocratic might of their enemy, perhaps embodied in a giant spaceborne super-weapon.