WARNING: The article below contains spoilers for director Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in theatres now.
With the glaring similarities between The Force Awakens and A New Hope, people were unsurprisingly afraid that Star Wars: The Last Jedi would simply be reusing elements of The Empire Strikes Back. While The Last Jedi has an entirely new focus and an almost entirely different cast, fans weren’t entirely wrong to expect the familiar.
Cloaked beneath new characters, weapons and creatures are the familiar journeys and in some sense, familiar settings, we saw thirty years ago in Empire Strikes Back, back when the drama was still fresh and shocking. Just take a look at the five biggest similarities between the two films, ranging from borderline coincidental to the undoubtedly stolen.
5. DJ AND LANDO
Let’s take a look at one of the new characters introduced in The Last Jedi: DJ, the slicer. He’s introduced to us as the slightly eccentric and completely shady character, one that Finn and Rose are justifiably hesitant to work with. While he seemingly proves that he’s a decent guy by giving Rose her locket back after using it to hack a door, we find out that he’s betrayed them and the Resistance to the First Order.
If that sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because Empire Strikes Back did that with the smooth-talking Lando Calrissian back in Cloud City on Bespin. Lando offered Han, Leia and Luke friendship and hospitality only to hand them over to Darth Vader and the Empire. We can’t say for sure if DJ is this new trilogy’s Lando, so we’re just going to have to wait and see. Unlike Lando, DJ may just end up being a complete jerk and not just a guy trying to keep his city alive.
4. THE URBAN ENVIRONMENTS
There are also similarities in the locations in which our heroes meet their respective traitors. In Empire Strikes Back, we’re shown Cloud City on the planet Bespin and in The Last Jedi, we’re introduced to Canto Bight, a planet full of the galaxy’s wealthiest, war-profiteering death merchants. Aesthetically, they’re miles apart but as story beats, they feel familiar at times and that might have been intentional.
Brief peace on an urban planet, enjoying luxury in some fashion while trying to find a way to defeat the evil Empire or First Order, there they meet a shady character who eventually betrays them. It would seem like more of a coincidence if the whole subplot involving Finn and Rose didn’t ultimately lead to nothing, but because that’s exactly what it all resulted in, Canto Blight seemed like an attempt at creating this generation’s Cloud City. Whether or not it worked is a topic for another time.
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