The Avengers director Joss Whedon had a lengthy chat with Entertainment Weekly recently, and among the many things that they discussed, the topic of Star Wars sequel The Empire Strikes Back came up.
But instead of talking about how awesome Empire is, Whedon actually talked about what he disliked about the movie—and as an extension, all movies that do something similar.
Continue reading to see what he had to say.
When asked about the movie, Whedon said:
“Empire committed the cardinal sin of not actually ending. Which at the time I was appalled by and I still think it was a terrible idea.”
When asked more specifically if he thought The Empire Strikes Back had a bad ending, he explained:
“Well, it’s not an ending. It’s a Come Back Next Week, or in three years. And that upsets me. I go to movies expecting to have a whole experience. If I want a movie that doesn’t end I’ll go to a French movie. That’s a betrayal of trust to me. A movie has to be complete within itself, it can’t just build off the first one or play variations.”
Think what you will about this particular Star Wars opinion, but as a whole opinion, I could not agree more and I’m glad someone of Whedon’s status came out and said it.
Movies with no endings or movies that leave many more questions than answers absolutely infuriate me as a viewer for these exact reasons. I go into a movie to be told a story, not to be told most of a story and then have to interpret it my own way. Some folks dig that, and that’s fine, but if I could come up with the best possible ending for someone else’s story, I’d just make my own movies.
It’s even worse when a movie is really good, too. Bad movies are bad, and a crappy ending won’t matter much. But when a movie is really great and you’re left extremely unsatisfied, it’s a power shot to the gut. Movies like The Grey jump to mind, and the Coen Brothers have been known to do this a time or two.
The Empire Strikes Back is a little different for me because, obviously, it’s not the end. There’s more story after that. For someone seeing it in theaters and having to wait that long like Whedon, I get it, but now you can just pop in Return of the Jedi and keep the party going.
And just so it’s clear, Whedon does not dislike Empire. He considers it one of the sequels that “got it right” along with movies like The Godfather Part II. This is just an ending issue.
What are your thoughts? Do you like movies leaving you hanging or leaving some questions unanswered, or do you need to be told the full story you went in expecting to be told?