Maybe it was because my supply of peanut M&Ms ended at exactly the same time, but I had a major Star Wars epiphany at the end of The Clone Wars. All the Star Wars movies end in the exact same way! They all end with people standing around staring at stuff. Here’s a quick run-down of each the movie endings:
Star Wars: Medal ceremony. Everyone is all clean and shiny and happy. Leia seems especially coquettish and pleased, considering her planet and everyone she loves is dead. But it’s all smiles as everyone turns towards the non-medal receiving Rebels to thunderous applause. I still get choked up.
Empire: Medical bay. Luke, Leia and the droids watch the Falcon take off and stare at the galaxy out the window. I love that Leia has a new hairdo for each of these tableaux. Like she’s sad that Han is gone, but let’s try an updo with curls!
Jedi: Ewok village. The Rebels, Ewoks and Jedi ghosts gather around for a group picture and smile at…the woods. The hungry Rebels wonder how many recipes there are for Ewok BBQ. Han contemplates a 3-way with the Skywalker twins.
Phantom Menace: Naboo. After the Gungan pride parade, everyone gathers on the steps of Pottery Barn. Boss Nass shouts, “Peace!” or maybe “Peas!” And everyone poses with a big shiny ball. Little Ani begins to think about killing everyone.
Attack of the Clones: Grown up Ani and Padme get married (C-3PO and R2 exchange vows as well), then they enjoy the sun setting over the lake on Naboo. A small reception follows.
Revenge of the Sith: Teenagers Owen and Beru hold baby Luke and look off into the twin sunsets of Tattooine, hoping against hope that they don’t age 50 years over the next 18.
The Clone Wars: The gang reunites and stands around awkwardly, waiting for the “Tatooine Tours” complimentary photo to be taken. Yoda refuses to smile.
What does it all mean? Is it just for the sake of continuity? Or are these scenes a tried-and-true way of expressing closure? The heroes catch their breath, count the dead, celebrate the victory or mourn their losses. Are these tableaux there to give you a strong final image to carry with you and think about for three years until the next film comes out? I think the similar endings act as a visual version of “I have a bad feeling about this,” connecting characters and the themes behind the Force throughout all the films. Victory, loss, love, longing, triumph, tragedy and hope. The continuity of the final scenes bind the galaxy together.
Wipe. Cut to “Directed by George Lucas.”