Patterns in Star Wars

Maybe because I'm a little too right-brained, I find myself looking for patterns in movies.  Here are a few that I have found in the Star Wars saga and took the time to comment on.  Also, see a little observation about the Batman series at the bottom of this piece.

Star Wars traditions

You can expect the appearance of certain tried and true events in any Star Wars film, so much so that they feature into drinking games based on the series.  Here are a few of the more obvious ones.  Note that I added VII: The Force Awakens, even though it isn't by George Lucas and therefore has a greater chance of break departing from some of these.


Heroes (but never villains) use their lightsabers for something other than battling the Sith.
  • Episode I
    • Qui Gon attempts to cut through doors on the Trade Federation battleship
  • .Episode II
    • Young padawans engage in saber practice
  • Episode III
    • Anakin cuts hole in top of elevator
  • Episode IV
    • Ben shows lightsaber to Luke
    • Ben uses lightsaber on cantina patron
    • Luke practices with it on the Falcon
  • Episode V
    • Luke uses lightsaber to cut himself from in cave
    • Then uses lightsaber on Wampa
    • Han cuts open tauntaun
  • Episode VI
    • Luke uses lightsaber to cut through Boba Fett's trap line
  • Episode VII
    • Kylo Ren (though technically a bad guy) smashes up a computer panel and (later) an interrogation room

In each film, at least one character loses/damages a limb.
  • Episode I
    • Hundreds of battle droids lose their heads and/or limbs as they are lightsabered and otherwise ripped to pieces.
    • Darth Maul loses his lower limbs.
  • Episode II
    • Assassin Zam Wessel loses an arm to Obi-wan.
    • Tuskin Raiders lose their heads to Anakin.
    • Scores of Geonosian insect people are sliced and diced by Anakin.
    • C-3PO's body and head are separated.
    • Anakin loses an arm to Count Dooku.
  • Episode III
    • Count Dooku loses a couple hands (and head) to Anakin.
    • Loads more droids lose their heads and/or limbs to Obi-wan and Anakin.
    • General Grievous loses an arm, then another to Obi-wan.
    • Mace Windu loses his right hand to Anakin.
    • Anakin loses his remaining limbs to Obi-Wan.
    • Several clones lose their heads to Yoda.
  • Episode IV
    • C-3PO falls down and loses a leg.
    • Walrus Man loses an arm to Ben Kenobi.
    • Han remarks that "droids don't pull people's arms out of their socket when they lose. Wookies are known to do that."
  • Episode V
    • Luke cuts off the Wampa's arm.
    • C-3PO is blown (literally) limb from limb.
    • Luke loses an arm to Vader.
  • Episode VI
    • Luke is shot in the hand on the sail barge.
    • Leia is shot in the arm on at the shield bunker.
    • Luke cuts off Vader's hand.
  • Episode VII
    • A Rathtar looses several tentacles.
    • Finn's shoulder is burned by Kylo Ren's saber.
    • Kylo Ren is hit on his arm by Finn, then (later) on the opposite shoulder by Rey.

Midgets get a payday!
Jedi Ghosts
Only bad guys get subtitles
R2-D2 gets trashed...
Bountiful bounty hunters
Relationships revealed So, in summary...
Plot devices

Every movie climaxes with a light saber battle
  • Episode I
    • Obi-wan & Qui Gon vs. Darth Maul
  • .Episode II
    • Obi-wan & Anakin vs. Count Dooku vs. Yoda
  • Episode III
    • Obi-wan vs. Anakin and Emperor Palpatine vs. Yoda
  • Episode IV
    • Obi-wan vs. Darth Vader
  • Episode V
    • Luke vs. Darth Vader
  • Episode VI
    • Luke vs. Darth Vader (again)
  • Episode VII
    • Finn & Rey vs. Kylo Ren

The big battle(s)
  • Episode I
    • Planetside: Gungans vs. battle droids on Naboo
    • Space: Naboo starfighters vs. Trade Federation vulture droids
  • .Episode II
    • Planetside: Jedi vs. Geonosians vs. Clone troopers vs. Battle droids
    • Space: Asteroid field chase with Jango and Obi-wan
  • Episode III
    • Planetside: Clone wars on multiple planets
    • Space: Battle above Coruscant
  • Episode IV
    • Planetside: [No budget for this.  Wait for the sequels.]
    • Space: X-Wings vs. TIE fighters while attacking the Death Star
  • Episode V
    • Planetside: Rebel troops vs. AT-ATs on Hoth
    • Space: Asteroid field chase of the Falcon
  • Episode VI
    • Planetside: Ewoks vs. stormtroopers
    • Space: Rebels attack Death Star (again)
  • Episode VII
    • Planetside: The Resistance comes to the rescue at Maz's castle
    • Space: The Resistance attacks Starkiller base (technically a planet too)

Each film begins with a the same opening: "Once upon a time..." followed by the logo, followed by the scroll-up, followed by a shot of a star field, and here a ship enters the frame kicking off the story...
All the films end with a scene in which no dialogue is spoken; only John Williams' score is played.
Someone teeters on the brink of a chasm
Subterfuge, Disguises, and Lies
One or more characters are eaten (or almost eaten) by a creature
We meet again...
Someone is mind-controlled using the Force
Scripted bits (dialogue)

Much fault-finding
Someone has a "bad feeling about this." Similarly, there's always a "May the Force be with you" in every movie.  I'm not including all those because there are so many in the prequels.

It's their "only hope..."
Design work

Minimum of three worlds per film, with each described as having one climate.
  • Episode I
    • Naboo
    • Tatooine
    • Coruscant
  • Episode II
    • Coruscant*
    • Tatooine*
    • Naboo*
    • Kamino
    • Geonosis
  • Episode III
    • Coruscant*
    • Utapau
    • Kashyyyk
    • Mustafar
    • Pollis Massa
    • Naboo*
    • Alderan
    • Tatooine*
    • (Shown briefly: Mygeeto, Felucia, Cato Xeimoidia, and Saleucami)
  • Episode IV
    • Tatooine
    • Death Star
    • Yavin
  • Episode V
    • Hoth
    • Dagobah
    • Bespin
  • Episode VI
    • Tatooine*
    • Death Star II
    • Endor
    • (Shown briefly in the Special Edition: Coruscant, Naboo, and Bespin)
*Revisted during this trilogy.
  • Episode VII
    • Jakku
    • Takodana
    • D'Qar
    • Starkiller base
    • Ahch-to

Lightsaber gimmicks

Each episode features a "first-appearance" of some sort of new gimmick.  For example, the first time a familiar character uses a saber or a variation on tactics or new saber colors.

Grappling hooks and tow cables
TIE collection
The Star Wars saga and multiple climaxes

For what might arguably be the ultimate guy's movie series (James Bond 007 notwithstanding), the Star Wars saga has steadily established a pattern of increasing the number of climaxes through each successive movie.

Star Wars = 1
1) Luke and the Rebels attack the Death Star.

Empire Strikes Back = 2
1) Luke battles Vader.
2) Leia, Chewie, Lando, and the droids try to save Han, then escape from Cloud City.

Return of the Jedi = 3
1) Luke battles Vader (again).
2) Rebel fleet attacks the second Death Star.
3) Han, Leia, Chewie, and the droids (and, yes, the Ewoks) try to sabotage the shield generator.

Phantom Menace = 4
1) Qui Gon and Obi-wan battle Darth Maul.
2) Anakin and the Naboo fighters attack the Trade Federation battleships.
3) Gungans and battle droids re-enact Braveheart (or, more accurately, Spartacus).
4) The Queen and her guards infiltrate the palace.

Attack of the Clones = 5
Jedi commanding Clones to attack Battle Droids built by Geonosian bugs led by Separatists controlled by the apprentice of the future Emperor.  Seriously, did anyone follow all this?

Revenge of the Sith = 4 (these are more wrap-ups than climaxes)
Star Destroyer: Vader and Palpatine survey the Death Star's construction
Naboo: Padme's funeral
Alderan: Leia is delivered by Bail Organa
Tatooine: Luke is delivered by Obi-wan
Additionally, there is a deleted scene of Yoda's arrival on Dagobah.

The Force Awakens = 2
1) Poe and the Resistance blow up Starkiller base
2) Finn & Rey vs. Kylo Ren

Say it again, George!

For some reason, a lot of Star Wars names have repetition to them.  For example, the following names are just the same syllable twice:

Taun Taun
Jar Jar
And then there are other ones like R2-D2 of even "hidden" ones like Obi-wan Kenobi.  Weird!

Further, you have interesting inversions like how wookie is turned inside out to become Ewok.

Bonus Round: Same Bat-time, Different Bat-number

You know why the Batman series worked as long as it did?  They had a formula to maintain the novelty:
N = M + 1, where N is the number of characters and M is the movie in the series.

Batman = 1st movie = 2 characters:
1) Batman
2) The Joker

Batman Returns  = 2nd movie = 3 characters:

1) Bats
2) Cats
3) The Penguin

Batman Forever  = 3rd movie = 4 characters:

1) Bats
2) Robin
3) The Riddler
4) Two-Face

Batman and Robin  = 4th movie = 5 characters

1) Bats
2) Robin
3) Batgirl
4) Mr. Freeze
5) Poison Ivy
At this rate, the next movie (if there ever is one!) should be the freaking Justice League.  And why not?!

Update: Actually, Christopher Nolan's trilogy followed this pattern as well.
Batman Begins: Ra's al Ghul (with a guest appearance by the Scarecrow in this and all the Nolan films).
The Dark Knight: Joker and Two-Face
The Dark Knight Rises: Bane, Catwoman, and [spoiler alert].

And here comes the Spiderman...
Spiderman = 1st movie = 2 characters:
1) Spidy
2) Green Goblin
Spiderman 2 = 2nd movie = 3 characters:
1) Spidy
2) Doc Ock
3) Green Goblin
Spiderman 3 = 3rd movie = 4 characters:
1) Spidy
2) Venom
3) Sandman
4) Green Goblin

All contents copyright 2003-2007 (and updated in 2015) "In a gAle[x]y far, far away..."
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