Study Guide

Star Wars: A New Hope What's Up With the Ending?

What's Up With the Ending?

Star Wars serves up a classic adventure ending. The hero stands victorious, the enemy is defeated, and the conflict resolves with wrongs being brought to right. It's a good place to roll the credits, and filmmakers have been ending their movies here since they started telling heroic tales. Take it from the Greek myths: You don't want to hold the camera on the heroes for too long, or things start to get weird.

If It Ain't Broke

Let's recap: After an intense battle, Luke destoys the Death Star and Grand Moff Tarkin with it. The Empire has suffered a shattering defeat, and Luke and Han return to the Rebel base as heroes. During the medal ceremony, both men stand next to the friends they shared the adventure with. The music swells triumphantly, the Rebels applaud, and there is an all around sense of accomplishment. Good has defeated evil.

As a bonus, all of the character's arcs have come to satisfying conclusions as well. Darth Vader, the cyborg who killed Obi-Wan, has been defeated… for now. Han Solo, who only cared about himself, selflessly returned to help Luke, whom he's grown to care for. Leia, whose mission was to save the rebellion, brought the information that did just that.

Most importantly, our protagonist, Luke, has succeeded in his goals. He wanted to leave Tatooine, become a pilot, and fight the Empire, and he's done exactly that. He also used what Obi-Wan taught him about the Force to defeat the enemy. As Obi-Wan said earlier, he has taken his "first steps into a larger world."


In other ways, the film's ending broke the mold—or at least what was the mold before Hollywood decided every movie needed to fit the Star Wars model.

Before Star Wars, films didn't typically end with cliffhangers promising sequels. Sequels weren't held in high regard in the film industry, being considered little more than cash-in films. To be honest, a good sequel is still a rare thing, but that's another topic.

George Lucas knew he wanted to make other Star Wars movies, so he planted little moments to foreshadow the next film. First, and most obvious, Darth Vader survives the Death Star battle and flies into space to regroup with the Empire. Remember: Obi-Wan Kenobi said that Darth Vader killed Luke's father, so there's still a plot thread left to resolve.

Also Luke has used the Force and taken a step toward his goals, but he hasn't become a Jedi yet. There's still much for Luke to learn before he can claim the title of Jedi knight, and ending the story here would kind of be like ending the story of King Arthur before he became, you know, king.

Therefore, while Star Wars ends with a classic adventure ending, it also leaves the doors open for other adventures to come.

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