When The Force Awakens opened with a record-breaking box office opening weekend, one of the few criticisms leveled was that it was thematically and structurally very, very similar to Star Wars: A New Hope. When fans found out that Rian Johnson was taking the helm of The Last Jedi, they were generally reassured that we would get something different - and didn't we just? Love it or hate it, few films (and certainly no Star Wars episodes) have been as divisive as The Last Jedi has been in its opening week.
With this in mind, most fans and critics have agreed that The Last Jedi is far from another echo of The Empire Strikes Back. However, is it completely its own movie? Is this second edition of the new saga really nothing like the second edition of the original?
This is not a criticism, but despite some carefully planned swerves to subvert our expectations, there are many plot themes, character situations and set pieces that clearly do echo that second part. After all, The Empire Strikes Back is almost entirely accepted as the best Star Wars film ever - and it opened to some controversy among fans if you can remember that far back. Perhaps these similarities are one of The Last Jedi's strengths.