Why is Episode 4: A New Hope the most popular Star Wars movie. (Other than the fact that it was the first one?)
It has a strong storyline. Sure Episodes 1, 2 and 3 have bright shiny technology, but they lack story. Let's take a side-by-side look at Episode 1: The Phantom Menace and Episode 4: A New Hope. Comparing the storylines of the two movies got me thinking about the importance of the big idea when telling a story. (Whether you should begin with the prequels or original trilogy is a whole other blog post.)
The original Star Wars, A New Hope, is a classic story of good vs evil. We follow the quest of young Luke as he grows as a young man. The end of the movie is an adrenaline rush as we watch Luke and the other pilots make the assault on the Death Star and blow it up.
Contrast this with the ending of Episode 1 The Phantom Menace. Who are we rooting for?
- The froggish Jar Jar Binks leading the Gungans into battle against the Trade Federation battle droids.
- Then we have Princess Amidalaleading the capture of the palace.
- Anakin ends up in the sky and blows up the control ship thus disabling all the droids.
- And finally, Qui-gon Jinn and Obi-wan Kenobi battle Darth Maul.
Did you get that? Now imagine if this was a marketing campaign. With A New Hope, you can name who the hero is – Luke Skywalker.
Now quick, who's the hero of the Phantom Menace?
If you stuff too many details in your messaging people end up remembering nothing.
May the Fourth be with you.