↠ Star Wars Ring Theory Proves George Lucas Knew What He Was Doing the With Prequel Trilogy

The Star Wars Ring Theory Explained

Star Wars has possibly a deeper narrative than you may have previously thought.

George Lucas said to Vanity Fair in February 2005:

 “The interesting thing about Star Wars—and I didn’t ever really push this very far, because it’s not really that important—but there’s a lot going on there that most people haven’t come to grips with yet. But when they do, they will find it’s a much more intricately made clock than most people would imagine.”

This epic essay by Mike Klimo demonstrates how all 6 Star Wars movies are unified in ways that many people, including myself, have quite likely never fully grasped.

It's amazing that it took till 2014 for Klimo to put it all together. 
The crux of the essay is that the 6 films have a deliberate internal ‘ring' system where the stories flow in a rhythmic pattern. 
While this post is reducing the essay to a very basic form, the premise is that the films relate to each other like this >>>
So the cadence of the story of Star Wars follows a pattern of ABC CBA where each letter relates to the corresponding film in terms of themes and patterns that occur in them. 
The essay is detailed in its thinking. Perhaps a little too smart for its own good in places and may over reaches in others, however it does an extremely fine job of demonstrating the similarities in each of the films, the call backs to each other that they make and the ‘meaningful coincidences’ that permeate the films.

We do really suggest you take 20 – 30 minutes to have a read.

If you don’t here are some interesting takeaways from it that explores the relationships between the films.

The essay covers things in way more depth with some great use of comparative images from each movie. 

Phantom Menace’s Relationship to Return of the Jedi

    c3po eyes menace jedi

  • Each films beginning scenes are very similar. Menace features Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan delivering the Chancellor’s demands in hopes of settling a conflict between the Trade Federation and the Naboo. Jedi features ‘brobots' C3PO and R2D2 delivering Luke Skywalker’s message in hopes of settling the conflict between Jabba the Hutt and Han Solo. Both scene's feature the infamous Star Wars quote “I have a bad feeling about this.”
  • The trap that Emperor sets for Luke and his friends in Jedi is the result of him confirming to himself that his ‘flaw of compassion’ strategy will work as it did when he enticed Amidala to come to him in The Phantom Menace. He learned that compassion and fear can be used for his advantage, and he did the same over Luke in Jedi.
  • Jedi and Menace’s finale both feature a saber fight, a space battle and a land battle. 
  • C3PO's eyes are fixed by Anakin, Salacious Crumb eats one.
  • The pod race in Menace and the speeder bike chase in Jedi occur at the half way point of both movies.
  • In terms of the broader story of Anakin’s destiny started in The Phantom Menace it is only fulfilled when Luke fulfills his (kind of a ring within a ring moment).
green sabers

The Inverted Relationship of Attack of the Clones and the Empire Strikes Back

  • Clones begins with three small ships accompanying a larger ship and Empire features an ending where the Falcon escapes being chased by three tie fighters. 
  • Clones starts high in the clouds, ends in caves. Empire starts low (swamps of Degobah?) and ends high in the Cloud City.
  • Anakin uses Padme as bait to lure out an assassin. Vader uses Han, Leia and Chewie as bait to lure out Luke, each trap leading to the intended trap victim blowing out throw a window. 
  • Obvious reference points are the Fetts, an asteroid belt scene, C3PO getting dismantled (Die Jedi Dogs!)
  • The bounty hunter losing her arm in the beginning of Clones mirrors the Wampa losing his arm at the beginning of Empire both moments serve to foreshadow a Skywalker each losing a limb in either movie.
  • Anakin finding his mother and killing everybody in the camp is the same emotional journey that Luke goes through when he enters the cave on Dagobah. Both scenes reflect both the father and son’s descent into their own darkness of personality.
  • If one considers the first act of Jedi as the last act of Empire (which kinda makes sense) other similarities include the monsters in the arena and Jabba’s pit, a Skywalker using a green light saber for the first time, a Fett dying moments after a jet pack malfunction, Padme and Leia using a chain to kill a beast and a common sexual element in terms of those female characters clothes (the bikini however being more overt than Padme’s naked midriff but sometimes less is more….)
  • The two films are opposites in that Empire featured it’s great battle at the start, Clones the end as the Separatists tangled with the Republic. In a similar manner, Empire’s colour palette changes from blue (Hoth) to red (Cloud City skies) and Clones begins with Blue (Coursucant and Kamino) and ends with Red (Geneonis). 
r2d2 robotarm sith hope

The Pairing of Revenge of the Sith and a New Hope

  • The beginning is the end – the Invisible Hand ship serves as Palpatine’s throne room when he orders Anakin to execute Count Dooku and then escapes. Which mirrors the last half of a New Hope when Luke rescues Leia from Vader. 
  • In Sith, a clone pilot gives the order, “Set S-foils in attack position.” In A New Hope, after the X-Wing pilots report in, Red Leader orders his men to “Lock S-foils in attack position.” Many other comments are variants of each other. 
  • R2D2 uses his arm tool while in the trench run in ANH and the space battle in Sith. 
  • At some shenanigans on the Invisible Hand that mirrored the events on the Death Star Grevious mocks the Jedi with “That wasn’t much of a rescue” which practically is dripping the same sarcasm that Leia delivered with “This is some rescue!”
  • Other mirroring moments include Luke realising why the Jawa were slaughtered to rush and find his family dead, and Obi-Wan and Yoda encounter dead children as they enter the Jedi Temple, C3PO drives Padme and Luke various places.
  • General Grevious being mostly a robot with breathing difficulty reflects the introduction of Vader and his famous breathing technique. 
  • Both the last act of Sith and the first act of A New Hope famously feature the sword fights between a Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Vader’s late appearance at the end of Sith ties nicely to Vader’s early entrance as he boards the Tantive IV at the beginning of ANH. 
  • C3PO says the last and first line of each movie. 
  • Yoda feeling the death of hundreds of Jedi after Order 66 is given, mirrors Obi-Wan feeling the death of the people of Alderaan.
So as we said, these are just some of the elements that we found interesting in the essay.

You might like to to read this interview with Mike Klimo – it offers some sweet insight into how he went about writing the essay. 

If this wonderful theory is true, the way George would have done is that he manged to get a strong story going with the original trilogy tales and when he was doing the prequels he would have been able to write the scripts to suit the ABCCBA relationship.

What do you think of this ring theory?

It seems pretty strong.

Rogue One also continues this concept a bit. Where A New Hope started with Darth Vader dressed in black being surrounded by his white Storm Troopers, Rogue One reverses this with Krennic dressed in white being surrounded by his black suited Deathtroopers. 

Here's some more examples of the visual symmetry that Lucas put into Star Wars.

Editor in Chief at Wealth of Geeks | + posts

Paul Rose Jr has worked as TV News Producer, Forensic Analyst, and Train Conductor, among many other things. He’s the former TV Editor for InfuzeMag and owns more books, DVDs, and comics than most people have seen in their lifetimes. When he’s not writing or editing on Wealth of Geeks, he exercises his creative muscle writing screenplays and acting in film and television in Los Angeles, CA.