Spoiler Alert!

Welcome to the inaugural edition of “1,000 Words, 0 Spoilers,” where we take every pain possible to tell you about a movie without telling you too much about the movie. It’s an arduous process, removing all potential spoilers from a film review—and it takes no small amount of time, either... so our first review is of 1980’s The E—— Strikes Back. Now, if you’ve seen a poster for the film, then you probably know who, specifically, is striking back, but if you’re planning to see it only because you know that it’s the sequel to 1977’s blockbuster Star Wars (familiarity with which will be presumed), then we don’t want to risk ruining the very first of many surprises, none of which will be ruined here (we hope).

The film might or might not begin with an “opening crawl” such as the one in Star Wars, and this opening crawl might tell us that a certain amount of time has passed since the events in the prior film. Actually, now that we think about it carefully, the opening crawl in fact does not tell us how much time has passed—and neither does any dialogue in the movie proper—so we can reveal that it has been three years. What the opening crawl does reveal, which we therefore will not, is what our protagonist, Luke Skywalker, has been doing during that time, and also what Darth Vader, Luke’s father, has dispatched thousands of “into the far reaches of space,” obsessed with finding his son.

On a certain planet (not to be named here) with a certain peculiar climate, Luke and his friend and fellow freedom-fighter Han Solo are scouting the terrain when Luke notices something fall to the something from the something. He goes to investigate but is... let’s say distracted. Don’t worry: He doesn’t die. You know he isn’t going to die, since he’s the main character and this scene is only about ten minutes into the second movie of what is reportedly going to be a trilogy. And of course the movie’s climax, in which Darth Vader reveals to Luke that he (Vader) is his (Luke’s) father, is still to come. While waiting to be found (or freeze to death, which he doesn’t), Luke sees a vision of his deceased mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, who tells Luke to go to another certain planet to train to be a Jedi under the tutelage of a new character. Since Obi-Wan is telling Luke to do this, you know that Luke isn’t going to die, so we can probably just go ahead and tell you that Han finds Luke and shoves him inside his (Han’s) something to keep him warm until they both can be rescued in the morning.

Meanwhile, however, the Empire—still smarting from the destruction of the Death Star at the end of Star Wars, and which might or might not be seeking revenge (or, you know, looking to “hit” someone in a certain way, hint, hint... but no spoiler here!)—arrives at the planet where the Rebel base is, and there is a battle, but we won’t tell you how awesome it is, or why, or who does or does not make it off the planet in one piece, although of course it’s all the principal characters, including Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and the droids, besides Han and Luke, who escapes (with R2-D2, in Luke’s X-Wing fighter... and that’s not us being coy and not telling you what kind of wings Luke's ship has; it’s actually called an “X-Wing” fighter) before Darth Vader (who has come down to the planet surface personally, to find his son) can find him. Han, Chewie, Leia, and C-3PO travel in the Millennium Falcon through an asteroid... something, evading Imperial Star Destroyers, and eventually making it to a certain place where they meet up with another new character, played by veteran actor Billy Dee Williams, who might or might not betray our heroes, turning them over to Luke’s father and a certain very cool bounty hunter who has followed the Millennium Falcon to Williams’s character’s location.

Luke, meanwhile, goes where Obi-Wan Kenobi told him to go, where he meets the character he was told to meet, although he (Luke) actually meets him sooner than he (Luke) realizes, but we certainly aren’t going to spill the beans and tell you who this important character is pretending to be when Luke first arrives on this new planet. We will tell you, though, that while pretending to be someone he is not, this important new character literally spills some beans. That might be an “Easter egg,” but it also might not be. Luke trains with his new teacher until he has a vision that his friends are in trouble, even though they are not yet in trouble, being that they have not yet arrived where Darth Vader is/will be waiting for them, intending to use them as bait to catch his son, Luke Skywalker.

Luke interrupts his training to rescue his friends, but in doing so he (probably) plays right into the hands of Dad... er, Darth Vader, who by this time is waiting for his son to arrive where all of the other main characters of the movie are. Somebody double-crosses someone, and then has a change of heart when he himself is double-crossed, and three of the four characters who were earlier in the Millennium Falcon leave in the Millennium Falcon, along with R2-D2 and the new character whom they don’t trust, for good reason, but then they go back to rescue Luke Skywalker, who has been having a really spectacular lightsaber fight with Darth Father—sorry, Vader!—toward the end of which Vader cuts off a part of Luke’s body and then tells him a very surprising fact that Luke doesn’t believe, and likely neither will you! Safely back at the Rebel fleet, Luke gets a mechanical hand and Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) and Chewbacca take the Falcon to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, which might or might not be part of the plot of the third movie of the trilogy.

Well now, that was not easy... but we hope you enjoyed our spoiler-free review! Next time: Raiders of the Lost Something.

Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.

Read more humor here. Or read some fiction here.