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Andrew H
Thu, Jul 25, 2019, 10:05am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

So about to start watching it for the first time (love VPNs) Is there anything I should know going in as someone who hasn't followed a lot of the developments. I saw into darkness, but was too busy laughing and being pissed off at the alternate timeline ripoff of Kahn to pay too close attention...I had forgotten the premise of the star trek reboots and it both made it more understandable and more annoying because I hate alternate timeline stories (and the mirror universe). So what as a traditionalist might piss me off heading into the show? Dont like the changes to romulans/vulcans or klingons. Where does this fit into the timelines? Is it trying to be a true prequel to TOS/TNG/DS9/VOY? Is it the reboot timeline? Is it neither, inspired by the other stories but not at all beholden to their versions of history.
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Andrew
Sun, Jun 30, 2019, 10:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

The first time I watched the film at 9 I was pretty indifferent to Jar-Jar, just saw him as a comic relief supporting character, funny once or twice and otherwise just there, not funny but not annoying either. My reaction to him over time never got real extreme and today it's still pretty similar, he's fine, even somewhat amusing in the beginning and end, overused and less effectively used in the middle but still not bad, let alone real bad, overall.
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Andrew
Sun, Jun 30, 2019, 9:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

I think pretty overly harsh, hard to see how Jammer could consider so much to be outright terrible ...

"Yippee!" isn't really a line so much as a moment and regardles it's not really typical for the character Anakin. Of course he's supposed to be a big stretch as the future Darth Vader, that future fate of his is supposed to seem unlikely when he's 9. I think it is a fair criticism, though, that Anakin is a little too kid-genius and also angelic-cutesy without any apparent dark elements and yes, his saving the day by accident is pretty weak, even a little annoying (at least feels pretty inconsistent). It's also too bad that Obi-Wan is underused.

A lot of the acting is stiff but only parts, not a lot, seem outright monotone, not "sternly serious monotone" or utterly dry exposition (of course there will be some exposition). The characters do tend to serious but I think the story and developments and even characters are still pretty interesting, at least Qui-Gon and Palpatine are particularly engaging, and I think the overall movie is indeed very prologue-ish but in pretty interesting ways.
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Andrew
Thu, Mar 21, 2019, 8:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

But what if Michael was the red angel but then actually died? If Michael dies, doesn’t that eliminate the red angel from the future and undo all of the things that the red angel goes back in time to do? They don’t seem to address this part of the time paradox. This issue turns out not to be a problem since it seems to be Michael’s mom instead, but no one knew this when they created the plan to try and almost kill Michael.
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Andrew Taylor-Cairns
Fri, Mar 15, 2019, 4:57am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

3 stars this week, after last week's 4 stars.

The end was very good but I couldn't help but not be completely won over by Airtriam, and how the crew feel about her. She's been a minor character up until this episode, so it's hard. Tilly crying though...

The episode did a good job at trying though. I loved learning more about Airtriam and what she was like pre-implant.

It seems like the show is actually calling out the S31 of this era on being so out in the open. It all seems very intriguing.
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Andrew
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 12:10am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: The Disease

Rewatching, whoa the acting is bad.

The episode maybe improves a little around the middle, where it suggests that Chakotay and of course Paris and even Janeway herself consider that Janeway is being too stringent, the protocol actually *is* rarely actually enforced or even taken seriously but Janeway just chose to do so (kind of the only way to make the episode fit with the franchise overall), but then the ending has Janeway, despite some outreach to Kim, insisting and Harry agreeing that it is standard typical policy, she always would and any captain would.

There's maybe a little credit for the end of the episode pretty much, or sort of, admitting that Tal didn't love Harry, for her it was just lust, and Harry at least vaguely admits it to himself, but that slight admitting, that little reaction or denial isn't interesting enough, sure doesn't make the episode wothwhile enough.
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Andrew
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 11:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Dark Frontier

The crew should have mutinied. Janeway's plan to get back Seven amidst thousands of Borg is insane but the writing, while not distracting from that, also annoyingly made its progress feel insanely easy.

This episode at least kind of destroyed the Borg (though the later "Collective" and "Unimatrix Zero" destroyed them quite a bit more), Janeway, the Voyager crew. Seven also seems crazy to agree to be taken back in order to let Voyager go, to ask to go on the away team rather than just tell Janeway captain the mission is a trap so get away, when she especially should know the Borg can easily break their promises-and the Queen quickly outright freaking tells her her purpose is to assist in assimilating all of humanity. The whole episode is so crazy, though, that Seven making such a crazy decision doesn't hurt her overall too much.

The flashbacks were OK in the first half (yeah, the parents kind of interesting), way too choppily, annoyingly included in the second. The first half would be a little better, agreeing to the deal aside, if it had been its own episode (without Part I in the onscreen title) so it wouldn't be so obvious that the mission would fail and/or Seven would be captured.
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Andrew
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 4:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Chimera

It wasn't really consistent with the previous episodes that most of the solids had always had a basic, instinctive sense of alienation from shapeshifters, felt really different from them, but Auberjonois, Visitor and Shimerman very much sold it, made the change and new scenario very believable and compelling nonetheless, really great performances, developments and interactions between them. And (unrecognizable) Hertzler as Laas is powerfully believable in his conviction that he's been through so much and knows best even when he's only learned major things just recently. Laas is meant to be understandable but about as unlikeable as likeable (and really is a lot more in the wrong in being lethal in the confrontation, he had alternatives and it seemed like he wasn't himself in danger but enjoyed the violence), while Odo feels more positively and forgiving/mostly overlooking, and that really works.

It feels a little too inconsistent and self-congratulatory in that late in the episode, focusing on the significance of love, it kind of forgets or just discounts that Laas had had a companion, implicitly claims that just wasn't love, but the themes and even plot resolutions still work well.
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Andrew
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: The Emperor's New Cloak

While this episode was more blatantly outright comical and the only-alternate/amoral-characters can be lesbian/bi idea did feel particularly sleazy (although a little less so as with previous episode "Rejoined" Jadzia Dax was already bi although mainly straight), all of the DS9 MU episodes, aside from probably "Crossover", had elements of self-parody, at least that you were supposed to accept the amorality or at least not take it seriously because the writers were deliberately overdoing and not taking seriously the whole reversed universe concept.
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Andrew
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: The Emperor's New Cloak

Visitor, de Boer and Robinson had way too little belief in the material, Visitor (rightfully) pretty embarrassed. The Ferengi actors (particularly Shimerman) were uneven but they and Dorn did have moments, Dorn was pretty enjoyable.

There was a speck of an interesting idea, that both version of O'Brien were pretty good guys so would mirror Brunt end up being bad in both-and kind of interesting that, against what you would expect, he (pretty much) didn't. But that's not nearly enough, too much else was too dumb. Particularly bad were the scenes where Ezri re-meets the Intendant (as if the Ferengi know that means they won't have their deal honored) and when Rom and Zek just stay on the floor until Ezri tells them they'll escape so come on.

The ending particularly admitted this is just for dumb fun, just for weirdness and overdone pandering and reversals, what you wouldn't and couldn't do in the standard series/franchise. The basic point also seemed to be don't take the Mirror Universe seriously, both factions are both pretty bad and they'll probably just continue in a pretty-much stalemate indefinitely. "Shattered Mirror" and then "Resurrection" were much better conclusions to the Mirror Universe, this episode was unnecessary and a little damaging but it seemed to be its goal to outright undo the previous sense of conclusiveness.

I think 2 stars, a miss with some annoyances but not particularly unenjoyable overall.
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Andrew
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 9:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Firstborn

To me this episode feels like bad Voyager, bad late Voyager (and especially "Renaissance Man") ignoring a character's/characters' past developments and growth, ramping up flaws and conflicts that were previously already reduced so that going back to the conditions in place before the episode suddenly made things worse could somehow, supposedly, feel like growth.

"A Fistful of Datas" was bad but its ending seemed a decent enough resolution to Worf and Alexander's relationship, this episode basically both ignores and redoes it.
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Andrew
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 9:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

Fair point but the best we can do to avoid investigations getting out of hand, being corrupt themselves, is probably what we're doing now, have an independent investigation be not completely independent from the larger Justice Department and also have the President and legislative houses checking and balancing each other including the executive departments.
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Andrew
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Latent Image

It isn't even directly claimed that the Doctor did choose Kim because they were friends and was bothered by that, just that he chose one and that that meant he murdered Jetal. If the chance of survival really were the same, choosing one for some reason (Kim's position in the crew or personal friendship or just randomness) seems obviously valid and if it involved a lack of randomness, lack of complete impartiality, far from troubling.
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Andrew
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 7:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Latent Image

This episode took episodicness, lack of continuity, way too far. It could have worked at the start of the third season, maybe the end of it (six months after the Doctor go his mobile emitter), not really this far into the series. We did already see broadly similar stories/themes especially "The Swarm" and at the end of "Retrospect", this feels much less credible.

Mulgrew tries her best to make the characterization of Janeway work and it comes close to working but doesn't, Dawson tries but less so for Torres and for her it works even less. There are way too many obvious contrivances (wiping the memory more than turns out to seem needed, the Doctor turning out to not be so bothered by the initial event, wiping the recent memory but not informing Seven). The best part is Seven challenging Janeway, to her Oh, we'll talk about it later, with direct, obvious yet strong response-That will be too late.

Picardo plays the Doctor in distress as way too malevolent and crazy (to make the problem feel like a dilemma, maybe he can't live with the memories, Janeway was at least reasonable, instead it just feels like forced overstatement) and yet the initial dilemma seems way, way too obvious, there wasn't anything wrong with his decision, be it that he had to save one patient, better one than neither, on its own or combined with that yes Kim was more important to Voyager's operations.

The placement of this episode is particularly bad coming after and right after "Nothing Human" where the Doctor did (and Janeway trusted him and authorized him to) deal with ethical dilemmas very reasonably.
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Andrew
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 6:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: It's Only a Paper Moon

A lot was fine, I hated the conclusions. There was no indication, on Nog admitting that he's scared of being a soldier, doesn't know if he can continue being one, that Nog should/could consider leaving Starfleet, there are other acceptabl things to do in the real world than being a soldier. And then the ending felt very much like "Extreme Risk", admitting your problems and getting back to normal pretty much does solve them (here it being a few days rather than seconds but still feeling really similar, a disservice to how Nog and Torres had felt and acted before).

De Boer had some moments elsewhere but she was really bad in this episode, I had no idea whether Dax was being, as Jammer thought, clever or was actually oblivious, regardless with either interpretation she was far from persuasive.

I also didn't like that there was no acknowledgment from anyone, especially given other characters bashing Bashir's programs, that Vic had previously interacted significantly with Odo and helped bring him and Kira together.
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Andrew
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 10:56am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

Though a change, it probably wouldn't really be a bad thing (or that much of a change) if yes, every president from now on was investigated for a possible crime if there was at least significant evidence he (or assistants) had committed it, heck, yes, expand that to members of Congress too.
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Andrew
Tue, Dec 25, 2018, 7:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

Rewatching with very low expectations, it unfortunately is about as bad and as or more frustrating than I last thought ...

The film really feels like three (or more) very much at-odds types of film: the basic story and its heart, the drama, is flawed but still pretty good (there's just a little too little doubt, dilemma or urgency but it's still pretty effective both in taking a stand and being fairly balanced, the core Picard/Dougherty conflict is really well-done), the drama is mostly diminished just by having too little of it (especially not having any Riker actually persuading the Federation Council) and too much of the other types-the humor and action are way too forced and overdone and yet also half-hearted or even lackluster.

The regular cast feels way too apathetic really early on, then the early Picard/Anij interaction is pretty good although the closeness becomes just a little too rushed, then the romance feels really thrown-in, forced, also at odds with the basic story and its drama. Crusher and Troi get really little to do and poor Worf is really unfortunately wasted.
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Andrew
Thu, Oct 25, 2018, 3:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

^Fine point about how an investigation can go quite a way beyond its initial parameters and that expansion actually be appropriate, justified, even still be within or at least related to the initial scope-and yet those investigated due to that expansion will almost invariably shout that the expansion is abusive and the investigation now obviously way out of hand.
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Andrew
Thu, Oct 25, 2018, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Extreme Risk

Chakotay did do a pretty good job, as did Beltran of playing him, of somewhat-ambiguously combining his roles as B'Elanna's friend, comrade and superior officer.
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Andrew Williams (AndrooUK)
Mon, Oct 8, 2018, 5:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: A Day in the Life

The commentary and responses on the Adama flashbacks says it all, pretty much. A day in the life of the whole ship would have been great.

The airlock scene was very frustrating. It wouldn't take too much research to have a more realistic scene with actual stakes, and it would have been more dangerous with a bigger breach, or they could be stuck in a container filling with liquid or something.

For a pinhole leak, you could just stick your finger over it, a piece of chewing gum, or the actual patch that the Chief used. It wasn't a high pressure environment, like a submarine, and it didn't have a different gas or liquid outside. A patched hole in a standard atmospheric pressure environment can't have a new hole form over it.

The 'emergency equipment breaks in an emergency' trope was a little annoying, as was instant lockdown with no warning, even for what should have been detected as a minor leak. For a major decompression, I could understand, but it was barely enough of a leak for them to hear, never mind for a sensor to detect and not confuse it for a fan or other occasional air movement.

Why did the outside door have blast pins for emergencies, but not the inside door?

'Freezing in a vacuum' is also a lazy trope. A vacuum is an excellent insulator.

If the pressure were so low, how are they expecting heavy crates or the door to be blown out into space? Even at a standard atmosphere pressure, you would need a lot of evacuating air to be able to blow something out. The huge launch tubes or the other giant airlocks, not the little access airlock. The gravity plating would also make it difficult for anything to be blown out, anyway.

Jaffey brings me coffee.
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Andrew Williams (AndrooUK)
Fri, Sep 28, 2018, 3:15am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Live Fast and Prosper

"Everybody stop eating."

Why the fuck do Janeway and Torres walk to the mess hall instead of immediately alerting everyone over the intercom that replicated food may be harmful?

I concur with most of the rest of these comments.

It could have been more fun, but the episode didn't seem to be intended to be comedic, and boy we weren't disappointed. It was pretty dry, and also had me frustrated in how gullible and naive Starfleet is and can be. (DS9 and Enterprise helped to redeem this somewhat. I, of course, exclude TOS and the POS DIS.)

Tuvok's counterpart was great. It's a shame it was Janeway's one who got most attention. Fake Janeway didn't need to be on the shuttle.

Also, a group of a species who apparently deals with inter-species trades does not know how to demand payment first before lowering shields around their goods. (Even though it's plot dependent on whether or not you can transport through shields.)

Voyager gets crushed by attacks far too often... it should have been destroyed over and over by now. Even the lousy Kazon could take them on with a few of there backwater ships. This episode's battles were no exception. I agree that this species should have shrugged its collective shoulders after being pitched Voyager by its defenses and armaments.

Why is it always the plasma network that ruins everything? Your sonic shower doesn't turn itself off when malfunctioning (and it malfunctions because: brownout?) or when instructed to be disabled, computer functions are disrupted by plasma something, and everything explodes because plasma. The replicators suddenly can't use the correct computer instructions to replicate correctly, nor can they abort after receiving a bad hash/parity bits.

Use some freaking electricity and cables, for once. Ditch the plasma, it's always causing problems. Even for high power devices, they can run heavy cabling around, and have transformers or whatever they need to do. Even have local plasma stored only next to the high power devices, and keep it in a safe container, so it won't destroy the whole network.

Exploding computer terminals are one of the worst tropes that Star Trek uses. Just awful. Who the fuck would work for Starfleet if everything they use can explode on a hair trigger?

This time, there is a 'contaminant' in the replicator system. Contaminated what? Energy? It's a mini transporter, basically. Changing energy into matter. There's nothing to contaminate that would affect macro or micro nutrients. Even if the 'integrated circuitry' were 'contaminated', the systems should be able to detect corrupted data packets and request new ones, and abort if they are unable to confirm the parity bits for the packets.

Packets and IPs were a thing when TNG and VOY were written. It's a shame that the writers dumbed actual science/IT down so much. The producers didn't give their audience much credit, considering that the audience was generally more inclined towards substance over style (except what little I have seen of DIS). Not that they had to go into onerous detail, because that would be boring, but then they would be forced to put more thought into their stories and characters, and not be able to blame random malfunctioning parts over and over.

It's interesting how Voyager's computer can be scanned for data, and *read*. No encryption, then? You can scan the quantum states of the data with no reference point? You can correctly interpret the data without knowing how the computer works to begin with?

Usually one can overlook these irregularities, inconsistencies, and contrived plot points. This episode rubs most people the wrong way because of how egregious and unexplained it all is, and then makes every other contrivance even more apparent than usual, because the story relies too heavily on them.

Character development sucks for Voyager. TNG wasn't a whole lot better, but it seemed to make more of an effort. Voyager couldn't decide on whether it was action heavy, or cerebellum heavy... and ended up not doing either particularly brilliantly. It's always been more of a light meal. There's some substance, but it doesn't quite fill you up as much as you'd like, but it tasted fine and didn't cost too much.

In summary, a somewhat entertaining (but not intentionally) episode, let down by its technobabble, and some other flaws in unbelievable behaviour and character development.

2 out of 5. (Maybe 1.5-2 out of 4.)
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Andrew Williams (AndrooUK)
Mon, Sep 10, 2018, 11:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

Hey, guys. I have the cure for cancer, obesity, heart disease, and dementia... but it was obtained by testing on humans without their consent, so I'm going to destroy that information to stick it to anyone who might try that kind of thing again.

I'm also going to retrospectively destroy all psychiatric advancements made by experimenting with unwilling patients.

There is no ethical solution, because both arguments are correct. It is wrong to conduct medical research on people without their informed consent, and it is wrong to not use medical research to help others.

The pragmatic solution is to use all research and discoveries, regardless of how that was obtained, because why punish others by withholding or destroying it? You can have disincentives for doing so again, but really, if the need is grave enough... we would remove all research safeguards in the real world.

If we had a deadly plague killing 50 % of our populations, we *would definitely* start unethical medical testing on willing or unwilling participants. We would not sit by and carry on with double blind studies and the decade long process to approve a medication.

Any comparisons with medical or scientific discovery/research and criminal evidence gained illegally is absurd. They are not comparable. Criminal evidence is not a new scientific/medical discovery or innovation, it is information that already existed.

This episode was tedious, and obviously rubbed a lot of people the wrong way... considering all the comments, which I don't feel like reading them all. The magic hologram, the butthurt crew, and the incredible decision of the EMH to keep him as a Cardassian to stick it to his evil xenophobic crewmates, instead of saving the trouble during a lifethreatening emergency.

The acting was good from the Cardy, but the Bajoran was a snooze. Technically, the episode was constructed well... but the story really falls flat, and ends inexplicably.

"Get over it, but I will delete him now you're better. Let's just hope you don't have a cockroach sucking on your veins next week."
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Andrew
Mon, Sep 10, 2018, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Repentance

@ james04
" Why reward people, when their seeming goodness is apparently to be ascribed to nothing more than a socially convenient interplay of the sub-atomic particles of which their physiology is made ? They are lucky, not good. "

Well, 24th Century Starfleet/humanity does seem to have pretty much done away with unequal monetary/material rewards/statuses. Even now it's an at least somewhat reasonable view that good characteristics are inherited and so, if they do deserve some rewards, don't deserve as great rewards and greater statuses as they currently lead to.
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Andrew Williams (AndrooUK)
Wed, Sep 5, 2018, 4:18am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: The Gift

A bit off topic, but I always found it very strange when Seven is trying to access the communications system.

We see the bridge at red alert knowing there's a problem and where, but then we cut to Tuvok and Kes in quarters, who are still going through the motions and not hearing the red alert.
Tuvok then contacts Security, so he's not concerned about keeping things quiet for Kes. It seems like these were supposed to be the other way round, and the editor/director didn't get the memo.

Neelix was the obvious choice, but I guess the producer liked him. That, or the writers must have thought he was more amazing than we did. Look at all his amazing skills he has, even though Kes is the one with a photographic memory. How old is that dude if he has done so much? A bit creepy hanging around the very young woman that is Kes. A 'barely legal' one year old... which raises even more questions.

NB: How long is a year on Ocampa? Maybe it is twenty Earth years. That's always a bit silly. The same when he estimates the age of the Kazon boy in that stupid episode as 13. How does he know the Kazon calendar? Tuvok's birthday should also fall on a different date every year, assuming that Starfleet works on the Earth Gregorian year.

That, or every habitable planet has exactly the same duration of its orbit.

Seven of Nine magically skips several episodes or even a whole series of progress, by suddenly being cool with freedom and silence, and even up for sex with Harry the L Fudger. (Garret Wang cannot pronounce the letter L, and one you hear it, you cannot unhear it. Very annoying, for an already annoying character.)
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Andrew
Tue, Sep 4, 2018, 6:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

@ SlackerInc, the same screenwriters that wrote Empire, Lucas and Kasdan, did finish the story with RotJ; all that Leigh Brackett contributed to the Empire screenplay was the first draft.
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