When A Good Story Ends

When it was first announced that Disney was going to be taking over the Star Wars Universe, I was a bit indifferent. I was happy with George Lucas and Lucasfilm and I was happy with Disney (“Tangled” is still one of my favorite films of all time). But when it was announced that Cartoon Network’s “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” was going to be ending abruptly after five seasons, six if you include what’s been released to Netflix, I was befuddled. The story was still going strong and many questions created by the series were left unanswered.

Though I still like Disney and am looking forward to “Star Wars: Episode VII” and “Star Wars: Rebels”, TCW’s successor, I admit the abrupt ending given to the “The Clone Wars” left me with a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Yes, stories can’t last forever, but as the YouTube video link above demonstrates, the show was still going strong for many viewers.

Alas, all good things must come to an end, even in a Galaxy Far, Far, Away…

Ending a story can be tricky. End it too late and you can leave your audience feeling bored and disinterested, like the story is dragging on with no end in sight. End it too soon and you can leave your audience scratching their heads wondering just what happened to this character and that character (the TV show “Flashforward” comes to mind for me on that one-I really, really wanted more than one season).

And then comes the biggest problem: you can end it on the right timing, but if there are questions that haven’t been answered, the audience may find the ending bittersweet. One example of this is the show “Lost”. It was a popular show with a huge following, but after the series finale aired, many fans were left unsatisfied as many questions still hung in the air. (I’m still not quite sure what that smoke monster was, exactly.) Yet another example is “Mass Effect 3”. Though I’ve never played the game, I’ve heard many a gamer express their discontent over the ending of the otherwise successful trilogy.

Ending a story isn’t easy, as there have been countless examples of those who have tried and failed. And yet there are also examples of those who tried and succeeded. Many feel a good ending includes a lesson learned, a happy reunion, or an emotional farewell. All of those are true for certain stories. But for me, and I’m sure for many other audience members, a good ending provides closure. It makes the audience feel content that the conflict has been resolved and questions have been answered. There’s not too many great mysteries to be left in the air to drive the audience crazy for years to come (and if there is a mystery, there’s hope for a sequel, ha ha!)

As “The Clone Wars” has finished its course and transitions to “Rebels” in the Fall, I’ll admit I still have questions left by the show. What does Sidious plan to do with Darth Maul? Where did Ahsoka go, and how does Anakin handle her departure? Does Captain Rex disobey Order 66 or does he follow it like every other clone? Do things on Mandalore ever settle down? But even if these questions don’t get answered, I can at least watch the past episodes with a smile. Just like Lost, or maybe even Mass Effect 3, I can still enjoy the journey to the end.

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