Part one left you breathless. Even though you knew it was a trilogy, you still got to the end and couldn’t believe there wasn’t anything else. It left you completely enthralled with its gripping narrative, and just as you thought it couldn’t get any more exciting, it was over. The end. To be continued. And you had to wait. But you couldn’t wait. You’re heart was racing and the adrenaline was coursing through your system and you hit the end and that was it. And the comedown from the excitement was too much for you to bear. You scrolled back to the top and reread the first part in its entirety. And it was still amazing, still everything that it once was, but as you got closer to the end that second time, you panicked. You knew what was coming, a huge cliffhanger, a ton of unanswered questions. How many times are you going to put yourself through this?
And here it is. Finally. Part two. You’re shaking. You can’t even wait. That is, unless you’re reading this way in the future, like you’ve come across this trilogy already completed, already finished. And so you immediately read the first part and then it’s just a matter of jumping right to the second part. It’s like when I was a kid and I watched the Star Wars trilogy. All three films were already available on VHS before I was even born. All I had to do was pop in the second tape and I was ready to see Han Solo cut open a mountain yak’s stomach and crawl inside with his buddy Luke so they could survive the nighttime’s subzero temperatures on the ice planet Hoth.
In fact, I don’t even remember ever seeing Star Wars for the first time. I had fleeting memories of being a little kid and watching some of the tapes at my grandparent’s house. But I was too young to really get anything, or to understand what was going on, or to sit still for two hours. By the time I really watched Star Wars, I already knew basically everything that happened. By the time my brain really became conscious, it was already preloaded with Star Wars. It’s like you don’t remember meeting your mom and dad, you just think back as far as you can and they’ve always been there. Unless you’re an orphan, of course.
What would it have been like to walk out of the movie theater in 1977 and say to yourself, “Wow! That was so cool! I can’t believe I’m going to actually have to wait a bunch of years to see how this story continues!” And you have no idea about Yoda or Jabba the Hut or Luke kissing his sister or Luke I am your father.
A lot of people make the case that part two of a trilogy is always the best part. I can see the arguments. There’s no wasted time setting everything up. All of the characters have already been introduced. There’s no laying out any story, no big exposition about who’s doing what and why they’re doing it. It’s just jumping right into the action. It’s like ready, set, go, except they don’t even say that. They just go right to go. Ready and set were part one. Go is part two. And you’re rolling.
Look at the Back to the Future trilogy. Part II is easily the best movie. Why? Well, there’s obviously a hoverboard, and that’s just sick. But more importantly, you don’t have to spend so much time setting everything up. Who are you? I’m the Doc. What’s this? It’s a time machine. A time machine? I don’t believe it. Well, believe it kid. I still don’t believe it. OK, meet me at the mall. Oh no! Terrorists. Oh no! I’m dead. Oh no! I’m in the car. Oh no! I’m in the past. The movie’s been on for like half an hour and we’re just finally getting to see some actual time travel which, if I’m not mistaken, is the whole point of the movie.
Part II starts with the time machine automatically flying out of nowhere, ready to take them on another adventure. No nonsense this time. In fact, Part II is so ready to roll, that it doesn’t even wait for the beginning of the second movie, it starts at the end of the first. Genius. By the way, if I remember correctly, the Doc got the plutonium from the Libyans, right? And Qaddafi was in charge then, right? So if it weren’t for Qaddafi, Marty would’ve never gone back to the past and his dad would still be a huge loser and Biff would still be giving him noogies and making him wax his car. Is Qaddafi the secret hero here? What does it all mean?
Sorry, I’m getting distracted. But there’s no better place to get distracted, to run your mouth, to set up some truly crazy shit than in part two. Seriously, not only are you jumping head first into the action, but you have to heighten the suspense, the drama, you have to escalate based on your fans’ expectations. So throw in everything you’ve got. A crazy twist that you haven’t even begun to think of a logical solution to? Go ahead. Just write it. Write everything. Don’t hold back. This is part two we’re talking about here. You’ve got plenty of time after it’s out there and after everyone reads it and scrutinizes it to think, OK, I’ve really done it this time, I have no idea how I’m going to end this, but it doesn’t matter, I’m not going to think about that, I’m not going to try to work out a solution, I’m just going to milk part two for everything it’s got. Sure, there’s no way I’m going to be able to top all of this, but who cares? Let it ride. Luke, I am your father. Why so serious? Whatever they say in the Godfather Part II. Khan!
Check back tomorrow for the epic conclusion. Unless, like I said, you’re just finding this now and it’s already written. In which case, just go for it. It’s right there. Part three. Read it immediately.