The Brunching Shuttlecocks Entropy and Irony

So last night I'm watching "Return of the Jedi: Now With Fakey-Looking Computerized Creatures Instead of Fakey-Looking Rubber Creatures," which I got for Christmas, and I noticed that Lucas hasn't fixed the main non-Ewok problem with the movie: the fact that the final battle between Luke and Vader makes no sense.

Here we have Luke "Badass" Skywalker, Jedi Extraordinaire. He's mown down Stormtroopers like bowling pins on bumper night, sliced open Imperial Walkers, and given the Death Star a photon colonic once already, not to mention all the womp rats he must have massacred. He's built his own lightsaber, raided Johnny Cash's closet, and watched his Jedi master snuff it. At long last he's brought before the Grand Imperial Old Guy himself, who's sitting there giving off smarm rays, and Luke decides, for no apparent reason, that killing the Emperor -- this one guy -- would tip him over the edge into the yawning abyss of Jedi perdition. I don't get it.

There's always the "defenseless" explanation, but that doesn't cut it. He could blow up everyone in the Death Star 1.0 in one force-guided shot, but he couldn't kill one guy in Death Star 2.0? If he had left, grabbed an X-Wing and blown up the whole damn battlestation that would have been Yoda-Kosher, but taking him one-on-one is bad juju? Not to mention the fact that when Darth offs the Emperor, that turns him into a good guy.

I have a better explanation. The fact is that, throughout the three films, everyone Luke meets is completely bullshitting him about the Force. They make up all this crap about Dark and Light and Good and Evil to disguise that there's only one rule to the Force: die in front of Luke.

Let's rewind to the first movie. Obi-Wan is facing it off with the Sith Lord. They play lightsaber pattycake for a while, and then Luke shows up. Obi-Wan looks over as if to say "Oh, good. Luke's here. Now I can die," and gives the fuck up. Darth, not having noticed Luke's presence, delivers the killing blow, and Obi-Wan gets a magical ghost body.

Then in "Empire," Obi's feeling pretty good about himself and decides to let his old friend Yoda in on some of this spirit-form action. He sends Luke to Dagobah, but how to keep him there until Yoda's ready to shuffle off this mortal sequel? No prob, just make Luke Yoda's "student" and provide him "training." A couple dumb levitation tricks will keep Luke wide-eyed while nature wracks Yoda's withered old latex body. You'll notice that when Luke decides to save his friends Yoda and Ben get all mystical and start making prophesies, none of which come true. They're not seeing the future, they're just trying to get Luke to stay put.

Now we're back to "Jedi." Luckily, Luke still hasn't seen through the plan, and he shows up just in time for Yoda to kick the Muppet bucket. Score one for Yoda, he gets a magical ghost body.

Then, there's the Final Battle. Emperor Palpatine doesn't have the subtlety of the rest of the Jedi gang, so he just says "Hey. Kill me." What he doesn't realize is that Luke is the goodwill ambassador for reverse psychology, and so Luke, just to be contrary, doesn't. Palpatine gets pissed off and decides that if he can't have a magical ghost body, nobody can. Darth, seeing his only chance for a cool afterlife being fried in front of his eyes, has a great plan. He grabs the wrinkled old Imperial coot and throws him down a convenient Tunnel O' Energy, out of Luke-death range. This has the double effect of ruining the Emperor's plans ("I was getting really tired of him anyway," thinks Darth) and putting Vader on this last legs. He plays on the maudlin "father" thing to get Luke to take off the helmet, and dies in front of him. Ta-da!

So there you go. Lucas tries to make you think that the Star Wars Trilogy is a re-telling of ancient tales dragged up from the collective unconscious, with lessons for us all about good and evil, hubris and loyalty, when it's really just a story about a bunch of guys who want to die in front of Luke.

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