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
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.