Yoda Was Ready to Kill Luke in Empire Strikes Back
One of the easiest things for people born in the generation that saw the original Star Wars trilogy in theaters (Episodes IV – VI) is to make fun of the Prequel Trilogy (Episode I-III). However, if you watch the proper way, then some of the original scenes subtlety enhance viewing of your favorite movies.
When Luke first meets Yoda in Dagobah, it is easy to forget Yoda had every right to view strangers as potential enemies. This actually makes it very important to how Luke answered questions such as, “Why are you here?”
To this point, let’s watch Yoda take on Count Dooku in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
In Case you happened to miss it, look closely at the placement of Yoda’s hands during the duel.
Note the curved hand poised and ready to release the lightning at any given moment. Now, let’s review the classic trilogy. In Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Luke meets Yoda in Dagobah. If you have not seen the scene for some reason, here it is:
The important part to focus on here is when Luke is asked by Yoda, “Why are you here?”
Luke’s answer will tilt his day between becoming a Galaxy saving Jedi and spending eternity as compost in a Dagobah swamp.
Examine again the exact position that Master Yoda is in when the question is posed.
Look at Yoda’s defensive posture as well as the positioning of his hands.This is the almost exact position when lightning was unleashed on Dooku. All Yoda has to do is drop the cane by opening his hands and electrocute history’s most famous ‘sort of Padawan.’
It would still be a few minutes before Yoda would even admit who he was. Luke had to be vetted a little more. The main purpose of “Why are you here?” was, “Does this whiny little kid need to be killed?”
Keep in mind that Yoda was driven into hiding at the end of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith because of a little thing called Order 66. This would be the “Kill all Jedi on sight order even if you have worked with them for the last few years…”
Yoda was used to taking swift immediate action on Order 66 from the moment Order 66 was first given.
Had Luke been sensed as an immediate threat, there would have been a swift decapitation or worse. As Luke did not feel like a threat, Luke was afforded the luxury of a question. Depending on how Yoda felt about Luke’s response to that question, Luke could have still been subject to death by lightning. There was still more convincing before admitting who Yoda was as well as agreeing to train anyone named Skywalker. Keep in mind Yoda did not know Luke from Anakin even though he watched Luke from afar. There is also the small matter that this is the son of the guy that took you from a life in a glittering tower with a really comfy sofa to a dirtball swamp with a dirt mattress.
So having watched the Prequel Trilogy, the initial meeting takes on a deeper and more satisfying meaning. Of course, there are a lot of things in the Star Wars universe that we would love to give a deeper and more satisfying meaning.