Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Watch: Rediscovered & Deleted 'Jedi' Scene Touches Upon Moral Implications 'Star Wars' Didn't Want To Address

News
by Edward Davis
November 6, 2013 3:23 PM
7 Comments
  • |

It's a testament to the enduring legacy of George Lucas' "Star Wars" series that we're still talking about these movies and that they’re still being pored over, some 30-odd years after the the original films dropped. A new trilogy is obviously on the way, sans Lucas, because Disney knows it’s a license to print a ludicrous amount of money, but let’s face it, it was bound to happen anyhow.

In the lead-up to J.J. Abrams' "Star Wars Episode VII," the official "Star Wars" YouTube channel has been unveiling old 'Star Wars' artifacts from their archives, old original trailers, rediscovered blooper reels, little interview pieces and other behind-the-scenes ephemera (no they'll likely never dare release the utterly turgid Holiday Special, sorry). Another old, previously official artifact has been dug up too, though not presented on the Lucasfilm channel. It's a rare deleted scene from the laserdisc version of "Return Of The Jedi," and it reveals a conversation with Luke Skywalker and the ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi. In the clip, Yoda throws himself under the bus with a mea culpa. The old, supposedly sage, Jedi master essentially tells Luke on his deathbed, "All those lies we told you about your father Darth Vader? Yeah, that was all my doing." The exact quote is, "Obi-Wan would have told you [about the true fate of Anakin Skywalker] long ago, had I let him."

It's an interesting deleted line for several reasons, chief among them for the fact that it brings up huge and fascinating moral implications that Lucas was seemingly not interested in or simply not sophisticated enough to deal with. There's been plenty of talk over the years about how the overly-simplistic "Return of the Jedi" anticipated the unsophisticated 'Star Wars' prequels by 20 years and its many compromises (here’s one specific feature 5 Things You May Not Know About 'Return Of The Jedi' & How It Could Have Been Much Cooler). The movie introduced many child-like elements, like the Ewoks, perfect for selling lucrative toys to kids (already a multi-million dollar revenue stream for Lucasfilm) and refused to create real dramatic stakes by killing off any of the characters (Harrison Ford for years has said he wanted Han Solo to die, but Lucas was too concerned with how the character's death would impact action-figure sales).

Think about it: Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda essentially agreed to lie to Luke Skywalker about the true identity of his father and even the existence of his sister Princess Leia. And in this clip, it suggests that Kenobi fully realized the moral implications, and that this deception wasn’t resting well upon his soul. Imagine this ethical debate in front of the Jedi Council? There’s no way this would have passed in a million years. As THR wisely observes on their piece on the same clip, “They lied to Luke Skywalker to manipulate him into considering Darth Vader an enemy to be beaten, rather than the former ally — and Luke's father — that he really was.”

It also brings up interesting questions about the rules of this universe, that George Lucas maybe didn’t even quite understand himself at the time. After all, this is a guy who named his final film in the original trilogy “Revenge of the Jedi,” (going as far as to print posters and create trailers under this title), only to change it to “Return of the Jedi” after fans had to remind the producer/filmmaker that a wise and peacekeeping Jedi would likely never seek revenge upon anyone, much less the man he now knows is his father who fell astray to dark forces (and it’s clear that Luke is empathetic to his father in ‘Return’ with every step of the film, including the “I know there’s good in him" line). But apparently a grand 'sleeping dogs lie' perjure was not something that Yoda and Obi-Wan were beneath? To be fair, perhaps desperate times called for desperate measures, the Jedi were all but wiped out at this point and both of these Jedi leaders would go into hiding.

Still, with all the talk of where “Star Wars: Episode VII” could go and all, talk of using Luke heading to the dark side—a prevalent and major narrative event in various non-canonical comics and books that extend the stories after ‘Jedi’—it feels like a missed opportunity. If Luke felt remotely betrayed by Yoda and Obi-Wan, this would certainly make for some very interesting and thematic texture for the upcoming sequels. Fanboys reading into some new open casting calls now believe plot points have been revealed and that the 'Episode VII' narrative won’t follow the children of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, et al. While we’re all for that idea—that’s really unimaginative sequel territory frankly—we’d bet almost anything that the ultra-secret J.J. Abrams and his team did not goof here and these “details” in the end, likely reveal nothing of significance.

“Star Wars” fandom goes on and on though, and will continue to do so. Today some tricksters playing with a deleted scene from “The Phantom Menace” edited a scene in such a way that it depicted the much-loathed Jar Jar Binks dying. If only we could go back in time … Anyhow, that clip is below, as well as the deleted Yoda scene. What are your thoughts on what Yoda revealed to Luke would mean to the series? Was this far too sophisticated for “Return of the Jedi”? Granted, it is a bit of a throwaway line as it is, so I’ll ask you this: Do you think George Lucas would have ever played around with this idea in a deeper matter? Discuss. Update: finally, the full 30 minutes from that Return of the Jedi Edit Droid LaserDisc has been officially released [via our friend Larry Wright].

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

7 Comments

  • Bearfighter | February 5, 2014 5:59 AMReply

    I'm not so sure on the motivations of Yoda and Obi-wan... I think they weren't trying to manipulate him into killing Vader, but rather try to give him the best chance to become a true Jedi. If they had told Luke that Vader was his father, he would be carrying that baggage all during his training, always wondering if that is his fate, will he wind up like his father.

    This way, he can train with a clear head, learn the Jedi code that anger, aggression, killing lead to the dark side. I'll have to watch it again, but I don't think they ever said "kill" Vader, but defeat or confront... which Luke ultimately did by letting Anakin redeem himself by showing his father that you CAN resist the dark side and the Emperor.

  • Xian | November 8, 2013 12:46 AMReply

    Yoda was all Method.

  • Will Friedkin Fan | November 7, 2013 11:38 AMReply

    William Friedkin's Sorcerer was the better film. It's too bad special effects junk like this has to ruin cinema and film making as we know it.

  • Kojak's Wig | November 6, 2013 10:27 PMReply

    I'm only here to make fun of the nerds who comment.

    NE-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-RDS!!!!!!!!!!!

    Now I feel better.

  • Frank | November 6, 2013 4:39 PMReply

    If you actually looked into the movies, you'd see the original Star Wars was the most simplistic of the series.

  • Hooter | November 6, 2013 4:20 PMReply

    Instead of writing a cool story about how a regular Joe stumbled onto one of the coolest discoveries of the year and show the respectable job he is doing with it, you claim it as your own story. You got facts wrong AND you don't even show the clip! You read Yahoo!'s page on the topic, copy-and-pasted it and put it on your website as your own.

  • Salacious B. Crumb | November 6, 2013 3:58 PMReply

    This is not from the "Laserdisc version of Return of the Jedi". This is dailies footage from "EditDroid" an editing system at ILM that used Laserdiscs to store media.

Email Updates