Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (a 15-Minute Force production): Chapter Five: In Which Yoda Fully Explains Everything About the Force (Or: Luke Cosplays With Himself)

darthvader

 

01:00:01 – 01:15:00

As we left Chapter Four of the Empire Edition of the 15-Minute Force, Jedi Master Yoda was trying to feed us a stew that we didn’t find palatable and was telling us that we would soon be afraid. Also, we were trying to clean flying sucker-face birds called Mynocks off of the Millennium Falcon’s windshield. Han Solo seemed to have some idea about what was really going on inside the asteroid cavern.

Welcome back. I’ve missed you guys. Sometimes it’s lonely here when you’re watching all of the Star Wars movies fifteen minutes at a time.

After Han fired his blaster into the floor of the cavern, things started to shake. As Leia and Han stagger back to the Millennium Falcon’s gangway, I’m struck by how cheap the “earthquake” effect seems, as the camera tilts back and forth and our heroes overact just a little (though no more than the original Enterprise crew on the bridge when they acted their way through the same “special effect”). They are both still wearing their CPAP devices as well, and look a little silly. Chewbacca is the last cast member to get back aboard the Falcon.

Han hurries to the cockpit and says they have to get out of there. Leia thinks this is too risky with the Empire actively looking for them. Han does not have time to listen to her objections. He has made the decision for all of them, and this is something that Leia isn’t used to, it seems.

As the Falcon takes off and begins to head back up the “cavern,” it becomes obvious what has Han so concerned. They had not been hiding inside of an asteroid cavern after all. Instead, they were inside a giant creature that the Wookieepedia assures me is called a space slug. The slug’s jaws are closing as the Falcon is leaving for the asteroid field again, but our heroes make it to freedom by the skin of the space slug’s teeth.

One screenwipe later, and we’re back on Dagobah with Luke Skywalker and the Jedi Master Yoda. Luke is wearing Yoda like a backpack while he swings on vines like Tarzan, runs and flips as he moves through the jungle in some sort a crazy Jedi exercise regimen that Yoda is coaching him through. Here’s where I ask myself how much time has actually passed for the characters. In the Han and Leia stuff, it seems like only minutes have passed since they entered the asteroid field and hid inside the digestive tract of a giant space slug. In the Luke and Yoda scene, it feels like much more time has passed. Yoda is actually training Luke, and it doesn’t seem like only a few minutes have passed since Luke was making faces over Yoda’s stewpot. In fact, it seems like an actual Rocky-like training montage would have been appropriate here. This is Luke being trained by a Jedi Master in order to become an actual Jedi Knight, like his father before him.

Yoda lectures Luke to beware of the Dark Side. “Anger. Fear. Aggression—The Dark Side of the Force are they,” he says. “Easily they flow. Quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the Dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny. Consume you it will. As it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice.”

All right already, Yoda. Sheesh. We get it. Dark Side bad, m’kay?

When Luke asks Yoda if the Dark Side is stronger, Yoda is quick to answer “No,” even though he doesn’t seem 100% convincing about this. I’ve mentioned before my theory that Yoda dabbles in the Dark Side of the Force. He seems to know way too much about it, if you know what I mean.

Yoda says that a Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense. Never for attack. I’m not sure our cinematic history with the Force bears this out completely. Maybe if “defense” is very loosely defined. Like, for example, the United States was defending itself when it began bombing Iraq back to the Stone Age.

Yoda quickly grows frustrated with Luke, who asks as many questions as an annoying first-grader.

Suddenly, Luke feels cold . . . Death.

Yoda points with his cane. He says that place—in the direction he’s pointing—is strong with the Dark Side of the Force. A domain of evil, it is. He says all of this casually, as if he’s reading off a grocery list.

In you must go,” Yoda says.

Sure, Yoda. Domain of Evil. Strong with the Dark Side. Yeah . . .I’ll go in.

What’s in there?” Luke asks.

Only what you take with you,” Yoda answers.

As Luke turns to go inside this domain of Evil, Yoda tells him that he will not need his weapons. Luke buckles on his weapons belt anyway. He is an impudent pup.

Luke goes down into what appears to be a cave. There’s a Komodo dragon nearby and it sticks out its tongue. Luke, undaunted, continues on. Darth Vader suddenly appears out of the shadows, and a lightsaber battle ensues. Luke emerges victorious, after decapitating Vader and revealing his own face under Darth Vader’s mask. Luke has apparently just decapitated himself. Is this supposed to foreshadow the reveal that Vader is Luke’s father? Or, does it mean that Luke is his own worst enemy?

One clockwise screenwipe later and we’re back on Lord Vader’s star destroyer. Admiral Piett and a couple of his gray-uniformed officers with their stupid little hats are down in the pit on the bridge while Vader is conducting a meet-and-greet above with a group of bounty hunters. Piett refers to the bounty hunters as “scum,” a title that is usually preceded by the word “rebel” in the Star Wars galaxy. The admiral is of the opinion that they don’t need the help of bounty hunters to find the rebels they’re looking for.

Vader is offering a substantial reward to the bounty hunters for finding the Millennium Falcon. But, he wants proof . . . no disintegrations.

I don’t know the names of all of the bounty hunters assembled in this quick scene. I know Boba Fett, of course. This is the first time we saw this now-famous bounty hunter, if you don’t count that special edition change from Episode IV, the scene in which Han stepped on Jabba’s tail. Let’s just agree not to count that. I’ve heard the names of all the others, of course, on the podcast Star Wars Minute, and it would be simple enough to look them all up on the Wookieepedia. But, that’s probably getting too deep. I know who Bossk is because I recently played as this character on the video game Star Wars Battlefront II, and because he reminds me of the Gorn from the original Star Trek series. IG-88 I know because of one of the early episodes of the Clone Wars cartoon, in which the assassin droid seemed much more formidable than he ever did in this movie. I’m sure all of the bounty hunters have played a larger role in the expanded universe stuff.

This scene is cut short because Admiral Piett announces that they’ve found the Millennium Falcon.

As we cut away to the Falcon, the Star Destroyer is right behind them, firing at them. Threepio comments that they are coming out of the asteroid field. Han attempts to engage the hyperdrive, and of course the Falcon fails to respond. Its hyperdrive is not powered by dilithium crystals; it runs on a heavier fuel, convenient plot contrivances.

Han Solo seems more worried about being blamed than getting killed. “It’s not my fault!” he says, sounding rather immature.

Threepio, ever the doom-crow, announces that they’ve just lost their main rear deflector shield. One more hit and they’re done for.

Han orders Chewie to turn her around. He intends to put all of their power on their front shields.

You’re going to attack them?” Leia asks, incredulously.

Threepio begins to quote the odds of surviving a direct assault on an Imperial star destroyer, and this time it’s Leia who tells him to shut up. Han proceeds to fly directly at the bridge, and then promptly disappears from the ship’s scopes.

Afterward, Captain Needa, who looks like he’s about to pee himself, tells an underling to prepare a shuttle for him. He says he will take full responsibility for this and will tell Vader that they’ve lost the Millennium Falcon. I’m sure demonstrating that high level of accountability will work out well for him.

One screenwipe later, we’re back on Luke’s training. He survived his battle with himself in a Darth Vader costume only to be forced to do a handstand while Yoda balances on top of one of his feet. One of the requirements of being a Jedi is to have the skills of a Chinese acrobat. Luke moves to a one-handed handstand while using the Force to levitate a rock and stack it atop another. Meanwhile, Artoo is bleeping and blorping, and the X-wing is sinking deeper into the muck of the swamp. This causes Luke to lose his concentration and topple over. Yoda falls as well.

Yoda gives Luke the side-eye as Luke goes closer to the X-wing.

We’ll never get it out now!” Luke whines, sounding a whole lot like his old self.

So certain are you?” Yoda says, then gives an exaggerated sigh. With puppets, all movements must be exaggerated. “Always with you it cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say?”

Master, moving stones around is one thing. This is totally different.”

No!” exclaims Master Yoda. “No different! Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.”

All right,” Luke says. “I’ll give it a try.”

If you’re looking for more quotable Star Wars, this is it. Yoda says: “No! Try not! Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

How many times have you misquoted that line? I’m responsible for a few dozen times myself, I believe.

Then, Luke proceeds to try and doesn’t do. He seems off to a good start, but the X-wing rises only a little from the swamp. Luke just doesn’t have the juice where it counts, it seems. Yoda looks supremely disappointed in his pupil, even if the Force is strong with him.

Luke, winded, comes over to sit next to Yoda. “I can’t,” he says. “It’s too big.”

Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm…Hmmph. And well you should not, for my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it. Makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us . . .and binds us. Luminous beings are we. Not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you—Here. Between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere. Yes . . .Even between the land and the ship.”

Luke rises to his feet. “You want the impossible,” he says, and walks away in a huff.

Yoda proceeds to school the young apprentice, raising the X-wing from the waters of the swamp with apparent ease. He makes the X-wing fly through the air to land on solid ground. It’s a real ET moment.

Luke goes to Yoda and says, “I don’t believe it.”

That,” Yoda responds, “Is why you fail.”

So, maybe if R. Kelly truly believes he can fly, he really can. Here’s what I’ve learned from our communal Jedi training with Yoda. We are luminous beings. The Force is everywhere. Size matters not. And you have to believe. I believe we are now Jedi.

Screenwipe. Darth Vader Force-chokes the life out of Captain Needa, then tells him that he accepts his apology. That Vader: Such a motivator.

Vader then turns to Admiral Piett and tells him to plot all possible courses along the Falcon’s last known trajectory, and warns him not to fail him again.

An exterior shot follows, and as the camera pulls back, we see that the Millennium Falcon is stuck like a refrigerator magnet on the backside of the bridge tower. Or at least what I think is the bridge tower.

Inside the ship, Threepio continues to complain like the little metallic bitch he is. Han notes that the fleet is beginning to break up and tells Chewie to go stand by the manual release for the landing claw. Threepio begins to extol the possible virtues of surrender, which motivates Leia to turn the protocol droid off.

Han thanks her, and she asks what his next move is. Han says if they follow typical Imperial procedure, they’ll dump their garbage before they go to light speed.

And that’s where this chapter ends. What is Han’s plan? We can guess. But, we’ll have to wait to see. Will Luke ever get the point of Yoda’s training? Will the rest of our heroes escape from this seemingly impossible situation they’re in at the moment? Will Admiral Piett live through the next chapter? All good questions.

Until next week . . . Tell the Truth: When Yoda Said ‘Size Matters Not,’ Did You Imagine Steve Carell Adding ‘That’s What She Said’? . . .And May The 15-Minute Force Be With You.

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