Monday, May 22, 2023

Not a good plan

One thing that makes me happy is that I saw all three original trilogy Star Wars movies (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi) in theaters during their original runs. These movies are one of my three core fandoms, Star Trek and Lord of the Rings being the other two. They are very important to who I am and I have seen them many, many times.

There's one problem I've always had with Return of the Jedi, which I've never really vocalized before.

What the hell was Luke's plan?

In the movie, Luke gives himself up to Darth Vader to convince his father to turn back to the light side of the Force. Luke is taken by Vader up to the Death Star (2) and the Emperor toys with him to try to turn him. Luke is told by the Emperor many times that if he attacks the Emperor in anger, he'll start down the path to the dark side. Long story short, Luke beats Vader in a lightsaber duel and when confronted by the Emperor, he refuses to fight any longer, throwing aside his lightsaber and telling the Emperor that he has lost. "I am a Jedi, like my father before me."

The Emperor then pours a huge amount of Force lightning into Luke's face.

So how could Luke possibly win in that scenario? If he couldn't cut the Emperor in two with his lightsaber, then what was his plan? He spends most of his time trying to convince Vader to turn against the Emperor, but was that his whole plan? That seems both naive and kinda goofy. I've never really understood how throwing his lightsaber away and letting the Emperor fry off his face was the Emperor "losing". Why spend all that time training with Yoda, if your plan is to *not* fight? Who cares if you're a Jedi if you just give up?

It's not like we don't see Jedi kill other people/droids/creatures all the time. In fact, they seem to go out of their way to kill things. Clearly, the Jedi are not a pacifist order. So why can't Luke just kill the Emperor without turning to the dark side? (Frankly, I think the Emperor was just gaslighting him. Kill me and you lose! Yeah, that's the ticket!)

I should also note that this scenario plays out pretty much the same way in the terrible conclusion to the sequel trilogy, The Rise of Skywalker. But since Darth Vader isn't around to kill Palpatine (again), Rey wins by bouncing the Emperor's Force lightning back into *his* face until he burns up. Which raises the new question, why did the Emperor keep shooting out lightning? If he had just stopped, he would have won.

Jedi. Terrible at making plans. Second only to the Sith, who haven't learned the simple lesson that you should turn off the Force lightning when it's being directed back into your own face.

Stop hitting yourself! Stop hitting yourself! Seriously.


ahtitan said...

IMHO, Luke's plan was to redeem his father by sacrificing himself. He knew in his heart that there was still good in Anakin, and banked on winning him over by putting himself in peril. Not necessarily a sound plan, but at least it makes sense.

Ipecac said...

And if Vader was incapable of killing Palpatine, definitely a flawed plan. ;-)

A better plan would have been to hit Palpatine with his lightsaber.

thevoid99 said...

The Rise of Skywalker is the one film of the official Star Wars series that I haven't re-watched and probably not in a long time as I was extremely underwhelmed by that film.

Ipecac said...

Rise of Skywalker is just garbage. Really terrible on every level. I like the new cast, but they were terribly served by the awful scripts.

SJHoneywell said...

I always figured that Luke was planning on sacrificing himself to serve as a distraction for the mission to drop the shields. I don't think he planned on surviving.

Ipecac said...

That idea actually makes sense to me.