Star Wars, Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (Part III)
Greetings, exalted ones, and allow me to warmly welcome you back to this recap of Star Wars, Episode VI: That Time The Skywalkers Fixed Everything Forever HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA j/k Sorry Everyone There Was Cash to Be Had.
Oh, I am sorry. Was that too salty for this, the Star Wars fanblog equivalent of a tipsy, gossipy mimosa-soaked brunch where we all talk about Obi-Wan and Anakin behind their backs? I apologize (and as we know, when it comes to Disney, I am weak, so rest assured they’re the ones getting the last laugh here, often via my credit card.) (By the way, on a related note, I would like to report that I have been to Galaxy’s Edge, and my hopeless ass loved it so much it probably deserves its own recap. Robohnaka is real, everyone, and I have lived to tell the tale, and if you have the opportunity, go visit him yourself — especially if, like me, you are a giant child.)
OK. Return of the Jedi! Where were we? Let us review, as we do: Luke had arrived on horrible, sandy Tatooine (“Republic Credits Not Accepted for Plot Purposes“) to save his as-yet-undiscovered-sister Yelling Expert Leia Organa and her dumb boyfriend, Confused Dreamboat Han Solo. (I would like to point out, yet again, that “Confused Dreamboat” is easily one of the most popular character types in Star Wars, and is yet another reason why I love Star Wars and so should everyone.)
Yes, Luke showed up, killed a rancor and damaged a great deal of property, Leia killed Jabba the Hutt, Boba Fett died in an almost hilariously non-event sort of way, Artoo served up some booze, and the gang went out in their typical understated fashion by blowing Jabba’s sail barge into smithereens.
Oh! AND, I would very much like to update you all on one particular bit from that last recap, because it is INCREDIBLY ENTERTAINING TO ME, and only further solidifies my belief that Star Wars has often been made by the very weirdos who consume it. In that recap, I said the following, about how the passage of time in Star Wars is something that causes me, much like Anakin Skywalker, to be in a perpetual state of confusion:
The boys get taken back in front of Jabba, and Han still can’t see so he asks where Leia is. How long have they been here? Leia had time to get a complicated new hairstyle, but Han still can’t see? When exactly did Luke get here? How long does carbonite take to wear off? I HAVE NO IDEA HOW LONG ANYTHING IN STAR WARS HAS TAKEN, EVER. It actually enhances my enjoyment of it, because the idea that, say, the events of Revenge of the Sith literally took all of 2 and a half total days to occur cracks me up. I mean, it’s not like I think Anakin would need more time than that to utterly and completely fuck up the entire universe. He’s really good at making bad choices! I believe he could do it.
To my GREAT DELIGHT, a few days later, this little bit of information passed my way:
So, there you go, people: Anakin really did ruin everything that quickly. I’m weirdly proud of him.
I would like to point out, while I’m here, that we should really all possibly be concerned with how many times I’ve jokingly suggested something on this blog that either turned out to be correct, like the above, or became something that later ended up actually happening in the story, like The Return of Undead Palpatine. (Note: I have made a LOT of jokes about Maul still not being dead on here, everyone, so given the fact that I seem to be the unwitting Oracle of The Star Wars, I am once again going to place us on Maul Threat Level Orange. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
Huh. Well then. Still haven’t actually started this recap yet, have I? How about that. That’s what I get for being the slowest recapper in the universe these days — I have far too much to ramble about when I return! All right, so with this preamble behind us, let’s get back to our story.
Recurring Theme: Master Yoda, Fed the Fuck Up
As we get things going, our little buddy Luke has set off for the swamp again to visit his ailing green grandpa. I’m sure Yoda will be thrilled to see him and will absolutely not choose to die rather than listen to a Skywalker yell about something again.
Inside Yoda’s hut, Yoda’s going all in with the “well I suppose this’ll probably be my last Christmas with you kids” routine, pointing out that he’s Old and Green and Wrinkled and on and on, and hoists himself into his bed, declaring that he’s expecting a Big Sleep coming soon for himself.
Luke, possibly because his family has some kind of genetic comprehension deficit about the inevitable nature of death, says, “Master Yoda, you can’t die!” as though this is something Yoda has a major amount of control over at AGE NINE-HUNDRED. I’m just…this is making me laugh. Here comes Luke, with his Jedi getup from the Anakin Skywalker Tempted by the Dark Side Collection and his robotic hand covered by a glove, here in Yoda’s room to be all WAIT, HANG ON, NOBODY HERE IS DYING BECAUSE I SAID SO! At least Luke hasn’t sworn that he’ll never LET Yoda die, even if he has to kill a whole room full of preschoolers to stop it.
Yoda, not for the first fucking time, is like “well yeah, but that’s life, you know? Even people strong in the Force die, Skywalker. Not that I expect anyone in YOUR family to be able to wrap their heads around that one.”
Those Couple Summer Semesters Paid Off I Guess
Luke is like BUT BUT BUT I need you to help me complete my training! And Yoda, half asleep, to my great amusement is like “…nah, you’re good.” LOL. Yeah yeah, Luke is Pure of Heart and a good boy and all but I AM AT LEAST 50% SURE Yoda just said this because let’s face it: he is 900 years old, he’s got a bad back, he’s tired and who in the hell would CHOOSE to continue training a Skywalker under these conditions? So instead he’s all “no, you totally, uh, picked up some AP credits we forgot to apply before so…you’re done!” and slaps a mortarboard on Luke.
Luke, just REALLY serving up some A+ Confused Skywalker Doofus Faces, is awed: so he is a Jedi! I love that he was already going around telling everyone that he was like 45 minutes ago. (I bet part of the reason Anakin was so pissed off in that one Council scene in Revenge of the Sith was that he’d already had a bunch of “Jedi Master Anakin Skywalker” business cards made up.) Yoda, backtracking a bit, laughs — no, not quite. Not yet. My husband and I once died laughing at this bit, because my husband was like “Look, after what happened last time, Yoda, just lie to him. “Sure, you’re totally a Jedi. You can call yourself whatever title you want, just please don’t kill anybody over it.””
No, Yoda tells Luke he won’t truly be a Jedi until he confronts Vader. Oh, sure, I like how for centuries other Jedi got to be knighted for doing shit like perfecting their form and being good at meditating and helping resolve petty interplanetary disputes like some sort of squadron of supernaturally-gifted Judge Judys, but Luke’s gotta go stare down a terrifying RoboSith who comes with a heaping side serving of Personal Emotional Baggage in order to get his diploma. What a crock! Luke, it’s still not too late to just head to Tosche Station for those power converters and leave all this behind, you know.
Recurring Theme: The Family Secret
Luke looks Deeply Conflicted, and I’ve gotta hand it to Mark here, because he’s acting the hell out of this scene considering that (since, y’know, Star Wars and all) all of the content is of course ridiculously silly, and also he has to speak all of his lines to a Muppet. As usual, the people in these films DO NOT GET ENOUGH CREDIT. I would suffer from such a case of the giggles trying to act my way through ANY movie in this bananapants franchise — despite my love for and willingness to cry over it — that I’d get fired on the first damn day.
Aaaanyways, Luke is like “yeah so about that…is Darth Vader my dad, or what, because I bet a lot of people who fortunately don’t have access to the Internet yet have spent the last couple years heatedly debating this at their D&D meetups”.
Yoda, rather than confirm or deny, LITERALLY TURNS OVER IN HIS BED AND BASICALLY ATTEMPTS TO PASS AWAY. I’m cracking up over here. Yoda my guy, I don’t BLAME you, but also LOL. NICE TRY, PAL. Then, somehow aging an additional 1200 years in response, is like “oh, he told you that, did he?” I AM DYING, because how much do you wanna bet Yoda was mostly just a little surprised/caught off guard that Anakin figured something out, even if it took him two decades to do so?
After a beat, Yoda shuts his eyes and is like “yes, my condolences, it’s true.” Luke makes a face that can be best described as “well, shit”:
Yoda notes that this is “unexpected”, and so, again, I am going to take this as validation — he really was taken aback that Anakin had accurately parsed something out. Well, he did warn us that he was was full of surprises, you know!
Yoda’s like “anyways, sorry, this sucks”, and Luke is all “excuse me? It’s BAD that I know the TRUTH?” and Yoda’s like “no, dummy, it sucks that you had to hear about all that BEFORE YOU WERE READY TO HEAR IT WHICH IS WHY I TOLD YOUR DUMB ASS NOT TO GO FIGHT VADER IN THE LAST DAMN MOVIE, THANKS”. To Luke’s credit, instead of responding with a Skywalkerian “this is an outrage!”-style reply, he looks chastened and apologizes.
Recurring Theme: Fond Farewell
Yoda’s voice gets shakier now, and he starts to impart the usual “stay away from the Dark Side, bring a sweater, say no to drugs, tell your Obi-Wan you love him” stuff, telling Luke not to underestimate the Emperor (LOL, God, he wasn’t kidding, that guy is apparently a lot harder to kill than we thought,) otherwise he’ll end up just like his dad, and let me tell you: it’s understandable, and yet also hilarious to me how Anakin is thrown out there as like “you wouldn’t want to end up like THAT LOSER.”
Luke continues to lean in looking supremely confused (who among us is surprised,) and that’s when Yoda, with his last breaths, Dramatically Reveals one last thing, because this whole fucking series is a goddamn soap opera and DON’T YOU EVER TRY TO TELL ME IT’S NOT, THAT’S RIGHT NERDS, YOU LIKE A SOAP OPERA. He manages to get out that “there is another Skywalker”, and HAHAHA OH LUKE IS SO INCREDIBLY LOST:
Yoda’s little body disappears, Force-Ghostification-style, and Luke looks very sad and aww MARK YOU DID SO GOOD AND I LOVE YOU. I will also own up to the fact that 6-ish-year-old me cried when Yoda died the first time I saw this. Sniffle!
Recurring Theme: It’s All Obi-Wan’s Fault
AHHHH speaking of people I love, it’s time once again for our pal Obes to clock in from the great beyond to take care of the Skywalkers, because his life is terrible and he will never get a damn minute of peace.
Luke, Feeling Ways about Yoda’s death, looks despondently over at the now-empty hut. Artoo beeps at him all “buck up, little camper”, but Luke, because he is always like .0008 seconds away from either running headfirst into conflict OR giving up on life, the universe and everything, laments: he can’t go on alone!
Sensing the timing is right for a Dramatic Entrance, Obi-Wan appears offscreen, and I laugh for 1,000 years at Luke’s face, which is Full of Conflicted Emotions and all but also there is at least SOME relief in there, because we all know that on some level Luke knows his people don’t know what the fuck they’re doing without this guy around.
Obes is like “hey, chin up: Yoda will always be with you! You never know; someday you guys might still get to commit arson together!”
Luke goes Full Anakin here, makes that angry little sassmaster face they make and goes stalking over there, to which Obi-Wan appears to have BASICALLY NO REACTION, which I am living for. Luke, honey, Obi-Wan has sat through this particular show before once or twice. Just sayin’.
Luke demands to know why Obi-Wan didn’t tell him about that whole “Satan’s Vice President of Murder is actually your dad” thing. Yeah, who WOULDN’T lead off with that? Honestly, Obes.
Recurring Theme: Cause of Death: Obi-Wan and Anakin
Oh, GOOD: Luke is going to force Obi-Wan to talk about Anakin again, and therefore Obi-Wan’s extreme emotional trauma, betrayal, and pain. We all know how much I love that! WHY STAR WARS.
Luke scowls: Obi-Wan told him that Darth Vader betrayed and murdered his father! HOW COULD YOU, BEN?!
Obi-Wan lays out the case that, from his point of view, the good person that Luke’s father was — the one that Obi-Wan loved and took care of and hardcore flirted with daily for a good solid few years during the Clone Wars — that man WAS killed when he became Darth Vader. Or at least, that’s what one needs to tell oneself as you cry yourself to sleep on your concrete slab in a hut in the middle of the armpit of space after all of your family and friends have been killed or made otherwise inaccessible to you for all eternity at the hands of the one person you loved the most in the galaxy whose angelic visage haunts your every waking moment and each night in your dreams. Or so Obi-Wan hears.
Luke is deeply peeved by this interpretation. “From a certain point of view, what kind of bullshit”?!
Luke, sweetie, I know you’re going through your own thing here, but because of my personal afflictions I am physically incapable of taking anyone’s side but Obi-Wan’s in 100% of all situations BUT ESPECIALLY ONES WHERE HE’S SAD ABOUT ANAKIN, OK? Sorry. You’re on your own this time, Skywalker.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Loves Anakin
Obi-Wan then decides to just start listing off a bunch of shit that Anakin was amazing at again, because whole minutes of Star Wars content have gone by since one of these two idiots reminisced about the other: Anakin was a good friend, he was a great pilot, he was handsome AF oh and also he was like, super strong in the Force like Obi-Wan could hardly even believe it?? Would you like to see some photos Obi-Wan has on his phone? Here’s a copy of Anakin’s Jedi Knight certificate and here’s them on their anniversary the year they went on that cruise and also here’s some pictures of the teenage girl they adopted, isn’t she wonderful and YES OK I’M DONE NOW.
Yes, Obi-Wan doesn’t have time to recount their many daring and/or, er, “platonic” escapades, because he has to get back to one of his other hobbies: blaming himself for every bad thing that’s ever happened to Anakin. He tells Luke that he took it upon himself to train him, thinking he could do just as well as Yoda, but he was wrong. Because no one gave Obi-Wan a copy of the backstory before this discussion, he fails to point out that there’s another dead guy who is conveniently not showing his face around here who sort of cornered him into training Anakin WITH HIS DRAMATIC LAST WORDS, in part because of his weird obsession with a possibly-bullshit ancient prophecy. But in fairness, Luke’s got enough on his plate right now without being fully informed about what a trainwreck his Jedi lineage is. He doesn’t even know Anakin’s not the only Sith Lord in it! LOL. What a mess.
Recurring Theme: You Can’t Lose Hope Just Because It’s Hopeless
Obi-Wan looks sad and tired and please for the love of God someone hug him, and Luke interjects: there’s still good in Vader!
Obi-Wan’s posture is all defeated and worn down and AHHHH why must Star Wars hurt me this way, and he sadly says with resignation that Anakin is “more machine now than man, twisted and evil”. I cope with pain by laughing, so I’m going to point out that Obes doesn’t exactly go out of his way to explain where that whole “more machine” part of Vader came from in the first place, but of course, Anakin DID have it coming to him.
Luke gets all emo about how there’s no way he can do it; he can’t kill Anakin
HE IS LIKE MY BROTHER
Recurring Theme: But Wait, There’s More!
Obi-Wan explains that Luke was who they were all banking on — their last hope. Luke counters that Yoda told him there was someone else out there that could maybe do Luke’s dirty work for him, and Obi-Wan is like “oh yeah, he meant your twin sister”, to which Luke stupidly says that he doesn’t have a sister. Luke, after all THIS, plus the fact that you’re literally speaking to the dead, is the idea that these people also hid the fact that you have a secret twin THAT hard to believe?
Obes throws some more Episode 3 pre-backstory at him and says that he and his sister had to be hidden from the Empire, because “if Anakin were to have any offspring, they would be a great threat to [the Emperor]”, and I am DYING because I know what he means here but also the idea of Sheev being terrified of a couple of babies because of their POWAH is hilarious to me.
Luke, thrilled by the fact that he figured out a thing, exclaims that it’s Leia! Leia’s his sister! No wonder getting dip-kissed by her all those times was sort of weird! Ha! Oh Star Wars.
Obi-Wan is like “hey, cool! You did know a thing! Good for you, Luke. Have a cookie.” He adds that Luke’s feelings serve him well, but advises him to keep them close to the vest, because at a dangerous time like this, they could be used against him. NAH, the Emperor would never use a Skywalker’s feelings against them! Pish posh.
Luke looks resolved, and nods stoically. This scene ends, and so I am going to add that Luke absolutely hugged Obi-Wan and thanked him for still looking out for him and he’s sorry Obi-Wan’s life was such a shitshow, and then Obi-Wan shed a single tear and told Luke he was proud of him and whoever wants to write me that fanfic, I’m here for it.
Recurring Theme: Planet-Killing Superweapon
Back with the Rebel fleet, Han and Lando are hitting on each other again, still, as Han observes that Lando’s a General now. I hope he got a new cape just for the occasion.
Just…nevermind. I’ve spent enough time filling in the Subtext Blanks of Star Wars in this recap (and all recaps before it) for now. They give each other some shit about Lando helping to lead the Rebellion’s latest insane plan, and smirk at each other a bunch.
Then a hush falls over the room as Mon Mothma shows up in her Signature White Look to talk about Death Star II: somehow Neither The First, NOR LAST, Canonical Superweapon. They’ve got a bunch of intel that tells them that the weapons for DS2 aren’t operational yet, AND — BIG TIME BONUS — Sheev is gonna be onboard to oversee the completion of this thing.
Admiral Ackbar lays out the usual song-and-dance: there’s an energy shield they have to take out (that’s on Endor, and GOD I just realized I haven’t even gotten to the Ewoks yet OH LORD I HAVE SO MUCH LEFT OF THIS MOVIE), then they can basically do the exact same fucking thing they had to do to blow up Death Star I, because the Empire is dumb. And also Lando’s gonna lead this thing! Han smugs off about this and Leia looks like she’s considering divorcing him already despite not being married yet.
But also! They need someone to fly a shuttle to Endor to deactivate the shield! Why, who’s signed on to do that part?
What follows is easily one of the DORKIEST sequences in Star Wars history, and A) that is saying something and B) I love it. Han is like “well OK um yeah, I said I’d do it, but like, I need people?” Chewie of course is all in because he knows for a fact that Han will absolutely die in the first 14 seconds of this mission if he’s not there to help him, and then Leia is like GOLLY, HANDSOME: I’m in too!
…and then Luke, strutting in, is all ME TOO BUDDY! and the music gets all super sappy and Luke and Leia hug, at which Leia has a mild Force Attack: what’s wrong, Luke?
Luke just smiles cryptically and tells her to ask him again sometime, and then everyone smiles because who ISN’T thrilled by the prospect of dying a horrible, fiery death at the hands of a bunch of fascists? (Threepio, for one, who tells Artoo this isn’t his idea of “exciting”.) Sorry, Threeps: you know how we do things around here. TO THE SHIPS!
Recurring Theme: Bromantic Farewell
Lando and Han do the honors of giving us the latest in a seemingly infinite string of Bromantic Farewells here in Star Wars, giving each other shit about how Han wants Lando to have the Falcon (which hilariously was at one point his own ship, but I DIGRESS), and Lando better not scratch it up on this mission and blahblahblah and whatever, this ends with a Jaunty Salute.
Onboard an Imperial shuttle, Han, Chewie and the Skytwins assemble. Luke and Leia have, OF COURSE, changed into Action Fashion Ponchos because what — you think Padme’s children are going to show up somewhere DRESSED POORLY?! How dare.
Han looks wistfully at the Falcon again, and Leia snaps him out of it. With that, they’re off!
Recurring Theme: Sheev Palpatine, Man with a(n Ongoing, Insane) Plan
Meanwhile on Death Star II, Sheev and Vader are chit chatting. Sidious tells him to send the fleet to the far side of Endor, and to be entirely honest with you guys I can handle Palpatine in this movie basically NOT AT ALL. He is. TOO MUCH. I am so here for it. HE’S HILARIOUS AND EVIL AND THE BEST.
He tells Vader not to worry about some reports of the Rebel fleet near Sullust, and then grandstands about how soon they’ll be crrrrrrrrushed and Luke will be “one of us”. LOL. You mean an overdramatic idiot with superpowers who enjoys showboating? Done and done, Excellency.
Recurring Theme: The Sneak-In
Han approaches the Imperial fleet with their stolen shuttle, and uses a clearance code in hopes of gaining access. Leia wryly observes that now they’ll find out if that code was worth the price they paid, and Han nervously attempts to reassure everyone and himself that it’ll work.
Luke receives a word from his sponsor, the Force, and is like AW SHIT VADER’S HERE, and Han is like OK everyone just chill the fuck out, encouraging Chewie to “fly casual”.
..but of course, Vader IS there, and here he is, please let us all be entertained by him:
He asks Piett what that shuttle’s doing, Piett asks Han to elaborate, and Han replies with his bullshit story about how they’re bringing parts and technical crew to Endor, which Vader does not buy, which means it was probably an especially bad cover story because we all know Anakin will believe just about anything. Vader then has HIS Force Moment (TM) where he realizes Luke’s here, though I would like to point out he seems much less excited about this than he was when he realized Obi-Wan had arrived to get murdered back in Episode 4.
Piett asks Vader if he should let them through or hold them, and Vader of course says that he’ll deal with them himself. Oh good, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching 4 billion hours of Star Wars, it’s that Anakin excels at dealing with things alone. The crew is waved through (to Han’s delight,) and Luke looks on With Grave Concern as the gang heads towards Endor. DUN DUN DUUUUUUN!
That’s where we’re leaving our heroes for this installment! Do join me next time, when we’ll have ourselves a proto-podrace, meet some new furry friends, and Anakin’s going to have some things to think about (he hates that.) What fun it’ll be — see you there!