Let me spend a minute breaking down “Every White Guy In Their Thirties That Grew Up In The Suburbs.” There are a few constants that we all shared growing up. First of all, we all took some sort of karate class or martial arts growing up. There is nothing more important than a little Eastern mysticism and being able to defend yourself when you are statistically being raised Baptist. Second, we have all spent at least one night discussing another topic with some other white guy as if it was going to make any impact on the world. This is in case the United Nations ever called up and said “Hey, we heard you guys had a really sensitive redrawing of the Bosnian border. We’d like to make that international law.” Thank goodness the Jolt cola was not wasted!
The third component is the original Star Wars trilogy. We are the generation that used our martial arts to get into fist fights in playgrounds over whether Darth Vader really was Luke Skywalker’s father. We have discussed every frame of the trilogy. We have memorized every line. We have created memes over whether or not Han Shot Greedo first (he did.) We looked for ‘hidden meanings’ in everything about a series of movies that admitted to using a painted Nike sneaker as an asteroid. We had to wait too long for a second trilogy and were quite honestly offended by parts of it. The prequels just did not seem to have the same decades of thought that we put in thinking how it all should go.
Coming from someone who once wanted to start a rock band called The Dead Bothans, I am in no way immune to Star Wars fandom. I am guilty screaming at a television set when That 70’s Show showed the characters playing with Star Wars toys from 1997 and not real original Star Wars toys. To review, we take this stuff serious. My generation has meditated over single scenes for years. So, as a fellow White Guy In His Thirties Raised In The Suburbs, I am going to tell you that I believe Luke Skywalker never met a living Yoda. We know that Yoda was a ghost at the end of JEDI. However, I think that it can be argued that Yoda was a ghost the entire time.
I have a few ideas on this. You would really have to combine popular theories about ghosts as well as Star Wars to realize that Luke is essentially the kid from the Sixth Sense all grown up. Here is my basic list of proofs…
1. Luke was a Poltergeist agent.
Poltergeist agents are generally defined as young people in adolescence or their early twenties that are sensitive to the presence of ghosts. As being sensitive to this phenomenon, there is phenomenon that go on around them. Some suppose that the poltergeists merely amplify their own natural abilities. The most common manifestation around poltergeist agents? That would be stuff moving on their own. Objects literally flying around in the air. If you have never watched The Empire Strikes Back, go back and watch the Degobah scenes just to see how much stuff randomly flies around. Second, name another character in the original trilogy who can see ghosts? Name another character who can even hear them? None. This is proven when Anakin, Ben, and Yoda all appear as ghosts at the end. Leia is Luke’s sister. Leia is force sensitive. Leia does not see a thing. Luke can still see the ghosts.
2. Intelligent versus residual haunting.
There are several levels of haunting by a ghost. One form of a haunting is known as a residual haunting. A residual haunting is where a ghost or an event will replay over and over infinitum. The ‘ghost’ in this case continues to perform the same actions regardless of the outcome. A good possible example of a residual haunting would the be the incident at the Cave. Yoda went to Degobah. The Empire searched the known universe for living JEDI during what is called ‘the purge.’ Yoda would have been public enemy number one. In the Cave, Darth Vader appears on Degobah. There is a short light saber battle and some one dies. The person who dies can be Vader. The person who dies could be the person fighting Vader. In Degobah, Yoda is not carrying a light saber. The series of events playing out into perpetuity could be the death of Yoda. If Yoda fell in the Cave, it would make sense that the confluence of force energy would cause the Cave to be a dark place. This would mean that any visitor to the Cave might see the same version of events. That would also explain why the weapons were not necessary. Luke was never in any real danger. Luke also feels ‘cold’ near the Cave. ‘Cold Spots’ are such a common part of the poltergeist experience that there is an entire Wikipedia page devoted to the topic of ‘Cold Spots.’
3. Degobah already has an intelligent haunting.
When Luke goes to Degobah, there is not only Yoda there but also Ben ‘Obi Wan’ Kenobi. The only real difference between the two is a blue hue around Obi Wan indicating his ghostliness. The ‘blue hue’ could have easily been obfuscated for the purpose of what Luke and the audience were seeing. No one else is around in Degobah. There is no one else to corroborate that Luke was doing anything other than talking to himself or who could see Yoda. I will get to the R2 confrontation in a moment. An intelligent haunting is where the ghosts are aware of their surroundings and can interact with others. Obviously, Obi Wan possesses this talent. Obi Wan also appears much weaker in his image on Hoth than on Degobah. When Luke is getting ready to board towards the Cloud City in Bespin, Obi Wan states that he cannot aid Luke in a confrontation with Vader. There is never a discussion over whether Yoda can or will leave Degobah. Both Yoda and Obi Wan seem eternally tied to Degobah. It is entirely possible that Yoda as well as Obi Wan were both ghosts on Degobah.
4. The confrontation with R2-D2 and riding Luke’s back.
Honestly, what happens in the confrontation between R2-D2 and Yoda? There is a light stick that floats. Presumably, Yoda is holding onto the object. R2 grabs at the object. R2 would have been used to objects floating in the air. There are a dozen examples of Luke as well as others making objects float. Then, Yoda starts hitting R2 D2 with the stick and Luke tells R2 to let go. The only thing that actually has to be grabbed in this case would be the stick. Patrick Swayze in Ghost can grab an object. Yoda uses the stick to bang against R2. In my opinion, this is also a bit telling. The reason why this is telling is what is known as ‘the force push.’ Force Pushes are where JEDI will create what seems to be a Force Bubble and push some one (very often droids) backwards. It would stand to reason that the bubble would have to be created against two ‘objects’ in which the other object is often a hand. This would mean that two corporeal objects are needed to create the Force Bubble and execute the Force Push. Under this theory, Yoda does not actually have a corporeal body and therefore cannot execute the force push. Yoda could grab a simple object and use it to bang on R2. We have no idea what R2 actually saw. R2 could have grabbed a floating light stick and started getting beaten with a stick. Luke then commanded R2 to let go of the stick. If R2 knew what he was being attacked by, R2 could have created an oil slick, shot out a flame, or sent out an electrical shock. This would mean that R2 had no idea what was happening because he never saw whatever Luke was talking to. Luke talking to himself would have been a common occurrence to R2 as well. We know that Luke could see Yoda. Luke feeling Yoda grab onto his back would not have been a great trick under this theory.
5. Ectoplasm is everywhere in Degobah.
Before you mention Yoda ‘eating,’ there is one ‘bite’ taken out of the stick and Yoda tosses the stick. You hear a clicking sound but never really see the stick bitten out of. Luke is the one who eats in the hut. Remember ectoplasm? This would be the stuff that you see perpetuate as slime all through the Ghostbusters movies. What you may not realize is that Ghostbusters (for a comedy) was actually painstakingly researched on the subject of a real haunting. Ectoplasm will often take the form of a mist. Mist is everywhere in Degobah. You might say “Well, that is just because Degobah is a swamp.” Have you ever been in a swamp? There is not always mist in a swamp. Often, swamps are very clear. This may just be a case of it being a swamp on the alien world of Degobah, but that appears to be the only place that has a perma mist in the Star Wars universe other than the belly of a space slug. We never see Degobah other than this little corner of swamp. There is no real evidence that this is the entire planet. R2D2 is pretty freaked out the entire time that Luke is on Degobah.
6. Darth Vader never mentions Yoda in the original trilogy.
Yoda once took on Emperor Palpatine in a light saber duel. Yoda nearly killed Palpatine as well. The location of Yoda would have been a priority for the Empire even decades later. In RETURN OF THE JEDI, Luke is much more accomplished than he is in Empire. In Empire, Vader states that Obi Wan has taught Luke well. Sith are not given to miss speaking. Sith are also not given to actually lying to any one. If anything, Sith enjoy telling the truth. This is especially true when the truth is inconvenient to the person they are telling the truth too. Vader could read Luke’s thoughts the entire time. In JEDI, Vader mentions that Luke’s thoughts betray his sister. Luke’s thoughts never seem to betray Yoda or Yoda’s location even when he was supposedly alive. This means that Obi Wan was actually in charge of Luke’s training to the very end. Obi Wan communed with the ghost of Yoda drafting him (quite unwillingly) to help in the completion of that training. Vader never mentions Yoda because that situation had been taken care of years ago… by Vader… personally. Had Yoda been alive, we are talking about the same guy who shut down an entire planet to look for two droids. There would have been an immediate Imperial garrison to Degobah. If Ben had a living trainer available, it would have been too dangerous to expose Luke to that person. This would have meant certain death for the trainer. The solution? Send Luke to a trainer who was already passed.
Granted, this is not a perfect theory. No theory ever is. Yoda being already dead is probably not even the intention. Yoda was a puppet in the original trilogy. Yoda could not even effectively walk correctly. However, there is a marked difference of activity between Yoda in the original trilogy and the first trilogy. There is a lot that is unknown about Yoda including the actual name of Yoda’s race. Personally, I like to call Yoda a Whill. There is a mysterious history of the Star Wars Universe called the Journal of the Whills. Part of me thinks that Yoda’s race (living naturally so long) are the keepers as well as the writers of this history. At any rate, it is a lot of fun as well as a serious point of discussion among the aforementioned White Guys in Their Thirties Raised In the Suburbs.