If you ask me which Star Wars movie I like best I will tell you The Empire Strikes Back. However this isn't always the case. I seem to flux between which one of these films is my favorite. For a long time when I was a kid Return of the Jedi was my favorite. This, however, was more due to the ROTJ being the only movie that actually had a presence when I was younger. I saw ROTJ in the theater, I bought ROTJ figures. So of course it was my favorite.
When I got older and more cynical, The Empire Strikes Back took over as my favorite of the films. I think this is just because there was less aliens, less flash, and more substance then ROTJ could offer, and that held with my maturing mind better.
Now an odd thing is happening. ESB is still my favorite, but now A New Hope is starting make steps to taking it's place. I think now, as I seem to be feeling my age that I want to return to simpler things. Why I don't just got back to ROTJ? I have no idea. What does this have to do with what The Empire Strikes Back has to tell us about the Prequels? Nothing. So let's get into that.
BEN: You will go to the Dagobah system.
LUKE: Dagobah system?
BEN: There you will learn from Yoda, the Jedi Master who instructed
We come to one of the most notable of inconsistency between the Prequels and the Original Trilogy. Who trained Obi-Wan? In The Phantom Menace were are shown that Obi-Wan Kenobi is the Padawan Learner of Qui-Gon Jinn, not Yoda as this scene in tells us. The damage control for this inconsistency starts almost as soon as we are presented with it. Young Obi-Wan utters the line "But Master Yoda told me to mindful of the Future." I'm guessing this throw away line was suppose to appease us that at some point maybe Yoda taught Obi-Wan something. But really Obi-Wan didn't say "You will learn from Yoda, the Jedi Master that gave me a few pointers one time." No, he said "who instructed him". And that person is clearly Qui-Gon Jinn here.
The rumblings about this didn't end after The Phantom Menace, enter Attack of the Clones. In Attack of the Clones we are shown Yoda instructing young Jedi. Again I think this is way of George Lucas showing that Obi-Wan must also have gone through this training with Yoda. I have to wonder if this scene would even have been in the movie if people hadn't thrown a fit about Yoda not being Obi-Wan's master. I actually think it wouldn't have been. Also later in the movie we learn that Qui-Gon was trained by Count Dooku, who was trained by Yoda. So now we are playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon to prove that in some way Yoda trained Obi-Wan?
At the end of day I just have to feel that Lucas failed here. He wanted Qui-Gon in there as Obi-Wan's master and what came before didn't matter. He could have wrote himself out of it, I can think of a few ways to make it work without contradicting what was said in The Empire Strikes Back, but George instead went the route he did. In my opinion Lucas just couldn't be bothered with making this work.
YODA: Not far. Yoda not far. Patience. Soon you will be with him. Rootleaf, I cook. Why wish you become Jedi? Hm?
LUKE: Mostly because of my father, I guess.
YODA: Ah, your father. Powerful Jedi was he, powerful Jedi, mmm.
Anakin was shown to be a powerful Jedi in his time in the prequels. From his abilities as Pod Racer, to his exploits during the war, Anakin is shown to be very powerful in the Force. Lucas is good here.
LUKE: Oh, come on. How could you know my father? You don't even know who I am. Oh, I don't even know what I'm doing here. We're wasting our time.
YODA: I cannot teach him. The boy has no patience.
BEN'S VOICE: He will learn patience.
YODA: Much anger in him, like his father.
Anakin is shown always trying to control his anger in the Prequels. From his removal from his mother at such young age, to her death at the hands of Sandpeople. His having to keep his relationship with Padme secret, to the fact that the council refused to make him a Master. Anakin always seems to be angry about something in the Prequels. An anger that when bottled up exploded outwards, like when he killed the Sandpeople. Lucas was very good at showing where the anger that finally consumed Anakin came from, even Hayden wasn't the best at conveying it.
BEN'S VOICE: Was I any different when you taught me?
YODA: Hah. He is not ready.
LUKE: Yoda! I am ready. I...Ben! I can be a Jedi. Ben, tell him I'm ready.
YODA: Ready, are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained! A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life as he looked away. To the future, the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh! Excitement. Heh! A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless!
BEN'S VOICE: So was I, if you'll remember.
Again we have Obi-Wan confirming that Yoda was in fact his Master, but we covered that above. Just to say this seems to indicate a much more involved Master/Pupil relationship then what is show in the Prequels.
BEN: Luke, I don't want to lose you to the Emperor the way I lost Vader.
LUKE: You won't.
In Revenge of the Sith the Palpatine seduced Anakin away from the light with promises of the power to save Padme. He abandoned the teachings of Obi-Wan and followed the Emperor instead. Obi-Wan lost Anakin to the Darkside, and here is fearful that the same may happen with Luke. This matches up pretty well.
YODA: Stopped they must be. On this depends. Only a fully trained Jedi Knight with the Force as his ally will conquer Vader and his Emperor. If you end your training now, if you choose the quick and easy path, as Vader did, you will become an agent of evil.
I don't know if Vader really picked the quick and easy path. He picked the path that he thought would save Padme. A path that the Jedi couldn't teach him. I guess you could say that such a path was part of the Darkside and the Darkside is easier and quicker way to power. So I can give a pass on this one.
VADER: If you only knew the power of the dark side. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
LUKE: He told me enough! He told me you killed him.
VADER: No. I am your father.
LUKE: No. No. That's not true! That's impossible!
VADER: Search your feelings. You know it to be true.
LUKE: No! No! No!
And the big reveal. If you had watched the prequels first, this would have been totally ruined for you. Luckily, hardly anyone did that. So no problems here.
In Revenge of the Sith Padme reveals to Anakin that is pregnant with his child. By the end of the movie Anakin thinks that his child had died with it's mother. So he must have been surprised when he found out that the Rebel that blew up the Death Star and was causing the Emperor to get his panties all in a bunch was in fact his son. This matches up pretty good. So nothing really of note here.
Well that does it for The Empire Strikes Back. Next we will be looking at Return of the Jedi. Jedi has a very interesting deleted scene from the script. Also will look at all the people and creatures we lost due to the Special Editions.
Until next time, I'll see you on the font line.