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January 5, 2010

Waiting for Yoda

"Um... Obi-Wan, you think you can give me a hand here?"

"Um... Obi-Wan, you think you can give me a hand here?"

Why did Obi-Wan wait so long to tell Luke of Yoda? Why didn’t he tell him before going off to face Vader?

Knowing what Obi-Wan knows, that he can still communicate with Luke after his own death, it actually wouldn’t make much sense to waste time telling Luke about Yoda. It makes sense that he would return in Empire to direct Luke when the time is appropriate.

Besides, there really isn’t any moment where Obi-Wan could have told Luke about Yoda once they had arrived at the Death Star. When he rushes off to release the Millennium Falcon, there is a sense of urgency and little time for talk. He needs to get the Falcon free so they can escape and quickly. He hardly has time to tell Luke about Yoda. So, the idea that he wouldn’t necessarily spill it all there makes sense in the context of the story.

Some fans argue that Obi-Wan must have communicated with Luke in the years leading up to Empire, but there’s no evidence for that. Not only does that argument lack evidence but Luke looks very suprised to see Ben again.

And what if, for sake of argument, Obi-Wan had appeared prior? Perhaps he had his own reasons for waiting. Perhaps Luke wasn’t mature enough or maybe Obi-Wan and Yoda disagreed on whether he was ready or not (possible considering the disagreement between them later on.)

By the way, the behind-the-scenes answer is that George Lucas came up with the idea of Yoda because he had killed off Obi-Wan and had to create a new Jedi to guide Luke. Obi-Wan didn’t tell Luke about Yoda before rushing off in A New Hope quite simply because Yoda didn’t exist yet. However, Lucas couldn’t have introduced Yoda if it didn’t seem realistic that he should be introduced at this time (regardless of the actual storytelling mechanics behind it all.)

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