THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO YODA

EXCERPTS FROM STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE
AND THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (© Lucasfilm Ltd.)
ILLUSTRATING ANCIENT STOCISM

1. THE STOIC UNIVERSE IS PERVADED BY A COSMIC FORCE (CALLED LOGOS)

STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE. . .

BEN: I have something here for you. Your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough, but your uncle wouldn't allow it. He feared you might follow old Obi-Wan on some damned-fool idealistic crusade like your father did.

THREEPIO: Sir, if you'll not be needing me, I'll close down for awhile.

LUKE: Sure, go ahead.

Ben hands Luke the saber.

LUKE: What is it?

BEN: Your fathers lightsaber. This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or as random as a blaster.

Luke pushes a button on the handle. A long beam shoots out about four feet and flickers there. The light plays across the ceiling.

BEN: An elegant weapon for a more civilized time. For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times, before the Empire.

Luke hasn't really been listening.

LUKE: How did my father die?

BEN: A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights. He betrayed and murdered your father. Now the Jedi are all but extinct. Vader was seduced by the dark side of the Force.

LUKE: The Force?

BEN: Well, the Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.

Artoo makes beeping sounds.

BEN: Now, let's see if we can't figure out what you are, my little friend. And where you come from.

LUKE: I saw part of the message he was...

Luke is cut short as the recorded image of the beautiful young Rebel princess is projected from Artoo's face.

BEN: I seem to have found it.

Luke stops his work as the lovely girl's image flickers before his eyes.

LEIA: General Kenobi, years ago you served my father in the Clone Wars. Now he begs you to help him in his struggle against the Empire. I regret that I am unable to present my father's request to you in person, but my ship has fallen under attack and I'm afraid my mission to bring you to Alderaan has failed. I have placed information vital to the survival of the Rebellion into the memory systems of this R2 unit. My father will know how to retrieve it. You must see this droid safely delivered to him on Alderaan. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope.

There is a little static and the transmission is cut short. Old Ben leans back and scratches his head. He silently puffs on a tarnished chrome water pipe. Luke has stars in his eyes.

BEN: You must learn the ways of the Force if you're to come with me to Alderaan.

LUKE: (laughing) Alderaan? I'm not going to Alderaan. I've got to go home. It's late, I'm in for it as it is.

BEN: I need your help, Luke. She needs your help. I'm getting too old for this sort of thing.

LUKE: I can't get involved! I've got work to do! It's not that I like the Empire. I hate it! But there's nothing I can do about it right now. It's such a long way from here.

BEN: That's your uncle talking.

LUKE: (sighing) Oh, God, my uncle. How am I ever going to explain this?

BEN: Learn about the Force, Luke.

LUKE: Look, I can take you as far as Anchorhead. You can get a transport there to Mos Eisley or wherever you're going.

BEN: You must do what you feel is right, of course.


2. STOICS ARE NOT DRIVEN BY BODILY APPETITES

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

INTERIOR: CREATURE'S HOUSE

Artoo, peeking in the window, sees the inside of the house-- a very plain, but cozy dwelling. Everything is in the same small scale as the creature. The only thing out of place in the miniature room is Luke, whose height makes the four-foot ceiling seem even lower. He sits cross-legged on the floor of the living room. The creature is in an adjoining area -- his little kitchen--cooking up an incredible meal. The stove is a steaming hodgepodge of pots and pans. The wizened little host scurries about chopping this, shredding that, and showering everything with exotic herbs and spices. He rushes back and forth putting platters on the table in front of Luke, who watches the creature impatiently.

LUKE: Look, I'm sure it's delicious. I just don't understand why we can't see Yoda now.

CREATURE: Patience! For the Jedi it is time to eat as well. Eat, eat. Hot. Good food, hm? Good, hmm?

Moving with some difficulty in the cramped quarters, Luke sits down near the fire and serves himself from the pot. Tasting the unfamiliar concoction, he is pleasantly surprised.

LUKE: How far away is Yoda? Will it take us long to get there?

CREATURE: Not far. Yoda not far. Patience. Soon you will be with him. (tasting food from the pot) Rootleaf, I cook. Why wish you become Jedi? Hm?

LUKE: Mostly because of my father, I guess.

CREATURE: Ah, your father. Powerful Jedi was he, powerful Jedi, mmm.

LUKE: (a little angry) Oh, come on. How could you know my father? You don't even know who I am. (fed up) Oh, I don't even know what I'm doing here. We're wasting our time.

The creature turns away from Luke and speaks to a third party.

CREATURE: (irritated) I cannot teach him. The boy has no patience.

Luke's head spins in the direction the creature faces. But there is no one there. The boy is bewildered, but it gradually dawns on him that the little creature is Yoda, the Jedi Master, and that he is speaking with Ben.

BEN'S VOICE: He will learn patience.

YODA: Hmmm. Much anger in him, like his father.

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.

Trying to see Ben, Luke starts to get up but hits his head on the low ceiling.

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. (to the invisible Ben, indicating Luke) This one a long time have I watched. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh! Excitement. Heh! A Jedi craves not these things. (turning to Luke) You are reckless!

Luke looks down. He knows it is true.

BEN'S VOICE: So was I, if you'll remember.

YODA: He is too old. Yes, too old to begin the training.

Luke thinks he detects a subtle softening in Yoda's voice.

LUKE: But I've learned so much.

Yoda turns his piercing gaze on Luke, as though the Jedi Master's huge eyes could somehow determine how much the boy had learned. After a long moment, the little Jedi turns toward where he alone sees Ben.

YODA: (sighs) Will he finished what he begins?

LUKE: I won't fail you -- I'm not afraid.

YODA: (turns slowly toward him) Oh, you will be. You will be.


EXTERIOR: DAGOBAH -- DAY

With Yoda strapped to his back, Luke climbs up one of the many thick vines that grow in the swamp. Panting heavily, he continues his course -- climbing, flipping through the air, jumping over roots, and racing in and out of the heavy ground fog.

YODA: Run! Yes. A Jedi's strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger...fear...aggression. The dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan's apprentice.

LUKE: Vader. Is the dark side stronger?

YODA: No...no...no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.

LUKE: But how am I to know the good side from the bad?

YODA: You will know. When you are calm, at peace. Passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.

LUKE: But tell me why I can't...

YODA: (interrupting) No, no, there is no why. Nothing more will I teach you today. Clear your mind of questions. Mmm. Mmmmmm.

Artoo beeps in the distance as Luke lets Yoda down to the ground. Breathing heavily, he takes his shirt from a nearby tree branch and pulls it on. He turns to see a huge, dead, black tree, its base surrounded by a few feet of water. Giant, twisted roots form a dark and sinister cave on one side. Luke stares at the tree, trembling.

LUKE: There's something not right here.

Yoda sits on a large root, poking his Gimer Stick into the dirt.

LUKE: I feel cold, death.

YODA: That place...is strong with the dark side of the Force. A domain of evil it is. In you must go.

LUKE: What's in there?

YODA: Only what you take with you.

Luke looks warily between the tree and Yoda. He starts to strap on his weapon belt.

YODA: Your weapons...you will not need them.

Luke gives the tree a long look, than shakes his head "no." Yoda shrugs. Luke reaches up to brush aside some hanging vines and enters the tree.


3. STOICS MAINTAIN CONTROL OF THEIR PASSIONS

INTERIOR: CLOUD CITY -- CARBON-FREEZING CHAMBER

Luke and Vader are locked in combat on the platform overlooking the chamber. Their swords clash, the platform sways. Luke aggressively drives Vader back, forcing Vader to use defensive tactics.

VADER: You have learned much, young one.

LUKE: You'll find I'm full of surprises.

Vader makes two quick moves, hooking Luke's sword out of his hand and sending it flying. Another lightning move at Luke's feet forces the youth to jump back to protect himself. Losing his balance, Luke rolls down the stairs to the circular carbon-freezing platform. There he sprawls on the floor, surprised and shaken. Just in time he looks up to see Vader, like a giant black bird, flying right at him. Luke rolls away as Vader lands. Crouching, Luke keeps his gaze steadily on his enemy.

VADER: Your destiny lies with me, Skywalker. Obi-Wan knew this to be true.

LUKE: No!

Behind Luke the hydraulic elevator cover has opened noiselessly. All the while, Luke slowly, cautiously moves back, away from the Dark Lord. Suddenly, Vader attacks so forcefully that Luke loses his balance and falls back into the opening. There is a rumble, and in an instant freezing steam rises to obscure Vader's vision. Vader turns aside and deactivates his sword.

VADER: All to easy. Perhaps you are not as strong as the Emperor thought.

Through the steam behind Vader something blurs upward. Liquid metal begins to pour into the pit. Vader turns around -- and then looks up. He sees Luke, who has leaped fifteen feet straight up and who now hangs from some hoses on the carbonite outlet.

VADER: Impressive...most impressive.

Luke jumps down to the platform where he is separated from Vader by the steaming carbonite pit. He raises his hand. His sword, which had fallen on another part of the platform, swiftly jumps into his outstretched hand and is instantly ignited. Vader immediately lights his sword as well.

VADER: Obi-Wan has taught you well. You have controlled your fear... now release your anger.

Luke is more cautious, controlling his anger. He begins to retreat as Vader goads him on. As Luke takes a defensive position, he realizes he has been foolhardy. A quick sword exchange and Luke forces Vader back. Another exchange and Vader retreats. Luke presses forward.

VADER: Only your hatred can destroy me.

Breathing hard, Luke jumps in the air, turning a somersault over Vader. He lands on the floor and slashes at Vader as the room continues to fill up with steam. Vader retreats before Luke's skillful sword. Vader blocks the sword, but looses his balance and falls into the outer rim of pipes. The energy Luke has used to stop Vader has brought him to the point of collapse. Luke moves to the edge and looks down, but sees no sign of Vader. He then deactivates his sword, hooks it on his belt, and lowers himself into the pit.


4. STOICS BEHAVE IN HARMONY WITH THE LOGOS (REASON, RATIONALITY) PERVADING THE UNIVERSE

INTERIOR: GANTRY -- OUTSIDE CONTROL ROOM -- REACTOR SHAFT

Luke moves along the railing and up to the control room. Vader lunges at him and Luke immediately raises his lit sword to meet Vader's. Sparks fly as they duel, Vader gradually forcing Luke backward toward the gantry.

VADER: You are beaten. It is useless to resist. Don't let yourself be destroyed as Obi-Wan did.

Luke answers by rolling sideways and thrusting his sword at Vader so viciously that he nicks Vader on the shoulder. The black armor sparks and smokes and Vader seems to be hurt, but immediately recovers. Luke backs off along the narrow end of the gantry as Vader comes at him, slashing at the young Jedi with his sword. Luke makes a quick move around the instrument complex attached to the end of the gantry. Vader's sword comes slashing down, cutting the complex loose; it begins to fall, then is caught by the rising wind and blown upward. Luke glances at the instrument complex floating away. At that instant, Vader's sword comes down across Luke's right forearm, cutting off his hand and sending his sword flying. In great pain, Luke squeezes his forearm under his left armpit and moves back along the gantry to its extreme end. Vader follows. The wind subsides. Luke holds on. There is nowhere else to go.

VADER: There is no escape. Don't make me destroy you. You do not yet realize your importance. You have only begun to discover you power. Join me and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy.

LUKE: I'll never join you!

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.

Shocked, Luke looks at Vader in utter disbelief.

LUKE: No. No. That's not true! That's impossible!

VADER: Search your feelings. You know it to be true.

LUKE: No! No! No!

VADER: Luke. You can destroy the Emperor. He has foreseen this. It is your destiny. Join me, and we can rule the galaxy as father and son. Come with me. It's the only way.

Vader puts away his sword and holds his hand out to Luke. A calm comes over Luke, and he makes a decision. In the next instant he steps off the gantry platform into space. The Dark Lord looks over the platform and sees Luke falling far below. The wind begins to blow at Vader's cape and the torrent finally forces him back, away from the edge. The wind soon fades and the wounded Jedi begins to drop fast, unable to grab onto anything to break his fall.

INTERIOR: REACTOR SHAFT

Suddenly Luke is sucked into an exhaust pipe in the side of the shaft. When Vader sees this, he turns and hurries off the platform.

INTERIOR: EXHAUST PIPE

Luke tumbles through the exhaust pipe. He slides to the end of the slickly polished pipe and stops as his feet hit a circular grill and knock it open. Luke claws at the surface of the pipe, trying to keep from sliding out into space.

EXTERIOR: BOTTOM OF CLOUD CITY -- WEATHER VANE -- DUSK

Unable to hang onto the pipe, Luke tumbles out, emerging at the undermost part of Cloud City. Reaching out desperately, he manages to grab onto on electronic weather vane.

LUKE: Ben...Ben, please!

Luke tries to pull himself up on the weather vane but slips back down. He hooks one of his legs around the fragile instruments. All the while, a powerful current of air rushes out at him from the exhaust pipe.

LUKE: Ben. Leia!

There is an ominous cracking sound from the base of the weather vane and a piece breaks off, falling into the clouds far below.

LUKE: Hear me! Leia!