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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

May The Force Be With You

George Lucas, c. 1981, Tells Us His Plans For the Star Wars Prequels, Where the Force Is Like Yoga

A transcript of an early ’80s conference with George Lucas, wherein he discusses his prequel ideas with Jedi director Richard Marquand, Empire and Jedi writer Lawrence Kasdan, and Empire and Jedi producer Howard Kazanjian, has made its way into the wild as part of the upcoming book The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

Some of it’s pretty similar to what we ended up seeing. Some of it isn’t. And some of it involves yoga. No, not Yoda. Yoga.

The general plot’s pretty similar, with Anakin Skywalker, protégé to Obi-Wan, buddying up with the Emperor-to-be, whom no one knew was bad because he seemed like a normal politician. Instead of killing Tusken Raiders and Younglings Anakin kills random Jedi on his missions across the galaxy.

Explains Lucas:

“The president is turning into an Emperor and Luke’s mother suspects that something has happened to her husband. She is pregnant. Anakin gets worse and worse, and finally Ben has to fight him and he throws him down into a volcano and Vader is all beat up.”

Remember that Revenge of the Sith plothole where Amidala dies in childbirth even though Leia clearly states in Jedi that she remembers her mother? This might be of interest:

Lucas: Leia and Luke’s mother go to Alderaan and are taken in by the king there, who is a friend of Ben’s. She dies shortly thereafter and Leia is brought up by her foster parents. She knows that her real mother died.

Kasdan: She does know that?

Lucas: Yes, so we can bring that out when Luke is talking to her; she can say that her mother died when “I was two years old.”

But what about the yoga?! This is my favorite exchange of the whole bit:

Kasdan: The Force was available to anyone who could hook into it?

Lucas: Yes, everybody can do it.

Kasdan: Not just the Jedi?

Lucas: It’s just the Jedi who take the time to do it.

Marquand: They use it as a technique.

Lucas: Like yoga. If you want to take the time to do it, you can do it; but the ones that really want to do it are the ones who are into that kind of thing. Also like karate. Also another misconception is that Yoda teaches Jedi, but he is like a guru; he doesn’t go out and fight anybody.

Kasdan: A Jedi Master is a Jedi isn’t he?

Lucas: Well, he is a teacher, not a real Jedi. Understand that?

Kasdan: I understand what you’re saying, but I can’t believe it; I am in shock.

Lucas: It’s true, absolutely true, not that it makes any difference to the story.

Kasdan: You mean he wouldn’t be any good in a fight?

Lucas: Not with Darth Vader he wouldn’t.

Kasdan: I accept it, but I don’t like it.

“I accept it, but I don’t like it.” Way to keep him in line, Kasdan. Anybody can use the Force, and Jedi Masters aren’t actual Jedi but Jedi professors? I never thought I’d say this, but I think we dodged a bullet with the whole Midichlorians/Force-can-be-measured-via-a-blood-test thing.

(via: blastr)

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  • Anonymous

    There’s a point where every great mind really needs to learn to let go of they’re greatest works, otherwise they do this, or act crazier than J.D. Salinger in a bag o cats.

  • Pomfelo

    To be fair, here Lucas sounds like most people after their first few yoga classes.

  • Bear TheDad

    This version is infinitely better and much more in line with the original Trilogy. Who didn’t grow up thinking that if they only had the training, they could be like Luke? Only when Lucas finally decided to tell the story, he made magic in his universe exclusive and genetic, like Harry Potter. Screw that noise.

  • Laszlo

    This version is a lot better. It’s obvious Yoda’s not supposed to be a fighter, he said it himself, “mind over matter” is his philosophy in general. Anybody being able to use the Force also makes more sense, it’s supposed to be some universal… force that’s everywhere. And it’s a lot cooler that anyone can be a Jedi, you don’t need superior genetics for it.

  • Matt Graham

    I love that last excerpt. Definitely in line with what I always thought Jedi were when I was a kid in the 80s.

    It especially works for George’s whole love of the Hero’s Journey. Anyone can have an extraordinary life and make a difference if they submit themselves to the journey? Hell yeah, that’s why most of us love heroes in the first place – that chance that you, too, can be up there one day.

    Great stuff.

  • Anonymous

    I agree. This version is much less “chosen one.” I like the idea that anyone could potentially become proficient with the force, but that it takes willpower and determination to actually do so.

  • Anonymous

    I suppose Yoda not being a Jedi Master is just like the expression “those who can’t, teach.”

  • Matt Graham

    This poster understands the appeal of Jedi.

  • Blue Mina

    Wow, not a lot to go on here, but it’s so much better than the end results that we got with the prequels. I wonder how things would have turned out if he had filmed them within a couple of years of the original trilogy, instead of waiting for fifteen years.

  • Matt Graham


  • Mordicai

    Right? Yoda even says war doesn’t make you great; to apply the rubric that Yoda needs to be able to do Extreme Flips With a Laser Sword in order to be good at the Force…demonstrates a failing to learn Yoda’s lessons.

  • Mordicai

    Right; & talent. I’m okay with there being a talent component, even the idea that talent might be hereditary, but not like “I have special alien juice in my blood.”

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    Much understanding this poster has.

  • Anonymous

    See, he always wanted to do a great, populist science fiction trilogy that didn’t depend on gimmicks like superhuman genetics or Yoda battles. They just didn’t have the technology in 1999.

  • Drawbak

    Is the writer of this article … mocking what George said here? The Force, as described in the original Trilogy, seems EXACTLY like Prana or Chi in Yoga or martial arts.

  • Totz_the_Plaid

    I think Lucas mixed up ‘yoga’ and Indian Yogis…

    Thinking of it that way, this entire thing sounds MUCH better than the prequels we got. A lot less plot holes as well.

  • Anonymous

    This brings up an interesting problem in the form of how Luke managed to become a powerful Jedi starting at age 20 and outdoing Vader and the Emperor at 23 or so, without it being easy enough that the galaxy is crawling with Jedi the way America is crawling with licensed automobile drivers.

    I suppose it could be something like martial arts skill—some variation in natural talent, and it takes a couple years of dedicated training—but even so, it’d end up being the normal course of study for whole classes of people like law enforcement and various types of criminals.

    Then again, the possibility is there that it takes either a multi-year course of full-immersion studies to develop small amounts of talent (thus weeding out anybody impatient enough to want immediate results and the initial time investment rules it out for all but the most dedicated of specialists), or else an unconscious cultivation of it through years of focused study of something else, such as cultural or religious meditation practices or intent development of a particular, associated skill, such as flying—Luke’s speeder-jockey mentality, product of life on a back-of-beyond farm where stunt flying is about the only entertainment to be had, for example.

  • DarthBetty

    This is why I never let anyone read something I’ve written until I have answered all possible questions for that universe, and every plot line. Goodnes gracious.

  • Lucas Picador

    YES. It also would have eliminated one of the dumbest parts of the prequels: spin-jumping lightsaber Yoda.

    This interview is heartbreaking, because it’s a glimpse of what the prequels could have been: interesting and thematically consistent with the original trilogy.

  • Mattias Berntson

    Midi-chlorians or not, anyone can be a Jedi (or at least a Force-user of some kind). Everyone has Force potential (midi-chlorians).

    Some just have more than others, and this much was clear in the original trilogy, as it was said that the Force runs strong in the Skywalker family.

  • Anonymous

    I agree. I think there’s a fascinating history and culture to be explored there in regards to the Force and how it’s used – though I’m not sure if Lucas or anyone else behind the scenes is interested in exploring it; it may just lead to more squabbles than answers anyway. I can see “regular” folks in that universe using small amounts of it – even unknowingly (young Anakin and his proficiency at mechanics and pod racing is an example – though even at a young age he wasn’t quite a “regular” person; MIDI-CHLORIANS!!! NOOOoooOOOOoooo!!!).

    I’d like to think that Luke’s proficiency was a mixture of heredity, growing up in a harsh environment (where he would have less access to advanced tech and would need to rely more on his ingenuity and wits), and his time studying under a master. And, that if Leia were raised on Tatooine rather than Alderaan, and if she were trained by Yoda, she would also be a master with the Force. And who knows how exactly the dark and light sides of the force differ in potency (other than the dark side jacking up your face something fierce).

    I think the martial arts comparisons are the closest. The Force seems to be directly influenced by the concept of Ch’i/Qi (Qui-Gon, of course, being a character in the prequels and ‘Qigong’ a specific form of Ch’i manipulation), and training allows you to tap into it at a level above and beyond that of a typical, untrained person. Maybe mastery takes an intuitive understanding of the concepts much like Astrophysics or Musical Composition – anyone can learn about those fields, few become true masters at them.

  • Anonymous

    I feel that the writer of this article is humorously pointing out how far from this concept the prequels fell.

  • Drawbak

    No. A Yogi is someone proficient in yoga.

  • Drawbak

    I don’t dislike the prequels out of cynicism. I dislike them because they’re awful.

  • Totz_the_Plaid

    Yes, but no.

    There’s more to a Yogi than just proficiency in yoga.

  • Anonymous

    There is no plothole where Amidala dies in childbirth even though Leia clearly states in Jedi that she remembers her mother. All Leia remembers are “feelings, really”. Who uses feelings? Those with the Force. Quite possible she, having the Force, can bond with her Mom and know her feelings.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    Leia: She died when I was very young.

    Luke: What do you remember?

    Leia: Just images really, feelings.

    Luke: Tell me.

    Leia: She was, very beautiful, kind, but sad.

    She got images and feelings that her mother was kind, beautiful, and sad when Amidala literally died seconds after Leia was born?

  • vk at nyte

    this is the worst conversation between filmmakers that makes the makers of the original batman franchise seem like geniuses..

  • Cole Christie

    sure the Jedi guru thing is confusing but i prefer that to seeing yoda fight

    it just doesn’t look right

  • Anonymous

    She has the Force. ‘Nuff said.

  • Anonymous

    he also had 900 years to do it

  • Anonymous

    There may be others,but would there be anyone around to train them?

  • Anonymous

    Her memories of kindness would take time to form. Kindness implies some kind of interaction, such as a wound being cared for or a punishment delivered gently.

  • Anonymous

    IN REAL LIFE, yes, agreed. But people this is fiction, the Force is the explanation. Why are you making it hard?

  • Anonymous

    Why are you making it “simple”? Go wallow in banality; let others who imagine greater things alone.

  • Anonymous

    Just going to throw this out there: if they wanted to reboot the prequel trilogy, I won’t fight them on that at all.

  • Omegacron

    I’m surprised no one brings up the fact that she could be remembering her stepmother… Bail Organa’s wife. Seems like an easy fix to me, and I’m not a screenwriter.

  • Anonymous

    Can’t you just like something and accept that it has flaws without breaking down minutiae? It’s a simple explanation IMO and you’re making it harder than it needs to be.

    You know nothing about me. I make fillms, write scripts and am close to securing funding for a webseries. Don’t presume I have no imagination. While you’re arguing over the internet (and you know what they say about that), I’m out living life and enjoying it.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like something a cynic would say. :)

  • Frenchy1978

    No – you’re here, arguing on the internet….

  • Dustin L. Tabor

    Seems like revered screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, might have contributed to Lucas’ change of heart about Yoda fighting in the prequels. So much for the theory that the talented people challenging his ideas was all you needed for better prequels.

  • Kyle Harris

    If she remembers kindness isn’t it in fact possible it could have been conceived that her mother watched over her in a force ghost type of form as a child. Not unlike an imaginary friend. I know she didn’t have the training to do that as say Yoda or ObiWan would but through Leia’s force sensitivity. Also before I get the Amidala wasn’t a force user I know that. It just seems like this would be the most plausable response to Amidala dying in child birth and Leia remembering her.