In the making of the return of the Jedi, George Lucas is going over many difference scenes, and in one short instance, he comes across a discussion with Marquand on the topic of Ben lying to Luke and why he wrote the story that way. Here’s the transcript.
Lucas: We also have to cope with another problem: Ben. How do we deal with Ben? We have to deal with Ben, even to the point of using Alec Guinness in one more ghost scene. I’ll get him to do it somehow. We have to do what is right for the plot and the story.
Marquand: Why did Ben not tell Luke?
Lucas: In the early script, I wrote that he wasn’t ready to be told.
Marquand: Well, I think that is true.
Lucas: If Luke had known, he wouldn’t have become a Jedi and he wouldn’t have been able to deal with it.
Marquand: I think that is absolutely true.
Lucas: That’s the most practical reason why.
Howard Kazanjian: He probably wouldn’t have learned in the same manner.
Lucas: For a lot of people there’s a big issue there, which we can’t skirt around.
Marquand: The fact that Ben lied.
Lucas: The fact that Ben lied, but he didn’t really lie; he didn’t really lie, because in the first film he says that Vader betrayed and murdered his father, which doesn’t necessarily mean that he killed him-but that the bad/Vader half of the person betrayed the good part of the person/the Skywalker half. It’s easily understood.
So right here I’ll interject to highlight this part that George mentions. The good half of Vader, which was Anakin. A lot of people make the misconception that Anakin was killed fully when he became Vader. This simply isn’t true and is more or less just click bait online. Anakin was subdued, maybe to a degree of a percentile, however he was never fully erased from Vader, as George even says about his character, that the good half of Vader, was Anakin at the time of Revenge of the Sith.
The 3 then go on to talk about how it was a problem that Ben lied to Luke in the first movie, but not as big of a problem as it became in the second one in regards to why he didn’t just tell Luke on Dagobah or at some point in the film. If we remember, at the end Luke is laying in the medical bed after Vader chopped his hand off, and while Vader is reaching out to him in the force, Luke is falling back and asking Ben why didn’t you tell me. This is kind of George’s way, I think, of him addressing that Ben should have told him and that Luke has this resentment towards him.
George’s answer to that is
Lucas: But I still tend to want to bring Ben into it. He’s one of the main characters and he’s still a strong presence. I sort of agree with Larry that the best way to handle that is to let him stay in another world and to say there is nothing more that he can do now and that Luke is a Jedi now and that his job is done. It could be a goodbye scene to Ben, which is, “I am never going to appear before you again …”
And the rest of the convo leads into them bringing Ben back as a shimmering ghost and the conversation leads into Luke being able to see force ghosts because he has that power, which I’ve made a video on recently.
So as we can see, it was important for Ben to lie to Luke, which I know a lot of people always had a gripe about, but it’s George’s understanding that if he had told Luke the truth, let’s say from the very beginning in a new hope, it would have completely pushed Luke away from training and wanting to learn about the force, which would have doomed the galaxy, that is, unless Ben went to teach Leia, which could be a cool fan-fiction for another time. I think in that scenario, Leia would be trained, and perhaps Luke would join the fight later on once he found out that Leia was his sister, perhaps Ben would tell him as a last ditch effort to get him to fight against the Empire and become a Jedi.
Do you think Ben should have told Luke the truth? Do you think George has a great point in regards to how he wrote the story, that Luke would really be pushed away from wanting to become a Jedi after finding out his father is Vader?
Thanks for watching
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