I hate to do this, I really do. You have to understand, I love Star Wars, the entire sexology, as much as anything else. But there are certain unavoidable issues you run into when you create the future before the history. George Lucas encountered them. And then he compounded them when he went and fiddled with the original movies after the release of the prequel trilogy.
I just caught the last 20 or so minutes of Return of the Jedi, and something just popped out at me and really bothered me. Two things, really, but the second I already knew about and have already discussed. It’s the first that really bugs me now, and I can’t see any way around it.
I’ll do the second one first. The original cut of Return of the Jedi, at the end when Luke sees Obi-Wan, Yoda and Annakin as part of the force, had the actor playing the old Annakin Skywalker, who we just saw leaving the Death Star with Luke, in the blue glow. This makes sense. After the release of the prequel trilogy, George Lucas replaced him with Hayden Christiansen, the actor who played young Annakin Skywalker. Which makes no sense. Obi-Wan and Yoda appear as part of the force at the age they died. Why doesn’t the same apply to Annakin? And, how in the hell does Luke recognize his father now? He’d never seen him young! He should be perplexed: “who is than random Jedi?”
But the problem is bigger than that, you see. When the original trilogy came out and ended that way, we just assumed that when Jedi died they assimilated into the force, and could be seen. We had no reason to think otherwise, no reason to question it. In fact, we took this thought with us into Episode 1, and when Qui-Gon died, we just figured he could appear to Obi-Wan through the force. When he didn’t, we were a little perplexed ourselves.
But then something changed. The blue glow was explained. In a throwaway line at the end of Episode 3, meant to explain the blue glow, George Lucas screwed it up. Yoda tells Obi-Wan that Qui-Gon has learned to commune from the beyond. Yoda tells Obi-Wan that Qui-Gon will instruct him in this power during his time watching Luke on Tatooine. It is, without question, a new power. One that Jedi until this time have not had and could not master. This also explained the line in Episode 4 (perhaps this is why Lucas did it this way) that Obi-Wan tells Darth Vader that if Vader kills him, he will become more powerful than Vader could imagine. Why more powerful than he could imagine? Because Obi-Wan was now a master of a power that Darth Vader did not know: ie communing from beyond. He could continue to guide Luke and instruct him, without being physically near him. In fact, he could only do this once dead. Vader was helping Obi-Wan guide Luke (which helped him destroy the Death Star).
So what’s the problem? Well, if this is a power that is new, and Qui-Gon discovered it and taught it to Obi-Wan (and, let’s presume, Obi-Wan taught it to Yoda afterward), how does Annakin Skywalker do it? This is a power he doesn’t know, and never had the opportunity to learn. Once he dies, he’s gone. He shouldn’t appear to Luke because he has no idea how to!
Like I said, I really hate to do this, because I love the entire series, and especially that last scene. But this really ruins it for me a little.