11

We were just talking nonsense in the Star Wars Rumorfest chat room and then @DrRDizzle said:

Force Ghost Palpatine vs Force Ghosts Anakin, Yoda and Obi-Wan. Also, Qui-Gon, why not.
Transcript Link

It got me wondering... can Force Ghosts really fight with each other?

As far as I know, this has never been happened in the main canon, so I am looking for answers from Legends.

Note: While the question mainly revolves around non-verbal fights like Force Push, Lightsaber battle (if ghost clothes can exist, ghost lightsaber surely can), some kind of Sith/Jedi magic attack etc., I'd also like to know whether verbal psychological warfare (which seems possible) has happened in Legends or not.

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    The only instance I can think of at the top of my head is the most decidedly uncanon LEGO Star Wars series. – Rogue Jedi Nov 4 '15 at 17:21
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    It's a fun question even if it can't be answered – Escoce Nov 4 '15 at 17:27
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    Not to spoil the fun, but is there any canon supporting the existence of dark side force ghosts? It is my understanding that such entities don't exist. – GreenMatt Nov 4 '15 at 18:06
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    I'm just terribly confused with the canon now. Bad Disney! Bad! – Hatandboots Nov 4 '15 at 22:24
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    @Hatandboots: confused? Do what I do: forget about everything except the six (soon to be seven) movies. :-) It makes life so much simpler. – Harry Johnston Nov 5 '15 at 0:34
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Within the main Star Wars canon, the only "Force ghosts" that exist are former Jedi masters such as Yoda and Ben Kenobi as well as the newly reformed Anakin Skywalker. A quote from the novelisation of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith makes it abundantly clear that there is no such thing as a Dark Side ghost since no Sith can achieve sufficient oneness with the Force as to survive after death, except as a vague remnant of their former selves

"Eternal life…"

"The ultimate goal of the Sith, yet they can never achieve it; it comes only through the release of self, not the exaltation of self. It comes through compassion, not greed. Love is the answer to the darkness."

This is also quite nicely backed up by a tweet from Pablo Hidalgo of LucasFilm fame;

Nic Benham ‏@nicbam14 - Just had a thought, are force ghosts exclusively part of the light side? Or are there sith force ghosts too?

Pablo Hidalgo ‏@pablohidalgo: The idea of the Force afterlife is that it's unknowable to the dark side, for it is requires selflessness.

Since I can see no good reason why two Jedi masters would genuinely fight with each other, therefore the answer is no.

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    What about the notable example of Darth Bane in the Clone Wars TV show? Or did that not count as a force ghost? Also Plaguies may have been able to achieve immortality through force manipulation. – Hatandboots Nov 4 '15 at 18:20
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    @Hatandboots - I can see that this contradicts somewhat. My interpretation is that Sith Force Ghosts are basically powerless to do much aside from shouting at folk – Valorum Nov 4 '15 at 18:25
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    @Hatandboots - In the clip Richard posted, Yoda calls the image of Darth Bane "an illusion" and says "real, you are not", which seems to suggest not a force ghost but something more along the lines of an interactive hologram (perhaps created using dark side "magic" as opposed to technology, but still the same idea, something without an actual consciousness of its own) – Hypnosifl Nov 4 '15 at 18:56
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    @SS-3.1415926535897932384626433 - The entire point of RotJ is that Anakin ceased to be a Sith and redeemed himself, becoming a Jedi once again. – Wad Cheber Nov 4 '15 at 23:48
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    If anyone wants to make an answer out of the weird and wonderful EU novels, they're welcome to. I'll stick with main canon, thanks :-) – Valorum Nov 5 '15 at 0:31
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Although I am not aware of any instances of one Force-ghost fighting another, there are cases in which Force-ghosts fight the living - most notably, in early drafts of the script for Return of the Jedi.

All emphasis in the following quotes is mine.


Rough Draft Summary:

On the way to the throne room, Ben appears in Vader’s path. Vader ignites his saber. Ben says that if Vader dies, he’ll be one with the Dark Side of the force and lose all his identity. If he turns to the good side, Ben will rescue him before he loses his identity. Vader refuses to listen and moves Luke along. Ben disappears.

Vader tells Luke to kneel before the Emperor. Luke refuses. The Emperor smiles and tells Luke that while he can destroy Vader, he won’t destroy the Emperor. Yoda and Ben appear in the throne room, which sends the Emperor into a panic. Vader is ordered to kill Luke, and the battle begins with them jumping from island to island.

The Emperor shoots lightning at Luke. Luke raises his hands in defense, but [the lightning bolts] are deflected by an invisible shield. Images of Ben and Yoda appear at the points of impact. Luke collapses under the strain. Vader grabs the Emperor and dives into the lava pit with him.
- Jedi Bendu Script Site, Draft Variations for Return of the Jedi



Revised Rough Draft Summary:

This one is really weird:

Luke [has been trapped on an island in a lake of lava while he waits to be brought before the Emperor; he] begs Ben for help in escaping from his cell. Yoda appears in his place. Yoda says then Ben can’t help anymore... his power is spent and will soon be completely one with the force. Only Luke has the power to bring him back into the material world. Luke doesn’t know if he can do it, he’s still angry over Ben hiding his father from him. Yoda reveals Luke has a sister. If Luke fails, she will be the last hope.

The Emperor didn't tell Vader that he had captured Luke, but Vader finds out and he is pissed:

Luke lies unconscious on a small island on a lava lake, and he wakes up. Behind him is Ben, in the full flesh. Ben explains that he’s here to help Luke. Yoda’s spirit appears to help as well.

Vader goes to meet the Emperor. He is stopped by two guards, whom he kills. Vader demands to know where Luke is, and the Emperor chokes him. The Emperor says Vader’s place is with the fleet, and Luke is the Emperor’s to train. Vader asks for forgiveness and leaves.

Vader follows the Emperor to the Tombs, and sees Ben. He tells Ben that Luke is his to train. Yoda appears, threatening the Emperor as well. Vader tells the emperor that it’s too late to turn Luke and they must be destroyed. The fight begins.

Vader is knocked off balance and his fighting arm falls into the molten lava. Luke refuses to kill his father.

The Emperor shoots lightning at Ben. Luke leaps in front of Ben and raises his hands in defense, but [the lightning bolts are] deflected by an invisible shield. Images of Yoda appear at the points of impact. Luke collapses under the strain. Vader grabs the Emperor and dives into the lava pit with him.

Luke tells Leia and Han that he’s Leia’s brother. The couple leave him alone with Ben. Yoda appears in the flesh since Vader has gone to the good side. Yoda also prevented Vader from becoming one with the force. Luke’s father appears and they all celebrate.
- Jedi Bendu Script Site, Draft Variations for Revenge of the Jedi


Revised Rough Draft:

Fortunately, the site has this draft of the script, so we can read it firsthand:

  1. HAD ABBADON – THE TOMB’S PRISON

Luke lies unconscious on a small island in the middle of a hot lava lake. A hot wind blows across his face and wakes him. He looks around at his hostile surroundings and suddenly becomes aware of another person sitting behind him. He turns on the intruder with Jedi speed. The shrouded figure doesn’t move or even look up.

LUKE
Ben...

Slowly, the hooded figure looks up, revealing his face. It is Ben Kenobi in the flesh.

BEN
I could no longer stay in the netherworld.

LUKE
But Yoda said...

BEN
...that I would become one with the Force and choose not to return to the material world? That your anger prevented me from...

LUKE
But I’m not angry... not anymore... I understand why you didn’t tell me about my father. I do.

BEN
I know. And I am here to help you destroy the Emperor, and... your father.

LUKE
I can’t.

Suddenly Yoda appears beside Ben.

YODA
You can and you will... I in the netherworld, and Obi-Wan at your side. Help you we will.

Luke stands with a start and begins to look around. Ben slowly stands also.

LUKE
Did you feel that?

BEN
Yes. It’s the Emperor. He’s moving this way...

LUKE
...and so is my father.

BEN
He is following the Emperor. Yoda!

YODA’S VOICE
I am between them and the Force... cloud their minds, I will.

BEN
Luke, you must take them on one at a time. Together, they will destroy you...

The Emperor enters the cavern and looks across to the boiling lava lake. He sees Ben and is surprised.

EMPEROR
So you are not dead after all, Obi-Wan. I thought I felt your presence in the netherworld. So, you have returned. But you have failed... the boy is mine, and will soon embrace the Dark Side.

YODA
It is you who have failed, my old friend1.

The Emperor turns around to see the shimmering image of Yoda standing before him.

EMPEROR
You!

YODA
Evil one, this will be the last day of your existence.

EMPEROR
Your presence in the netherworld can do me no harm. And neither can this boy or this old man.

YODA
Your fear is strong... overestimate your abilities, you do.

Vader steps out of the shadows and stands next to the Emperor.

VADER
My Master, they must be destroyed. Now it is too late to turn the boy.

Luke looks at his father, then reaches out and Vader’s lasersword leaps off the Dark Lord’s belt and into the young Jedi’s hand. Luke ignites the lasersword as the Emperor pulls a sword out of his sleeve and tosses it to Vader.

EMPEROR
Destroy them.

Vader’s sword ignites and he starts to move toward his son. Luke backs away.

Vader brings his lasersword down hard on his son, but Luke is able to block his father’s blow. A quick sword exchange, and Luke forces Vader back. Another exchange, and the Dark Lord recovers, pushing the young Jedi onto a small rock surrounded by the bubbling pool of lava. Ben and the Emperor watch from the far side of the cavern2.

EMPEROR
He is every inch his father.

BEN
He is stronger than you imagine, and has many allies.

EMPEROR
Allies? If they are all as you, I have no concern. Once the boy has killed his father, I will have him destroy you...

BEN
Perhaps, but it will not save you. I have foreseen your death at the hands of Skywalker.

EMPEROR
But I have not, therefore it cannot be.

BEN
Unless you can no longer see…

Luke fights back with all of his strength and drives his father back across the tiny rocks. A crashing blow by Luke causes Vader to lose his balance and fall onto one of the small rock islands, his sword hand landing in the molten lava. His sword and part of his metal are melting away. Vader backs away from his son, expecting the death blow at any moment. But Luke hesitates as Ben and the Emperor watch.

EMPEROR
Finish it, boy! It is the power of the Dark Side that you feel...

Luke lowers his lasersword.

LUKE
I cannot. I will not turn to the Dark Side. I only fight in self-defense, not to do your Emperor’s bidding.

With that, Luke extinguishes the lasersword and tosses it to Ben.

LUKE
If he is to be destroyed, you must do it3.

Lord Vader struggles to stand as Ben prods the Emperor onto the same small island. Luke stands behind Ben and watches.

EMPEROR
You have become old and weak, Lord Vader. I will take care of this.

The Emperor turns his back on Vader and faces the old Jedi, raising his hands in the air, which causes lightning to strike at Ben4.

LUKE
BEN, NO!

Luke leaps in front of his mentor, and raises his hand in defense. The bolts are deflected by an invisible shield. Wherever a bolt hits, the image of Yoda momentarily appears at the point of impact.

EMPEROR
Your Master in the netherworld cannot protect you for long. You will turn to me or die.

The lightning bolts become more intense, and Ben is knocked unconscious. Luke drops to his knees under the pressure.

EMPEROR
This is the power of the Dark Side that you deny. Your strength will never match it.

Luke struggles to remain conscious against the superior power of the Emperor.

LUKE
Yoda...

EMPEROR
Obi-Wan foresaw my destruction at your hands, young Skywalker, but it seems his vision was clouded... Perhaps there is still another Skywalker. Why can I not see, could the netherworld have influenced my perception? Another Skywalker... your father!

The Emperor turns around to see Lord Vader flying at him. The lightning bolts around Luke disappear as Vader hits the Emperor, knocking them both into the fiery lake of lava. The hideous screams of the Emperor are soon muted. Luke struggles to his feet and stares at the spot where his enemy and his father disappeared into the cauldron of molten rock.

Ben puts his hand on the young Jedi’s shoulder.

BEN
It is in Yoda’s hands now.

[“In the rough draft... Ben explains that... if Vader becomes one with the dark side of the Force, he will lose all identity. If he turns to the good side, he will pass through the Netherworld and” in the revised rough draft, Yoda “will rescue him before he becomes one with the Force.” -L. Bouzerau, explanation from Star Wars The Annotated Screenplays page 300.]

LUKE
He turned back to the good side.

BEN
Yes, he did.

The hallway is deserted as Luke and Ben wander, sadly thinking about what happened. The rumble of distant explosions is heard.

BEN
It is over...

[NEXT-TO-LAST PAGE MISSING – DETAILS IN FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH]

[“In the revised rough draft (Scene 138, Luke talks to Ben, and then)... Yoda suddenly appears as flesh and blood. His stay in the Netherworld has been resolved since Vader has turned to the good side. Yoda also has been able to prevent Vader from becoming one with the Force...” -L. Bouzerau, explanation from Star Wars The Annotated Screenplays page 320.]

Quietly watching the festivities from the side is Yoda, the Jedi Master. He scans the crowd picking out Artoo, Threepio, Lando and Chewie, Han and Leia, and finally Ben, Luke and his father. He lets out a great sigh.
- Jedi Bendu Script Site, Revised Rough Draft of Revenge of the Jedi


Summary:

  • In the Rough Draft, Obi-Wan and Yoda appear as Force-ghosts to protect Luke from Palpatine's Force-lightning.

  • In the Revised Rough Draft, Obi-Wan comes back to life, and Yoda appears as a Force-ghost to cloud Palpatine's mind and limit his access to the Force. Obi-Wan is eventually attacked by Palpatine, Luke tries to save him, Palpatine shoots Force-lightning at both of them, and Yoda's Force-ghost blocks most of it.

  • In both versions, Vader kills Palpatine, is thereby redeemed, and becomes a Force-ghost5.

  • In the Revised Rough Draft, Vader's redemption allows Yoda to come back to life.


1Yes, Yoda just called Palpatine "My old friend". I don't get it either.

2Yes, Ben and Palpatine are standing together, watching Luke fight Vader, and chatting about it the whole time. I told you this was weird.

3Yup. Luke was all "Hey Obi-Wan, if you want Vader dead so bad, do it yourself. I'm out."

4Your eyes don't deceive you - Palpatine totes just hit Obi-Wan with Force-lightning.

5This obviously happens in the actual movie as well, but it almost didn't - in the Second and Third Drafts, Anakin/Vader doesn't become a Force-ghost; the only Force-ghosts in the final scene are Yoda and Obi-Wan.

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    Each instance of those drafts that lightsabers are called "laserswords" made me cringe. – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Apr 25 '16 at 11:27
  • As I visualize this in my head, Yoda magically appears at the end of each force lightning, laughing like it tickles. – tox123 Jan 10 at 1:45

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