While there are good reasons for Luke not to fly to the city in the clouds (according to Jedi doctrine -- e.g. patience, detachment, and so forth), Yoda explains that although his friends could die if Luke stays at Dagobah, he would destroy everything they fought and suffered for if he departs to help them.

Frankly, I don't see how he could have made their situation any worse. However, what did Yoda mean? What exactly did Leia and Han fought and suffered for that could be jeopardised by Luke flying to the city in the clouds?

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    It would be kind to point out what is the problem with this question that's worth a downvote.
    – bitmask
    Feb 10 '12 at 2:06
  • Also remember "always in motion the future is" - Yoda was voicing concerns, not absolute prediction
    – HorusKol
    Feb 11 '12 at 2:01

There are two things Yoda fears from Luke's departure.

  1. He is not ready and gets killed.
  2. He gets captured and then he is either killed or converted to the dark side.

Luke's friends, especially Leia, fought the Empire so hard it was their only occupation. Even Han was too busy to go back to Tatooine and pay Jabba. Their goal is to destroy the Empire, but all this may be in jeopardy if Luke leaves: if either happens, there is no one left to beat the Emperor, except maybe Leia, but no one other than Yoda knows that at this point. When Yoda talks about their suffering, he is not referring to their torture at the hands of Vader, but all the hardship they went through in the recent years.

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    How does this relate to what his friends have fought and suffered for? That is the reason Yoda doesn't want Luke to go, yes. Are you saying he lied to Luke?
    – bitmask
    Feb 10 '12 at 2:00
  • @bitmask I though it was obvious, but answer updated.
    – DavRob60
    Feb 10 '12 at 3:24
  • Ouch! Now that you point it out, it is painfully obvious!
    – bitmask
    Feb 10 '12 at 3:50
  • It's also worth noting that Han and Leia went through a lot of trouble to keep Luke safe, even if only the torture. If Luke went and got himself captured, all that resilience and secrecy would have been for nothing.
    – Matt
    May 6 '16 at 18:22
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    Yoda's prediction all-but came true. Luke did almost convert. He never did understand the Light Side, and often used the darker parts of himself without understanding the danger. I'm convinced Luke didn't succeed. I'm convinced Yoda was TOTALLY right about Luke. We like to think that Yoda underestimated Luke, but I think Yoda underestimated Anakin. Luke was doomed, until Anakin got distracted by Luke's thoughts of Leia and the realization that he had a daughter. Luke only has the time to compose himself after cutting of Anakin's hand because Anakin is still reeling from the realization.
    – Matt
    May 6 '16 at 18:33

The reason Leia, Han and Chewbacca were being tortured was to draw Luke out. Luke was the prize, as he was the only remaining threat to the the Emperor not already in Vader's hands. Luke should have stayed away and continued his training and let his friends' sacrifice be worth something. As it was, their agonies were for naught. With Lando's help they saved themselves, and ended up having to rescue Luke.

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    But, you forgot about R2-D2!
    – DavRob60
    Feb 10 '12 at 1:17
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    I disagree. Nothing his friends did indicates their motives were focussed on protecting Luke. Most of the time they acted purely out of self-preservation. They did not willingly accept the torture (Han states that they did not even ask him any questions), they simply had no choice.
    – bitmask
    Feb 10 '12 at 2:03

Yoda knows that the ONLY way to defeat the Emperor is not via starfighters, but by a Jedi from the New Order (this is a realization he had when fighting Sidious in the Senate Arena at the end of Revenge of the Sith).

As such, if Luke fails and gets killed, or worse yet, falls to the Dark side, he - as the last real hope of defeating the Emperor - will ensure that the Rebellion will not win.


Something that has been overlooked, Yoda may have had in mind Uncle Owen and Aunt B, they worked hard to keep Luke safe and sound. They all lost their lives, if Luke had died or been turned, their deaths, their efforts, their suffering (Think back to the burned bodies on Tatooine...) would have been pointless. The same can be said of Obi Wan. We could also bring up, though to a lesser degree, members of Red squadron. Yoda may well have NOT had them in mind though.


It may have also been that Yoda was looking far into the distant future relating to the effects of

Han and Leia's offspring

i.e. the rebirth of the dark side and the galaxy's next largest threat... That being said, this is all opinion and it was never officially explained so it is anyone's guess as to what he actually meant. Also, it is possible as Yoda said "Always in motion is future." It may be that certain things that were meant to happen didn't and that many events were changed (as examples... Mara Jade, Kyle Katarn, and in fact all the extended universe as it was told may have been altered in that moment...), this would explain many of the offshoot stories of the Star Wars franchise without creating so many of the contradictions so many fans fuss over.

For that matter it is implied that in several ways the force binds all across all time and there fore changes in the now or future could even effect the past... which if you want to appreciate the new versions is probably the way to do it. This perspective is likely not what Lucas meant as there were little to no plans beyond these first three movies, but as far as accidents go it may very well be the one unintentional meaning that binds the Star Wars universe (entire collection) together.

  • 1
    Welcome SFF! This answer does not seem to add anything to the existing answer. Try to support your answer with quotes from the works if you feel you are right.
    – Skooba
    May 6 '16 at 18:06

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