StClair wrote:Yeah, and that pretty much covers the events of the Empire Strikes Back, too. If Luke had done the "smart" thing and stayed and continued his training, it's possible that Leia and the rest would have been able to escape without him. Pretty much the whole middle and last thirds of the movie is Luke screwing up and getting in over his head. It's a necessary part of his character development, his growth from being the pilot who "got lucky" once and destroyed the Death Star into a true hero and full-fledged Jedi.
I'm sorry, but no, that isn't even close to what needed to happen.
The Jedi training on Dagobah was not what Luke really needed. He didn't beat the Emperor with his all-powerful Force techniques. Luke was far too weak in the Force, and could never have stood up to him without decades of training. Even Anakin couldn't take the Force Lightning for long. The Emperor was just plain too powerful to contemplate. Luke needed that little time in the Dark Force cave, where he confronted his own Dark Side and the spectre of Vader. Everything else was just enough to give him an idea of what was possible with the Force.
Luke failed, truly. Did he kill Sidius? Hardly. Luke was a smoking wretch after Sidius lit into him. It wasn't Jedi Force powers that turned his father against the Emperor, but his father's emotions for his children that led to his treason against the Emperor. It wasn't even Jedi anti-emotion crud: Vader didn't get all unemotional in response to his son's pain. Vader felt love for his family, which is according to the Jedi a path to the Dark Side. Vader didn't save his son because he became Jedi: he only became a more independent Sith. And even then, he still died from the Emperor's Force Lightning anyway. He won because Sith can't fly.
Luke was never destined to defeat the Emperor: his father did that. Luke needed the hard truth of his family history, and that had to come in the hardest way possible -- from Vader -- in order to see that the Sith way was self-destructive. Luke's strength was that of emotional control gained from dealing with the nightmare of his father's treason, and that had to happen in Cloud City, far from the Emperor's strength, but as I said, it didn't defeat the Emperor, anyway. The Emperor was defeated by his overconfidence in Vader's loyalty, and his underestimation of Vader's need to defend his children, regardless of their political choices.
Look what Yoda says when Luke returns to Dagobah. Yoda has nothing more to teach, which tells us that when Luke left in Empire, Yoda had done all that he could. Luke didn't learn anything on Dagobah except confidence and the basics. Yoda threw out that "training" line to ensure that Luke had the confidence he needed to make the effort in the face of certain death. Luke could have stayed for three years, and it would not have helped an iota. The Force could not defeat Sidius in the first place.
As for the escape in Empire, Calrissian's plan would not have worked had Vader not had the distraction of Luke to occupy him during the attempt. With Vader on the ball, the Falcon goes nowhere, because Vader continues to need Leia to attract Luke. Han still goes to Tatooine in carbonite, but Calrissian dies, Leia goes under the torture device she was headed for in A New Hope, and who knows if Chewie is let to live, or just gets enslaved. Oh, sure, Lucas could write them out of that situation: nothing is beyond any author that needs heroes to live, but Calrissian's plans' fundamentals don't happen wihtout Luke's presence.