It may be a slimy mud hole to some, but to Yoda it was home. This swampy, hidden planet was where Yoda fled and where he later trained the son of a fallen Jedi. Some argue that Luke’s Jedi training was much too fast in the film. Initially, there were more trials for Luke to endure. Let’s take a look at some of the deleted moments from the planet Dagobah.
The monster that swallowed (and subsequently spit out) R2-D2 while on Dagobah is called a Dragonsnake. In reality, the prop/creature was just a back and tail with divers underneath the water moving it around.
Alex Newborn wrote in with a little insight and a theory on some of the photographic evidence of this creature:
I have come across three photos. One shows the prop in the bed of a truck. One shows it in a swimming pool with two divers… one of whom bears a strange resemblance to George Lucas. I remember reading somewhere that the insert shot of the dragonsnake chasing Artoo’s periscope was not filmed on the Dagobah set, but later in the schedule, in someone’s “unfinished swimming pool”, like Lucas’s or Kershner’s or Kurtz’s. The other photo is an overlay of the pickup truck picture onto the photo from the [Behind the Magic CD-ROM]. I overlaid the truck photo onto the CD-ROM photo with Photoshop at 50% opacity. They’re in the exact same position, exact same lighting, etc. Attacking the problem from the other end, we need to try to find that same shot of Luke and Artoo without the dragonsnake in the image, and then we’ll know where they got both elements for the hybrid image. But I still say it’s a fantastically well done photoshop of a behind-the-scenes pic onto its proper setting from the film.
In the Pre-Special Edition version of the scene when Luke helps R2-D2 up after being spit out of the Dragonsnake, he says to R2, “You’re lucky you don’t taste very good.” However, in the Special Edition Luke’s dialogue was changed to, “You were lucky to get out of there.”
LUKE’S JEDI TRAINING
If you’ve watched Episode V a few times, you’ve accepted that Luke was on Dagobah for quite a while and learned all he needed to learn from Yoda, but we just didn’t see it all on screen. That line of thinking makes you wonder about what other training scenes might have been filmed that were ultimately left out. We know about a few of them.
Part of Luke’s unseen training involved two “seeker” droids similar to the one Luke sparred with on the Millennium Falcon in Episode IV. In the comic adaption, you can see Luke with his lightsaber and you can plainly see the two seekers in the foreground.
Here’s an excerpt from the 4th draft:
332. EXT SWAMP – BOG – DUSK
Luke lies motionless in the mud with Artoo leaning over him. Two glowing balls about the size of baseballs hover above them like mosquitoes and occasionally the angry Artoo swats at them; they move just out of the stubby droid’s reach. Artoo whistles to his master several times, but gets no response. Artoo turns toward Yoda, who is sitting quietly nearby chewing on his Gimer Stick, and begins to furiously beep and scold the little Jedi Master. Artoo turns back to Luke. A small metal electrode projects out of Artoo and rests on Luke’s chest. There is a concerned whistle from the droid, a short electronic yap, and Luke jumps awake with a start. The young Jedi shakes his head clear and rubs his shoulder. He is very angry; his glare moves between Yoda and the two glowing balls.
I thought those seekers were set for stun!
That they are.
They’re a lot stronger than I’m used to.
That would matter not were
The Force flowing through you.
Higher you’d jump! Faster you’d move!
Open yourself to The Force you must.
Artoo scoots away as the fed-up Luke grabs his laser sword from the mud, ignites it and jumps up.
I’m open to it now! I feel it.
Come on you little flying blasters!
As he moves toward the hovering balls with a poised saber and ferocious look, they draw away, retreating to the area around Yoda’s head.
No, no. This will not do.
Anger is what you feel.
But I feel The Force flowing!
Anger, fear, aggression! The dark side of
The Force are they. Easily they flow…
quick to join you in a fight. Beware, beware, beware of them.
A heavy price is paid for the power they bring.
Luke lowers his light saber, confused.
Price? What do you mean?
The dark side beckons. But if once start
down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.
Consume you it will… as it did Obi-wan’s apprentice.
Is the dark side stronger?
No, no. Easier, quicker,
But how am I to know the
good side from the dark?
You will know. When you are at peace…
calm… passive. A Jedi uses The Force for
knowledge and defense. Never for attack.
But tell me why…
No! Nothing more will I tell you now.
Clear your mind of questions…
Quiet now be… at peace…
Luke stops protesting, relaxes his body.
… Yes… calm…
Luke closes his eyes, tries to clear his thoughts.
… passive… Let yourself go…
After a long moment, Yoda makes the tiniest little gesture and the two glowing balls near his head race toward Luke, firing stun bolts. Luke immediately springs to life, but in a lovely, graceful way. He moves incredibly fast, deflecting bolts thrown at him from all directions, jumping incredibly high.
The seeker attack stops as suddenly as it started and the two balls retreat to either side of Yoda’s head. Artoo lets out a sigh and shakes his head. Luke grins proudly at Yoda who continues to chew away.
Much progress do you make, young one.
Stronger do you grow.
Luke is bursting with his achievement as two more glowing seekers float into view from behind Yoda’s back, making a poised line of four above Yoda. Luke’s grin melts away.
As you can tell, much of this dialogue was in fact used in other scenes.
When Yoda says, “Jump,” you ask, “How High?” In another deleted training moment, Yoda makes Luke perform some fancy leaps. Here’s an excerpt from the 4th draft of the EMPIRE script:
Yoda is sitting on a branch high in one of the bog’s weird trees. His legs straddle the branch and clasped in his webbed feet is Luke’s laser sword. On the ground below, Luke sets himself up and jumps toward Yoda. He jumps incredibly well for a human, but it doesn’t bring him close to his object.
Later in the script, Luke jumps higher clearing the space where Yoda sits. This would show us how Luke learns to make that great jump out of the freezing chamber as well as give us an idea of how well his training on Dagobah has progressed.
In another jump-related scene, Luke is practicing a long jump over a pond. He falls short and splashes poor Yoda sitting nearby. Here’s the excerpt from the 4th draft of the EMPIRE script:
307X. EXT YODA’S BOG (MONTAGE) – DAY – DAGOBAH (formerly 308)
At the edge of a wide pond, Yoda sits on a log. In his mouth is a Gimer Stick, a short twig with three little branches at the far end. Luke is nowhere in sight, but now we begin to hear the sound of someone crashing through the foliage. Suddenly Luke appears on the far side of the pond at a run and leaps out toward Yoda. It’s an extraordinary leap, but he falls short by six feet, creating a huge splash, which drenches Yoda and his Gimer Stick.
In yet another scene on Dagobah, Yoda throws a small metal bar in the air in front of Luke. Luke then ignites his lightsaber and swings at it before it hits the ground. He misses and the bar falls to the ground. Luke says, “I can’t…too tired,” and Yoda replies, “It would be in seven pieces, were you a Jedi.” As the training progresses, so does Luke’s ability to slice the bar in midair.
Here’s an excerpt from the 4th draft:
306X. EXT BOG CLEARING – SWAMP – DUSK – DAGOBAH (formerly part 310)
Luke runs through the dense jungle on the last leg of what must have been quite a marathon. Yoda rides in a pouch on Luke’s back. The young apprentice is sweaty and exhausted. He stumbles into the clearing where Artoo has been patiently waiting. As Luke is about to collapse, Yoda throws a small metal bar in front of him. Luke ignites his laser sword and swings at it. He missed and the bar falls to the ground. Luke does too.
I can’t… Too tired.
It would be in seven pieces,
were you a Jedi.
I thought I was in good shape.
Yes, but by what standard, ask I?
Forget your old measures.
Unlearn, heh, unlearn.
Starwars.com at one point posted some definitive proof that this scene was indeed filmed. They posted an actual photo (no longer available) that showed producer Gary Kurtz and some crewmembers along with Mark Hamill complete with his Yoda backback. In Yoda’s hands is none other than the metal bar in question. The caption on the photo read: “Producer Gary Kurtz inspects the filming of a Jedi test that would ultimately be cut out of Episode V. During Luke’s training, Yoda would throw out metal bars that the young Jedi initiate would have to cut into pieces with his lightsaber before the object hit the ground.”
Starwars.com’s Pablo Hidalgo spoke about the scene in one of his Q&A sessions. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: The “Bar would be in seven pieces were you a Jedi” scene from TESB. I have waited in anticipation ever since reading this in the novel! Can you tell us any more?
A: The scene was never finished. It only consisted of a close-up shot of Yoda and the bar, and then a medium shot of Luke swinging. It was shot MOS (without sound). As far as our archivists can tell, there was no reaction shot, no shot of the split bar, or no shot of Yoda explaining the setup, so it could have been scheduled for pickups, and then ultimately cut from the movie before they ever got to it.
I have come across a photo of the metal bar that Luke was to slice in pieces. The thanks goes to two people, one who created the bar(s) and another who collects movie props. Paul Harrison was 18 in 1979 and an apprentice at Elstree Studios. He was commissioned to create the complete metal bars and then reproduce them as if they were sliced into many pieces. Here’s what he had to say:
When I was an apprentice at Norank Eng Co Ltd, resident studios engineers at Elstree Film Studios, one of the pieces I made for ESB was two identical metal bars, and two more cut into identical pieces. I had to cut each one into six pieces and polish the ends. I was told it was for a scene where Luke throws it up and cuts it, hence the polished ends. I got both sets back after shooting, when everyone had finished using them as a puzzle! The scene never made the final cut.
As it turns out, prop collector and dealer Ash Birkinshaw became the owner of one pair of these bars and was kind enough to send in a photo. Interestingly enough, the bar is cut into six pieces and not seven.
Paul Harrison also found an old call sheet from the day they filmed the scene and sent that in.
* Take note of “Perspective Yoda” played by actor Deep Roy. Deep Roy is a little person who has appeared in many films like the 1980 remake of Flash Gordon, Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes and Willy Wonka remake. He’s listed on IMDB.com in an uncredited role you might remember, Droopy McCool from Jabba’s band in Episode VI.
In 1999, a special issue of Starlog magazine was released called “Sci-Fi People” and there was a peculiar picture inside. It depicted Luke in his X-wing flight suit talking to Yoda while seated on a stump on Dagobah. The reason I say it’s peculiar is that there are only two times we saw Luke in that outfit while on Dagobah: when he landed and when he left. We know from the film that Luke doesn’t meet Yoda until after he sets up camp and has had a change of clothing, so that rules out the arrival scenes. We can safely assume, then, that this picture must be from when Luke is leaving Dagobah.
In the novelization and the shooting script (4th draft) of the film, Luke falls asleep outside Yoda’s hut the night before he leaves. Artoo notices that Luke is half-covered with a blanket and covers him up. Luke soon wakes up in a huff. Then Yoda comes out and they have a talk about leaving. Luke leaves the next day at dusk and Yoda and Ben try to dissuade him. Here’s an excerpt from the script:
367. EXT YODA’S HOUSE – DUSK – DAGOBAH
It is almost dark… in the woods a tiny light moves towards us… finally we see it is Artoo… he stops within sight of Yoda’s house. A warm light pours out of the house illuminating Luke who is asleep on the ground. A blanket lies half-off Luke; Artoo carefully pulls it up to fully cover Luke. As Artoo moves away Luke begins reacting to a nightmare. He moans… opens his eyes wide and sits up. Yoda comes to the doorway and looks out.
Looking at the script and the novel, it appears that there were a few changes made. Some things were either completely removed or just not shot at all. Looking at the photographic evidence, it also appears that Luke and Yoda had some more intimate, less confrontational dialogue.