What Does Yoda Know in The Phantom Menace

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Yoda denies Qui-Gon Jinn the right to train the young Skywalker. He’s too old. No, wait, he’s too scared. He’s a crybaby. Jeez, Yoda, what next: he’s too blond? What drives Yoda to turn to guidance from the rest of those losers on the Jedi Council when the greatest Jedi of them all has firsthand insight into what the boy can do and, yes, knows, yes, by God, that he can bring balance to the Force?

This is the kid who is at the center of the prophesy, man! Qui-Gon Jinn knows it and Obi-Wan Kenobi knows it, probably, and Padme can sense it even though she’s not exactly a Jedi. I mean, come on! Come on, man! What is the deal with Yoda that he can’t see it? This is the Jedi with the greatest insight into the future. He’s clairvoyant. If he was a character on a soap opera satire, his name would be Clair Voyant! I’m serious. Yet Yoda cannot see into the future that Anakin Skywalker, the kid brought before the Jedi Council in “The Phantom Menace,” will bring balance to the force.

Cannot see into future can Yoda?

Or see into future, can Yoda?

Hey, here’s a fun thing to do even if you are among the majority who are so, just so very, really quite incredibly, ridiculously incredibly so very wrong in thinking that “The Phantom Menace” is not as good as any of the movies in the original trilogy: take a closer look at Yoda every time he appears on screen. Not just in “The Phantom Menace” but in all the prequels–but, yes, especially in the “The Phantom Menace.” Look closely. I ask you to do this as an experiment. Look at Yoda and gauge his actions and motivations as if they were inseparable.

When doing this thing….when peering at Yoda through those psychologically enhanced 4D glasses, I ask you to ask yourself one simple question.

What if Yoda knows everything?

What if Yoda does realize that Anakin is the kid at the center of the prophesy? What if Yoda does know that Anakin will bring balance to the Force? But, and here is where it attains a moral murkiness appropriate to the

brilliant ambiguity that permeates the prequel and thereby makes them superior, what if Yoda knows the only way that Anakin can bring balance to the Force is by not interfering with the natural course of events? What if, and if so, then Yoda is truly the most fascinating character in all of Hollywood history. What if Yoda knows that balance to the Force can only be brought about through the collapse of the Republic, the rise of the Empire and, ultimately, the redemption of Anakin Skywalker?

Makes you look at “The Phantom Menace” in a whole new light, doesn’t it?

Probably not. Because you are probably trapped in the “prequels-suck” matrix so deeply that nothing can bring you out. Not even six straight hours of watching C-3PO talking to Ewoks.