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George Lucas had a very controversial opinion on Yoda fighting Vader

Safe to say, the Star Wars creator had very different ideas about Yoda in the '80s than he did by the time the prequel movies came around.

George Lucas revealed who would win in a fight between Yoda and Darth Vader

As Star Wars fans, we’re no stranger to a spirited discussion about who would win in various hypothetical lightsaber fights. It’s what keeps the franchise alive, really. But it turns out George Lucas said something years ago that could shut a lot of those debates down before they’ve even started: he didn’t think Yoda could really fight.

Yoda is among the wisest beings in the Star Wars galaxy, and Lucas believed he was more of a teacher than a fighter. He was feared by the most notorious Star Wars villains, but that was more for his influence and his intelligence than his skills with a lightsaber. When he and writer Lawrence Kasdan were preparing for Return of the Jedi, Lucas explained why one of the best Star Wars characters wouldn’t fight.

Yoda teaches Jedi, but he is like a guru; he doesn’t go out and fight anybody,” said Lucas, according to J.W. Rinzler’s book The Making of Return of the Jedi. “He is a teacher, not a real Jedi. Understand that?”

Kasdan asked, ‘You mean he wouldn’t be any good in a fight?’, to which Lucas responded: “Not with Darth Vader he wouldn’t.” There it is, straight from the horse’s mouth. Yoda would get destroyed if he ever crossed sabers with Darth Vader.

Of course, Lucas changed his mind on this. By the time he started making new Star Wars movies as part of the Prequel Trilogy, Lucas had Yoda in action with a lightsaber in his hand. He went head-to-head with both Count Dooku and Palpatine during the prequels.

Although, this isn’t necessarily a retcon of what came before. There was a lot of water under the bridge between the prequels and the events of Empire Strikes Back. By the time we met Yoda again in the swamps of Dagobah, he was very old and nearing the end of his life, having spent decades in exile. At that point, he was more of a teacher than a fighter.

This is in stark contrast to the Yoda of the prequels, who was a key leader of the Jedi Council and one of the most important members of the order. Until the tragedy of Order 66, Yoda was one of the most accomplished Jedi, fighting skills and all.

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So as usual, we’re leaning on the side of George Lucas being absolutely right here. Whether or not you agree with every decision he has made, Star Wars has given us many of the best movies of all time, and he understands the characters he created more than any of us.

If you’re after more lightsaber action, head back through the Star Wars movies in order and learn about the Star Wars cast. We’ve also looked ahead to the Andor season 2 release date and explained why Ahsoka’s biggest mystery should change how we watch Star Wars.