The Other

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In The Empire Strikes Back when Luke Skywalker discontinues his training and leaves Dagobah to confront Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi says to Yoda, "That boy is our last hope." Yoda responds, "No, there is another."

from Bellerophon #18 (1981)

Return of the Jedi revealed that Yoda was referring to Princess Leia, but in the three years between the films, there was much fannish speculation and debate.

Fannish Speculation

1981 cartoon in Jundland Wastes #1: Now accepting applications for 'The Other One'

Who this "other" was became the subject of intense fan speculation.

One fan comments:
As for the 'other' my personal favorites are Leia and Vader, about equally. He on his known Force-ability and she on many of the possibilities Anne Zeek cites, as well as the interestingly prevalent fan theory that she and Luke could be half-siblings. I'd rate Han fairly low on my list, mostly because his role is already so given and well-defined, he is the sidekick, the knight in none-too-shining armor to Luke's heir apparent role. I find it conceivable that chapters IV, V, and VI could end with Luke killed and Han, in some swashbuckling gesture, saving the day, but I can't see him as replacing Luke may be part of a hopeful situation, but not "the" hope. [1]
Anne Elizabeth Zeek wrote a much-commented on article in Jundland Wastes which investigates the subject:
With these simple words, Yoda provided three year's worth of speculation and pleasure for SWARS fen... Part one of this article has already looked the possibility that 'the other' is one of the following: a new character, Wedge Antilles, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Lando Calrissian or the droids (singly or as a pair). Part Two will explore the possibility that 'the other' is Chewbacca, Leia Organa or Han Solo.

For more see, Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?. Another article is by Mary Jean Holmes in Shadowstar #1: "Shady Thoughts, an editorial column, "Who is the Other? Theories I've Encountered."

Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader?

Han Solo?

issue #6 interior from Skywalker, Carol Davis -- "I'm the other? The other what?!?"
  • "Han is chosen by Obi-Wan even over Luke's protestations. Why? Did the Jedl Master sense something in the Corellian? is Kenobi as much at the mercy of destiny as the rest of the characters? (Lucas has told us that Luke is but a pawn in events that had their origin before his birth.) Was it fate that Solo was in that particular cantina at that particular time and in need of money for a debt to Jabba the Hut? The radio show, bad though it may have been at times, makes it quite clear that Ben was looking for someone quite specific. Why Solo?" The author notes that he also understands Chewbacca, and that true heroes can translate the language of animals and magical beings. [2]
  • "What about Han? Well, it can't be him. He doesn't have the Force." [3]

Leia Organa?

  • "I don't think Leia will turn out to be the Other, if for no other reason than STAR WARS is a "boys fantasy", and girls/women' don't have much of a place in such." [4]
  • "Leia resists Lord Vader's mind-probe. Now, I don't know about you, but I figure anyone able to resist that one's probe is indeed "a force" (ouch!) to be reckoned with. And for tnat matter, how did so young a woman become so high-ranking in the rebel Alliance? And even further back, how did she become a senator? Was it because of her royal heritage? Or is she, to paraphrase Ben, "no ordinary princess"? Leia is the McGuffin for the entire middle trilogy. Because she is who she is and was where she was the entire SWARS saga is set in motion. She has the tapes, dispatches the droids enchants Luke, gets captured by Vader, watches Alderaan be destroyed, escapes with Luke and Han,is a leader of the rebellion, exerts a strong pull on Han, etc., etc. It would be poetic justice after having set the entire sequence into motion, she should be the ultimate hero." [5]
  • "She's already been through one major encounter with Darth (on the Death Star in STAR WARS) and he did note her resistance to the mind probe was strong, but he did not show any awareness of her having Force talents. Later in TESB on the Falcon, because of the crises and because of the excitement of the situation... she might have inadvertently sent out signals to the point that now Vader could sense her ("...a great disturbance in the Force..."). By the time they reach Bespin, Leia seems to have abandoned any Force "sending" powers because if she still had these powers and they could hurt, that glare she gave Vader would have surely done him in. Then there's the set-up in JEDI where Darth doesn't pick up the feel that Leia is his own daughter, let alone a Force sensitive. He says, "Sister! So you have a twin sister...!" He never seems to twig to the fact that Leia is Luke's twin. (I think an argument can be made here that Luke, himself, does not necessarily believe that Leia is his sister. Vader seems to be able to pick up with ease that Luke has a twin, but never indicates he knows that that twin is Leia. Now, this, indeed, could be a sign that Luke can block his thoughts, but if that is the case, shouldn't he be able to block the thought that he has a sister at all?) This indicates to me that she is either not the one Vader has been picking up all along or she has sufficiently developed skills to be able to block, and we allow from these films that even Luke, who has had training, hasn't mastered blocking Vader from reading his thoughts or sensing his presence. I find it difficult to accept that Leia, with no knowledge of her Force talents until three-quarters of the way through the third film and no training would be able to block Vader from sensing her." [6]

Yoda?

  • "Has anyone considered Yoda as the other? I admit, it's a bit self-serving to state that about yourself, but I think a good case could be made for Yoda's,coming out of "retirement" at the final confrontation. He could be telling Obi Wan, "Hey, don't forget about me. I'm not one-with-the-Force yet. 'I'm still, a being to be reckoned with." [7]

Lando?

  • "We know he is an old friend of Han's, that he is a 'gambler, a conman, and a scoundrel.' We know... that he is now a responsible administrator. What else? He must be very lucky to live as a gambler -- yet Obi Wan tells us there's no such thing as luck. Does Lando feel stirrings of the Force that he is unaware of?" [8]

Chewbacca?

  • "Let us look at the wookiee first. While it way not mean a thing... there is the fact that Chewbacca is the one contacted by Ben Kenobi in the cantina. The Ben of the radio-show... tells us this is "no ordinary wookiee." Does Ben know something the viewer doesn't? Even though Ben does not know of the 'other," he could know that Chewbacca has strong potential in the Force. The co-ordination between Han and Chewbacca is extraordinary! Could it be helped by telepathy? How close a vetting does Lucas give the professionally published SWARS fiction? In 'The Wookiee Storybook', one of the SWARS children's books, wookiees are definitely mentioned to be telepathic. Are they? And what of other ESPer abilities?... Chewbacca is the first to notice that C3PO is missing, and later finds the droid in a place most visitors would not think to look for a missing mechanical—particularly not for one last seen in one piece. Then there is that strange cry he gives before the ill-fated party enters the dining hall. Does Chewbacca sense something wrong?" [9]
  • "I liked Ms. Zeek's treatment of Chewie as a potential 'other'. I seem to remember that in one early version of SW-ANH, Luke traveled to the Wookiee homeworld, and enlisted their aid against the Empire. That it was the Wookiees who ultimately destroyed the Death Star." [10]
  • "Well, he certainly is old enough to have a secret past, and Lucas in his personal dossier on the Wookiees says they have their own special brand of the Force. He is one of the heroes in hiding on the Falcon in the scene in STAR WARS when Vader says, "I sense a presence I haven't felt since..." Also, in STAR WARS when Vader says, "The Force is strong in this one," the Falcon certainly is near, and who's on board the Falcon? You got it! Chewie, of course. He's also the one who seems to be aware of Darth's presence on Bespin in the dining hall, even before the doors open." [11]

Boba Fett?

Boba Fett by J-Redd, 2008
  • "Picture this if you will: Han wakes up after being dethawed from carbonite. Boba Fett stands over him. Fett removes his helmet and confronts Solo: "Well, I can't tell you how glad I am to see you. For a moment, I thought you may not survive. We should be arriving at Alliance control momentarily." Crazy?! Wait. What do we know about Fett? Nothing, except that he calls himself a bounty hunter. In TESB, we never see Fett do anything evil. Vader instigated Han's torture. In fact, Fett shows his concern for Han's survival twice. Sure, we're led to believe that Fett's concern is purely financial but what if it's not? Boba Fett as the other hope? Unlikely, but who can positively say he's not?" [12]
  • "Since the Brown Deer theater in Milwaukee was the only 70mm theater in Wisconsin at the time, we went there for the premiere of 'Empire'. On the way back, there were two main discussions: was Vader telling the truth about being Luke's father, and who the 'another' was that Yoda mentioned. The speculation on the 'other' was pretty wild; some people even suggested Chewie and (really?) Boba Fett."[13]
  • "Could he be the 'other'/ Such an evetuality would certainly come from a long tradition of heroes disgusing themselves as 'bad guys' to get 'the drop' on an enemy. Aragorn, ZOrro, Lancelot, the Lone Ranger all appear at first to be other than what they really are. Fett is masked. What if he is hiding his identity...?"[14]

One of the Droids?

  • "C-3P0. Aw, come on. You knew it all the time. I don't know why it is I'm always the last to see the light. I feel that everyone else knew this from the beginning, and here I had to go through three films and countless viewings to figure it out. I will say, now that I know 3P0's true role, that George was right: the answer was always so obvious. And that knowledge also makes some of the awkward portions of JEDI fall right into place. Lucas has flatly stated, "I love the droids. They're my favorite people." But it's only recently that I realized that he was talking about their role in the saga. Now, I know most of you must have discovered 3P0's secret identity in a more intuitive fashion, but for me, logic works best. I find that if I can discover the reason for my mind to accept, then my heart will follow, and in my bones, I will know that I have found a truth that is lasting." [15]

A Yet Unintroduced Character?

  • "In any event, I'm getting kind of tired of discussion of the 'the other'. I personally don't believe it/he/she is anyone we've seen thus far in the films, so the merits of Han's being 'it' as opposed to Leia's being it." [16]

Please, Let it Be a Woman

Some fans simply wanted "The Other" to be a female.

  • "As for the subject of who is the "other", I personally prefer a brand new character. I hope it's a woman. I keep remembering that Lucas said the third and last trilogy would be about Luke's children. Now, I am just wondering if the "other" might not be Luke's future wife. It would be a shame if Lucas decided to populate the middle trilogy with only one main female character. Anyone for a female Jedi? Lucas has gotten a lot of flack for the lack of women in the SW films. Yet he seems almost unconcerned, as if he knows something we don't. Maybe with another woman in the films, some fans won't pick on Leia as much." [17]
  • "I would like her to be a new character, and if at all possible, a female. In fact, she doesn't even have to be a human as Luke and the others. Make her purple or give her whistling silver hair." [18]

After The Reveal: Pretty Much a Let-Down

  • "I have to laugh at the way Lucas had many of us chase a wild goose in wondering what part the "other" was going to play in the downfall of the Emperor and his Empire. The "other" played a significant role, of course, but not as the "other." If that character had not been told of its relationship to the Force, it would have made no difference in the way the character proceeded. That is, the actions of that character proceeded unchanged just as if the character had never known it was the "other." What mattered was the task of trying to keep the "other" a secret. When Luke was ready to give up, the burden of this secret spurred him on to do what had to be done?" [19]
  • "As for the Other? Big deal! Lucas made a big thing out of the existence of the Other, and then the whole concept is thrown away in a few lines of dialogue. So what was the point of introducing the concept in the first place?" [20]

References

  1. from Jundland Wastes #7 (1982)
  2. from Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?
  3. from Scoundrel #2
  4. from Jundland Wastes #7 (1982)
  5. from Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?
  6. from Scoundrel #2
  7. from Jundland Wastes #7
  8. from Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?
  9. from Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?
  10. from Jundland Wastes #7
  11. from Scoundrel #2
  12. from Against the Sith #9
  13. from Jandra
  14. from Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?
  15. see her more extensive comments in Scoundrel #2
  16. from Jundland Wastes #7
  17. from Jundland Wastes #9
  18. from Jundland Wastes #7
  19. from Jundland Wastes #15/16
  20. from Scoundrel #1