Way back in 1980 it seems “Weird Al Yankovic” had a premonition. Having recently seen “The Empire Strikes Back,” he penned a song from the point of view of protagonist Luke Skywalker as Luke embarks on his training with the Jedi Master known as Yoda.
The song, “Yoda” was a parody of The Kinks’ song “Lola” Al eventually released in 1985 after a long struggle to get permission both from Lucas and The Kinks to do the parody The song details Luke’s experiences on Dagobah in the movie, honing his Force skills. The song replaces the original’s depiction of a man’s encounter with a transvestite with a retelling of Luke’s Jedi training as he struggles to understand how Yoda can “lift me in the air just by raising his hand,” and how he “ain’t never seen a guy who looks like a Muppet but he’s wrinkled and green.”
But “Yoda” is not just about what happens to Luke in the movie. Weird Al also looks into the future of both Luke Skywalker and Mark Hamill, who plays him. And the weirdest (sorry) thing of all is that even way back in 1980, Weird Al got most of it right.
Throughout the song, Luke talks about his experiences training with Yoda, but it’s toward the end that Weird Al starts to joke the future of “Star Wars”:
“Well, I heard my friends really got in a mess /
So I’m gonna have to leave Yoda, I guess /
But I know that I’ll be coming back some day /
I’ll be playing this part ’till I’m old and gray.
“The long-term contract that I had to sign /
Says I’ll be making these movies till the end of time /
With my Yoda /
Yo-yo-yo-yo Yoda yo-yo-yo-yo Yoda.”
Here’s a fan-cut video pairing the song with scenes from “Empire” and other “Star Wars” films that came to the same conclusion we did.
Nailed it. Luke returns to Yoda to continue his training in “Return of the Jedi.” But the two are united yet again in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” when, despite Yoda’s having died 30 years earlier, he pops up as a Force ghost to give Luke some much-needed advice about taking responsibility for his failures and helping out his friends.
And of course, Hamill is playing a role in his mid-60s that he originated in his mid-20s, as Weird Al suspected. In other words, he literally played the part until he was old and gray with his Yoda.
Weird Al didn’t have to be psychic to figure the ultra-lucrative “Star Wars” franchise would continue on in some form, though almost no one could have foreseen Disney’s eventual $4 billion purchase of Lucasfilm. But with “Star Wars” now a yearly phenomenon, he was right that somebody would willing to make “Star Wars” movies until the end of time. Since Jedi seem to be fully able to come back as ghosts basically forever, Luke probably really is stuck with Yoda.
The best verse, though, is Yoda’s warning, one that gets a pretty good guess at Luke’s eventual fate in “The Last Jedi.”
“‘I know Darth Vader’s really got you annoyed /
But remember, if you kill him, then you’ll be unemployed'”
That one happened too. Luke didn’t kill Vader, but he did help facilitate the situation that brought down the Empire once and for all. Then he tried to be a teacher. Vader’s death, however, wound up robbing him of both his job as a soldier and his Jedi academy, after the Vader-obsessed Kylo Ren destroyed the place. Luke spent the rest of his life literally unemployed.
It’s not a dead-on prophecy — what prophecy ever is — but Weird Al was onto something in “Yoda.” It might be worth it asking him to write a song guessing at the plot of “Episode IX” to help hold fans over until 2020.