Shortly after Anakin experiences his premonition that Padmé dies in childbirth, the troubled Jedi goes to see Yoda for advice. Because of the secrecy of his relationship with Padmé, he cannot come right out and tell Yoda, “Hey, I think my pregnant wife is going to die!” But he does tell Yoda that he had a vision of “someone” close to him dying. If Yoda has any idea of who it might be, he never reveals it. After he listens to Anakin, he gives sage advice that also turns out to be absolutely the worst possible thing you could say to Anakin. “Mourn them do not. Miss them do not,” Yoda counsels, because they get to be part of the Force. By the time Yoda talks about holding on to loved ones is the shadow of greed, you just know Anakin has probably tuned him out already. It’s not the answer Anakin wanted to hear. He wanted a concrete, mechanical solution to prevent Padmé’s death before it happens. Yoda’s right that there really isn’t anything one can do if it’s someone’s time to go and that trying to clutch on to someone, even from the inevitability of death, because you can’t bear being without them is a form of greed. But just from my standpoint, “miss them do not” is a little too cold. Perhaps Yoda had become somewhat inure to losing friends because of his very long lifespan. Plus the Jedi philosophy emphasizes detachment. But, it’s normal and human to mourn and to miss people we lose. In fact it’s part of the natural process and a psychological necessity.
This subtle, short scene is very important because as Lucas noted in his commentary, when Anakin is disturbed and frightened by his visions, he goes to “God” first (i.e. the most powerful good guy, Yoda) and when he doesn’t get the answer he wants, he goes to the “devil,” Palpatine. Palpatine of course offers Anakin a solution.
One of the things I love about this scene is the way Yoda is animated. His gestures and expression remind me of a shrink trying to get a patient to open up and talk. Hayden Christensen does a terrific job playing off of Yoda, given that there wasn’t animated figure there when the scene was originally shot! He’s quiet and keeps his emotions in check while speaking to the Jedi Master but you can also tell there’s something deep down that’s bothering him. The overall rhythm of the back and forth creates an effect of tension when Yoda’s sparse quarters is supposed to be a sanctuary of peace and meditation. Williams’s score is quiet, just underscoring the drama rather than trying to dominate it. Topping it off is the way the room is lit. It’s dark with slats of light coming in from the blinds, for the conflict between light and dark is taking place in this very conversation but neither of them know it. The light catches Anakin’s blue eyes but otherwise the dark obscures most of his face. It also visually represents the secrecy that affects the conversation.