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When Cobb first meets Yusuf in Inception and tells him he is seeking for a chemist to formulate a compound for the Fischer job, he says that he would also need to "go into the field" with them to tailor compounds specific to their needs.

However, once a group starts their shared dream, they cannot wake up until the time for the dream is over, especially if they are sedated. Yusuf will not be able to change anything about the sedative once the dream is in progress.

So why does Yusuf need to join them into the dream? Isn't it enough for him to tailor a sedative suitable for a 3 level dream and hand it to them?

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Someone had to drive the van. –  Bobby Alexander Apr 7 at 6:00

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

First of all, I'd second MattD's answer that being acquainted with the intricacies of dream sharing, Yusuf generally made for a good companion, as they could use everyone they get.

But in addition to that, they actually did multi-level dreaming, so they might very well need Yusuf's expertise in mixing sedatives inside the dream itself. Their minds, albeit dreaming, are still bound to certain limits of physical reality in order to accept the whole dream in dream concept. For starting the 2nd level dream (and also the subsequent dreams) inside the 1st level, they still needed the dream machine along with precisely tailored sedatives inside the dream. And for this it was good to have an expert with them to mix this stuff right inside the dream (though in this case one might reason that they could have taken Yusuf even deeper with them). This is also evident from the particular dialogue of recruiting Yusuf:

Yusuf: I rarely go into the field, Mr. Cobb.

Cobb: We need you there to tailor compounds specific to our needs.

Yusuf: Which are?

Cobb: Great depth.

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+1 though in this case one might reason that they could have taken Yusuf even deeper with them but which wasn't necessary anymore, because of the changed schedule due to Fischer's subconscious guardians: from that moment the team employed kicks - instead of a set duration - to get up out of a level. –  NGLN Jul 27 at 19:24

Given his general knowledge of multi-level dreaming and the drugs needed to do what the team needed, he could prove to be a valuable asset in the dream world should something go wrong, such as being attacked by Fischer's subconscious projections because they were unaware he'd received mental conditioning to thwart extraction methods.

They likely could have used literally anyone who was willing to be paid enough, but Yusuf already had the general knowledge they needed, meaning they didn't need to train him like they did Ariadne (remember, time was of the essence). Why risk using someone new to extraction when you can pay someone who already knows what you need to make your efforts successful?

And, as Bobby noted, they needed a driver. The first level of the dream they concoct takes place in Yusuf's mind.

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