Luke Skywalker Makes The Darkest Choice In Star Wars And No One Notices

By Zack Zagranis | Published

One of the most emotional moments in The Empire Strikes Back is one I never heard anyone else mention. It’s the part on Cloud City right after Darth Vader hits him with the biggest twist in film history. You know, when Luke Skywalker willingly chooses death over the opportunity to join his father on the Dark Side?

Wait, Luke Skywalker attempted to take his own life? You bet your Ewok bed sheets he did! Well….sort of.

Might As Well Jump!

I’m not saying he actively jumped off the teensy-weensy platform he crawled onto to escape Vader. What I am saying, however, is that after digging deep inside himself and seeing no other option, Luke purposefully let go of the pole he was clinging onto for dear life and allowed himself to fall down a seemingly bottomless pit. A pit, I might add, that, from Luke Skywalker’s point of view, spelled certain death.

I never thought about it as a kid, but in the moment he lets go, Luke is making the ultimate sacrifice. He’s attempting to honor the promise he made to Yoda about avoiding the Dark Side of the Force while simultaneously repeating the act he saw Obi-Wan Kenobi perform on the Death Star. Luke Skywalker chooses death on his terms rather than let Vader corrupt or murder him.

Death Over Darkness

Remember, Luke has no reason to believe the most genocidal villain in the Galaxy when he claims to be his long-lost dad. Allowing himself to plummet down an endless shaft may have just been Luke Skywalker’s way of denying Darth Vader the thrill of sending yet another Jedi to their death. Personally, though, I think it was a fear of the Dark Side that motivated Luke to do what he did.

Let’s not forget that earlier in The Empire Strikes Back, Luke has a powerful Force vision in which he beheads Darth Vader only to find out that it’s his head inside Vader’s helmet. Most fans probably look at that scene as foreshadowing that Vader is Luke’s father. I know I did.

Fearful Foreshadowing

Luke sees his own face behind the mask because Vader is “him” in the sense that he’s Luke’s flesh and blood. Luke is a part of Vader, and Vader is a part of Luke. That theory was great when I was a kid, but as an adult, I realized that scene had another meaning that helps tie it into the whole Luke Skywalker falling to his death thing.

Many fans have issues with the idea of the Skywalkers being a family of Force royalty. But that’s not the only trait passed down from Skywalker to Skywalker. I would argue that the family’s weakness to the temptations of the Dark Side is the stronger inherited trait. Anakin turned, Ben Solo turned, and Luke Skywalker would have turned had he not chosen death instead.

That Force vision on Dagobah isn’t meant to signify Luke’s relationship with Darth Vader. It’s meant to show him how easily he could become Vader.

An Emotional Plunge

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Luke Skywalker, especially at such an early stage in his Jedi training when he was most vulnerable, was extremely susceptible to the Dark Side’s call. And he knew it too. Part of the reason Luke Skywalker chose death over continuing to fight Vader is that he knew it wouldn’t take much for his Father to break his will.

The fact that Luke survives the fall doesn’t make his sacrifice any more impactful. I’ve seen other fans try to justify Luke Skywalker’s actions by saying that he was trusting the Force to save him from death. I don’t agree.

Sure, he was very clearly drawing on the Force right before he let go, but it was for the strength and inner peace to do what he thought needed to be done.

For The Good Of The Galaxy

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Let me be clear: I’m in no way implying that Luke wanted to die. I just hate the idea of fans thinking he just fell, or he knew the Force was going to save him. Luke Skywalker knew at that moment that his death would benefit the galaxy more than if he became Darth Vader 2.0.

At that moment, Luke Skywalker was doing the most Jedi thing he could have done: literally letting go of his attachments, including those that kept him tethered to the mortal plane. I don’t know about you, but In my opinion, that’s cooler than anything he ever did with a lightsaber.