• Mattie Stu

Why Luke Skywalker Joined the Dark Side (Legends)

Return of the Jedi is probably the least adored movie of the Star Wars original trilogy - not to say that it's bad, just that most people don't hold it in as high regard as Episodes IV or V. The primary reason for this all boils down to George Lucas and his supposed pandering to a young, toy-hungry audience. And while the acclaimed filmmaker did try his to best to boost merchandise sales - see Ewoks for further details - his intentions weren't always so “safe”. In fact, Lucas toyed with the idea of a shocking and completely unexpected culmination to the saga, one in which Luke Skywalker donned his father's helmet, before proclaiming his desire to rule the galaxy. I'm sure some of you watching this would have preferred such an ending, while the rest are probably dumbfounded by the idea, given Skywalker's quest to redeem Anakin Skywalker and destroy the Galactic Empire. As it turned out, however, the do-gooding protagonist was always destined to join the dark side...

Stranded on Coruscant in 10 ABY, Skywalker found himself exploring newly opened chambers inside the former Imperial Palace. Before he could discover any vital clues or secrets, however, he was swept up by a dimension-altering energy and deposited on the Deep Core world of Byss. There, Luke encountered a foe he never expected to face again: Darth Sidious. Of course, the former emperor was slain aboard the second Death Star during the Battle of Endor – but through long-lost Sith knowledge and incredibly advanced cloning technology, his spirit continued to haunt the living realm. Palpatine could therefore grow genetic duplicates of himself to serve as pawns in his ongoing quest for power – although he still needed a powerful apprentice to enact his bidding, hence his summoning of Skywalker. So, left with no other choice, and believing he could destroy the Sith once and for all from within, Luke pledged his allegiance to Palpatine. Unfortunately, he gravely underestimated the pull of the dark side.

Just like Quinlan Vos during the Clone Wars, the Jedi's attempts to operate from the shadows as a servant of the light side were quickly thwarted by the grip of his master. Sure, he was able to covertly sabotage several of Palpatine's evil schemes, but his mind had delved too far into darkness to think clearly. Thankfully, the arrival of Leia and her connection to the Force guided him to the light once more, at least temporarily. This allowed Skywalker to destroy most of the former emperor's clones, forcing his swift departure to the Eclipse. But with help from his twin sister, Luke traced Palpatine to his trusty flagship and was finally able to defeat him in single combat. Such a feat was predicted hundreds, if not thousands of years prior by a legendary Jedi Master. What was not foretold, however, was the Sith Lord's final act of defiance.

By summoning a massive storm that systematically destroyed the nearby New Republic fleet, as well as his latest clone, Palpatine afforded himself time to regroup and restrategise on Byss. Though, not to be outdone, Skywalker readied himself with a vow to rebuild the Jedi ranks. And so, Palpatine's inevitable lashing out was met with a coordinated resistance – one which saw his latest physical incarnation shot in the back courtesy of Han Solo, and his spirit form dragged to the deepest, darkest recesses of hell by Empatojayos Brand. This insane act of bravery finally tore the Jedi free from the pull of the dark side. And while he was deeply troubled by the experience as a whole, Skywalker emerged knowing exactly what he needed to do to better safeguard the galaxy from future terror...

So, what do you think of Skywalker's brush with the dark side, and his temporary allegiance to the reborn Emperor Palpatine? Let us know in the comments below!

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