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Accursed Arachnid!™

A Controversial Opinion Regarding the End of ROTJ

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 Having avoided spoilers of Episode 7 at all costs and not having any knowledge or preconceived notions about what it may reveal about established history, I recently watched the OT for the umpteenth time and I realized the ending of Return of the Jedi always left me hanging for some reason. You would never think an ending so seemingly neat and tidy as ROTJ would have such an effect on someone, but there was always something about Luke and Vader's choices that didn't jibe with their actions.


 Now, I realize that this is a film and a film franchise that are like a part of your family, so any ideas that don't hold to your beliefs may offend you. I do apologize in advance to those who may take these theories as anything other than pure conjecture and ultimately harmless spitballing. Here is the first theoretical conclusion I made following my line of thinking to its ultimate end:


***While I doubt I am on to something about the new trilogy, some may want to avoid the theories I present because they may just end up spoilers***




 Darth Vader did not redeem himself by saving Luke and killing the Emperor.


 Vader had already shown he was more than willing to destroy the Emperor many times before. No matter how much he may have professed that he was required to obey his master, he had aspirations of overthrowing him and taking the galaxy for his own. He had told Padme this in Revenge of the Sith and Luke this in Empire Strikes Back.  Vader's allegiance to Palpatine only went as far as the Dark Lord of the Sith was useful to him. From moment one, his motivation for using Palpatine's vast knowledge of the dark side was for purely selfish purposes and I feel that motivation never went away. His ultimate dream was always to rule the galaxy with his wife alive at his side, but since he failed to save her, what was left of his wife...his son. Deciding to kill the Emperor to save his son was not even close to a selfless act...in fact, the decision could be described as something most fathers would do in that situation. Even if it meant sacrificing himself in the process. Vader knew Luke was his best shot at immortality...saving his son at the cost of his own life was not necessarily a redemptive act.

 Another thing that intrigues me is Lucas' superficial insertion of a particularly maniacal and youthful looking Anakin in the final scene of ROTJ. He appears completely separate from Obi-Wan and Yoda, looking like the cat who ate the canary. Regardless of the misguided aspect of this appearance, it further bolsters my theory. Regardless of how canon you may feel that version is, in both versions, Anakin is separated from the other two by what looks to be a full twelve inches of space while Obi-Wan seems to have his arm behind Yoda, showing their closer connection. Sure they look at each other but it always felt like it was done for Luke's benefit, like a divorcing couple who feign tolerance for each other for the sake of the kids.

 In a nutshell, if Anakin chose the dark side to save his wife, why would saving their child be considered automatically redemptive?


 OK, now for the second part of this theory which is probably even more controversial:


 Luke plants the seeds of his eventual fall to the dark side when he attacks his father at the end of ROTJ.


 Again, I have no idea where the new films are headed and for all I know they probably have Luke as the Obi-Wan figure in them. But for me, Luke had drawn his own moral line in the sand when he said he would not fight his own father. Once he did that, crossing this line would cause him to forever question his own righteousness. When Vader threatens to turn Leia to the dark side, Luke makes a choice to sacrifice his morality for hers. Still a heroic act nonetheless, and I would even argue a more heroic one(he's not the Jedi we need, etc, etc). He goes after Vader with a viciousness and ferocity which made the Emperor proud. The only thing that stops him from killing Vader is the Emperor's cheers. Only now does he make a vain attempt to save himself from his choice which causes him to say that he "is a Jedi like his father before him". Indeed, he is just like his father, more worried about the loss of loved ones than his duty as a Jedi.

  While others are celebrating the fall of the Emperor, Luke is by himself, giving his father a proper sendoff. Then, later when we see him back at the Ewok camp, after a few quick hugs, again he distances himself from the proceedings to see the three lost father figures in his life. Which makes the viewer feel that no matter how much he cares about his sister and friends, he is still alone as the only Jedi left. Where's the balance in that?



As I said above, these are more half beliefs for me, and I would be just as happy if the new trilogy establishes these theories are bupkis. Still, just like the ending of Inception, it's fun to throw around ideas like these.




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If Anakin didn't redeem himself, I don't believe there's any way he would have appeared with Yoda and Obi-Wan. 


As far as Luke turning, with no one to teach him the Dark Side, I can't see him turning. Capable of, yes. But actually turning, no.  

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