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In episodes 4-6, is Luke becoming a Sith? He starts out wanting to become an imperial pilot and is initially reluctant to get involved with the rebellion. In his training with Obi Wan and later Yoda he shows as much impatience and Anakin ever did and repeatedly ignores their warnings and throws caution to the wind.

For example, when entering the dark cave on Dagobah, Yoda tells him he won't need his weapons, but Luke takes them anyway.

Then, when he thinks about abandoning his training to rescue his friends, Yoda warns him that:

Stopped they must be. On this all depends. Only a fully trained Jedi Knight with the Force as his ally will conquer Vader and his Emperor. If you end your training now, if you choose the quick and easy path as Vader did, you will become an agent of evil.

Then he warns him that if he goes, he might help them but then he will destroy all they worked for. Twice Yoda prophises that if Luke goes at that point, he will turn to the dark side.

Luke goes anyway.

In 'Return of the Jedi', he appears wearing black, like Anakin was when he was starting to turn to the dark side. When he returns to Dagobah to complete his training, he finds Yoda dying, but in any case Yoda refuses to train him further, saying his training is complete. This could simply be because he was dying, but might it not also be that he didn't want to empower Luke to become a more powerful Sith?

When Luke says 'So I am a Jedi', Yoda looks slightly surprised and says no, that he must first confront Vader.

Sure he then helps turn Anakin back to the force of good and destroy the emperor, but is it possible he did this for ulterior motives, effectively leaving himself as the most powerful force user left alive rather than for good?

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This seems setup for a discussion, faq, but I believe this may be expanded upon in the EU. However, I do not have much experience with the books or comics. –  Xantec Apr 23 '12 at 20:47
@Xantec Maybe I need to rephrase it. I've only watched the films. I don't know the cartoons and comics and various novels, nor am I aware which of these might be canon. I was just wondering if there was any cannon or interviews with Lucas etc, that hint that Luke is not on the path of the Jedi... –  AntonChanning Apr 23 '12 at 20:56
The assertion that luke wanted to be an imperial pilot is wrong. He wanted to be a rebel pilot. In a deleted scene, he was talking to Biggs Darklighter and planning on joining him in the rebellion. –  Nathan C. Tresch Apr 23 '12 at 21:16
FWIW, I was always under the impression, that the constant interference by the Emperor (on DS2) was the only thing that kept him from the Dark Side. Which is a bit ironic, seeing that the Emperor is trying to get him to the dark side. There are many situations where you can tell that he is juuuuust about to give in, just a blink of an eye away from turning. Then the Emperor laughs or says something and Luke just manages to catch himself. –  bitmask Apr 24 '12 at 14:15
Just a minor point: Luke was never 'close' to becoming a Sith. He was close to falling to the Dark Side. The Sith are a particular sect of the Dark Side and follow particular teachings. Not all Dark Jedi are Sith. –  Jeff May 6 at 15:11

3 Answers 3

up vote 21 down vote accepted

You're misreading Luke's sentiments in Ep 4. While Luke does want to follow his friends to the "Academy" (the only logical specific academy being one of the Imperial-run institutions such as the Academy of Carida or the Coruscanti Pilot Institute), it's not necessarily for the purpose of joining the Imperials. Luke, in the same movie, declares his hatred for the Empire. In the novel, there is a conversation between Biggs (who hasn't left yet) and Luke, where Biggs says he has a friend of a friend who has contacts with the Rebel Alliance at the Academy, and though Luke expresses misgivings about the hookup ("this twice-removed friend could be an Imperial agent. You'd end up on Kessel, or worse") this knowledge forms the impetus behind Luke wanting to leave Tatooine himself. And regardless of the machinations behind the scenes, Biggs does indeed show up on Yavin via the Academy.

On Dagobah, Yoda is trying (and not always succeeding) to get Luke to suppress emotion. While the training regimen Luke undergoes on Dagobah is not exactly what was sanctioned by the Jedi Academy in the Republic days, all the key elements are there; the physical training, meditation, learning about the perils of the Dark Side, struggling with those elements within yourself, etc. However, Luke does have some pretty well-ingrained lessons to "unlearn"; chief among them is that he usually refuses to abandon logic and emotion in favor of faith. Logic says a 10-ton X-wing is too heavy to lift out of a swamp without heavy equipment, so Luke didn't believe he could do it himself and couldn't believe it when Yoda did. Logic says when you're heading somewhere dangerous, you go prepared, so Luke didn't believe Yoda when he said Luke wouldn't need his weapons. On the flip side though, Luke wouldn't listen to logic saying he would be tempted by the Dark Side and was particularly susceptible at the time; he believed he could help his friends and so abandoned his training to go help them out of his (platonic) love for them.

Luke's black clothes in RotJ basically toe the line between appearing simple and humble and being seen as dangerous. Remember that Luke's very first in-person scene in RotJ has him using Force Choke (a "Dark" skill) against Jabba's Gamorrean guards. While not being flamboyantly obvious, Luke's black clothes make him stand out from just about anyone else in Jabba's court. However, he does keep the black jumpsuit for most of the rest of the movie (except while sneaking around Endor, where the Rebel camo was more appropriate), which is pretty heavy symbolism about the uncertainty of Luke's fate. He's weighted down with this concern over his father, he could still fall to the Dark Side himself (and is one swing of the saber away from it), etc.

Yoda wasn't surprised, per se, at Luke's affirmation of being a Jedi; he found Luke's statement humorous, probably because he'd heard similar self-inflating statements from his students many times over his life. Those students would have known that there were a series of trials to undergo, but consider Obi-Wan, who in his desire to help Qui-Gon bring Anakin into the Order volunteered for the trials, perhaps a bit overconfidently.

As far as Luke's intentions, we can only take them at face value; he wanted to confront his father to redeem him from the Emperor, and if he could take the Emperor out of the picture too, so much the better. Those actions were just as honorable as Anakin's, wanting to end the war, bring peace to the galaxy, protect the Republic from "enemies foreign and domestic". Anakin's desires were twisted by Palpatine until he'd accomplished the exact opposite. Luke's desires strayed dangerously along the same path, but Luke hadn't been under the Emperor's influence nearly as long as Anakin had, so all the Emperor could really do was to goad him into anger over how everything was going out beyond the observation window, to show Luke by his own actions how powerful he could become by using his hatred. He was as subtle as he could be, but nowhere near as insidious as he proved to be when corrupting Anakin. Even then, only one thing stopped Luke; realizing, by noticing Vader's severed mechanical hand, and then his own, just how much like Vader he'd already become.

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+1, though this might benefit from TL;DR section –  DVK Apr 24 '12 at 15:43
Watching them in the Machete Order helps reinforce the idea that we don't know Luke's path when ROTJ starts. –  xecaps12 Mar 19 at 1:33

"Twice Yoda prophises that if Luke goes at that point, he will turn to the dark side."

It wasn't a prophecy. It was a warning. "You are skating on mighty thin ice here". But, since Luke refused to join Vader, he DID skate by without dropping through the ice.

As far as Luke becoming Sith - not quite. He did, indeed, skate close to the edge, for exactly the same reasons as Anakin (overconfidence, not enough humility, training started too late). But his personality kept him on the light side. Not enough anger, too much love. </Dumbledore>. Anakin's main weakness was fear of loss - Luke (possibly due to having grown an orphan) was less susceptible.

FYI, veering off from the G-canon, Luke indeed became (in the EU works) a temporary trainee with the resurrected cloned Emperor and had to be saved from that by Leia. Also, Mara Jade refused to have anything to do with being trained by Luke precisely because his Force usage was so dangerously close to the edge - her main complaint was that he acted and interfered too much instead of letting things go.

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Much of the EU dances with the idea that Luke is literally the balance come to the force, because he skates so near the edge. At many moments in E4-6 he uses his anger successfully, and yet manages to stay away from the Dark Side completely. He seems more like Darth Revan of the Knights of the Old Republic, than he does like anyone present in E4-6. –  DampeS8N Apr 23 '12 at 23:30
@DampeS8N: Great observation! –  bitmask Apr 24 '12 at 14:16
@DampeS8N - "manages to stay away from the Dark Side completely" - arguably, the challenge in the Dark Side Cave on Dagobah was him coming close to the Dark Side. But it's debatable. –  DVK Apr 24 '12 at 15:42
@DVK, Ambiguous language, sorry. "Manages to keep from being completely overcome by the Dark Side" –  DampeS8N Apr 24 '12 at 19:30

In the books Luke does become the 'back from the dead' emps new apprentice until his sister turns him back

So yes he does turn to the dark side for a time

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You are correct, but the question was asking about the time frame during ANH through ROTJ. –  phantom42 Dec 6 '13 at 15:13

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