After Vader cut off his hand and told him that he was Luke's father, why did Luke just jump into the chasm? We know he eventually got away, but did Luke have a plan about how he would escape before he jumped, or did he jump because he lost hope and just happened to get saved?

  • 27
    Does Luke ever have an actual plan? Sep 26 '15 at 8:13
  • 14
    @JanusBahsJacquet - Is "act like a whiny man-child" considered a plan?
    – Valorum
    Sep 26 '15 at 10:47
  • 2
    FWIW, the idea that Luke's act was suicide can be inferred by the screaming added into the special edition version of The Empire Strikes Back. Lucas seemed to want to soften the edge of a lot of the dark, human aspects of the film when he got to redo them. The act of Luke jumping into the void could not be redone. But by adding a scream to Luke it implies it wasn't as final and set an act as it seemed when he just calmly jumps. Sep 26 '15 at 21:52
  • 3
    I'm not going to make this an answer because it is opinion based without facts to back it, but I think being a Jedi means, you don't really have to have a plan. Things just ... tend to work well unless another force wielder is involved. I imagine it as a mix of precognitive and telekinetic powers used unconsciously, practically leading to the well known "hero effect". (You know: the hero can jump out of the window, because some hay wagon will just pass through there.)
    – mg30rg
    Jul 1 '16 at 14:27
  • 2
    There's a tendency to view the Jedi as possessed of god-like powers. Qui-Gon disabuses Anakin of that notion. Anakin: I don't think so. No one can kill a Jedi. Qui-Gon Jinn: I wish that were so.
    – Valorum
    Jul 1 '16 at 18:47

Luke's plan was suicide.

From the new canon "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: So you want to be a Jedi?" novelisation of the film

You want to be with your father. More than anything in the universe, this is what you want. It is what you’ve always wanted.
But Vader is not your father. Not anymore.
You let go of the platform and fall into the abyss.

And the Star Wars in 100 Scenes factbook

Despite his agony, Luke senses the truth of Vader's words. He has another choice - to die. He lets go and falls down the reactor shaft.

This is backed up by the film's junior novelisation

His voice is so hypnotic, Luke thought, and felt part of himself falling under Vader’s spell. But only part of him. Luke looked down into the deep shaft that seemed to stretch down to forever.
“Come with me,” Vader urged. “It is the only way.”
Luke looked directly at Vader and felt a certain calmness as he thought, No. It’s not the only way.

and from the film's official novelisation

His Father...

With the calmness that Ben himself and Yoda, the Jedi Master, had taught him, Luke Skywalker made, perhaps, what might be his final decision of all. “Never,” Luke shouted as he stepped out into the empty abyss beneath him. For all its unperceived depth, Luke might have been falling to another galaxy.

and from the film's original script

Vader puts away his sword and holds his hand out to Luke.

A calm comes over Luke, and he makes a decision. In the next instant he steps off the gantry platform into space. The Dark Lord looks over the platform and sees Luke falling far below. The wind begins to blow at Vader's cape and the torrent finally forces him back, away from the edge. The wind soon fades and the wounded Jedi begins to drop fast, unable to grab onto anything to break his fall.

  • 6
    Hm. Awsome quotes. But I'm uncertain you can infer suicide from them - it could simply be trusting the Force. Sep 27 '15 at 2:34
  • 5
    The one line I remember from The Empire Strikes Back Storybook, which was sort of like a junior novelization with lots of big pictures available in the 80s, was "But there was another way." I never saw it as suicide, per se, but instead the only option that did not lead to the Dark Side. Maybe it led to death, maybe it led to Vegas, but it definitely didn't involve going with Vader. If he really wanted to commit suicide, he wouldn't have held on to the weather vane thing or tried to get back into Cloud City or called Leia. He would have just let go. Sep 27 '15 at 3:37
  • 7
    @toddwilcox - My reading is that he would have preferred not to die. In one book he starts looking for something to grab onto, in another he's surprised not to hit the floor with an almighty crash. In none of them do we see anything resembling a plan other than to jump and accept the (likely) consequences.
    – Valorum
    Sep 27 '15 at 7:27
  • 3
    @toddwilcox - Of course, once he's out of Vader's presence, his force-influence diminishes and Luke begin to think more clearly about his own survival
    – Valorum
    Sep 27 '15 at 7:30
  • 1
    @RichS - His plan evidently changed when he realised he had a potential means of escape
    – Valorum
    Aug 15 '20 at 7:54

Having never read into this subject before watching the Luke's Scream scene just today, I always had the idea he had come up with a plan.

After freaking out about Vader's revelation and subsequent offer, anger grows in him. Realizing this is a dark path, he remembers Kenobi & Yoda's teachings.

He calms himself & uses the force to seek an escape.

He envisions the path to the ductwork and feels there's a way out, in similar a way as he had on his run of the Death Star's exhaust port.

That's why he didn't scream in the original. He had trust in the force. Force Trust Fall.

  • 1
    Ah yes, the answer to any Star Wars query. How did Qui Gon Jinn eat that massive burrito that was the size of his head??? "Force Eating".
    – John Bell
    Feb 4 '16 at 9:54
  • I know. I was identifying the humor. Chill.
    – John Bell
    Feb 6 '16 at 17:59

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.