Is the reason neither Yoda or Obi-Wan thought it a good idea to inform Luke that

his father and Vader were the same person

ever discussed? Were they hoping that

Vader himself

didn't realize this, and that it wouldn't come up? Or was there an explicit rationale behind hiding this fact from Luke?

Wouldn't it seem risky to send Luke in blind, with the chance of him finding out without their support, considering how emotional attachment can be a door into the Dark Side?

  • 12
    I know it is basically common knowledge, but for those few who managed to not know yet, spoiler tags won't hurt....
    – Zommuter
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 6:52
  • 59
    The spoilers do seem to be about 40 years late...
    – AJFaraday
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 8:13
  • 24
    @AJFaraday Some of the people born within the last 40 years don't know it yet. No need to ruin the surprise for them if they want to watch the movies.
    – kasperd
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 8:15
  • 8
    @kasperd I was born in the last 20 years, they re-released the films in the late nineties. Plus this particular spoiler has been widely splashed around in the media since. Lego Star-Wars in it's game and film incarnations have introduced a generation of young children to the whole of the plot recently. I suppose it might not be 100% known throughout the world, but it's as close as it gets.
    – AJFaraday
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 8:18
  • 7
    @AJFaraday My daughter was born in the last year. She has not yet seen Star Wars, and there's a nonzero chance that she'll use SciFi SE before she gets a chance to watch Empire for the first time. Spoiler tags are always appreciated! Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 20:28

5 Answers 5


People with long-lost parents tend to seek them out soon after finding out about them...

If either Obi-Wan or Yoda had told Luke the truth, then Luke would likely have sought out Vader at the first opportunity.

In A New Hope, let's suppose the conversation with Obi-Wan on Tatooine went like this instead:

enter image description here

OBI-WAN: This lightsaber belonged to your father, Lord Vader.

LUKE: Wait. Back up. My father is who?

OBI-WAN: Darth Vader.

LUKE: Say what?? That creepy evil guy? You're joking!

OBI-WAN: Nope. Dead serious. The infamous Darth Vader who has captured your holographic princess...he's your dad. For realz.

C3PO: Oh dear...

LUKE: You're wrecking my head. This is insane!

OBI-WAN: Another thing: that princess is your sister. Let's go save her, shall we?

Later, on the Death Star:

enter image description here

LUKE: Dad, why did you kill Obi-Wan?! He was my friend!!

VADER: Ah, my long lost son. Listen, Obi-Wan deserved it. Come, let me tell you a tale about a place called Mustafar...

At that point, either Luke ends up on the Dark Side or dead, depending on how the father-son bonding goes.

The point is, had he known the truth, Luke would have sought Vader out too early, before his training was complete, and this would have only had negative consequences for Luke and the galaxy-at-large.

This is supported by what Yoda says to Luke in Return of the Jedi  just prior to expiring:

YODA: Your father, he is. Told you, did he?

LUKE: Yes.

YODA: Unexpected, this is, and unfortunate.

LUKE: Unfortunate that I know the truth?

YODA: No. Unfortunate that you rushed to face him. That incomplete, was your training. That not ready for the burden, were you.

In other words, they would have told him eventually, but at a suitable time, when they could be more certain that he had the training and maturity to avoid his father's fate.

  • 12
    The last bit of dialog you posted is excellent for my question. It seems the answer might be that they could have intended to tell him eventually, but he found out before they could.
    – MrDuk
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 5:09
  • 44
    Plus one for making Alec Guinness say For realz in my head.
    – Mazura
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 5:19
  • 4
    "You're wrecking my head" - his father said a similarly clunky line about his heart, you know.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 18:01
  • 1
    "The princess is my sister? YOU'RE TEARING ME APART, LEIA!" Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 18:25
  • 1
    @user568458 - "I'm haunted by the kiss that you should never have given me.... Leia" Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 23:03

The previous answer was most excellent. Full of wisdom, it was. :)

However, another answer is simply based on what I call 'the necessities of story-telling' - I don't know the regular term for this but here it is:

If Luke is informed as to his father being the great bad Lord Vader, then the plot as it is, and the revelation at a dramatic time, etc. is derailed, in any one of various ways (as the previous answer has already explained).

Also, quite simply, Luke might answer such an early revelation with:

If he's my Dad, then why don't we go seek help from him, since I'm his son?

Shut up Luke. You should really know better, by now.

Mess with plot, will you? consequences there are, author might kill you off.

[Oh deah, that would be so against all the proper protocols to be used when addressing a nobleman of the Empire. He would surely punish you horribly in some way, to emphasize his rank, and his right to be free of importunities from what he might term mere beggar-boys!]

or Luke might just say:

This must be a really bad man, to have neglected and abandoned me for so long. This confirms that we must oppose him completely and in every way.

[....and, the drama is made flatter by that much. No revelation, no conflicted emotions, no upsets, just at most, "What a bad 'Father' you were! take that!"]

In sum, revealing it too early would be unhelpful to the story. And, the main plot elements of the ('early' i.e. Ep. IV-VI) Star Wars movies are somewhat dependent on reversals of the usual:

  1. the hero's father is the main villain

  2. the Princess is the hero's sister

  3. the wise elder throws his life away for obscure reasons (-perhaps I'm wrong here. Sorry.)

  4. the plot is all over the place - many places, many planets

and so forth. Having (1) and (2) known to all members of the plot early on, would take that much away.

  • 1
    Lucas didn't even know Vader was Luke's father when he wrote Star Wars, so how could he have written it? Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 19:39

There does not appear to be a canon answer. However, one may extrapolate from the way the Jedi approach problems. Luke is constant being advised to feel the Force. These feelings can be easily clouded by thoughts (many characters are advised to "empty their mind" when they are having trouble using the force). It would be reasonable to assume Yoda and Obi Wan felt such a significant piece of knowledge would cloud Luke's ability to feel the Force around him, making him weak. And, as Praxis pointed out, such knowledge is not one that one empties from their mind easily.

Besides, it's all lies anyway! We all know Obi Wan killed his father until the magic of post production changed our reality forever :)


They wanted to keep Vader from finding out, remember the children were hidden from him. Luke was not yet able to control the force or his emotions so if (and when) he broadcast the information through the force and Vader would (and did) identify them.

Luke knowing was not the issue, Vader knowing was the issue.


They, themselves, didn't know how the Force was going to be balanced, so they could not interfere in such a way. The Force must be balanced in both its dark aspects and its light aspects. You'll note that Yoda respects it.

Once Luke had referred to Ben by his Jedi name (Obi-Wan), Luke was seen as a sort of "chosen One". You can see it by the look on the old man's face. After that, Obi-Wan's journey was also part of that balance (Annakin/Vader was his apprentice) and could not interfere on the question.

  • 3
    This seems to be pure speculation.
    – Etheryte
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 18:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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