21

The EU book The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader reveals that Vader personally gave the stormtroopers the order to kill Owen and Beru Lars, and that he knew who he was condemning to death before he gave the order:

“Lord Vader,” said one of the sandtroopers, adjusting a control on his helmet so that only Vader could hear his voice. “The Jawas sold a protocol droid and an astromech to these moisture farmers, but both droids are gone.”

Moisture farmers? Intrigued, Vader examined the holograms of the kneeling couple and said, “The farmers’ names?”

“Owen and Beru Lars, sir,” the sandtrooper responded. “They say they don’t know where the droids are, but it looks like a landspeeder is missing from their garage.”

Owen and Beru, Vader recalled...

“Tell Mr. and Mrs. Lars that they seem to have trouble keeping protocol droids on their property.”1

Not certain if he had heard correctly, the sandtrooper said, “Sir?”

“Then you may extend to them every courtesy that you showed the Jawas before you continue your search. Establish checkpoints to detain any droids entering Mos Espa or Mos Eisley spaceports. And one more thing.”

“Yes, Sir?”

“Do not stop transmitting until I break the connection.”

“Understood,” said the sandtrooper.

Vader watched the sandtroopers carry out his orders on their helpless victims. He found the sight of rising flames — even holograms of flames burning millions of light years away — to be most satisfying.

I had always assumed that the stormtroopers killed the Larses on their own initiative, or in accordance with a previously given order. The version of events in this book is interesting, but it raises the question of why it took Vader so long to figure out who Luke was.

In canon, who gave the order to kill Owen and Beru Lars? If Vader was involved, did he recognize the couple before he gave the order?


1 A reference to the fact that Anakin took C-3PO from the Lars homestead the last time he was on Tatooine, without informing the Larses that he would do so.

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    No-one - it was a domestic disturbance gone horribly wrong: youtube.com/watch?v=LvswNDAAZCU ;) – HorusKol Jan 22 '16 at 4:40
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    I had this same question. I still suspect Vader ordered it. But as for Luke, Vader still wouldn't know he exists at this point because he would still think that Padme died while pregnant. The only thing they know is that there's no droids and it looks like there's a missing landspeeder. It could be another biological family member of the Lars's, or an acquaintance/employee. But with the assumption that Vader ordered the raid, this really seals for me just how far he fell. Killing the family that showed one of the two most important people in your life great kindness is pretty evil. – Ellesedil Jan 22 '16 at 7:41
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    @Ellesedil actually, I remember reading an answer in another question that Vader (not necessarily Anakin - it's unclear when these particular feelings began) blamed the Lars for the death of his mother. He blamed them for being weak, for being incompetent, for not doing enough. So this isn't a sick perverse act of sadism of visiting kindness with evil. It's an eye for an eye, an act of righteous vengeance "from a certain point of view". – thegreatjedi Jan 22 '16 at 11:08
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    MILLIONS of light years away? – Kevin Milner May 16 '16 at 21:49
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    "No one knows who gave the order. When I heard it, I wasn't angry; I knew [Owen], I knew he was head-strong, talking loud, saying stupid things. So when he turned up dead, I let it go. And I said to myself, this is the business we've chosen; I didn't ask who gave the order, because it had nothing to do with business!" – Jack B Nimble Sep 28 '16 at 13:07
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The (canon) factbook Ultimate Star Wars states that they were murdered on Darth's direct orders.

There's no specific indication why he chose to do so or whether this was more of a "kill anyone who might have seen the plans" sort of order, but given how closely Darth micro-manages his troops, it's very possible that he was aware of their identities before they were killed.

"Many years later, and despite Owen's best efforts to keep Luke safe from the Empire, Stormtroopers arrive at the Lars homestead and on orders from Darth Vader execute both Owen and Beru."


This aligns very nicely with what we know about the incident from the (no longer canon, but still widely respected Official Star Wars Fact File #10 which indicates that the troopers were under general orders from Vader not to leave any witnesses who may have come into contact with the plans.

MASSACRE AT THE FARM

Unaware of this error of judgement, the Desert Sands troopers approached the Lars homestead. Marching right into the compound, they rounded up the couple who lived there. While their commander interrogated Lars and his wife, the remainder of the party quickly and efficiently scoured the buildings. The senior trooper learned that the Lars' nephew, Luke, had left early that morning to have the droids start work. Suspecting Luke of being, at the very least, a Rebel sympathizer, the commander ascertained where the boy should be working, and dispatched a squad to search for him, although he did not expect them to find the young man.

Having learned all he could at the homestead, the senior trooper took the majority of his squad back to Mos Eisley. The others were instructed to follow once they had killed the old couple, destroyed the remaining droids, and set fire to the property. There could be no evidence of what the Imperials were really doing on Tatooine.

As they had done with the Jawas, the Imperial Stormtroopers killed Owen and Beru Lars and destroyed their home. The search for the droids was too important to leave any witnesses.

2

Nobody ordered it.

The Vader sequence in the novel doesn't make any sense. I could buy that Vader ordered them killed to protect the secrets of the Death Star, but the novel suggests he had fomented hate for his half-brother (that he hadn't seen since, according to canon, Episode II). Why would he want him dead? And Vader definitely did not know about Luke at this point.

The reason the troopers went on a killing spree (Jawas included) is that they couldn't risk that anyone had found the plans in R2D2. They would be valuable on the black market (especially Tatooine with its extensive black markets) and would have made their way to the Rebellion.

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    Why would Vader want Owen and Beru dead? Umm... because they had been raising a son named Luke SKYWALKER who was born around the same time Vader's wife was supposed to give birth. This boy had last been seen with the protocol droid Vader had built as a child and the plucky little astromech Vader used to pal around with. The house wasn't far from the hut of an old man in robes with the same initials and last name as Vader's old mentor-turned-nemesis. In the movies, Vader still didn't know most of that stuff, but if he did, he'd be pissed, right? :) – Wad Cheber Jun 24 '16 at 0:01
  • But seriously, we're talking about "force choke military brass on a whim" Vader here. He killed the Jawas for no good reason. – Wad Cheber Jun 24 '16 at 0:04
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    @WadCheber I'm not saying that Vader had no reason to kill them. I'm saying he had no reason to delight in their deaths. The Vader in the movies would have been apathetic at best, even if we knew that he had been consulted. – Machavity Jun 24 '16 at 0:07
  • I don't have evidence on me right now, but a common analysis on Vader is that he wanted to destroy everything that associated himself with Anakin Skywalker. The Larses knew Anakin Skywalker (albeit not closely), so it's not that far from Vader to dispatch of them so long as he's in the area, and not just for the information security reasons you mentioned, which I agree with. – DBPriGuy Sep 28 '16 at 20:06
2

In Disney canon, the order was given by Vader himself. In Legends, it was Mod Terrik, commander of the stormtrooper squad that did it.


In Disney Continuity

As others have pointed out, the new Disney canon has Darth Vader himself ordering the deaths of Owen & Beru Lars, even after recognizing the name. His motivation isn't given, but based on his behavior in Episodes II & III, it's entirely possible that he always felt a little jealous of them. Anakin also had a tendency to blame his failings on other people - it was always someone else's fault (Obi-Wan, the Jedi Council, etc.) when things went wrong. It's very possible that the Lars' fell victim to this.

Anakin dreamed for years of coming back to Tattooine and saving his mother from slavery... only to find out when he finally did that she was already free and had a new family. Even before learning of her abduction by the Tuskens, Anakin did not seem happy at all about her marriage to Cliegg Lars.

By the time of Episode IV twenty years later, Anakin not only resented Tattooine as a planet, but very likely resented the Lars family in general. After all, they had first been there for his mother when HE wasn't, then they failed to protect her (well, from Anakin's viewpoint, at least) during the Tusken raid.


In Legends Continuity

In Legends canon, however, Anakin/Vader was not involved - despite setting events in motion.

In "Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina", specifically the short story "When the Desert Wind Turns: The Stormtrooper's Tale" by Doug Beason, we learn more about the events on Tattooine - but from the perspective of an Imperial Stormtrooper named Davin Felth.

Felth is reluctantly a member of Zeta Squadron after being demoted for pointing out that the legs on an AT-AT walker represent a weak spot (D'oh!). Right about the time he arrives on Tattooine is when Zeta Squadron is tasked by their garrison commander to find the droids. The squadron's commander, Mod Terrik, is extremely zealous about supporting the Empire and hopes to impress Darth Vader by finding the droids. As a result, he is perhaps overly aggressive in questioning both the Jawas as well as the Lars', and attempts to cover up both mistakes by disguising the attacks.

In fact, it is Terrik's order to kill Owen & Beru that finally drives Davin Felth to subvert from the Empire. Ultimately, Felth has lost faith in the Empire to the point that he ends up

shooting Terrik in the back while the squad is firing on the Millenium Falcon in the hangar bay. His actions save Han Solo, whom Terrik was about to shoot as he ran up the ramp to enter the Falcon.

In this canon, Vader had no idea that Owen & Beru were involved. We also have no idea if he ever found out or how he reacted.

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Vader ordered the killings of all parties involved due to being stuck in a place he never wanted to go back to. A place that brought back horrible memories of enslavement, bullying, abuse , and the death of his mother. He snapped when he had a temper tantrum and had everyone executed plain and simple. Where else do you think Kylo Ren gets it from? He hated Jakku, he had bad memories of the place and we will soon find out why and we will see why he had that whole village executed.

  • Welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy! An interesting answer, however is lacking canonical evidence. Are there any sources you can find for your answer to provide evidence for you thoughts to strengthen your answer? Also take a look at our tour and get on the way to earning your first badge! – Edlothiad Feb 23 '17 at 4:38

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