If Luke actually turned to the Dark Side and became the Emperor's apprentice in Return of the Jedi, wouldn't he and the Emperor just die anyway when the Alliance destroyed the Death Star? If so, this takes ALL of the suspense out of the scene. If Luke turns to the Dark Side, the good guys win. If Luke doesn't turn to the Dark Side, the good guys still win.

Also, If Luke has faith in his friends that they will destroy the Death Star with him in it, why does it matter if he uses the Dark Side? If I knew I was going to die, I would just do what ever I wanted in the Throne Room.

"What? You want me to strike you down?! Don't mind if I do! All three of us are going to die, anyway! If there are no consequences for my actions, why not??"

The audience's worry that "Oh no! If Luke turns to the Dark Side, he will crush the Rebellion!" is ruined. Darth Luke can't crush the Rebellion if he dies aboard the Death Star!

This is kinda funny, but also worrisome. Is this a gigantic flaw? Or am I just a dumbo?

So my question is: what would be the dire consequences of Luke turning to the Dark Side, if any?

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    "I'll be more careful." - "You'll be dead!"
    – Mazura
    May 2, 2016 at 2:53
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    The whole thing makes no sense anyway: “If you kill me, you are turning to the dark side” — “Then, I don’t kill you” — “I’m fine with that…”. In other words, letting the destruction of the Death Star aside, Luke visited the two Sith only to tell them, that he won’t kill any of the two. Vader and Palpatine were fearing Luke becoming a strong Jedi, but all they had to do, was telling him that killing either implies turning to the dark side and the danger was handled. Good for Luke that they never realized this.
    – Holger
    May 2, 2016 at 12:47
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    @Holger there is no prohibition against a Jedi killing an enemy. The problem Luke faced was his emotion, his anger and hate. If he could master his emotion then he would potentially be able to fight with and kill them while remaining on the Light side. Which is, in its own way, kind of messed up - only cold blooded killing for Jedi, removing a life like a tumor from the body. Which in my opinion provides some fertile ground for Kylo Ren to maybe toe the line and give us a new idea of what "balance in the Force" means.
    – Jason
    May 2, 2016 at 15:09
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    @Jason: that’s exactly what I would assume, “get calm, control your feelings, then kill these Sith unemotionally”. Instead, he chose to stand there watching his friends die and tell the Imperator, “you failed (because I will continue standing here watching my friends die and not even defend myself”). Now imagine what happened if the Imperator said “fine, I’ll ignore you then” instead of trying to kill Luke and focused on the events around him instead…
    – Holger
    May 2, 2016 at 15:44
  • @Holger but he is a Sith, he is led by his emotions, he does not take the calm detached approach. Ignoring what's in front of him isn't his style.
    – Jason
    May 2, 2016 at 15:50

3 Answers 3


Luke didn't die on the Death Star in the original scenario, so there is no reason why he and the Emperor have to die in yours.

You assume that Luke and the Emperor would have died together due to the destruction of the Death Star, had Luke turned to the Dark Side.

However, Luke was on this very Death Star and survived! The Emperor perished for reasons having nothing to do with the destruction of the station, and Luke himself managed to escape with Vader's body just in time aboard a shuttle.

So, there is absolutely no reason why Luke and the Emperor couldn't have left the Death Star together in the nick of time in a scenario where Luke turns to the Dark Side.

This would have negative consequences for the Rebellion, as Luke has first-hand knowledge of key Rebel identities, base locations, and plans.

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    So if Vader didn't kill the Emperor and allowed him to fry Luke, the Emperor and Vader would just escape before the Alliance destroyed the Death Star? May 2, 2016 at 2:53
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    @ChristopherHenderson : Indeed. There's no reason that scenario could not happen either.
    – Praxis
    May 2, 2016 at 2:54
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    @anaranjada : Yes. Yes, we were. :-)
    – Praxis
    May 2, 2016 at 2:55
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    So why did the Alliance make a big deal about the Emperor being on the Death Star if he could just leave at any time. The Emperor being aboard was a major selling point for attacking at that time. May 2, 2016 at 2:56
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    @ChristopherHenderson : The Rebels believed that they had stolen the plans and that the Emperor was not aware that they were coming to destroy the unfinished station while he was on it. The Emperor implies in RotJ, however, that the deployment of the second Death Star is really just a trap for the Rebels. (In fact, Admiral Ackbar says exactly this: "It's a Trap!") The fact that he was on it made the target ever more appealing.
    – Praxis
    May 2, 2016 at 2:58

Legends answer:

In the Thrawn trilogy, by Timothy Zahn, the titular Grand Admiral Thrawn speculates that Palpatine was using a Force power known as Battle Meditation to coordinate the Imperial fleet during the Battle of Endor; and that when he died, the Rebels' attack on the Death Star started succeeding in earnest due to the coordination being lost (this is why the Executor crashes into the Death Star II so easily). If true, this would indicate that the Death Star may have remained protected if Luke turned and the Emperor survived as a result.

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    Didn't the Executor crash mainly because a kamikaze A-Wing crashed into the bridge? (A rather undervalued scene, I always felt.)
    – DevSolar
    May 2, 2016 at 12:40
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    @DevSolar He was the real hero of the trilogy. May 2, 2016 at 13:16
  • But the Emperor's plan was to bring Luke to the dark side by allowing himself to be killed by him, wasn't it?
    – Twinkles
    May 2, 2016 at 13:44
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    No, he just wanted the rage to happen. Then he and/or Vader would have easily stopped Luke using the Dark Force from taking any lethal blow. Dec 15, 2016 at 18:04

He and the Emperor just die anyway when the Alliance destroy the Death Star.

The good guys still win but the battle between Good and Evil never ends. I will not presume what the "dire consequences of Luke turning to the Dark Side" would be, because I would have to presume that he lived long enough for us to tell.

Which would have been highly unlikely given that the Emperor's overconfidence was his weakness. He would see no reason to abandon his throne at the moment of his greatest triumph.

Dead. Deceased. Doomed. (no sequels)

  • "No sequels" means the Good triumphs, doesn't it? Oh wait, there would still be the prequels...
    – DevSolar
    May 2, 2016 at 12:41

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