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 as 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?

  • 2
    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
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 20:47
  • 11
    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. Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 21:16
  • 11
    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
    Commented Apr 24, 2012 at 14:15
  • 7
    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
    Commented May 6, 2014 at 15:11
  • 2
    You can tell when they're turning into a Sith when their eyes glow red. His didn't.
    – Morgan
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 21:02

5 Answers 5


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.

  • 3
    Watching them in the Machete Order helps reinforce the idea that we don't know Luke's path when ROTJ starts. Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 1:33
  • This question addresses Luke choking Jabba's guards (he didn't): scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/108353/…
    – RedCaio
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 2:32
  • @RedCaio I disagree with the most-upvoted answer so far to the linked question and thus with your statement. In the novelization and the movie itself it's fairly obvious Luke was choking them to get them to back off.
    – KeithS
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 23:32

"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.

  • 10
    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
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 23:30
  • @DampeS8N: Great observation!
    – bitmask
    Commented Apr 24, 2012 at 14:16
  • 1
    @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. Commented Apr 24, 2012 at 15:42
  • 3
    @DVK, Ambiguous language, sorry. "Manages to keep from being completely overcome by the Dark Side"
    – DampeS8N
    Commented Apr 24, 2012 at 19:30
  • 1
    Personally, @Brandon, I wonder if the Force brought balance to Luke. Considering that he relies on both the dark and light sides without falling (usually), it's entirely possible that while he's not the chosen one, everything he does was made possible by the chosen one bringing balance to the Force. Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 19:45

Luke has a dark side, but he chose the Light in the end.

Luke has a lot of his father in him, and thus has the potential to fall to the Dark Side like Anakin did. A lot scenes from the Prequel Trilogy make it clear that Luke and Anakin are very similar people - young, immature, hungry for adventure, they're both given the chance to learn the ways of the Force, and are tempted to follow feelings of anger and hate toward the Dark Side. The difference is that, when given the choice, Luke chose to act out of love for his father, hoping to redeem him from the Dark Side.

Compare their respective moment-of-decision scenes:

  • Anakin finds Palpatine at the mercy of Mace Windu and has to choose - will he show compassion to help Mace and protect those he cares for, or will he attack Mace out of anger and selfish reasons (hoping Palpatine can somehow save Padme).

  • Luke finds Vader at the mercy of Palpatine and has to choose - will he show compassion to help his father and protect those he cares for, or will he attack the Sith out of anger and hatred for all the suffering they've caused him.

Again, the difference is that Luke chose to act out of love for his father, hoping to redeem him from the Dark Side. To quote the wise Jedi Master Albus Dumbledore,

It is not our abilities that determine who we are, it is our choices.

Return of the Jedi hints that there was a dark side to Luke, a chance that Luke might actually choose evil like his father. The dark black robes, the ambiguous Force power Luke used on Jabba's guards (was it choke or mind trick?), the Vader-like robot hand - all this was presumably a way for the filmmakers to help the audience believe that Luke could actually fall to the Dark Side.

Bonus: There was even an alternate ending for Return of the Jedi at somepoint in which

Luke turns evil and assumes the role of Vader.


Thatenter image description heres a very good point.

Back in the original version of Return of the jedi, Luke does meet his father on the imperial city (before it was Corrasant) and get taken to this huuuuge pyramid call ed the imperial palace and get taken down the elevator and meet the emperor in the lava caves of the planet where the emperor sits on his throne. Eventually Luke does kill his father and joins the dark side in another epic twist.

This info has been confirmed by Lawrence Kadan and Gary Kurtz who wanted to do another epic movie to finish the trilogy, along with the other ideas such as Leia becoming queen, Han dies and Luke walking away in the sunset like a western.

All this would tie in nicely with the journey of Luke from Degobahs cave scene and him rescuing his friends and knowing he might join the dark side and destroy everything he stands for. and then ......boooom the hero we have journeyed with all this time eventually succumbs to evil and this would be an epic ending to the series.

Of course the original version would never come to life as Lucas never wanted to go through the tough times of the first 2 movies , what with budgets, delays, script rewrites. Lucas was going through a divorce which was costing him loads of money and I guess he turned his mind to making loads of money from the merchandise. It was a bad move for the movie but I kinda feel sorry for him in a way. These movies were hard to make.

As of today however. it turns out that maybe this idea of Luke becoming evil may actually happen!! here is what has been reported today from comicbookmovie.com


"One piece shows this cloaked figure holding the helmet of Darth Vader. The helmet is warped as it has been burned in a fire. The figure almost looks at the helmet with remorse and regret. The background in this image is an Imperial Star Destroyer. The monster holds the helmet in his left hand while his right hand is shown to be very similar to Anakin Skywalker’s and perhaps Luke Skywalker’s.

The black figure sits on a throne. He’s cloaked. We see him from the side. His boots are not unlike Anakin Skywalker’s from Revenge of the Sith. He is approached by “Kira.” The light from outside the shrine emanates from the door way and she walks through it. The cloaked figure sits in darkness, a natural red/yellow fiery light behind him, almost like amber backlights the figure. According to a source, “Kira” believes she is there to meet Luke Skywalker, but instead she finds the monster. In another depiction, she is facing the camera, the cyborg character is embracing her and the look on her face is one of resignation and defeat. We are looking over a character’s shoulder, of what is believed to be Boyega’s character.

So why does “Kira” appear to give up? The reason for her resignation? The cyborg is none other than Luke Skywalker. The revelation beats “Kira” and her quest becomes hopeless. She resigns herself to joining the figure who is the opposite of what she hoped to find. The evil she sought to vanquish with the power of Luke Skywalker, is Luke Skywalker. We are left not knowing the future and how this happened. The cloak appears to be especially close to Luke Skywalker’s Return of the Jedi cloak as well."

Put it this way. Lawrence Kadan is the script writer for the new film and he really wants to take the new film back to the spirit and heart of the originals. So its possible that this idea will continue on now that Lucas can't stop them now. :)

however, with Pictures of Mark Hamill growing a huge beard, it doesn't quit makes sense with the picture and description put together with Mark Hamill's bearded look.

But who knows. it may be false. But I actually would really like it if it was true as it would tie in nicely with Luke's journey from the very first movie up until now. It would be a a damn great twist and would make sense with the Siths return in the movie rather than it being someone else.

Even so, you made a very good point about that with Luke wanting to take risks he does in order to be powerful. Thee are some amazing physiological points and themes to picks out in the original movies which is what makes star wars very entertaining and interesting t watch :)

  • 5
    1) a lot of this doesn't answer the question asked, it's just disproved rumors about TFA, and 2) why is there a random concept art photo in the middle of the sentence?
    – RedCaio
    Commented May 11, 2016 at 22:47

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

  • You are correct, but the question was asking about the time frame during ANH through ROTJ.
    – phantom42
    Commented Dec 6, 2013 at 15:13

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.