Darth Vader sets a trap for Luke at Bespin by capturing his friends and torturing them. The torture triggers a Force vision in Luke. Lucky for him, Yoda was nearby to tell him it was the future he was seeing. Based on this intel, Luke flies off to save them, falling into the trap.

If Yoda had not been there, would Luke have recognized the vision as the future? It seems doubtful. He may have discounted it as a dream/nightmare. Even if the vision were recurring, it would still take a conceivably long time for Luke to realize (without assistance) that he needed to do something. Ergo, without Yoda's help interpreting the vision, he could not have been expected to fall for the trap in any reasonable time frame.

Add to that the idea that an untrained Force user might not be able to receive more than an impression as we see Leia have on occasion.

Given that Vader did not know about Yoda, he knew that Obi-wan only had a matter of hours to train Luke before dying. How then, was he so certain that by creating the situation that might trigger a Force vision that only a trained Jedi could correctly interpret, that Luke would get the message and come to Bespin?

  • 3
    Maybe Vader had a force vision of Luke at Bespin, so he knew Luke was going to show up at some point. May 17, 2017 at 19:39
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    What makes you think Vader was certain? Vader had just encountered all of Luke's rebel friends. He knows where they are. He doesn't know where Luke is, and hasn't had any recent contact with him. Vader is just playing the percentages here. He's using what he has access to (Luke's friends) to try to draw Luke out. If it doesn't work, then he moves on to plan B.
    – Ellesedil
    May 17, 2017 at 19:54
  • 10
    I'm guessing that Vader is quite content to torture Luke's friends for as long as it takes. It's hurting them more than it's hurting him.
    – Valorum
    May 17, 2017 at 19:59
  • 2
    It's probably a safe bet that Luke - trained or not - would eventually get uneasy about the safety of his friends and go after them... even if he didn't think the vision was actually the future. May 17, 2017 at 20:20
  • 2
    What makes you think Vader even knows about Luke's vision?
    – phantom42
    May 17, 2017 at 22:08

2 Answers 2


Congratulations, you have run into plot hole :)

Neither Palpatine nor Vader could know exactly what Luke is capable of. Remember, Luke spent 3 years idling and before the Battle of Hoth his Force abilities were on the level of a youngling. Vader and Palpatine didn't know how much time Luke spent training with Obi-Wan, because they didn't know Obi-Wan avoided the boy most of the time he spent on Tatooine. They, of course didn't know about Yoda at all. The only certain thing was that Luke's 'Force potential' was great, because Vader could sense it at a distance in his fighter during Battle Of Yavin, and Emperor could sense it across the Galaxy.

All they could do was to put a bait and wait, because at the time they didn't have any better plan to capture Luke .

  • This doesn't seem like a 'plot hole'. We know the Force guides actions and gives premonitions. Palpatine, Vader, and Luke all have the Force. Nothing was stretched beyond established continuity.
    – user33616
    May 22, 2017 at 20:41
  • Yes, it is. First, there is no canon evidence that Emperor said to Vader "Go to Bespin, your son would be there" . Second, Emperor could have a vision, but it i hard to imagine him having a vision of Luke having a vision :) Not to mention, Luke was at the time at Dagobah, planet with such Dark Side presence that could hide Yoda. And Yoda's "Force signature" was much better known to Palpatine then Luke's .
    – rs.29
    May 24, 2017 at 0:00

The Emperor told him

This is confirmed by Ben's words when Luke is discussing going there:

It is you and your abilities the Emperor wants. That is why your friends are made to suffer.

This is therefore not Vader's trap; it is the Emperor's.

  • 1
    Maybe I'm misunderstanding something here considering the upvotes, but how does this answer the question? The Emperor somehow told Vader that Luke would correctly interpret a force vision of his friends being tortured? When did this happen? From what I watched, the Emperor simply told Vader that they have a "new enemy". The Emperor didn't dictate how to catch Luke or guarantee any kind of success. Well, at least not in ESB - he does do that in RotJ though. All evidence points to the trap being Vader's plan, and he's simply making an educated guess that it will work.
    – Ellesedil
    May 22, 2017 at 22:33
  • We know that the Emperor has a strong premonition power. You are correct that the Emperor has the ability to sense Luke. However, the one thing the Emperor says about Luke in his first appearance is: "The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi". This confirms that at this point, what little training he received from Obi-Wan in ANH is not enough for him to be considered a Jedi. And once again, they did not know about Yoda. So I have to side with rs.29 that they had no way of knowing that setting the trap would work without knowing the extent of his abilities. It was a long shot.
    – Joe
    May 22, 2017 at 23:35
  • Emperor didn't know how long Luke trained with Obi-Wan (2 hours, 2 days, 2 months , 2 years ... ) . All he knew is that his training is not complete . Suggesting that Emperor had a vision of Luke having a vision ... well it is a bit too much :)
    – rs.29
    May 23, 2017 at 23:55

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