In the scene where Luke surrenders to Vader (in Return of the Jedi) what is Vader feeling? Is he genuinely regretful that he has to hand Luke over to the Emperor?

In short, what exactly are the emotions Vader is going through at this stage?

  • Sorry, I just thought since they pertain to the same dialogue, I could set it up as one question.
    – DarthChant
    May 18, 2017 at 18:45
  • Since these questions are all about dialog in one scene, they're pretty strongly related. Seems okay. Basically just asking to interpret the dialog there, with some specific questions to illustrate what the asker is confused about.
    – DCShannon
    May 18, 2017 at 18:45
  • I think the only odd one out is Obi Wan's . First and the last are very well related since they are on Vader's feelings in relation to Luke. From the third one what I actually want to know is whether what Vader feels about the dark side is really true or not, and if so, why.
    – DarthChant
    May 18, 2017 at 18:52
  • Please split this up into multiple questions.
    – Null
    May 18, 2017 at 18:55
  • @Valorum I'm not joking. The whole thing could be rephrased as "what was going through Vader's mind during this conversation".
    – DCShannon
    May 18, 2017 at 19:08

1 Answer 1


Vader is feeling a whole passel of emotions in this scene.

He's feeling a pull to the light side of the Force. This is provoking fear.

But Luke isn’t going to be distracted.
“Come with me,” he says.
Now Vader truly understands why he has feared his son so much. Not because of his mastery of the Force or skill with a lightsaber. But because Luke can make him question the dark truths that have long ruled him.

Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side!

He's certainly feeling a whole bunch of pain and remorse (which he uses his dark side powers to quell)

“Search your feelings, Father. You can’t do this. I feel the conflict within you. Let go of your hate.”
Luke’s attack has at last reached into the great, dark, troubled mind of Anakin Skywalker. And to Vader it is far more painful than the lightsaber slash Luke scored in Cloud City.

Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side!

The junior novelisation implies a great deal of regret

“Search your feelings, father,” Luke interrupted. “You can’t do this. I feel the conflict within you. Let go of your hate.”
If only I could, Vader thought. If only I could.
He said, “It is too late for me, son.”

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi - junior novelisation

He's pretty ambivalent about sending Luke to the Emperor.

Vader stepped to the railing and tried to collect his thoughts. I must obey my Master. I must deliver Luke to him. But if Luke can kill the Emperor, perhaps … perhaps then I will be free.

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi - junior novelisation

There's also a certain amount of pride in his offspring having become both a skilled Jedi and a young man.

“It is the name of your true self.” Luke’s gaze bore steadily down on the cloaked figure. “You have only forgotten. I know there is good in you. The Emperor hasn’t driven it fully away.” He molded with his voice, tried to form the potential reality with the strength of his belief. “That’s why you could not destroy me. That’s why you won’t take me to your Emperor now.”
Vader seemed almost to smile through his mask at his son’s use of Jedi voice-manipulation. He looked down at the lightsaber the captain had given him—Luke’s lightsaber. So the boy was truly a Jedi now. A man grown. He held the lightsaber up. “You have constructed another.”

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi - Official Novelisation

Being referred to as "Anakin" provokes anger.

Luke addresses Vader as Anakin Skywalker, and urges him to let go of his hate. But Vader reacts angrily to that name. He says Luke must obey the Emperor, and takes his son to face him.

Star Wars in 100 Scenes

  • 4
    I was just going to go with "sweaty".
    – Sethen
    May 18, 2017 at 22:22
  • 2
    @Sethen - Itchy.
    – Valorum
    May 18, 2017 at 22:22
  • 1
    Thanks a lot!! I had completely forgotten that Vader did want to use luke to overthrow the emperor. It's great how you explained the turmoil of mixed emotions that Vader was going through, each associated with one or more pieces from the scene.
    – DarthChant
    May 19, 2017 at 4:21

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