Near the end of Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader has a big proposal for Luke:

"Luke, you can destroy the Emperor. He has foreseen this. It is your destiny! Join me, and together, we can rule the galaxy as father and son! Come with me. It is the only way."

Is Vader really intentioned to destroy the Emperor with the help of his son, or is he just trying to lure Luke into the dark side using a proposal that might sound light-side oriented to him (destroy evil, bring back peace...)?

Of course I don't mean he is already a good guy at this point, but does he really have a personal plan against his master, to take his place and have Luke as his apprentice? Is he even showing a little bit of fatherly love? Or is it all a lie?

  • 35
    The first task of a Sith apprentice is to destroy his master, isn't it?
    – Martha
    Jul 19, 2012 at 14:04
  • 6
    @Martha: It's more of a graduation task, IMO. Aug 24, 2015 at 18:43

8 Answers 8


In the ESB and RotJ novelizations, Vader was indeed sincere. He wanted his son by his side, and even had some measure of affection for him, twisted though it may have been. His temptation of ruling the galaxy as father and son was exactly how he envisioned it. In the novels, right up to where Luke beats him in RotJ, Vader is planning how to get Luke to fully fall to the Dark Side, and pledge loyalty not to Palpatine, but Vader.

Outwardly, Vader's motives would have been more single-minded; for a thousand years, there has always been a master and an apprentice (the "Rule of Two"). This rule is self-enforcing; one Sith is too easily killed, ending the Sith forever, but with three Sith, two of them will invariably gang up on the third. This happened with Darth Plagueis; his student, Palpatine/Darth Sidious, had been training Darth Maul in secret, and rose up and killed Plagueis when Sidious felt he could learn no more from him. Vader's been in Palpatine's shadow for nearly twenty years; it's high time Vader became the master.

  • I've never understood how the "Rule of Two" jives with the fact that the Sith used to have an entire empire...
    – Harabeck
    Mar 16, 2018 at 21:53
  • 2
    @Harabeck the rule was enforced BECAUSE the empire failed, because the sith were too busy killing each other than the jedi.
    – Thomas
    Mar 17, 2018 at 11:01
  • 1
    Right, the Sith empire predates the Rule of Two. The Rule of Two was created by Darth Bane, who murdered all of the Sith Lords in the Sith Empire ("Brotherhood of Darkness" if I remember)
    – Brandon
    Mar 17, 2018 at 16:02

As per EU, he was sincere.

In several EU novels (Most notably, dealing with Prince Xizor), his internal monologue shows he was sincerely interested in pairing off with Luke.


Indeed, the Rule of Two requires it.

The Rule of Two states that there would be only two Sith at one time, a Master and an Apprentice, guaranteeing that when the Apprentice becomes powerful enough in the ways of the Dark Side to take the title of Master, only then would they be worthy of the title. This transfer of power would only take place when the Apprentice takes their Master's life and finds a worthy student to repeat the cycle.

  • 7
    Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference.
    – nanofarad
    Jul 19, 2012 at 16:24

Probably a bit of both. Vader's always wanted more power, so desiring to be the master Sith Lord would no doubt be extremely appealing to him (though much of my assumption here is based on how Anakin behaves in the prequel trilogy, and the story of Darth Plageus the Wise that Palpatine tells Anakin in Ep3).

But he is also trying to get Luke to join the Dark Side too.


Vader is no stranger to attempting an overthrow of the Emperor. In the video game "The Force Unleashed" he trained a force prodigy in secret, and sent him on missions to disrupt the Emperor's plans so that they might rule together. Once that plan fell through, it is no wonder that he would then turn to his newly found son, who has a force power to rival his own.


Vader obviously wanted to kill Palpatine. The only reason he stopped Windu from killing the emperor was Padme's life, and that's lost when Padme died.
What's more curious is why he didn't do it for such a long time. Maybe he could no longer match the emperor with his full power lost from the injury at Mustafar. So he waited for a chance, and really needed Luke's help. He finally achieved his purpose when the emperor was concentrating on destroying Luke.


James Earl Jones, who was one of only 4-5 people including Hamill, Lucas, Kershner and Kurtz, who knew of the plot twist, said he played the lines as if Vader was lying.

  • 1
    Where did he say this? Can you provide a link?
    – Valorum
    Mar 15, 2015 at 17:06

I think he was being truthful. He in his mind could be doing what he could not do with Padme, Luke's mother, because in Episode II, he proposes to her such thoughts in speaking of a dictatorial government, and in Episode III he speaks of "his new empire" for Obi-Wan. So I guess Luke, being the only thing he knew was left of his story with Padme, was really making a real proposition for his son. And we have to take into account that he was wanting to bring Luke to his side, not to Palpatine's as he had ordained for him, we can see this when he tells Luke to come with him, it's basically a father talking to his son. And we can note that after the Millennium Falcon regains the speed of light and escapes, Vader does not kill any Imperial Officer apparently, he is only silent, this shows frustration and sadness, not frustration and anger.

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