In G Canon, the only journey into the Dark Side Cave we see is Luke. He goes in, bringing his lightsaber.

Where, as Wookieepedia describes (emphasis mine),

Luke confronted an illusion of Darth Vader within and defeated it in a lightsaber duel, dipping into the passion of the dark side in the process.

Through the entry for the cave, C-Canon level descriptions and references to visions had by Luke, Yoda and one of the Starkiller clones while in the cave. There is also mention of the Starkiller clone battling other clones and exploring the cave.

He faced down other clones of Starkiller and had to carefully traverse some deep pits.

Again, in C Canon, Luke goes back to the cave later.

Five years after Yoda's death, Luke Skywalker returned to the cave. This time, he had a vision of a possible past, one where Mara Jade accompanied Jabba the Hutt's retinue to the Sarlacc. She was able to pull Luke's lightsaber away from him, and Luke was pushed towards the Sarlacc when his vision suddenly ends.

On this visit, he has a vision where he almost dies, but the vision ends before he does.

How "real" were the battles that Luke and the Starkiller clone? Were they completely in their head? Were Luke and the clone actually swinging their blades, battling visions that weren't really there? Could someone actually die in the cave due to what happens in their visions?

  • I believe that the there were some real dangers in the cave. I believe that the cave was the opposite of the crystal caves on Ilum. Ilum was a well of the Light Side and the Dagobah cave was a well of the Dark Side. Just like the visions in the Ilum cave experienced by Ferus Olin in the Last of the Jedi, the visions in the Dagobah cave could do bodily harm even though they were created by the force. the Starkiller clones are an example of a physical danger. Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 18:26
  • Both ESB and the Jedi Academy trilogy make it clear that in such a location, there exists only what you take with you. Hence, if you take death with you, death is inside. It seems to me that had Kip used his lightsaber or Force Lightning during his own test on Yavin IV, he could have killed himself, or undone his repentance and returned to the Dark Side. (And probably be slain by the Jedi Master shortly thereafter.) Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 14:28
  • We have no seen another instance of this vision question canon: the Star Wars Rebels episode "Path of the Jedi". Ezra has a vision in the Jedi Temple on Lothal. Ezra awakens from his vision on the floor, indicating he was dreaming the whole experience. Commented Jan 14, 2015 at 18:35

3 Answers 3


In the movie when luke enters the cave under yoda's training, he experienced Vader in the cave yes and in turn fought him. On his journey out yoda shook his head in disappointment. Like Codes with Hammer said in the comments you only face what you bring with you inside the cave. Starkiller fought clones because that was his fear (if my memory serves right and this is the 2nd force unleashed series not the first) and Luke feared that he would become vader of some sort, thus seeing his head in the helmet (it really just foreshadowed 'hinted' that luke was connected to vader if you never saw the empire strikes back) I believe, and this is just in theory, if luke didn't raise his lightsaber the apparition of vader wouldn't have greeted it with his own. It was a test of passiveness and virtue. It has you confront your worst fears, kind of like a Bogart in Harry Potter. I hope I helped a little

  • I know what he faced and I understand the point of the trial. I'm asking how much danger was he actually in. If he had lost in his "battle" against Vader, would he have actually died/been injured or just walk out as a failure?
    – phantom42
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 15:34

As far as I know, there has never been a case of someone being injured in one of these caves, but the emotional scarring is very real. Conceptually, a person could (in the midst of their vision) fall onto a stalagmite or into a pit or something, but the vision itself poses no physical danger.

A similar concept would be drugs - a person tripping out on LSD or something can have some frighteningly realistic hallucinations, and there's a very real chance that they may hurt themselves based on whatever the "vision" is.

In-universe, the danger of the caves is not physical, but metaphysical. The choices made IN the cave will have very real consequences to the person involved even once they leave the cave.


In the DVD commentary, Lucas (like Yoda in the movie) says that what you bring into the cave determines what you will see. If Luke had listened to Yoda and left his weapons behind, he would have seen something less negative. You won't be harmed by what you see in the cave - Luke beat "Vader" in about 5 seconds. In their real fights, Luke didn't do nearly as well.

In the original draft of the script, the cave doesn't exist, but Luke has an imaginary confrontation with Vader on Dagobah, in space. In this scene (and later, when they actually fight on Bespin), Vader throws stars at Luke. Obviously, no matter how powerful the characters are, they can't throw stars at each other or survive being hit by stars, so in both of these cases, no harm can be done in these dreamlike sequences. The original draft version makes the same point as the version we see in the movie - while they are in space, Luke and Vader both cast shadows. Luke's is only slightly lighter in color than Vader's - in the Dagobah sequence, it stays dark; in the Bespin sequence, it starts dark but lightens when Luke refuses to turn to the dark side.

The message in all three cases (Dagobah space scene, Bespin space scene, and Dagobah cave scene) is that aggression will turn Luke into his father. In all three cases, the message is only a message, and no harm is done to anyone.

A later draft had the cave scene, but Luke went in, ran back out, and Yoda ordered him to go back in and face what was waiting for him. Since Yoda is VERY firm on the idea that Luke should NOT go to Bespin and save his friends - because he isn't ready - we can probably assume that Yoda wouldn't send Luke into the cave if what was waiting for him there was dangerous.


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