When Darth Vader and Princess Leia meet on board the Tantive IV in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope for the first time, does Darth Vader know she's his daughter?

  • 1
    @Chad: That's a very good point. I think it's settled then that Darth Vader didn't know Leia even existed prior to ROTJ, but Yoda's quote "No. There is another" has always confused me. Either in ESB it was already known that Leia would be revealed as Luke's sister, or they're talking about someone else. I find the prior to be more believable.
    – user4691
    Commented Feb 11, 2012 at 19:53
  • Two things to note, which don't justify another answer. i: In EP IV he doesn't think the children survived, he assumes that he Killed both his wife and children (child even don't know if he realized there were two) ii: They are not Vaders children they are Anikins they are part of who he was not what he has become the fact they exist may start his turning against the emperor. Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 9:28

7 Answers 7



At that point he doesn't even know Luke is his son and that's what starts his interest in finding "Young Skywalker."

He shows his surprise at learning that Luke has a sister in Return of the Jedi when he says he sees Luke's feelings are strong for his friends – then adds, in surprise, "Sister."

Wookieepedia states (when describing the duel between Luke and Vader on the new Death Star):

Vader, who had been probing Luke's thoughts, discovered that besides Luke he also had a daughter: Leia Organa

However, no attribution for this assertion is given in the article.

  • 5
    You bring up a good point: at the point when Vader says "Young Skywalker" wouldn't he have a pretty good idea Luke was his son? Same last name; age matches pretty well; powers are suspiciously Jedi ish. Or is Vader's mind so addled by the dark side he can't suss out familial relationships?
    – zipquincy
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 17:05
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    @zipquincy 'Skywalker' was the galactic equivalent of 'Smith'. Possibly ;)
    – Peter
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 20:15
  • @zipquincy He dosn't make the connection, or at least pretends not to, until the emperor talks to him about it in EP V, Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 9:29
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    Wookieepedia isn't an "official" source
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 11:06
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    @Tango - It's worth noting that it doesn't say that any more.
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 16:51

To re-use part of my answer to an unrelated question Why do we hear Leia's Theme during Kenobi's death?:

At the time of working of "A New Hope" (e.g. prior to 1977) - it was NOT known to anyone (including Lucas) that Luke and Leia are family. Since Luke was Anakin Skywalker's son from the beginning of ANH, that means Leia wasn't meant to be his daughter, until at least mid-work on Episode V.

To be more specific, even an early Leigh Brackett's 1978 draft of "The Empire Strikes Back" didn't have that relationship established yet - it was introduced later (source).

Another related evidence for Luke and Leia not yet being related was 1978 pre-ESB book that was a sequel to "ANH" - Alan Dean Foster's "Splinter of the Mind's Eye". It develops the theme of romantic interest between the two (presumably, in part, since Foster and Lucas didn't know if ANH would be a big hit and if Harrison Ford would be interested in the sequel should the sequel be based on "Splinter")

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    The part about them not being family was only true up until 1983, when Return of the Jedi was released. From then on, the retcon distortion field created by Lucas was in full effect -- and remember, Lucas is a master of the retcon distortion field, to the point where he even seems to change his memories of past events to align with his new claims and new story lines in some cases. So, while in 1977, it may not have been known, by 2005, Lucas could have easily changed that and the retconned version would be true.
    – Tango
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 5:54
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    Him not knowing was retconned, but, honestly, with Lucas, I find it hard to keep track of what gets retconned and what doesn't. Now that he's done that with "THX-1138" as well, I'm dreading when he finally gets to retconning "American Graffiti."
    – Tango
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 15:00
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    @TangoOversway - When Luke leaves Dagobah in ESB Obiwan: He is the last hope for the jedi. Yoda: No there is another. This would lead me to believe that was not the case. When Luke makes his connection to Leia in the Cloud City I also think he suspects it and it definitely foreshadows a something more between them.
    – Chad
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 16:17
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    @Chad: Yes, but it helps to read either the rough draft DVK was referring to or at least the summary he links to. The differences show how much retconning happened during the writing process of ESB. I honestly think Lucas' memory and view of reality is so dynamic that in his world his thoughts today can alter the facts of yesterday. I wish it were possible to see the outlines of the original stories he had in mind for sequels when he first started on SW, before he started intentionally remolding it all to Joseph Campbell's work.
    – Tango
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 16:30
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    To put it more succinctly, Lucas has always been at war with Eastasia.
    – Kyralessa
    Commented Feb 12, 2012 at 0:54

To further reinforce the answer "no", spoilers below:

Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader has some info on how Darth Vader went to Alderaan to "inquire" Bail Organa about anti-Empire protests taking place outside the royal palace on Aldera. Breha Organa narrowly avoids meeting Vader by infant Leia's "I'm hungry" shrieks. If he knew anything, he would march into the royal chambers and forcefully take the baby, I guess.


I honestly think when Sidious told Vader he'd killed Padme, Vader's and Sidious's interpretation was mother and child both died. Why Padme never had a pre-natal scan is puzzling?? Anyway,Luke only really came to light after he blew up the death star. With Obi-Wan also being there, Vader also mentioned when trying to kill Luke on the death star trench run. "the force is strong in this one".

Vader also told Grand Moff Tarvin "her resistance against the mind probe was considerable". But didn't realise even then she was his daughter. Even Lucas didn't know what was happening or he wouldn't have had Luke & Leia smooching in ESB. But Leia & Luke had a force connection on Cloud City when he reaches out to her for help to come and get him.


Leia did not have to suppress her force signature any more than the seperation of the twins across the galaxy already suppressed their force signature. Because she was raised on Alderaan under royalty, the nature and setting of her upbringing basically did not allow the force to be easily recognized because it was never developed. Obi Wan Kenobi remained on Tatooine keeping an eye and waiting for Luke to come of age. It was because Obi Wan already obviously knew the importance of Luke's bloodline that he was brought into the war. Vader was under the impression that he was only to have one child, and when Sidious rescued Anakin after his defeat on Mustafar by Obi Wan, Sidious told Vader that he was responsible for Padmes death. There was the assumption the child was lost as well.


I think leia was using the force in a new hope without even realizing it, she was resistant to the mind probe. But because vader was so deep in the darkside and had no struggling conflicts a small sign of the force isnt significant enough. He believed his kid(s) dead that's what he was told so he would have no reason to suspect anything. Not until empire anyway

  • Quick question: are you saying that Vader did not know Leia was his daughter? The post is a little unclear. Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 19:34

How could Vader not know?

My answer is that he did.

They interrogated Leia on the Death Star. They used pharmaceuticals on her. I'm sure they took something resembling a DNA scan. They had a clone army, so they were aware of DNA. If they had, and it tracked to Vader, they would have headed straight to the Emperor. Why couldn't Vader have tried to pull the information out of her mind, As Kylo Ren attempted to do with Rey in TFA. In Cloud City when they freeze Han, and she stares at Vader, she was enraged - and force sensitive - that should have created a disturbance in the Dark Side, which Vader would definitely have noticed.

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