The short answer is: Because he sacrificed himself out of love for his son, who had just spared his life when he was defeated and helpless.
For the full answer, we need to begin with a little background.
When Luke is preparing to surrender to Vader, he stops to tell Leia the good news ("I'm your brother!") and the bad news ("Vader is our dad!"):
Luke's actions in ROTJ were instrumental in the destruction of the Empire and the death of the Emperor.
Luke successfully invaded the stronghold of Jabba the Hutt, freeing his friend Han Solo.
Han went on to lead the strike team that destroyed the Shield Generator on Endor. Notably, without Han's idea to use the walker to trick the guards into opening the ...
From the script (with my emphasis):
MON MOTHMA: The data brought to us by the Bothan spies pinpoints the exact location of the Emperor's new battle station. We also know that the weapon systems of this Death Star are not yet operational. With the Imperial Fleet spread throughout the galaxy in a vain effort to engage us, it is relatively unprotected.
Luke: I am a Jedi, like my father before me.
Palpatine: [angrily] So be it... Jedi!
This is the crucial moment when Luke fully claims his heritage and asserts his Jedihood.
Before that, Jedi didn't exist anymore. The few remaining after Order 66 were in hiding or had died since (Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda).
But with Luke's claim, and through his and his ...
Canon doesn't have an answer, but I can think of three things:
At that point, Han didn't know that he could penetrate a shield at lightspeed. 30 years is a long time to learn new reckless things. Maybe, Han learned about this by accident or by studying shield or his reckless mind suddenly popped an idea based on what he knew.
Shield of the Death Star doesn'...
Because they really have no choice but to try - attempting to escape would likely delay the inevitable as they would still have to deal with a fully operational Death Star, and have already taken casualties:
Lando Calrissian: [after seeing the Death Star is operational] Home One, this is Gold Leader.
Admiral Ackbar: We saw it. All craft, prepare to ...
The reason Luke and Leia's siblinghood was important to the plot was because A New Hope set Luke, Leia, and Han up as a Love Triangle. This caused Luke and Han to be rivals for Leia's affection.
One can imagine the awkwardness of having one's budding Jedi hero be a spurned lover who also must face the humiliation of being saved by the "other man".
You didn't include the end of the quote:
Luke, the Force runs strong in your family. Pass on what you have learned.
Luke, there is another Skywalker...
In the scene Yoda was telling Luke to train his existing family, not to go make more Skywalkers.
Early in the fight, Vader is going very soft on Luke, specifically trying to direct the fight as he wishes.
From the novelization:
Vader was impressed with Luke's speed. Pleased, even. It was a pity, almost, he couldn't let the boy kill the Emperor yet. Luke wasn't ready for that, emotionally. There was still a chance Luke would return to his friends if ...
Yes, he did.
We see it in the "celebration on Endor" scene a few minutes later, just after he's cremated his father.
Under the circumstances, we can assume that when he "hurled it aside", it simply rolled under the staircase behind the Emperor
Update: According to the factbook "Inside the Worlds of Star Wars Trilogy: The Ultimate Guide to the Incredible ...
The first thing that comes to mind as to why this was important was the end of ROTJ.
You cannot hide forever, Luke.
I will not fight you.
Give yourself to the dark side. It is the only way you can save your
friends. Yes, your
thoughts betray you. Your feelings for them are strong. Especially
Vader stops and senses something. ...
The point of being on the Dark side is that you're motivated by "dark" emotions: Anger. Possessiveness. Powerlust.
Saving Luke was the direct opposite.
Vader is in a constant struggle between his Dark Side tendencies and the remnants of Anakin pulling towards the Light Side - we see this in the new Disney canon book "The Sith Lords", where
That's the James Kahn novelization. Your quote is pretty much verbatim.
Jabba smiled grimly. "Your mind powers won't work on me. I am not
affected by your human thought patterns". Then, as an afterthought: " I
was killing your kind when being a Jedi meant something."
(This is from the Kindle edition btw., in case someone wants to compare with the ...
I would like to point to the fact that when Luke is escaping with Darth Vader, the battle already took a huge step in favor of the alliance. The Shield generator on Endor was destroyed where every man inside the Death Star knew it wasn't fully defensively operational yet. The Star Destroyer crashed into the Death Star moments before.
I can imagine whenever ...
There's a brief mention in the film's official novelisation that C-3PO's coming was foretold by prophets as part of the Ewok's oral tradition.
This golden god, whose return to us has been prophesied since the First Tree, tells us now he will not be our Master, tells us we are free to choose as we will—that we must choose; as all living things must choose ...
The galaxy far far away is incredibly huge
According to various sources, the GFFA is more than 100.000 light years in diameter (Milky Way sized). This means it consists something in between 100 billion to 1 trillion stars. That makes one Star Destroyer for every 4 million stars (if we chose the lower estimate).
Even if we just reduce this to the amount of ...
Luke's thoughts were dwelling on his friends, Han and Leia. He inadvertently labeled her as his twin sister in his mind just as Vader was scanning him. Note that Vader knows enough about her identity that he's confident that he'll be able to find her and turn her to the dark side. This implies that he knows her identity.
“Give yourself to the dark side,” ...
I need to root around for a retcon explanation, but as-of-ROTJ explanation is this:
In the novelization of Return of the Jedi, written by James Kahn, Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Luke that Anakin didn't know his lover was pregnant when he became Darth Vader, and Obi-Wan hid her away to protect her. After she gave birth, Obi-Wan took Luke to Tatooine and she took ...
Based on the graphic we saw earlier in the film, the shield appears to also cover the Endor Shield Generator Station. This would make an aerial bombardment of the moon as ineffective as an attack on the Death Star itself.
At best you might be able to devastate the jungle a few dozens of miles away, killing the indigenous, but leaving the station unharmed.
She reacts when first informed.
While subtle, the script has Leia clearly reacting to the news from Luke. However even before confirming that she's his sister, Leia has pieced together the puzzle. She is shown being distraught and frightened.
He's my father.
There's more. It won't be easy for you to hear it, ...
Well we can rule out it being a temporary throne room, as it is described in immense detail in the following article (also referenced by Max's answer):
"Emperor's Throne Room", Wikia
Considering the following excerpt:
Surrounding the throne room and its neighboring rooms was the abyss, an open shaft surrounding the turbolifts, which led directly to the ...
What the Emperor tells Luke is actually:
Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design.
The difference may seem irrelevant (especially since the Emperor does tell Vader, earlier in the movie, "Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.") However, combined with other statements that the Emperor makes, what he says to Luke strongly ...
During the attack on the first Death Star, Vader flew out in his TIE fighter to fight off the attacking Rebels. And, with his high-level force skills, he did a pretty good job. Even Luke would have been killed during his attack run, had Han and Chewbacca not returned and broken up Vader's pursuit group.
On the second Death Star, there were two Sith lords, ...
How long before you can make the jump to light speed?
It'll take a few moments to get the coordinates from the navi-computer.
The ship begins to rock violently as lasers hit it.
Are you kidding? At the rate they're gaining...
Traveling through hyperspace isn't like dusting crops, boy! Without precise ...
It depends on how you define "timeline of the Original Trilogy" - if you mean only what is shown on the screen, then Skooba and Valorum's answers are correct.
If you take timeline a bit more broadly, and from an in-universe perspective, just a single day after the end of Return of the Jedi, then the answer is:
Yes - Han knew.
From the new canon novel ...
The best info available suggests that he was 45 when he died.
To determine this, we need to use a few sources. Note that some of these are no longer considered fully canon.
According to this post by Leland Chee, Anakin was born in 41.9 BBY.
Based on various cast interviews, we know that Anakin was aged 9 in Episode I (and that this film takes place in 32 ...
Luke didn't die on the Death Star in the original scenario, so there is no reason why he and the Emperor have to die in yours.
You assume that Luke and the Emperor would have died together due to the destruction of the Death Star, had Luke turned to the Dark Side.
However, Luke was on this very Death Star and survived! The Emperor perished for reasons ...
We don’t know, but probably not
While we have no explicit confirmation that they are not related, the odds of two random Rebellion Mon Calamari being related aren’t particularly high. We are dealing with an entire species, after all, one that has been seen on multiple planets, and has at least one that they call their own.
In addition, according to Pablo ...
According to the official Starwars.com biography of Luke Skywalker, the film "Return of the Jedi" ends with the return of Anakin Skywalker.
It follows that the 'Jedi' mentioned in the title is Anakin rather than Luke or "The Jedi Order".
Maz Kanata helps her get it
In the Canon animated micro-series "Star Wars Forces of Destiny", Leia is shown defeating Boushh and presumably stealing his armour
Maz: Frozen in carbonite?
Leia: Oh! Chewie said you can help us. We wouldn't ask if Han weren't in a tight spot.
Leia: So what's the plan?
Maz: Patience. ...