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CT When Exactly Did Vader Turn?

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by Emperor Ferus, Sep 18, 2020.

  1. Emperor Ferus

    Emperor Ferus Chosen One star 7

    Jul 29, 2016
    In ROTJ, I wonder whether the exact moment Vader decided to save Luke was the moment he physically intervened or not.

    The Emperor had openly stated that he wanted Luke to kill Vader, so I wonder if Vader would have tried to kill Palpatine even if he wasn’t turning back to the light. If that’s not the case, was Vader holding back before because he was working up the courage risk his own life, or because he still felt allegiance to the man who had just betrayed him?
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  2. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Hangman Winner star 10 VIP - Game Winner

    Sep 2, 2012
    The Ryder Windham junior novelization (which was updated to the newcanon) had Vader making his decision at some point during the last blasting of Luke with lightning.

    "Now, young Skywalker..." the Emperor snarled, "you will die."
    Luke had not imagined pain beyond what he had already suffered, but then he was hit by a wave of power that was even more staggering. His harsh screams echoed across the throne room.
    Beside the Emperor, Darth Vader continued to stand and watch. He looked to the Emperor again, then back to Luke.
    And then, in a moment, something changed. Perhaps he remembered something heard in his youth a long time ago: an ancient prophesy of the Chosen One who would bring balance to the Force. Perhaps the vague outlines of someone named Shmi and a Jedi named Qui-Gon struggled to the surface of his consciousness. The most powerful, the most repressed thought of all could have emerged from the darkness: Padmé … and her undying love for someone he once knew well. And despite all the terrible, unspeakable things he'd done in his life, he suddenly realized he could not stand by and allow the Emperor to kill their son. And in that moment, he was no longer Darth Vader.
    He was Anakin Skywalker.
    He grabbed the Emperor from behind. The impossibly wretched Sith Lord gaped and squirmed in his embrace, continuing to release blue lightning, but the bolts veered away from Luke and arced back to strike the Sith Lords.
  3. Emperor Ferus

    Emperor Ferus Chosen One star 7

    Jul 29, 2016
    I own both that one and the James Kahn one.

    I still wonder what Vader made of the Emperor trying to goad Luke into killing him. Probably not too surprised.
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  4. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Hangman Winner star 10 VIP - Game Winner

    Sep 2, 2012
    Legends (The Rise & Fall of Darth Vader, by the same author) went into a little more detail on what Vader was actually thinking at the time. There was an element of thinking back to Dooku.

    The Emperor continued to goad Luke into retrieving his lightsaber. "Strike me down with all of your hatred" the Emperor spat, "and your journey to the dark side will be complete."
    Using the Force, Luke snatched up his weapon, activated its blade, and swung fast at the Emperor's head. But Vader moved faster, activating his own lightsaber to deftly block Luke's attack. The sight of Vader and Luke crossing lightsabers excited and amused the Emperor, and he cackled with perverse glee. Vader recalled that Palpatine had laughed the same way over two decades ago, when he had ordered Anakin Skywalker to kill Count Dooku.
    I was the victor then, Vader thought as he used his lightsaber to drive Luke away from the Emperor. And the Force is with me now!
    As their duel carried on throughout the throne room, the Dark Lord sensed that Luke was drawing from his own anger to fuel his attack. From his throne, the Emperor said, "Good. Use your aggressive feelings, boy! Let the hate flow through you."
    My Master wants Luke to win, Vader realized with some resentment. I will not give him that satisfaction. I will not be -
    Unexpectedly, Luke deactivated his lightsaber and said, "I will not fight you, Father."
    "You are unwise to lower your defenses," Vader said, as he brought his lightsaber up fast. With incredible speed, Luke reactivated his weapon to parry Vader's attack. Vader swung again and again, but Luke blocked each blow. Soon, Vader was breathing hard through his respirator. I can't let Luke defeat me, Vader thought. I won't let the Emperor have him!
    A precise kick from Luke sent Vader over the edge of the elevated platform. Crashing upon the metal floor below, Vader roared as he felt a cybernetic cable snap in his right leg. Luke tried to distance himself from Vader by leaping to a catwalk that stretched across the throne room's ceiling. "Your thoughts betray you, Father," Luke said. "I feel the good in you ... the conflict."
    Rising from the floor below with obvious discomfort, Vader said, "There is no conflict."

    "So this is how it ends" was basically all he thought after the "take your father's place" line.
  5. Emperor Ferus

    Emperor Ferus Chosen One star 7

    Jul 29, 2016
    I've been wanting to find that book and read it again, but for obvious reasons it's been hard. I remember that part though as well as other insights into Vader/Anakin's inner thoughts.

    Seems as though Vader was resigned to his fate as yesterday's news until Luke's cry for help pushed him to turn.
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  6. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Hangman Winner star 10 VIP - Game Winner

    Sep 2, 2012
    Pretty much. When he says "I must obey my master" he means it.

    Not so much in the Kahn novelization, which puts more emphasis on the idea that Vader is still plotting to overthrow the Emperor and rule with Luke, throughout most of the duel.

    EDIT: the new junior novelisation by Angleberger has some good "Vader's thoughts" moments in too, during the Endor scene where Luke attempts to turn Vader:

    "I've accepted the truth that you were once Anakin Skywalker, my father."
    Now Vader does face him. "That name no longer has any meaning for me," he booms, looming over Luke.
    But Luke answers with compassion, not fear.
    "It is the name of your true self. You've only forgotten. I know there is good in you. The Emperor hasn't driven it from you fully. That was why you couldn't destroy me. That's why you won't bring me to your Emperor now."
    The struggle is already greater than Vader expected. He turns away again, this time looking at the lightsaber in his hand. This is not his old lightsaber, he realises. Where has it come from?
    He ignites it. A flick of his wrist would kill Luke now, but it doesn't even occur to him.
    "I see you have constructed a new lightsaber. Your skills are complete. Indeed, you are powerful, as the Emperor has foreseen..
    But Luke isn't going to be distracted.
    "Come with me," he says.
    Now Vader understands why he has feared his son so much. Not because of his mastery of the Force or his skill with a lightsaber. But because Luke can make him question the dark truths that have long ruled him.
    Defensively, he recites these truths now ... even as he begins to wonder if they really are true.
    "Obi-Wan once thought as you do. You don't know the power of the dark side. I must obey my Master."
    "I will not turn ... and you'll be forced to kill me."
    "If that is your destiny ..."
    It is a cold answer. Especially from a father to a son. But it is also a weak one. And Luke knows it. He presses his attack.
    "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.
    But even this is not enough. Luke. Ah, they tried to warn you: the dark side is strong. Vader uses it to close off the questions, the memories, the hopes. The dark truths are true again.
    "It is too late for me, son. The Emperor will show you the true nature of the Force. He is your Master now."
    Vader turns abruptly and signals two of his two stormtroopers to come take the prisoner.
    The battle is over and Luke has lost.
    "Then my father is truly dead," he says as he is prodded toward the landing pad.
    Yes, Luke did lose this battle, but once he has gone, we can see that Vader has lost something too. He stares out at the trees, no longer so impatient for action.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2020
  7. FightoftheForgotten

    FightoftheForgotten Jedi Knight star 3

    May 19, 2020
    ROTJ doesn't mesh well with TESB. In the MAKING OF book for ROTJ, Lucas even admits to getting rid of the subplot about Vader wanting to overthrow the Emperor so that Vader returning to the light would come as a surprise at the end of ROTJ.
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  8. christophero30

    christophero30 Chosen One star 8

    May 18, 2017
    Maybe we're reading too much into the scene on Endor and Vader just saw a cute squirrel.
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  9. I Are The Internets

    I Are The Internets Chosen One star 9

    Nov 20, 2012
    It's obviously when he says "NOO NOOO NOOOOOOO" a billion times.
  10. Django Fett

    Django Fett Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Nov 7, 2012
    There is clear evidence Vader was already having his doubts as early as when the strike force first arrives on Endor, Palps in his own words questions if Vader's "feelings are clear".
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  11. A Chorus of Disapproval

    A Chorus of Disapproval TV Casualty / FFS! star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Aug 19, 2003
  12. themoth

    themoth Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Dec 5, 2015
    In my opinion the “then my father is truly dead” line hit him hard, and played a large role. He was going through the motions as a bad guy, and Palpatine electrocuting Luke was the last straw.
  13. BlackRanger

    BlackRanger Jedi Knight star 3

    Apr 14, 2018
    Vader turned many times. Like the time he turned from speaking with General Veers to kill Admiral Ozzel with a Force-choke during a video conference call. Or the time he turned dramatically and strode off the bridge at the end of ESB. ;)
  14. CaptainEO

    CaptainEO Jedi Grand Master star 1

    Mar 13, 2002
    Reading some of the stuff here is interesting.
    Vader wanting to kill Luke during their duel to spare Luke the life of agony involved with falling to the dark side is an interesting take. In that sense, I guess Vader turned during the conversation after Luke turns himself in. From that point on, what he was doing was for Luke's benefit. At first he thought killing Luke was what was best for Luke. After realizing he can't beat Luke he makes the decision (sees the opportunity) to take out the Emperor.
    Never looked at it like this. Thanks for sharing these ideas everybody!
    christophero30 likes this.
  15. Darth Chuck Norris

    Darth Chuck Norris Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 13, 2014
    I think the answer to this question is layered.
    I don't think Vader turning was a spur of the moment decision, although the desire to save his son may have been. I think the cracks in the steely veneer of Vader's devotion to the dark side began when he learned of his offspring that he had believed to be dead.
    Even though Vader tells Palps that Luke will "join them or die", we see Vader being reserved in his efforts to destroy Luke when on Bespin. Vader thoroughly batters Luke in an attempt to beat him into submission, but even with multiple opportunities in their duel to kill Luke, Vader never does.
    On Death Star II, we see a level of reservation in Vader in his interactions with Palps, which further exacerbate the conflict within him. And then on Endor, when speaking to Luke on the platform, you can hear the contrition in Vader's voice. I think at the point Vader has decided to turn, but I think it's more that he has turned on Palps, and is hoping to entice Luke to the dark side so he can depose the Emperor.
    As the duel progresses on the Death Star, when Luke pleads to Vader, "I will not fight you father" was the death knell for Vader's devotion to the dark side. Even though he continues to antagonize Luke, Vader no longer has any loyalty to Palps or to the dark side, even though Vader knows his connection to the dark side is what keeps him alive, and at the point his goal is the destruction of the Emperor, at any cost.
    While Vader had ultimately ended his connection with the dark side, his turn back to the light side wasn't complete until he saw his son being tortured by Palps. Vader saw an opening to not only destroy Palps, but to save his son, and made the spur of the moment decision to do both.
    So in summary, while Vader's turn became complete after saving Luke and killing Palps, it was a culmination of events as opposed to be a single all encompassing moment.
    sithboy likes this.
  16. SateleNovelist11

    SateleNovelist11 Force Ghost star 6

    Jan 10, 2015
    As often as I've said that Vader severing Luke's hand and revealing that he was his father scared me to death as a little kid, I will say that the way Vader conducts himself during his scene with Luke on Endor made me feel sorry for him for the first time. Jones' performance is mostly impatient, angry, and cold in TESB. In ROTJ, his performance is more conflicted, frustrated, and sad. Whether you examine Vader in the films, the EU, or the Disney stuff, he has the most consistent characterization between the three, and his is the most complex. I can see a bit of Matt Lanter in Vader during ROTJ. In my head canon, he regrets killing Ahsoka, since he doesn't know that Ezra saved her. Clearly, he regrets a lot of things. His statement, "Obi-Wan once thought as you do," makes me think of the good times the two shared during TCW and the beginning of ROTS. It's important to note that Vader looks at Luke with pride, jealousy, resentment, and regret for what he could have been. This is further evidence as to why TLJ is b.s., given that Luke, while not perfect, was meant to be everything his father was not. As a little kid, I didn't expect Vader to save Luke, but I was surprised and overjoyed when he did. As opposed to the muddy mess in which Kylo Ren redeems himself that does not work, this does work. Vader's conduct from the end of TESB and throughout ROTJ backs up his actions. This is why Lucas, Kasdan, and Keshner deserve credit for Vader's development in TESB and ROTJ. This was not some rushed thing. It was gradual.
  17. sithboy

    sithboy Jedi Master

    Dec 15, 2000
    First of all, great post from everyone here!!

    I got the opportunity to see all 3 OT films when they came out in the Theaters. But as a kid I could never fully appreciate the complexity of the character of Anakin/Vader.

    Back in the 80’s, I use to wonder what exactly drove Anakin to the Dark Side.

    Seeing the events of AOTC and ROTS (Death of Shmi and Padme), it drove him to a high level of anger with a mix of insanity in my opinion. Where the anger overtakes reason and just wanted some type of release through revenge. By the time we see him in ANH and’s too late. Palpatine has used him as a powerful side weapon, so to speak.

    I agree with Darth Chuck’s point about Vader’s realization that his offspring was still alive was the 1st nudge to bring him back to the light......and some connection to Padme.

    Stay safe out there amigos -...
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020 at 2:45 PM
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  18. Darth Chuck Norris

    Darth Chuck Norris Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 13, 2014
    I'm the same in that I saw them all in theaters as a kid, but I never was able to appreciate or even fully understand the complexity of the dynamic of Vader and Luke's relationship.