The biggest plot twist in the history of the Star Wars continuity was the revelation that Darth Vader was actually Luke Skywalker’s father and was always Anakin Skywalker. We even saw in the prequel movies how Anakin fell to the dark side and became Darth Vader. So, after Luke found out the truth about his father, he eventually decides to try to bring him back to the side of the light. So, when did Luke find out that Darth Vader was his father?
Luke Skywalker found out that Darth Vader was his father when he lost to him in their duel in Cloud City while Luke and the Rebels were on Bespin. Vader tried to recruit Luke to become his new apprentice, only for Luke to reject the offer. That was when Vader told him that he was his father.
The revelation that Vader was Luke’s father the entire time surprised most fans when ‘Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back’ was released. This revelation changed the entire trajectory of Star Wars as it became a tale of a son trying to redeem his father instead of a Rebel trying to kill a tyrant. So, with that said, let’s look at how Luke found out that Darth Vader was his father.
Luke knew that Anakin was his father
One of the things that Luke Skywalker always knew was that his parents didn’t raise him. He grew up on a moisture farm on Tatooine under the care of his uncle and aunt, Owen and Beru Lars. In that regard, he knew he had real parents but had never met them.
And the events of ‘Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope’ allowed Luke to learn more about his father when C-3PO and R2-D2, who were given the task of relaying a message to Obi-Wan Kenobi, were purchased by Luke from a group of Jawas.
Eventually, 3PO and R2 could get to Kenobi because Luke was always familiar with a man named Old Ben Kenobi, who lived nearby. Meeting Kenobi allowed Luke to learn more about his father, as that was when he realized that this man’s real name was Obi-Wan and was someone who had been watching over him since he was a child. And Obi-Wan told Luke that his father was Anakin Skywalker, a powerful Jedi Knight he fought with during the Clone Wars.
But the twist here is that Obi-Wan told Luke that Anakin died at the hands of Darth Vader long ago. That was why Luke harbored hatred for Vader during the earlier part of the Star Wars storyline, as he always thought he was responsible for killing Anakin. But the truth was that Anakin was alive the entire time and was much closer than Luke ever realized.
Luke found out about it on Bespin
After Luke destroyed the Death Star in ‘A New Hope,’ Vader tried to get the identity of the Rebel that became one of the biggest enemies of the Empire. He spent the three-year gap between ‘A New Hope’ and ‘Empire Strikes Back’ to learn more about this Rebel. And that was when Boba Fett told him that this Rebel was named Skywalker, and that was how Vader found out that Luke was his son.
Emperor Palpatine also found out about the Rebel and told Vader about him even though the latter already knew about it before Palpatine did. And Vader actually spent time trying to find a way to recruit Luke into the Empire because he knew they could both work together to bring the emperor down and become the galaxy’s rulers.
During the events of ‘The Empire Strikes Back,’ Luke was on Dagobah to learn the ways of the Force under Jedi Master Yoda, who was reluctant to teach the boy because of his impatience and due to the possibility that he may also end up falling to the dark side.
But when Luke sensed that his friends were in danger, he rushed to Bespin to help them as they were captured by Darth Vader, who lured them into a trap by blackmailing Lando Calrissian into betraying his allies.
That was when the first true battle between Luke and Vader took place as they fought on Cloud City. Vader was far too strong for Luke to defeat, and that was when the Dark Lord of the Sith took Luke’s hand to disarm him and used this time to convince him to join the dark side as the apprentice that he could train to defeat the emperor.
Luke rejected the offer, and Vader brought up the idea of how Obi-Wan never told him about his father.
Luke answered that Kenobi told him enough and that Vader was responsible for killing Anakin Skywalker. Vader eventually said the most iconic Star Wars words of all time when he told Luke, “No, I am your father.” Luke didn’t want to believe it at first, but he eventually realized that Darth Vader was telling the truth and that he was actually his father all along.
This event eventually forced Luke to change his entire approach. After becoming a true Jedi Knight, he realized he could still redeem his father from the dark side. As such, instead of trying to kill his father, Luke went on a journey that would allow him to convince his father that there was still hope for him to turn back and become Anakin Skywalker once more.
Obi-Wan lied to protect Luke
Of course, we all know that Obi-Wan told Luke that Anakin was killed by Darth Vader years ago. When people first found out that Vader was actually Anakin, they thought that Obi-Wan had lied to Luke. But there’s a good reason for that.
First of all, Obi-Wan had already accepted that Vader had killed Anakin. During the events of the ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ series, which took place nine years before ‘A New Hope,’ Kenobi tried his best to bring sense back into Anakin, only for him to realize that this was no longer his former Padawan and best friend.
Instead, he had been consumed by Darth Vader and had already been killed by the persona of the Sith Lord. As such, Kenobi understood that Vader had metaphorically killed Anakin.
The fact that Vader had consumed Anakin made Kenobi realize that there was no longer any hope for him to return to the side of the light. For him, Anakin was already dead when he fell to the dark side and became Darth Vader. And this is also the reason why Obi-Wan told Darth Maul that Luke was the Chosen One, as he no longer believed that Anakin was redeemable.
So, with that said, Obi-Wan lied to Luke because he wanted to protect the young man from the truth about his father. Kenobi knew that Luke would have tried to bring his father back or, at worst, join him in the dark side.
By lying to him, Obi-Wan was trying to convince Luke that his goal was to defeat and bring down his father instead of convincing him to return to the light. And it all boils down to the fact that Obi-Wan no longer believed that his former friend could still be saved.
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