Luke Skywalker, Sith Lord (or, Your Childhood Is Officially Ruined)

Fan theories are one of the most enjoyable ways in which people can interact with the properties they love. The Pixar Theory is perhaps the most well known, connecting all of the Pixar movies together through sometimes tenuous logic. But make way for a new master fan theory – and one that may prove right when we see The Force Awakens in December – because Huffington Post’s Rob Conery has just published his own theory: that Luke Skywalker turned to the Dark Side in Return of the Jedi. He bases his theory on the following:

  • Yoda tells Luke that if he leaves his training early, he will “become an agent of evil.” Luke then responds by immediately leaving.
  • When Luke shows up at Jabba’s Palace at the beginning of RotJ, he looks like a Sith, Force chokes some fools like a Sith, and talks like a Sith. He even threatens to destroy Jabba and summarily does it. This is a bit similar to his daddy, Anakin, going to kill the Tusken Raiders on Tatooine after he finds his mother killed.
  • Just as Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side hinged on his love for Amidala, so Luke’s fall occurs when Vader threatens his sister; if Luke won’t join the Dark Side, maybe his sister will? We never find out because Luke does indeed come out of hiding, turn all Sithly, and cuts Vader down.

Conery describes more evidence much more in depth and you should definitely click the link above and read through the whole thing. It’s a lot of fun. Here’s my take on the theory: it makes Star Wars a lot better. If, and it’s a big “if” at this point, Luke *did* fall to the Dark Side, what does this mean for the Force Awakens? Let’s examine.

I’m a Jedi. Like several scary, dark robed wearing Force users before me.

“Good” ol’ Luke

“I am a Jedi, like my father before me.” – Luke Skywalker

At the end of Return of the Jedi, Luke throws down his lightsaber and declares the Emperor’s failure. Where does Luke get this idea from? On Dagobah, Yoda tells Luke that “one thing remains: Vader. You must confront Vader. Then, and only then, a Jedi will you be. And confront him you will.” Luke does indeed confront Vader and so he must be a Jedi, right? But Yoda also tells Luke, “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.”

Keep in mind that Yoda is prescient. He can see the future even though it is “always in motion”. He knew Luke would face Vader, and he further new Luke would fall to the Dark Side. How do we know? Because Luke falls prey to the very things that Yoda says will lead to the Dark Side: “Anger. Fear. Aggression.”

Yoda’s final conversation with Luke, then, isn’t to keep him from falling to the Dark Side. It is instead meant to keep him focused on his mission: wipe out the Sith. Yoda, in his last breaths, tries to ensure that Luke will follow through on this, even telling Luke that there is another Skywalker. Why tell Luke this? We know from the prequels that the Jedi shun connections, due to the passion behind them. So the only reason to tell Luke that he has a sibling is to ensure that he will confront his father and kill him.

Yes, this means that Yoda knows Luke will fall to the Dark Side. Yes, this means Yoda manipulates Luke. And before you get all up in arms about this, recall that Yoda isn’t alone in this. Obi-Wan himself lies to and manipulates Luke. Even after Yoda dies, Obi-Wan’s spirit continues to try to manipulate Luke, telling Luke, “You were our only hope.” But Obi-Wan is lying again because Obi-Wan had learned from Yoda in Empire Srikes Back that “there is another.” Luke even catches Obi-Wan in his lie! But Luke, ever the manipulated one, doesn’t stop to press Obi-Wan on this point. Instead, he laps up whatever info Obi-Wan gives him about her.

Obi-Wan and Yoda are only interested in one thing: the end of the Sith. They don’t care that Luke falls to the Dark Side, or at least that is a lesser concern for them. Because even though Luke falls to the Dark Side, he does kill the Sith and is not himself a Sith. Instead, he is a Dark Jedi. We know from Star Wars: The Clone Wars that there are other Dark Side Force users who aren’t Sith, so the fact that Luke believes he is a Jedi but is actually a pawn for the Dark Side isn’t heresy in and of itself.

And just as Anakin, his father before him, believed he was doing good when he turned to the Dark Side, so Luke believes he is good as well, even as he uses anger, fear and aggression to defeat the Sith.

"I'll finish what you started!"
“I’ll finish what you started!”

The Knights of Ren

“Tell them if they don’t do as you wish, you’ll become angry and use your magic.” – Luke Skywalker


We know from various interviews for The Force Awakens that the film’s most prominent antagonist to date, Kylo Ren, belongs to a group known as the Knights of Ren. Now, this is speculation on my part because of course nobody knows, but what if Luke is the founder of this group? A tie-in comic, Star Wars: Shattered Empire, shows a Luke Skywalker who, after the events of Return of the Jedi, tries to re-establish the Jedi Order. I would imagine it wouldn’t take Luke long to learn that he knows very little about the true Jedi, so what if the Knights of Ren are his students? Or, perhaps, what if they are his failed students? Luke himself never received a training in the style we saw in the prequels. There is nothing about Luke that says he’d be able to train others in the Force, either. It’s possible that the film’s other, and still mysterious, bad guy, Snoke, is Luke’s failed apprentice. And, if other rumors are correct, Kylo Ren is his nephew, so Kylo Ren’s true motivation may be to find his uncle and either join him and complete his training, or to destroy Luke just as Luke destroyed his own father.

This makes the potential story of The Force Awakens much more exciting. Conery’s theory puts Leia at odds with her missing brother and potentially sets Finn, the once-Stormtrooper we saw in the trailer wielding a lightsaber, and Rey, rumored to be Han and Leia’s daughter (and Kylo’s sister), as the last hopes for the rise of the Light Side of the Force.

This theory also explains why we haven’t seen much, if any, of Luke in the trailers. If we know anything about the Dark Side of the Force, it’s that it isn’t easy on the looks. If the Dark Side has indeed “dominated his destiny,” Luke might possess a much more frightening visage and one J. J. Abrams would not want to give away.

What do you think? Does this crush your childhood? Or does it get you excited for The Force Awakens? Let us know in the comments below!

59 thoughts on “Luke Skywalker, Sith Lord (or, Your Childhood Is Officially Ruined)

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  33. This is the stupidest theory I have ever heard in a long time.

    Yoda said that if you abandon your training and choose the quick and easy path you’ll fall. Luke abandoned his training but didn’t choose the quick and easy path right after (when vader offers luke a place luke refuses even though the only other option is essentially death) so it remains to be seen.

    Yoda failed to see the fall of the jedi, so he’s not omniscient. He made mistakes. Hell this guy’s explanation of why yoda was in the wrong in empire is good.
    Also another big hole is your assumption Jedi don’t lie. They do, I don’t care what mental gymnastics Obi Wan went through to justify but he did lie to Luke about his father. Purposefully with holding key truths and using half truths in order to mislead or keep another in the dark is bearing false witness. Further I do not think it is implicitly stated by the Jedi you shall not lie. I think that is a projection of us on them since they are the “good” guys. Remember Yoda and Obi Wan are not infallible they messed up big time in the prequel trilogy. I think that Luke’s action in the empire strikes back while risky and a bit fool hardy was the right call and Yoda was wrong and setting up Luke to fail as he would hold himself responsible for the death of his friends. That is a weight that would make his turn more likely even with additional training.

    Finally Luke was more akin to obi wan lashing out at maul. Obi Wan didn’t fall. You have to make a conscious decision to cross the threshold not just kill in the heat of battle.

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