While the forums are full of Star Wars fans who know the content of the Original Trilogy inside out, some folks are still spotting the odd detail that arguably adds new layers to some of the saga’s most famous scenes. Just take this recent Return of the Jedi theory from Reddit user MajorBatarang, who zeroes in on what they see as a key moment in the climactic duel between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.
To elaborate, MajorBatarang’s post concerns the moment, pictured below, when Luke attempts to strike the Emperor before Vader blocks his blow with his own lightsaber. While most of us assumed that Vader was simply trying to protect his master, this new theory offers the alternative explanation that Anakin was actually saving his son from turning to the dark side by preventing his first cold-blooded murder. This split-second decision would suggest that even before Vader turned against the Emperor, some part of him was already reluctant to see Luke go the same way he went.
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Though there’s little evidence to support this idea over the more obvious explanation that Vader was just doing his duty as Palpatine’s subordinate, it’s an idea that still bears some thought. For one thing, some users on Reddit have made the point that if Luke’s intention was to kill the Emperor, then he’s effectively embraced the dark side regardless of whether he succeeds or not. After all, is a failed attempt at murder any more righteous than a successful attempt?
What’s more, the post seems to have sparked a moral discussion on whether Luke killing the Emperor would’ve even been wrong. After all, it’s made abundantly clear that Palpatine is a pretty evil and dangerous guy who’s caused countless deaths himself. Perhaps it’s best if we don’t go too far down this philosophical rabbit hole, but if nothing else, it’s interesting to see how nearly 36 years later, Return of the Jedi remains a subject of discourse and intrigue.