Here’s Why Luke Skywalker Has Not Turned To The Dark Side In Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Alright. Time to set the record straight.

Look, we know you guys are curious about Luke’s role in The Force Awakens. We are too. He wasn’t in the poster, he’s only had one ambiguous shot in the trailers, and there hasn’t been one official promotional shot of his character. So, because we haven’t seen him, everyone is naturally assuming there will be a story twist involving his character.

And everyone, for some reason, is thinking that twist involves being turned to the dark side.

First, it was a big rumor that Luke was actually Kylo Ren. There was so much evidence against that theory we pretty easily debunked it. Now, everyone is just saying Luke is evil and will be a bad guy in the new trilogy. In fact, there’s a Huffington Post article circulating with an argument for this very theory.

And we’re here to tell you it’s all a load of poppycock.

Alright Mr. Know-it-all, if you know oh-so-much, tell us why this theory is wrong.


First and foremost, we want to acknowledge the arguments in the Huffington Post article, which boil down to:

  • The cave scene in The Empire Strikes Back foreshadowed his turn to the dark side.
  • The fact that Mark Hamill originally pitched a version of Return of the Jedi where Luke turned evil.
  • Luke actually did brush the dark side pretty hard in Return of the Jedi.
  • They also claim that Luke was lying to the Emperor about “Never turning to the dark side” in Return of the Jedi in an attempt to move in for the kill. But that is speculation with no basis in fact to support it.

First and foremost, the cave scene was foreshadowing quite a bit… but it wasn’t to say Luke will turn to the dark side, but rather he could.

vader mask

When Vader’s helmet explodes and Luke sees his own face underneath, a dramatic moment is set up that accomplishes two things:

  1. It sets up the reveal that Vader is Luke’s father, as that vision characterizes what happened in Anakin’s past just as much as it could Luke’s future. It’s the same reason we see the back of Vader’s head in another part of the film, just in case anyone thought he was a robot.
  2. To show Luke that not everything is black and white. That the greatest good and the greatest evil really aren’t that far apart, and striving for one can very easily lead to the other. But, again, that doesn’t mean it WILL happen. If anything, this helps Luke have a more nuanced view of the Force rather than the “narrow, dogmatic view of the Jedi.”

As for what Mark Hamill wanted for the character, it’s very true he wanted a dark Luke. And, as the Huffington Post article points out… that’s kinda what he got. Luke was pretty dark in Return of the Jedi. He was choking Gamorrean guards, threatening Jabba with death, and even tried to strike down the Emperor in cold blood.

Luke hate

And then Luke woke the hell up.

Luke revelation

All that darkness led to one moment: attacking Vader in anger, beating him back, and then cutting his hand off. That’s when, when looking at his own cybernetic hand, Luke realized just where the dark side would lead him. There’s a clear “moment of clarity” Luke is having here, not a “this isn’t working, so I need to change tactics” moment. Luke’s real life has caught up with his vision in the cave, and he finally understands what that vision means and how to avoid the trap his father fell into.

Which is why Luke throws his weapon away. It’s a moment of pacifist defiance. If Luke really wanted to use that moment to kill the most powerful Force user in the galaxy, he wouldn’t have thrown his primary weapon away. You know, the one that could absorb Force lightning. If anything, he would have thrown the lightsaber at the Emperor.

If Luke was faking the line “I am a Jedi… like my father before me,” then the movie was cheating the audience with insincerity. That isn’t Star Wars’ style, because it makes Luke being zapped and Vader sacrificing his life to save him out of love meaningless.

Luke and Vader

But, more than anything, we’re forgetting Luke’s primary goal in Return of the Jedi: saving the soul of his father. More than once in the film, Luke is telling Vader he can “feel the good in him” and to “let go of your hate!”

Luke’s on a mercy mission for Vader, which is what he ultimately accomplishes.

What if Luke turned to the Dark Side after Return of the Jedi?

Well, it’s possible, but everything we’ve seen from Luke after Return of the Jedi has him being a pretty okay guy. In fact, his appearance in Star Wars: Shattered Empire (which is considered the same level of canon as the movies), has him literally saving trees:

Luke trees

Hardly the work of a Sith Lord.

Furthermore, having Luke become a bad guy between trilogies is just bad writing. Yes, there’s plenty of story you could get from that, but to have a character do a complete reversal of the emotional arc he had in his last appearance for the sake of plot twists is just lazy. That’s what we in the writing business call “character assassination.” We’re not saying the new movies won’t have Luke turn evil, but if he does they’ll show the progression.

Plus, the leaked photo of Luke has him wearing white robes. In Star Wars, if you’re wearing white and you’re not a stormtrooper… you’re a good guy. That’s just how it works.

Luke Smile

So, the reason for all the secrecy surrounding Luke? Because they want his appearance to be a surprise. The rumored story for the movie has a lot to do with the search for Luke Skywalker. If that’s true… why spoil the fun of his reveal in a trailer?

Note: All screencaps in this article were taken from


  1. The trees were all that remained of the Jedi Temple’s tree. Luke could have wanted it to amplify his power. After all, he does say ‘The Force is with them.

  2. You know what I think could be? Luke is already pretty old in the new movies, right? And they are set quite a while after the Battle of Endor. Maybe Kylo Ren is Skywalker, but not Luke! Instead, it’s Luke’s son!

  3. would like to share some of my thoughts regarding the SW TFA plot based on all the evidences we got so far.

    First we need to keep in mind SW 1St Rule – “StarWars Movies are about the SKYWALKERS”, and we need to understand that all the SW Expanded Universe amazing books, comics and games are no more, they never happened.
    Keeping this in my mind and considering all the images i’ve seen from SW TFA and my SW knowledge through all this years, i would come up with the following draft for the new SW Trilogy Plot.

    1. The New Movies are all about Rey (she’s this trilogy dominant Skywalker, BB8 the new lead droid)
    2. Kira Rey and Kilo Ren are Brothers (that makes a fantastic backstory to develop all kinds of plots in the movies, again we have one god and one bad Skywalker, and this outcome is coming quite evident already)
    3. Kira Rey and Kilo Ren are Luke Skywalker Son’s (they can´t be Leia and Han son’s – no SW Expanded Universe, no Jacen and Jaina, besides fits better Han role if he stayed a scoundrel instead of a family man and if they where Han son’s they would be Solo’s not Skywalkers)
    4. Luke Skywalker is Hidden because of some kind of tragedy that eventually kill his wife and took his sons away from him, probably executed by an old pupil or even by Luke himself in a decontrol situation (in any case this fills the role of setting the plot, our main character lost his children, he presumed they where dead, he assumed that his powers got something to do it, he probably got mutilated or crippled and thats why he never gets exposion time in the promos, and he might even get a new powerful enemy from the situation)
    5. Poe is the new Han Solo (i think he would be the super crack pilot/Hero with an atitude and the companion/Love interest of Rey, also he’s probably Biggs son)
    6. Finn will be an important adventures companion to Poe and Rey, but will die in the first movie at the hands of Kilo Ren (setting the hate grudge betwen Rey and Kylo)
    7. There will be A LOT of characters from the original trilogy to come up, mainly as a tribute, and some of them will have new parts in this adventures (like Leia and Han/Chewbacca, maybe Lando, Wedge Antilles, Nien Numb and Boba Fett)(most likely Leia will have a big role in the new structure but i think Han Solo will say goodbye)

    After setting the stage i think the Movies will go as:

    1st Movie – Introduction of the Characters and recap of old characters, new enemy is introduced, Kira Rey and Kilo Ren will assume the main dramatic roles in opposite sides, Rey will search for Luke
    2nd Movie – Luke returns, Luke or Rey will face Kilo Ren, Luke will know Rey is his daughter, main enemy attack revealed or prepared
    3rd Movie – Luke and Rey go to save Kilo Ren, enemy defeated, Rey and Kilo Ren reunited, Luke’s DEAD

    Honestly i think this is quite evident

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