STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI Almost Featured A MUCH Darker Ending With Luke Skywalker And Darth Vader

STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI Almost Featured A MUCH Darker Ending With Luke Skywalker And Darth Vader

Return of the Jedi brought the original Star Wars trilogy to a close, but some recently resurfaced comments confirm that George Lucas once considered a much darker ending for Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.

By JoshWilding - May 21, 2023 06:05 AM EST
Filed Under: Star Wars
Source: Gizmodo

2023 marks the 40th anniversary of Return of the Jedi, the movie which ended the original Star Wars trilogy. 

In that, the Rebellion finally managed to overcome the evil Empire, and Darth Vader finally found a measure of redemption after killing Emperor Palpatine in an effort to save Luke Skywalker. The Sith Lord died in his son's arms, and we got a happy ending to the trilogy. 

However, some recently resurfaced details about George Lucas' early plans for Return of the Jedi reveal a much darker ending. In fact, it's one that would have changed the entire franchise as we know it! 

While the movie would have played out in very much the same way leading into the final battle and Vader's sacrifice, it was then that Luke would have done the unthinkable. Yes, he turned to the Dark Side! 

In a transcript of a story session with Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan, the former says: "Luke takes his mask off. The mask is the very last thing - and then Luke puts it on and says, 'Now I am Vader.' Surprise! The ultimate twist. 'Now I will go and kill the [Rebel] fleet and I will rule the universe.'"

To that, Kasdan responded, "That's what I think should happen," but acknowledged that Lucas chose not to head down such a dark path due to the Star Wars franchise being "for kids." 

It's fascinating to think about how different everything would have been had Luke fallen from the way of the Jedi like this, and there were definitely hints in the movie that he might have begun being influenced by darker forces. It would have been a grim and depressing note to end on, though, and it being scrapped was likely for the best.

In 2017, The Last Jedi would revisit the idea of Luke succumbing to his darker impulses, much to the chagrin of many Star Wars fans!

How would you feel about this alternate ending to Return of the Jedi?

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Supamichi
Supamichi - 5/21/2023, 2:46 PM
I don’t think Luke turning to the Dark Side would have been a depressing end to the series, considering the Buddhist notion of suffering is one of the prevalent themes George drew on in making Star Wars. And so many people DO succumb to suffering in reality that it’s not unrealistic by any stretch. Also, with the EU budding on the horizon after the time or RotJ, anyone could have continued a redemption story for Luke that (probably) would have been cool. This is, essentially, what played out for Jacen Solo in the New Jedi Order series, and that landed the mark with most fans.

As for (the atrocious film) The Last Jedi, I would argue that the reason the film sucked (yes, I am on of THOSE fans) is not the same reason most haters maintained; Luke’s portrayal as a curmudgeonly hermit didn’t put me off in the least (people DO get old and grumpy). What pissed me off was the overall tone of the whole film, which felt so kitschy, ridiculous and childish that it should have replaced the famous opening crawl with “Brought to you by Disney”. The scene where they are racing on those weird alien camel things was so corny I had to look away. And Kylo Ren was just so emo for the whole film, the dialogue of supporting characters vomit inducing, that I almost broke rank and turned off a Star Wars movie. Of course, there is divisive thought here, and many loved this movie, but I can’t see anything artistic about it. I feel that for anyone who read the old comics and novels growing up, they would rightfully find themselves scratching their head and asking “why didn’t they just use the original story”?

The answer to that, I think, is that “Disney knows best”. However, if the monumental failure of their Galactic Starcruiser theme park is any indication of the future of Disney’s Star Wars, I would say the ground is the limit…

On an optimistic ending here, maybe Respawn will make an offer and buy out the IP? I could live with that.

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