There is an article by Rob Conery circulating around the Star Wars’ social sphere theorizing Luke Skywalker has converted to the Dark Side. While the article is getting quite a bit of attention, there are many holes in his theory. I hope to point them out and show that Luke Skywalker does not convert to the Dark Side.
Conery begins his argument noting Luke is missing not only from the second trailer but the official movie poster as well. However, he doesn’t stop there. He attempts to bolster his argument through an examination of both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Starting with The Empire Strikes Back, he believes Luke’s failure at the cave is foreshadowing his turn to the Dark Side. He even uses Yoda’s quote:
Only a fully trained Jedi Knight, with the Force as his ally, will conquer Vader and his emperor. If you end your training now…if you choose the quick and easy path as Vader did…you will become an agent of evil.
Conery believes this quote shows that Luke became an agent of evil because Yoda has never been wrong and he can see the future sometimes. I guess he forgot about that time when the Emperor rose to power right under Yoda’s nose, or that the Dark Side clouded his vision, or even his warning to Anakin about not trusting visions of the future.
Even if we take this quote at face value, Luke conquered Vader and the Emperor and he sure didn’t choose the quick and easy path.
After believing he has hit a home run with his Yoda quote, Conery attempts to run up the score. However, what he is really doing is allowing the opposing pitcher to pitch a perfect game. His first swing and a miss comes from a 2010 LA Times’ article, focusing on Gary Kurtz and his separate vision for Return of the Jedi. He argues the original script saw Luke walking off alone like Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti western; therefore, he must be a dark Jedi! It is easy to dismiss this argument because frankly it never happened and didn’t make it to theaters. Even giving Conery some benefit of the doubt, just because Luke walks off alone doesn’t mean he converts. Clint Eastwood usually played the good guy even when he walked off alone.
For his second strike, Conery believes the characterization of Luke in Return of the Jedi reveals his conversion to the Dark Side. He focuses on his encounter with Jabba the Hutt, noting he threatens the Hutt, lies, and has an arrogant tone. Apparently, these are all traits of a Sith or are they? In the original movie, doesn’t Old Ben use the Force to lie to Stormtroopers? “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” But is Luke even lying in this scene? Was he not trying to get R2D2 on the barge? Obi Wan even arrogantly threatens Vader in the original movie, “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” Who said Jedi couldn’t lie, threaten people, or act arrogantly?
Conery’s final strike is his misrepresentation of the battle Luke wages against the Emperor and Vader. He believes that Luke converted to the Dark Side because he tried to take the Emperor’s advice and strike him down with his hatred. However, trying is not the same as doing. He doesn’t strike the Emperor down with his hatred.
This is not saying he wasn’t tempted by the Dark Side. He definitely was. However, after tasting the Dark Side’s power and rage and then chopping Vader’s hand off, he realizes what is happening to him and proclaims he will “never turn to the Dark Side.” He even tosses his lightsaber away, fully exposing himself to the Emperor’s attacks.
Conery believes this doesn’t make any sense at all for Luke’s motivations. However, he himself mentions it as his first talking point, “The Cave…Remember Your Failure at the Cave…”. Luke remembers that in the cave he becomes Vader. It makes complete sense that Luke realizes he is becoming Vader and makes a choice to ensure that does not happen. He is even willing to die to do so.
Also, putting another nail in Conery’s theory is the new Marvel comics, specifically the latest one in The Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens series, Star Wars: Shattered Empire #4. In this issue Luke teams up with Shara Bey to hunt down ancient Jedi artifacts that are being safeguarded by Imperial soldiers. He is still fighting against the Empire.
In conclusion, Luke Skywalker does not convert to the Dark Side. Instead, he redeems his father and overcomes the temptations of the Dark Side. He is a Jedi Knight!