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When Does Luke Skywalker Find Out That Darth Vader Is His Father?

When Does Luke Skywalker Find Out That Darth Vader Is His Father?

In his day, Luke Skywalker became one of the most powerful Jedi out there. 

During the reign of the Galactic Empire, when the Galactic Civil War broke out, Luke Skywalker fought valiantly for the light side. 

When the war was over, Luke went down in history as one of the greatest and most legendary Jedi. 

As his name suggests, Luke Skywalker is related to the great Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker). So closely related that Luke was Darth Vader’s son, though they didn’t know it at first. 

This begs the question of when Luke found out that Darth Vader was his father. Also, when did Darth Vader find out he had a son? 

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These questions and more will be answered in this article, so keep reading as we dive in.

An Overview Of Luke Skywalker’s Life

In 19 BBY, Senator Padme Amidala gave birth to Luke Skywalker and his twin sister Leia, who were fathered by Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker.

Unfortunately, the children were left orphaned when Padme passed away and their father joined the dark side of the Force. This led to the twins being separated. Luke was sent to live with extended family on Tatooine, whereas Leia was adopted by the Alderaan royal family.

We FINALLY Understand What Really Killed Padme - Star Wars Explained

Naturally, having the DNA of the great Darth Vader coursing through his veins left Luke longing for a greater purpose in life. As a result, Luke joined the rebellion and was trained in the ways of the Force by Obi-Wan Kenobi. 

In 0 BBY, when the Battle of Yavin raged on, Luke led the Alliance to victory by destroying the Empire’s prized weapon, the Death Star. 

After that, Luke continued to train under the tutelage of a new teacher, Jedi Grand Master Yoda. 

Jedi Master Yoda and Luke Skywalker on Dagobah

When his mentor died, Luke took the lead in the 4 ABY Battle of Endor. It was during this battle that Luke confronted Darth Vader (who he had already discovered was his father, but more on that next). 

Together, Luke and Vader killed Emperor Palpatine and returned Anakin Skywalker to the light side of the Force. As a result, Anakin fulfilled his destiny as the original “Chosen One.”

When Does Luke Skywalker Find Out That Darth Vader Is His Father?

As impressive as Luke Skywalker’s accomplishments in battle may be, none is arguably more important than the Duel on Cloud City. 

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - Duel on Cloud City (Part 3)

This occurred in 3 ABY while the Galactic Civil War was in full swing. As the name states, this was a fight that happened in Bespin’s Cloud City and was a plan put in place by Darth Vader himself. 

After he failed to apprehend Luke when they met in the Battle of Hoth, Darth Vader came up with a plan to lure Luke to Cloud City and freeze him in carbonite. To do so, the Sith Lord captured Princess Leia Organa and Han Solo, whom he kept captive, torturing them endlessly. 

This plan worked just as anticipated when Luke rushed to Cloud City to save his friends after he saw a vision of them being tortured while on Dagobah. 

Although his current and former masters (Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, respectively) objected, Luke still went on the mission to save his loved ones. 

When he reached his destination, he was greeted by the grisly sight of a frozen Han Solo being transported off the premises. Luke made his way to the carbon-freezing chamber, where Darth Vader was already waiting for him. 

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) - 'Carbon Freeze' scene [1080]

The pair engaged in an intense lightsaber duel, moving from the chamber to an elevated catwalk. The fight met a snag when Lord Vader sliced off the Jedi’s right hand

While Luke dealt with the shock of his now missing hand, the Sith Lord attempted to persuade Luke to join him and accept the dark side. 

Of course, Luke wholeheartedly refused. Then, in a plot twist, Darth Vader revealed to Luke that he was his father, Anakin Skywalker. 

To avoid suffering the same fate as Han, Luke threw himself off of the platform and fell helplessly to the bottom of the city. 

Luckily, Luke was rescued by his sister and her team, and they took the wounded (and probably confused) warrior away in the Millenium Falcon.

When they reunited with the Rebel Fleet, Luke recuperated, and together they began to concoct a plan for Han Solo’s rescue. 

When Did Darth Vader Find Out About Luke Skywalker?

The Sith Lord Darth Vader with lightsaber in Star Wars

Darth Vader wasn’t always aware that Luke was his child (or that he had any children at all).

It wasn’t until after Luke’s first major act of destroying the Death Star that Vader found out about him. 

The Empire took a major hit when their planet-destroying superweapon was demolished. Ergo, Darth Vader wanted to find whoever did this heinous deed and annihilate them. 

He hired bounty hunter Boba Fett to capture whoever obliterated the Death Star. Boba Fett was unsuccessful in retrieving the person, but he did get a name, “Skywalker.”

How Darth Vader Found Out Luke Skywalker Was His Son (Canon) - Star Wars Explained

Certainly, Darth Vader knew Luke was Force-sensitive, since he was being trained by Obi-Wan at the time. As such, he quickly put two and two together and realized he had a son. 

The initial shock did not sit well with Darth Vader. The usually composed Dark Lord had a little internal meltdown, breaking the ship’s mirror and immediately calling the Emperor in anger. 

Emperor Palpatine himself wasn’t originally aware that Vader had kids, but he could feel Darth Vader’s rage. Palpatine warned the Sith Lord to think about whether he truly wanted to strike his master, which led Vader to apologize.

This contradicts the Empire Strikes Back movie where Palpatine told Darth Vader that Luke Skywalker was the son of Anakin Skywalker. Lord Vader responded by saying, “How is that possible?” This proves he had no prior knowledge of his child, but Emperor Palpatine did. 

From that point on, Lord Vader made it his mission to find his son and convert him to darkness so that they could rule over the Galactic Empire together. 

Did Darth Vader Know That Leia Organa Was His Daughter?

Leia Organa and Darth Vader

As we have already established, Darth Vader had no clue he had a son, let alone a daughter. He believed his only child died with Padme and was not aware that she had been pregnant with twins. 

It wasn’t until Darth Vader stood in front of the Emperor (in Return of the Jedi) that he learned he had another child. Vader explored Luke’s mind and learned of Leia through the simple word, “Sister.” 

Darth Vader, still trying to convert Luke to the dark side, took this opportunity to anger the Jedi by saying, “So, you have a twin sister. Your feelings have now betrayed her, too. Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me. Now his failure is complete.” 

In a fit of rage, Luke drew his lightsaber, and with that, the pair were locked in their final duel. 


Darth Vader did not learn of his son Luke’s existence until he destroyed the Death Star. At first, Vader’s motive was to find the assailant and wipe them out. 

When he found out it was his son, the Sith Lord wanted him to convert to darkness so, together, they could take over the Empire. 

Unfortunately for Vader, Luke could not be bought, no matter how appealing Vader made the dark side seem.

Before Luke and Vader’s final duel, the Dark Lord learned of his daughter’s existence.

This worked perfectly as the catalyst for the last battle that would bring Darth Vader’s long career to an end.

Luke Skywalker vs Darth Vader (Whole Fight)

Still, it’s not unlikely that Lord Vader would’ve had some internal turmoil during the fight as he processed this new information. 

After all, Darth Vader did always have a soft spot for his family, and since they were his flesh and blood, there was no reason for him to divert from this pattern. 

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