STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI Alternate Ending Would Have Seen Luke Skywalker Become The New Darth Vader

STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI Alternate Ending Would Have Seen Luke Skywalker Become The New Darth Vader

Yes, you read that correctly! Once upon a time, George Lucas really did consider having Return of the Jedi end with Luke Skywalker taking over Darth Vader's mantle. Find out what could have happened here!

By JoshWilding - May 22, 2023 09:05 PM EST
Filed Under: Star Wars

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 (via 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 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.'"

Kasdan supposedly responded, "That's what I think should happen," but acknowledged 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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TyrantBossMedia - 5/22/2023, 9:03 PM
Maybe they should change the name of this site to
bobevanz - 5/23/2023, 4:30 AM
@TyrantBossMedia - MSN is faster haha
JobinJ - 5/22/2023, 9:03 PM
Bullshit. Was probably just a joke around a writers table and not an actual “alternate ending.”
Origame - 5/22/2023, 9:11 PM
@JobinJ - no. Mark hamill has also spoken about this ending. He genuinely wanted this ending over what we got.
CoHost - 5/22/2023, 9:57 PM
@Origame - He also disliked the direction The Last Jedi went so he should have no say on what direction Star Wars should go to.
PatientXero - 5/22/2023, 9:04 PM
Hasn’t this been a thing for years?
Jarvisjackrabbit - 5/22/2023, 9:12 PM
Would have been way cooler than what happened in the recent movies.
Vigor - 5/22/2023, 9:13 PM
That's [frick]ing dark. It goes down the path of "can you escape your destiny". "Will you become your parents". "Can you break the cycle". I like dark shit like that but star wars won't be the disney family fun brand it is today
Lilvic92 - 5/22/2023, 9:21 PM
That sounds like a terrible fan fiction. As much as people give Disney Star Wars hate (deservedly so) George Lucas is far from perfect and when left unchecked, made some really goofy decisions in the prequel trilogy.
dagenspear - 5/22/2023, 10:46 PM
@Lilvic92 - This article clearly says that Lucas chose not to go that way, and Kasdan was the one who said it should happen.

Call his decisions goofy, but Lucas' movies had creativity, a solid story and solid story and character structure, something the Disney ST have in fairly short supply.
Lilvic92 - 5/23/2023, 12:10 AM
@dagenspear - Oh that’s my bad I completely missed that part of the article. But yeah I totally agree with you which is why as flawed as the prequel trilogy may be, I hate when people try to compare it to the sequel trilogy, which lacked heart, direction, and people the genuinely love Star Wars. I just feel like George was surrounded by yes men during the prequel trilogy compared to the OT
dagenspear - 5/23/2023, 12:33 AM
@Lilvic92 - I think I was kinda rude about it, so I'm sorry for saying it like that.

As far as I remember reading, Lucas tried to get Kasdan to do a pass on the script and other directors to do it, but they declined. I think it's more complicated than yes men or no men. I think, at worst, Lucas' dialogue, focuses and pacing in some aspects could've been better constructed, in my opinion.
Lilvic92 - 5/23/2023, 11:02 AM
@dagenspear - No worries bro it’s the internet I took no offense bro but I do appreciate you clarifying your tone regardless 👍🏾

That being said , I agree that mainly the dialogue and pacing (and I would add the unnecessary politics) weee major issues. But the reason I bring up him being unchecked is because if im not mistaken you only directed one of the OT films while he had much more power and control by time we got to the prequels.

I mean there are even stories of everyone approving of his casting of Jake Lloyd as young Anakin and as soon as he stepped out of the room everyone was like yeah we prefer the other kid the was auditioning for the role.
dagenspear - 5/23/2023, 2:57 PM
@Lilvic92 - The politics, to me, make the movies unique withing the world and I think are very necessary. I didn't say it wasn't no people going along with him. But I think it's more complicated.

For me, personally, I think the other kid was leaning harder into an angst that I feel Lucas may not have been going for with the character. And I think Lloyd sold the scenes with the mom.
nhoj3 - 5/23/2023, 9:23 PM
@dagenspear - As I get older, I agree with you about the politics. I don’t think people appreciate how accurate and prescient Lucas was / is about how democracies can wither away and be supplanted by authoritarian regimes. A lot of people like to say that “Star Wars is for kids”, but if you can look past all of the lightsabers and cheesy dialogue, the prequels are an incredibly important and shockingly relevant cautionary tale.
nhoj3 - 5/23/2023, 9:31 PM
@Lilvic92 - I also agree with you about Lucas’s best work coming from when he had more opinionated collaborators. It’s well documented how the original Star Wars script benefited from input from his other up-and-coming director friends (like Coppola), before Lucas became a household name.

By the time the prequels came about he had lost that kind of pushback, and I think that the differences in the scripts are the most obvious evidence of that. You can also see it in all the documentaries about making the prequels… everyone just goes on and on about Lucas being a genius and a visionary… it’s hard to imagine any of those people saying “you know, some of these characters are kind of culturally offensive”, or “maybe fart and poo jokes don’t really feel like Star Wars”.
dagenspear - 5/23/2023, 10:54 PM
@nhoj3 - The cultural insensitivity is only the case if you view as specifically referencing those cultures.
dagenspear - 5/23/2023, 10:55 PM
@nhoj3 - Being for kids doesn't negate those things to me.
MrDandy - 5/22/2023, 9:29 PM
This is REALLY old. I remember watching a video on this alternate ending idea like five years ago.
MaxPaint - 5/22/2023, 9:37 PM
"News"...if we were in 1996.
TheHumanSpider2 - 5/22/2023, 10:01 PM
That was obviously a joke.
WruceBayne - 5/22/2023, 11:39 PM
Rey should’ve turned to the dark side. She would’ve been a more interesting character if she was a villain.
Canon108 - 5/23/2023, 1:17 AM
The Last Jedi is dogsh!t...and Kasdan for all his credit on ESB would've botched the OT beyond reason if he got his way here.
ObserverIO - 5/23/2023, 4:52 AM
@Canon108 - He took all the credit for ESB but it was that other chick who died that wrote most of it (the Hollywood legend who wrote classics like The Big Sleep). Kinda hard to speak up when you're dead.
She also wrote a bible for the characters and backstory that most of the prequels and ROJ were based on. They might have even outlined a version of episodes VII-IX.
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