How Did Vader LOSE To Luke? (Full Analysis)

Darth Vader has always been one of the strongest characters in the Star Wars universe. As Anakin Skywalker, or as Darth Vader, he is undeniably a powerful enemy or an ally. The fans saw time and time again how the infamous Sith Lord destroyed enemies. He didn’t even look tired during his fights. 

However, at the end of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker was able to defeat Darth Vader and gain the high ground. Figuratively speaking.

What was so different between this dual and any other fight? Was Darth Vader suddenly weaker? Was Luke simply better than his father? Did the Force side with the son and not the father? Is the Light side stronger than the Dark side?

Let’s review all of these questions today.

How did Darth Vader lose to Luke?

From the canon, it is easy to see that Luke Skywalker was hardly trained. He spent only a couple of days at best with Grand Master Yoda perfecting his craft. In reality, however, he was mostly working on facing his demons.

It is more than logical to question how someone with only a couple of days of training would win in a duel with a well-trained master.

Jedi Knight, but never a Jedi Master!

Not only that, Anakin Skywalker was the Chosen One. In his prime, he could have been the strongest Jedi or Sith ever.

Credit to Star Wars: Destiny Way of the Force (Card: There Is No Try)

However, there are many reasons why Darth Vader would never win against Luke in that particular situation. 

Main Goal of Palpatine

First and foremost, Darth Vader was still following the orders of the Emperor. Palpatine‘s main goal was never to kill Luke Skywalker. He wanted to make him fall to the Dark Side.

Even though Darth Vader was definitely emotionally compromised, he was still a soldier. Even if he wanted to kill Luke, it would not go against Palpatine’s wishes.

This is definitely not the main reason why he never defeated Luke. However, it is a part of a bigger scheme.

Tapping Into the Dark Side of the Force

There is a whole debate going on online about whether Luke Skywalker fell to the Dark Side during the duel with Darth Vader. 

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that he indeed tapped into the powers of the Dark Side!

His movements were hardly controlled and careful as they were before. He was swinging his lightsaber and definitely allowed emotions to control him. Luke was angry and frustrated. It is easy to see this in his posture and everything he does.

Someone with that behavior cannot clearly belong to the Light Side. I can only assume that he fell to the Dark Side, at least for several moments. 

We all know that the Dark Side is mostly superior because it lacks control. For a short period of time, it can give a person a definitive advantage in the duel.

Besides, I can also bring up visions. Both Obi-Wan Kenobi and Master Yoda saw that Luke could fall to the Dark Side if his training was not complete. Vader also saw that Luke would fall to the Dark Side if he encountered the Emperor.

At the same time, Luke definitely felt that his father was conflicted and somewhere between the Dark and the Light Sides of the Force

At the end of the day, everyone was correct. Luke did fall to the Dark Side, defeated the Emperor (through Vader), and saved his father (spiritually).

Thus, considering that the young Skywalker fell to the Darkside, he, at that moment, had more power. 

Dark Side Luke and Darth Vader, who was taken aback by the sudden range, predetermined the result of the duel!

Conflict Within Vader

Here, I am talking about the conflict between the Light Side and the Dark Side of the Force. The conflict also concerned his feelings toward Luke and his duty to the Emperor. 

Anakin Skywalker was always emotional. It didn’t necessarily change when he became Darth Vader. One of the primary reasons why he never got back to the Light Side was the death of Padmé Amidala

He practically lost everyone he loved, and he didn’t see a point in returning back to the Light!

He also believed that his children had died. In other words, he had no one to live for and protect.

I will not mention Obi-Wan here because it is a completely different matter…

Thus, even though Darth Vader wanted to come back, he thought it was not worth it or it was too late. He confirmed this even himself:

“It’s too late for me, son.”

-From Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi

I always found it funny how the Jedi warned him against attachments. However, his attachment to his family and his children actually returned him back to the Light.

Age Difference and Lack of Limbs

The final point has to deal with the peculiarities of the Force and midi-chlorians. Even though midi-chlorians were not canon during the original trilogy, they should be brought up.

Whether you like midi-chlorians or not, they are now a part of Star Wars!

These little organisms are found in human cells, particularly in blood. This also means that a person can start with a 100% count of midi-chlorians. As they grow up, get injured, get blood transfusions, or anything else, the midi-chlorian count decreases.

Now let’s go back to Anakin Skywalker or even Darth Vader. He lost around 50% of his body. The rest was covered in injuries.

Anakin had severe burns, and he had no limbs left. Luke only lost one of his hands.

Therefore, Darth Vader was definitely not in his prime era. He not only wasted a good portion of his midi-chlorians, but he was simply old. Age never really mattered for people like the Emperor, yet considering Anakin’s injuries, I’m sure it did impact the fight.  

Besides, controlling metallic limbs must be much harder. Not to mention the complications he had with the mask. Having such a mask would have been a major weakness.

As we saw in the Obi-Wan Kenobi finale, cracking that mask would be detrimental to Darth Vader. It would definitely weaken him; if not, stop him. 

Obi-Wan is also the final proof that defeating Darth Vader is possible. It is not only about one’s ability in the Force. Environment and many other factors can easily turn tables.

In one of the final moments of the duel between Darth Vader and Luke, the son definitely had the high ground. It seems like he still learned several lessons from Obi-Wan Kenobi.


In short, it was definitely possible for Luke to win this fight. It is no surprise that he eventually defeated his father.

First and foremost, Darth Vader never meant to kill look. His orders were always to make him fall to the Dark Side. He also had an inner conflict between following orders and making sure that his son was safe.

During the duel, Luke Skywalker also fell to the Dark Side for several moments. It made him stronger, faster, and more emotional.Lastly, Darth Vader was definitely not in his prime. He didn’t have any of his limbs, and his body was injured. Considering his injuries and age, it is not surprising that he was defeated by his younger son!

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Dasha Shareyko

I started writing five years ago and never looked back. I am here to talk about all things pop culture and chase my passion for professional writing. Fun facts: I also can dive up to 40 meters, drink 5 cups of coffee a day and spend hundreds of dollars on merch.

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