In Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker’s kindness leads to his father Darth Vader’s repentance. In this episode of the Finding Christ In Cinema podcast, we discuss the Christian themes of kindness and gentleness as a part of the fruit of the Spirit and how that fruit can change even the most evil of hearts.
For your convenience you will find each podcast segment at the time referenced below:
- 00:00:00 – Introduction
- 00:08:05 – Star Wars Episode VI Discussion
- 01:27:35 – Listener Challenge and Feedback
- 01:39:30 – Well-mannered Frivolity
- 01:44:40 – Lightning Round
- 01:51:20 – Upcoming
Luke’s Kindness Leads to Darth Vader’s Repentance
When Luke surrenders to Darth Vader, he doesn’t go kicking and screaming; instead, he submits in quiet humility like a lamb to the slaughter. But as he’s going, he is being nothing but kind to Darth Vader by offering every chance he can of leaving the Emperor and joining the Rebels to defeat the Dark Side once and for all. Because Darth Vader believes he is too far gone for salvation, though, he rejects his son’s offer and hands him over to the Emperor.
Once there, Vader watches as the Emperor manipulate Luke into relishing a little of the Dark Side. It’s enough to make Luke want to strike the Emperor down, but Vader stops that from happening (either because he was protecting the Emperor from Luke or saving Luke from making the same mistake he did, who knows).
Since Darth Vader can’t stop Luke in the duel, the Emperor then takes it upon himself to unleash the full power of the Dark Side on Luke with the intent to kill him. Something awakens in Vader, however, and causes him to pick up the Emperor and toss him down the nuclear power shaft.
It took Vader remembering the kindness that Luke showed him in the prior scenes to get him to take the chance to save Luke that was in front of him. Through God’s loving-kindness to us, just like Luke’s loving-kindness to his father, we are given the opportunity and the choice to get back in line with God.
For some of us, it may take visualizing the pain Jesus suffered on the cross to remember that kindness; for others, it may take seeing the atrocities of this world and longing for God’s justice and righteousness being restored to remember that such restoration first began at the cross.
Whatever it takes, let us remember that kindness, and let us share that kindness with everyone so that some will have the chance to repent.
Darth Vader As The First Adam
Even though this film is the climax of the original Star Wars trilogy, we must also remember the first trilogy – Episodes I, II, and III – in order to bolster this message of this header. In Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, we meet young Ani; he’s a droid builder and a heck of a podracer, but the Jedi sense that the Force is strong with him.
In fact, it turns out that he is the Chosen One – the one who would bring balance to the Force – and much of what we see in the first three episodes is that little Ani growing in wisdom and in stature. But we also see his initial inclination and eventual fall into the Dark Side from which springs his present manifestation of Darth Vader.
This is also what makes us empathize with Darth Vader as we, too – not only as individuals but as the collective human race – began with so much potential but still missed the mark somewhere along the way. And unfortunately, in some cases, the behavioral patterns of sin, just as with the Emperor, have already won.
To be honest, we all deserve the death on the cross that Jesus took in our stead, just as Vader really deserved the pain that Luke ended up taking. But just as Luke was his father’s propitiation, Jesus is ours, and we are given the chance to repent – to turn from our wicked ways and live to walk in newness of life.
And that, in my book, is a chance worth taking.
1. Romans 2:4 (NIV)
Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
2. 1 John 2:1-2 (NASB)
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes, including links to articles discussed, by clicking here.
Use the audio player at the top of this article to listen to the podcast, or use the links below for other convenient ways to hear FCC.