Study Guide

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Family

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George Lucas has described the Star Wars series as a "soap opera" about family issues, and we think he just might be on to something. After all, how much more soap opera-ish can you get than a mysterious villain revealing himself to be the protagonist's long-lost father? Sounds like an episode of General Hospital.

By looking at The Empire Strikes Back (and the Star Wars series as a whole) through the lens of family, you'll discover that this series isn't all about lightsaber duels and Force powers—it's about the twisted branches of the Skywalker family tree, and how that family drama affects the fate of an entire galaxy.

Questions About Family

  1. How does Darth Vader's revelation affect our understanding of A New Hope?
  2. Does Vader love Luke on some level? Explain.
  3. How does Luke react to Vader's revelation? Is he angry?
  4. Now knowing their familial relationship, what similarities can be drawn between Luke and Vader?

Chew on This

Vader's suggestion that he and the Emperor turn Luke to the dark side instead of killing him clearly shows that he holds some affection towards his son.

After the initial shock wears off, Luke seems to accept Vader's revelation quite quickly—the closing shots show him calling him "father" affectionately and sympathetically.

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