Study Guide

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Quotes

  • Good vs. Evil

    MOFF JERJERROD: Lord Vader, this is an unexpected pleasure. We are honored by your presence.
    DARTH VADER: You may dispense with the pleasantries, Commander. I'm here to put you back on schedule.
    MOFF JERJERROD: I assure you, Lord Vader, my men are working as fast as they can.
    DARTH VADER: Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them.

    We're pretty sure he's not talking about cupcakes. Darth Vader is intimidating, both in his words and in his looming presence, and he rules through fear, not respect. The black suit and mask ensemble helps, too.

    MOFF JERJERROD: The Emperor's coming here?
    DARTH VADER: That is correct, Commander. And he is most displeased with your apparent lack of progress.
    MOFF JERJERROD: We shall double our efforts.
    DARTH VADER: I hope so, Commander, for your sake. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.

    Darth Vader may be evil, but the Emperor? He's really evil. When Vader tells Jerjerrod that The Emperor's going to pop in for a visit, Jerjerrod looks like he might wet himself.

    JABBA THE HUTT: There will be no bargain, young Jedi. I shall enjoy watching you die.

    He may be a giant, oozing slug, but next to The Emperor and Darth Vader, Jabba is a third-tier villain. Still, he's pure evil. We mean, c'mon: The dude keeps a rancor for a pet and feeds people to it for giggles.

    YODA: No more training do you require. Already know you, that which you need.
    LUKE: Then I am a Jedi.
    YODA: Not yet. One thing remains: Vader. You must confront Vader. Then, only then, a Jedi will you be. And confront him you will.

    Luke's confrontation with Vader is the climax of the movie's plot. That's why Yoda hypes it, Obi-Wan hypes it, Luke hypes it, and Darth Vader hypes it. Luke facing Vader pits good versus evil; no wonder it's the main event.

    OBI-WAN: Your insight serves you well. Bury your feelings deep down, Luke. They do you credit, but they could be made to serve the Emperor.

    Obi-Wan's advice is sound: The Dark Side of The Force is fueled by anger, hate, and aggression. Luke needs to keep all of those emotions in check if he wants to keep The Emperor from exploiting them and turning him into Darth Vader, Jr.

    THE EMPEROR: Come, boy, see for yourself. From here, you will witness the final destruction of the Alliance and the end of your insignificant rebellion.
    [Luke eyes his lightsaber]THE EMPEROR: You want this, don't you? The hate is swelling in you now. Take your Jedi weapon. Use it. I am unarmed. Strike me down with it. Give in to your anger. With each passing moment you make yourself more my servant.
    LUKE: No.
    THE EMPEROR: It is unavoidable. It is your destiny. You, like your father, are now mine.

    The struggle between good and evil doesn't just play out in Luke's physical altercations with Darth Vader and The Emperor. It also rages inside Luke himself. Speaking of an angel on one shoulder, and a devil on the other. Luke has a Yoda and an Emperor—each trying to pull him in opposite directions.

    THE EMPEROR: The alliance will die. As will your friends. Good, I can feel your anger. I am defenseless. Take your weapon. Strike me down with all of your hatred and your journey towards the Dark Side will be complete!

    The Emperor sure has a one-track mind. He's anger and hate 24/7.

    LUKE: Your thoughts betray you, Father. I feel the good in you, the conflict.
    DARTH VADER: There is no conflict.
    LUKE: You couldn't bring yourself to kill me before, and I don't believe you'll destroy me now.
    DARTH VADER: You underestimate the power of the Dark Side. If you will not fight, then you will meet your destiny.

    At the center of Luke's goodness is his faith in Darth Vader. He firmly believes that underneath all that evil and that spooky mask, his dad's still a fundamentally good guy.

    DARTH VADER: You cannot hide forever, Luke.
    LUKE: I will not fight you.
    DARTH VADER: Give yourself to the Dark Side. It is the only way you can save your friends. Yes, your thoughts betray you. Your feelings for them are strong. Especially for... sister. 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. If you will not turn to the Dark Side, then perhaps she will.
    LUKE: Never!

    As this exchange shows, Darth Vader's evil knows no bounds. Can't turn his son to the Dark Side? Fine! He'll just turn his daughter. Suffice it to say, this guy's not winning any Father of the Year awards.

  • Friendship

    LEIA: We have powerful friends. You're going to regret this.
    JABBA THE HUTT: I'm sure.

    Look at Jabba being all sarcastic. Who knew a giant slug could be such a wiseacre? Jabba's inability to understand true friendship is ultimately his undoing. He's willing to sacrifice his own goons to the rancor, and has no idea what real loyalty looks like. Nor does he know its awesome power.

    HAN: Together again, huh?
    LUKE: Wouldn't miss it.
    HAN: How we doin'?
    LUKE: Same as always.
    HAN: That bad, huh?

    Witty banter is a hallmark of BFFs, and Han is basically a banter machine.

    YODA: That face you make—look I so old to young eyes?
    LUKE: No. Of course not.
    YODA: I do. Yes, I do. Sick have I become. Old and weak. When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not, hmm?

    The fact that Yoda can tease Luke shows how deep their friendship is, and how it's evolved into something greater than just a mentor-mentee relationship. For the record, we think he looks fabulous for 900.

    LUKE: Meet you back at the fleet.
    LEIA: Hurry. The Alliance should be assembled by now.
    LUKE: I will.
    HAN: Hey, Luke, thanks. Thanks for coming after me. I owe you one.

    Does Luke really expect Han to pay him back? Probably not. In the wise, albeit slightly syrupy, words of Dionne Warwick and friends: that's what friends are for.

    DARTH VADER: What is thy bidding, my master?
    THE EMPEROR: Send the fleet to the far side of Endor. There it will stay until called for.
    DARTH VADER: What of the reports of the Rebel fleet massing near Sullust?
    THE EMPEROR: It is of no concern. Soon the Rebellion will be crushed and young Skywalker will be one of us. Your work here is finished, my friend. Go out to the command ship and await my orders.
    DARTH VADER: Yes, my master.

    Let's get one thing straight: The Emperor and Darth Vader aren't friends. The Emperor doesn't know jack about friendship. To him, being a friend is being subservient.

    LUKE: I'm endangering the mission. I shouldn't have come.
    HAN: It's your imagination, kid. Come on, let's keep a little optimism here.

    Han may be a smart-aleck most of the time, but still—he knows when to drop the cool guy façade and provide a pick-me-up to a friend in need.

    C-3PO: Wonderful. We are now a part of the tribe.
    HAN: Just what I always wanted.

    Han fancies himself a loner—the dude's last name is Solo, after all—but, in spite of the sarcasm on display here, he knows that he can't defeat the Empire on his own. The Ewoks may irk him, but, when it comes right down to it, he needs those little furballs.

    LANDO: Don't worry, my friend's down there. He'll have that shield down in time. [to himself] Or this'll be the shortest offensive of all time.

    When it comes to blowing up the Death Star, Lando puts a ton of trust in his old buddy Han. Even when Han's mission at the bunker on Endor hits some obstacles, Lando keeps the faith.

    THE EMPEROR: Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design. Your friends, up there on the sanctuary moon, are walking into a trap, as is your Rebel fleet. It was I who allowed the Alliance to know the location of the shield generator. It is quite safe from your pitiful little band. An entire legion of my best troops awaits them. Oh, I'm afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational when your friends arrive.

    The Emperor doesn't see friendship as a tool for success. He just sees it as a weapon. Here, he tries to use Luke's friends against him, to rile him up and send him careening toward the Dark Side in a ball of rage.

    C-3PO: R2, why did you have to be so brave?

    C-3PO and R2-D2 are basically the Bert and Ernie of the Star Wars universe. They're robotic platonic life partners. (Say that ten times fast.) These two droids are in it for the long haul, proving that you don't have to have a beating heart to love your BFF.

  • Family

    LUKE: Master Yoda, is Darth Vader really my father?
    YODA: Rest I need. Yes, rest.
    LUKE: Yoda, I must know. If you know, tell me.
    YODA: Your father, he is. Told you, did he?
    LUKE: Yes.
    YODA: Unexpected this is. And unfortunate.
    LUKE: Unfortunate that I know the truth?
    YODA: No! Unfortunate that you rushed to face him, that incomplete was your training. That not ready for the burden were you.

    Luke has a bit of a chip on his shoulder when it comes to Darth Vader. We would, too, if everybody lied to us about who our father is—even if it was to protect us.

    YODA: Do not underestimate the powers of the Emperor, or suffer your father's fate you will. Luke, when gone am I, the last of the Jedi will you be. The Force runs strong in your family. Pass on what you have learned. There is another Skywalker.

    Say what? Just when Luke starts coming to terms with the whole "My dad is an evil warlord" thing, Yoda tells him he has a sister that he never knew about.

    DARTH VADER: A small rebel force has penetrated the shield and landed on Endor.
    THE EMPEROR: Yes, I know.
    DARTH VADER: My son is with them.
    THE EMPEROR: Are you sure?
    DARTH VADER: I have felt him, my master.
    THE EMPEROR: Strange that I have not. I wonder if your feelings on this matter are clear, Lord Vader.
    DARTH VADER: They are clear, my master.

    We really hate to side with The Emperor, but he's right to be worried about Vader's judgment being cloudy. After all, this is his kid we're talking about.

    LEIA: Luke, what's wrong?
    LUKE: Leia, do you remember your mother? Your real mother?
    LEIA: Just a little bit. She died when I was very young.
    LUKE: What do you remember?
    LEIA: Just...images really. Feelings.
    LUKE: Tell me.
    LEIA: She was very beautiful. Kind, but sad. Why are you asking me this?
    LUKE: I have no memory of my mother. I never knew her.

    In this exchange, Luke's working his way around to telling Leia that they're brother and sister. We can't blame him for taking his sweet time. "Surprise! We're twins! You owe me, like, twenty years of Christmas gifts!" is a lot to process.

    LEIA: Luke, tell me. What's troubling you?
    LUKE: Vader's here, now, on this moon.
    LEIA: How do you know?
    LUKE: I felt his presence. He's come for me. He can feel when I'm near. That's why I have to go. As long as I stay, I'm endangering the group and our mission. I have to face him.
    LEIA: Why?
    LUKE: He's my father.

    Luke and Darth Vader have kind of a Harry Potter-and-Voldemort thing going on, don't they? These two are bonded so tight that they can feel each other's presence and sense each other's thoughts and feelings—which means, had Luke grown up with Vader, it would've been virtually impossible for him to lie about a broken vase or something.

    LUKE: If I don't make it back, you're the only hope for the Alliance.
    LEIA: Luke, don't talk that way. You have a power I don't understand and could never have.
    LUKE: You're wrong, Leia. You have that power, too. In time, you'll learn to use it as I have. The Force is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. And my sister has it. Yes. It's you, Leia.
    LEIA: I know. Somehow, I've always known.

    We're prone to believing Leia here, even though we still wonder why, if she knew, she never spoke up. Still, if she's a Skywalker, that means the The Force is sturdy in her, so it's totally believable that she sensed that she had a brother out there somewhere.

    THE EMPEROR: I'm looking forward to completing your training. In time you will call me Master.
    LUKE: You're gravely mistaken. You won't convert me as you did my father.
    THE EMPEROR: Oh no, my young Jedi. You will find that it is you who are mistaken, about a great many things.

    Here, Luke's making an argument for nurture over nature. He may be Darth Vader's kid, but he was brought up differently—and far more peacefully.

    LUKE: I will not fight you, father.
    DARTH VADER: You are unwise to lower your defenses!

    When Darth Vader says "defenses" here, he's talking not just about Luke's lightsaber, but also his emotional guard. At this point in the story, he views Luke's compassion as a weakness, just like The Emperor does.

    THE EMPEROR: Good. Your hate has made you powerful. Now, fulfill your destiny. Take your father's place at my side.
    LUKE: Never. I'll never turn to the Dark Side. You've failed, your highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.
    THE EMPEROR: So be it... Jedi!

    Here, Luke flips the script and makes a case for nature over nurture. By that we mean that Luke still believes his dad's a good dude. That goodness is just buried under years of Imperial brainwashing and a really creepy mask. Strip all of that junk away, and there's still a noble Jedi underneath.

    DARTH VADER: Luke, help me take this mask off.
    LUKE: But you'll die.
    DARTH VADER: Nothing can stop that now. Just for once, let me look on you with my own eyes.

    When Luke removes his dad's mask, he effectively kills Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker is reborn. Then Anakin gets just a couple of precious minutes to talk to Luke as his father, for real, not as Vader.

    HAN: I'm sure Luke wasn't on that thing when it blew.
    LEIA: He wasn't. I can feel it.
    HAN: You love him, don't you?
    LEIA: Yes.
    HAN: All right. I understand. Fine. When he comes back, I won't get in the way.
    LEIA: Oh, it's not like that at all. He's my brother.

    This is why family secrets are a bad idea. Not knowing that Luke and Leia are brother and sister, Han mistakes Leia's love for Luke as her being in love with Luke. Whoops.

  • Spirituality

    THE EMPEROR: Rise, my friend.
    DARTH VADER: The Death Star will be completed on schedule.
    THE EMPEROR: You've done well, Lord Vader. And now I sense you wish to continue your search for young Skywalker.
    DARTH VADER: Yes, my master.
    THE EMPEROR: Patience, my friend. In time, he will seek you out, and when he does, you must bring him before me. He has grown strong. Only together can we turn him to the Dark Side of the Force.

    Here we have the two biggest abusers of the Force in the entire galaxy. First, they're going to use it to track Luke down. Then they're going to use it to ruin him.

    YODA: Soon will I rest; yes, forever sleep. Earned it, I have.
    LUKE: Master Yoda, you can't die.
    YODA: Ah. Strong am I with the Force, but not that strong. Twilight is upon me, and soon, night must fall. That is the way of things. The way of the Force.

    Like most spiritual tenets, the Force is shrouded in mystery. There's an "it is what it is" quality to it that requires believers to put faith in something greater than them. In other words, Yoda's going to die because that's the way it goes. There's nothing he or Luke can do about it. Womp womp.

    YODA: Remember, a Jedi's strength flows from the Force. But beware: anger, fear, aggression—the dark side are they. Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.

    Here, Yoda sums up the duality of the Force: Your spirituality will make you wicked strong, but if you put your faith in power and aggression, it'll lead you to the Dark Side and just make you wicked, period.

    DARTH VADER: He will come to me?
    THE EMPEROR: I have foreseen it. His compassion for you will be his undoing. He will come to you, and then you will bring him before me.
    DARTH VADER: As you wish.

    For dudes on the Dark Side, Luke's compassion is his greatest fault. For the Jedi, on the other hand, empathy and consideration for others is Jedi 101. No wonder they don't get along.

    C-3PO: I do believe they think I am some sort of god.
    HAN: Well, why don't you use your divine influence and get us out of this?
    C-3PO: I beg your pardon, General Solo, but that just wouldn't be proper.
    HAN: Proper?
    C-3PO: It's against my programming to impersonate a deity.

    Obviously, C-3PO doesn't have the Force; he's a droid. Still, his view on spirituality and its use is in keeping with the Jedi party line when it comes to respecting the connectedness of all things and generally not being a butthead.

    LUKE: Soon I'll be dead, and you with me.
    THE EMPEROR: Perhaps you refer to the imminent attack of your rebel fleet? Yes, I assure you, we are quite safe from your friends here.
    LUKE: Your overconfidence is your weakness.
    THE EMPEROR: Your faith in your friends is yours!

    Here, Return of the Jedi's two stances on spirituality go head to head. Luke is guided by his faith in his pals, and the Emperor is led by his desire for power. You get the sense that the Emperor doesn't use the Force so much as he thinks he is the Force.

    THE EMPEROR: Good! Use your aggressive feelings, boy. Let the hate flow through you!

    If the Dark Side wanted to embroider their spiritual motto on a throw pillow, this is what it would say.

    DARTH VADER: Obi-Wan has taught you well.

    Darth Vader's trying to get a dig in at Obi-Wan here, but what he doesn't know is that he's speaking the truth. Obi-Wan was Luke's spiritual mentor: He helped Luke strengthen his faith and focus his belief in the goodness of others like a laser.

    THE EMPEROR: If you will not be turned, you will be destroyed! Young fool, only now, at the end, do you understand. Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the Dark Side. Now, you will pay the price for your lack of vision.

    Lack of vision? Ha. Luke's vision is his greatest strength. That's why he doesn't give into the Emperor's constant "Jump in the hate pool! The water is fine!" taunting. That's why he never gives up on his dad, either.

  • Redemption

    LUKE: Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father.
    OBI-WAN: Your father was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So, what I told you was true, from a certain point of view.

    The way Obi-Wan sees it, Anakin is long dead. Uh, so good luck with that whole redemption thing, Luke.

    OBI-WAN: Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view. Anakin was a good friend. When I first knew him, your father was already a great pilot, but I was amazed how strongly the Force was with him. I took it upon myself to train him as a Jedi. I thought that I could instruct him just as well as Yoda. I was wrong.
    LUKE: There is still good in him.
    OBI-WAN: He's more machine now than man. Twisted and evil.
    LUKE: I can't do it, Ben.
    OBI-WAN: You cannot escape your destiny. You must face Darth Vader again.
    LUKE: I can't kill my own father.

    Obi-Wan sounds pretty pessimistic here, doesn't he? He believes that it's Luke's destiny to take down Vader, and he thinks it's going to be mega-difficult. Meanwhile, Luke knows his true destiny is to whup up on his daddy with the redemption stick—if you'll pardon the expression.

    LEIA: But why must you confront him?
    LUKE: Because, there is good in him. I've felt it. He won't turn me over to the Emperor. I can save him. I can turn him back to the good side. I have to try.

    Does anybody share Luke's faith in his dad? Here, Leia suggests leaving Papa Skywalker alone, and letting somebody else get his or her hands dirty. That's pretty understandable when you think about it, though. Leia's only known Darth Vader is her dad for about a minute, so it makes sense that her connection to him isn't as tight.

    DARTH VADER: The Emperor has been expecting you.
    LUKE: I know, father.
    DARTH VADER: So, you have accepted the truth?
    LUKE: I have accepted the truth that you were once Anakin Skywalker, my father.
    DARTH VADER: That name no longer has any meaning for me!
    LUKE: It is the name of your true self; you've only forgotten. I know there is good in you. The Emperor hasn't driven it from you fully. That was why you couldn't destroy me. That's why you won't bring me to your Emperor now.

    Given that Darth Vader delivers Luke to the Emperor right after this, it looks like the joke's on Luke at this point. Still, Luke keeps the faith.

    LUKE: Search your feelings, Father, you can't do this. I feel the conflict within you. Let go of your hate.
    DARTH VADER: It is too late for me, son. The Emperor will show you the true nature of the Force. He is your master now.
    LUKE: Then my father is truly dead.

    Is Luke engaging in a little reverse psychology here? He's practically daring Anakin to ditch the mask and man up.

    DARTH VADER: His light saber.
    THE EMPEROR: Ah, yes. A Jedi's weapon, much like your father's. By now you must know that your father can never be turned from the Dark Side. So will it be with you.

    Given all that they have in common—their Jedi training with Obi-Wan, their robotic right hands, their love of wearing all black—part of Luke's motivation to save Anakin is to save himself. If it's Luke's fate to end up like his dad, he wants his dad's story to have a happy ending.

    DARTH VADER: Now, go, my son. Leave me.
    LUKE: No, you're coming with me. I'll not leave you here. I've got to save you.
    DARTH VADER: You already have, Luke. You were right. You were right about me. Tell your sister you were right.

    Even though he's about to kick the bucket, Anakin feels that he's already been saved by Luke's faith in him. The fact that Luke can forgive him for all of the truly heinous, deplorable, downright nasty stuff he's done is the definition of redemption.