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No, Darth Vader does not say, ‘Luke, I am your father’

May 4 is Star Wars Day, and one of the most iconic lines in the franchise’s history is often misquoted in pop culture references.
Credit: Jonathan Short/Invision/AP
Actors dressed as Stormtroopers and Darth Vader pose for photographers upon arrival at the European premiere of the film 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens ' in London, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. (Photo by Jonathan Short/Invision/AP)

Star Wars Day is May 4, and fans across the world will be celebrating on social media using the hashtag #Maythe4thBeWithYou in reference to the famous “May the force be with you” line repeated throughout the franchise. 

However, some people have claimed another iconic line in the franchise, which is said when Darth Vader reveals he is Luke Skywalker’s father, is often misquoted as, “Luke, I am your father.”

THE QUESTION

Does Darth Vader say “Luke, I am your father”?

THE SOURCES

  • Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
  • Lucasfilm

THE ANSWER

No, Darth Vader does not say “Luke, I am your father.” The actual line is “No, I am your father.”

WHAT WE FOUND

In the first three released films Star Wars films, episodes IV through VI, Darth Vader is the primary antagonist while Luke Skywalker is the main protagonist.

The line in question is said in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. The movie came out in 1980 and was the second film released in the franchise. It is the highest critically-rated film of the Star Wars saga on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 94% “certified fresh” tomatometer score.

The scene in which Vader says the disputed line comes about an hour and 51 minutes into the film. Luke has arrived in Cloud City and is in a lightsaber duel with Vader. After Vader cuts off Luke’s right hand, he asks Luke to join him so they can rule the galaxy together.

It is at this moment that Vader reveals he is Luke’s father, a moment that shocked not only fans of the movie but cast members as well, according to Lucasfilm, the film production company that created the Star Wars franchise.

“During production of Empire, George Lucas kept the details on a strictly need-to-know basis,” an article on Lucasfilm’s website says. “Director Irvin Kershner wasn’t told until months into pre-production. Actor David Prowse, emoting inside Darth Vader’s costume, was told nothing, and spoke placeholder dialogue. Mark Hamill [who played Luke] learned the truth moments before shooting the scene. Voice artist James Earl Jones [who voiced Vader] kept the secret within his recording booth.”

The dialogue goes as follows:

Vader: “Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.” 

In this line, Vader is referencing Obi-Wan Kenobi, who taught Luke the ways of the force in Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope, the first film released in the franchise.

Luke: “He told me enough. He told me you killed him.”

Vader: “No, I am your father.”

Luke: “No. No. That’s not true. That’s impossible!”

Vader: “Search your feelings, you know it to be true.”

Luke: “No! No!”

Lucasfilm also confirms the line is, “No, I am your father.”

“The dialogue became part of popular culture,” Lucasfilm says. “But ironically, the line is often misquoted: ’Luke, I am your father.’ In fact, Vader responds to Luke’s claim that he’d killed the young man’s father. ‘No,’ the villain says, ‘I am your father.’”

As more films and shows were released it is learned Vader was originally named Anakin Skywalker before he turns to the dark side of the force and is given the title Darth Vader. The moment Anakin makes this transition is seen in Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith, which was released in 2005.

VERIFY
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