Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) brings the saga of Anakin Skywalker to a spectacular and fitting end.
The film has no doubt received much criticism (around the widely derided Ewoks, for example). But in the way it pulls together and resolves the story of a father bent on drawing his son into his dark world and a son who has not lost faith in the innate goodness of his father, it provides a satisfying conclusion.
In the thrilling final scenes, hoping to win his son over to the dark side, Darth Vader (David Prowse voiced by James Earl Jones) takes Luke (Mark Hamill) to the Emperor (Ian McDiarmid) who gleefully informs him that the Death Star is fully operational. He taunts Luke to give in to his rage and turn to the dark side. Luke battles his father as the Emperor looks on.
As the crimson and green lightsabers clash, we are left wondering at how much had gone wrong in this story to result in this tragic battle of father against son.
Reading Luke’s mind, Vader realises that there is a twin sister. When he suggests that she could be turned, Luke loses control and rains blows on Vader, eventually severing his father’s robotic arm. The Emperor asks Luke to finish the fight and slay Vader. But when Luke refuses, the Emperor strikes him repeatedly with deadly Force lightning.
Just when it seems that Luke is near his end, Vader does the unthinkable. He attacks the Emperor and throws him down the reactor shaft. The Emperor is killed, but Vader is also mortally wounded.
Realising that he has not long to live, Vader asks his son to help him take off his mask. Looking at his son with his own eyes, Anakin Skywalker dies.
And so ends the tragedy of one of filmdom’s most iconic and flawed characters. In scenes at once dark and dazzling, Return of the Jedi completes the story of the chosen one. It was a hard fought redemption. But it was also the only way to defeat the Sith and right a lifetime of wrongs to bring balance to the force.