Why did Luke Skywalker wear black clothes in Return of the Jedi?

28 February 2023
In Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker wears black clothes as a symbolic representation of his potential to succumb to the dark side of the Force. The color black typically represents darkness, power, and evil, and Luke's attire signifies that he is vulnerable to the seductive pull of the dark side.

Throughout the film, Luke faces multiple challenges and temptations that could lead him down a darker path. For example, he must confront his father, Darth Vader, who is a symbol of the dark side's power and temptation. Additionally, the Emperor himself attempts to turn Luke to the dark side, offering him immense power in exchange for his allegiance. These threats and temptations to Luke's character serve to highlight his inner turmoil and the precarious balance he must maintain between the light and dark sides of the Force.

Luke's journey in Return of the Jedi is a classic example of the hero's journey, as described by Joseph Campbell. Luke begins the story as a young, inexperienced hero who must confront his inner demons and overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to emerge victorious. His journey is filled with trials, setbacks, and moments of doubt, but ultimately he triumphs over his enemies and saves the day.

The hero's journey is also reflected in the themes of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, which explores the human capacity for evil and the struggle between civilization and savagery. Like the protagonist of Conrad's novel, Luke must confront his own darkness and the darkness of the world around him in order to emerge victorious.

luke wearing black

Ultimately, Luke's heroic ending in Return of the Jedi is a testament to his strength of character and his ability to resist the lure of the dark side. Despite facing immense challenges and temptations, he maintains his commitment to the light side of the Force and ultimately defeats the Emperor, thereby bringing balance to the Force and restoring peace to the galaxy.

After Luke's intense confrontation with Darth Vader and the Emperor's force lightning torture, his black shirt opens up to reveal a white undershirt, symbolizing the triumph of the light side of the Force over the dark.

This moment shows that Luke has successfully resisted the pull of the dark side and has emerged victorious, as he ultimately throws down his lightsaber and refuses to give into his anger and hatred.

luke wears white underneath black

It's also worth noting that the reveal of the white undershirt is reminiscent of a similar moment in the original Star Wars film when Luke dons a white tunic before setting off on his hero's journey. 

This parallel serves to reinforce Luke's growth and development as a character throughout the original trilogy, as he has come full circle from a young, inexperienced hero to a seasoned and wise Jedi master.

In conclusion, Luke Skywalker's black clothing in Return of the Jedi symbolizes his potential to succumb to the dark side of the Force. However, his heroic journey, as reflected in both the hero's journey and the themes of Heart of Darkness, ultimately leads him to victory over his enemies and his own inner demons.

Here's some more thought on Luke Skywalker's character journey in Star Wars:

  • Luke's journey begins in the original Star Wars film, A New Hope, when he is a young, restless farm boy dreaming of adventure beyond his homeworld of Tatooine. When he discovers that his father was a Jedi Knight, he becomes determined to follow in his footsteps.
  • Luke undergoes a significant transformation in The Empire Strikes Back, where he faces his greatest challenges and setbacks. He learns the truth about his parentage, loses his hand in a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader, and is forced to confront the limitations of his own abilities.
  • In Return of the Jedi, Luke completes his hero's journey by confronting and defeating his father, ultimately turning him back to the light side of the Force. He also resists the temptation to give into his own anger and hatred, proving himself to be a true Jedi Knight.
  • In The Last Jedi, Luke's journey takes on a different dimension as he grapples with the consequences of his actions and the failures of the Jedi Order. He is initially reluctant to train Rey, but ultimately becomes her mentor and helps her to confront her own darkness and potential.
  • In a controversial twist, Luke's character arc in The Last Jedi sees him confront his own failures and question the validity of the Jedi Order. He ultimately decides to become one with the Force, sacrificing himself to save his friends and the Resistance.
Overall, Luke Skywalker's hero journey is a central theme of the Star Wars saga, and his character arc has had a profound impact on the series as a whole.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

At The Astromech, you can expect to find a variety of articles, reviews, and analysis related to science fiction, including books, movies, TV, and games.
From exploring the latest news and theories to discussing the classics, I aim to provide entertaining and informative content for all fans of the genre.

Whether you are a die-hard Star Trek fan or simply curious about the world of science fiction, The Astromech has something for everyone. So, sit back, relax, and join me on this journey through the stars!
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