What was Vader's plan for Luke in TESB?

Okay, the thread on the lightsaber duel got me thinking about The Empire Strikes Back, where Luke and Vader have their first confrontation in Bespin City.

Vader engages in a round of “see what the kid can do” and “try to lure him over”, and then we get to the climax scene where Vader tries to sucker in Luke to join him, and reveals the truth of their relationship.

Now, we know that Vader is Emperor Palpatine’s lap dog - a viscious rottweiler for anyone else, but lapdog to the big boss. And we know Palpy sent Vader on a mission to turn Luke and bring him back to Palpy to become a new apprentice.

But Vader tells Luke he has a plan, to go back and the two of them conquer the Emperor and rule as Father and Son.

So… does he really mean it? Did he really meet Luke, decide the kid really does have some skill, and decide that this is his chance to finally step out of Palpatine’s shadow and take over - like a good Sith Lord, always looking for the angle for his own personal advancement?

Or is that just a ruse, a story fed to Luke to play on Luke’s emotions and ambitions (that he assumes Luke has), but really he is just fulfilling the mission he was assigned, to return a corrupted Luke to the Emperor?

Do we have any way to know? What do you think?

I think as far as Palpatine’s plan goes, he was perfectly willing to let Luke and Vader duke it out and let the winner be his right-hand man. Remember when he exhorts Luke to kill Vader on the Death Star II in Jedi (he also taunts Luke to kill him of course, but perhaps he was secure in the idea that Vader would defend him). So this might indicate that Palpatine was just using Vader to bring him another adept user of the Force, his logic being that if Vader died, great, because that would mean he would have found an even stronger apprentice.

It’s conceivable that Vader was starting to realize that Palaptine wasn’t exactly acting in his (Vader’s) best interest, but rather, just using him as means to an end. That could explain why he try to seduce Luke into “ruling the galaxy” with him. It’s also rather poignant that the thing that finally pushed Vader into renouncing his master (and with him the Dark Side) was his love for his son.

As is the tradition of the Sith-- Vader was sincere in his offer to Luke. Together they’d off the Emperor and rule the galaxy until such time as Luke tried to kill Vader or Vader decided to kill Luke and take a new apprentice.
Or Vader thought that he and Luke could get a long and rule with the Sith treachery taking a back seat to family relations.

The Emperor: The Force is strong with him. The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi.
Darth Vader: If he could be turned, he would become a powerful ally.
The Emperor: [intrigued] Yes… He would be a great asset. Can it be done?
Darth Vader: He will join us or die, master.

I think it is pretty clear, Vader wanted to turn Luke to allow him the chance to overturn Palpatine. Palpatine knows this too, and probably figures that he can handle both Vader and a half-trained Jedi if they tried to take him out. Palpatine probably imagines that if Luke turns to the dark side, Luke will nicely replace Vader as a new and improved Sith Apprentice because he isn’t half machine, thus he grants Vader’s request to not kill Luke outright.

there are only supposed to be two Sith’s at any time - master and apprentice. If Luke had turned to the dark side, Vader OR Palpatine had to go! So I can’t really see Vader delivering Luke to the emperor, and saying “here’s your new apprentice, guess I’m screwed”

Despite being a Sith, I believe Vader was sincere. He said basically the same thing to Padme at the end of episode 3, and I doubt he expected her to try to overthrow him. I think he just wanted to feel like he had a family.

I think he meant it, but also had turning Luke over to Palpy as plan B. Luke helps him, great, if not, well, might as well score points with the master.

He meant it. He’s Sith. Betraying each other is what they do.

For the longest time I was unable to reconcile what he revealed as his plan at the end of ESB and his blocking Luke’s lightsaber near the end of ROTJ. If he wanted Luke to help him kill Pappy, why did he prevent Luke from doing so? Of course, now it seems obvious to me. Luke hadn’t turned yet. If he’d let Luke kill his master he would have found himself fighting an unturned Luke and there would have been a huge risk of either losing or winding up without an apprentice. He could only let Pappy die once he’d secured Luke. That and I’m sure there was quite a bit of instinct playing a part- he’d served Pappy for years, it was only natural for him to protect him in that moment.

What’s difficult for modern audiences to understand is that the original trilogy wasn’t planned as a trilogy like films today. In the 70’s, if a movie made money, then they would ask for a sequel. In SW, Darth was supposed to be a minor character, like a super gook on the way to the big boss. However, his runaway popularity made him into a much bigger character in the succeeding films. So, when the 2nd film was written, he was given much more character development. Compare how many spoken lines he has in 4 vs 5. You can also see this effect in how much ass R2D2 kicks in ep1-3 when he barely could walk up stairs in 4-6. Also, you can see how the storyline changes in unusual ways, e.g. Luke kissing Leia and then she is suddenly pushed into Han’s arms in 6, as though conflicting plot points were put into later installments.

I see what you’re saying, but some of the conflicting views on Vader stem from films 5 and 6, not 4 and 5 (such as Vader giving Luke the “father and son” offer in 5 and then *not *letting Luke kill the Emperor in 6). It’s obvious there was some retconning done after 4 was such a huge success, but probably the distinct storylines for 5 and 6 were hashed out at roughly the same time.

What wasn’t so much in place at the time that the first trilogy came out was much of the lore involving the Sith. Specifically, the tradition about apprentices overcoming/killing their masters. Of course, Vader’s, Luke’s and Palaptine’s motivations make sense now that we have a lot more backstory on the Sith/Jedi orders, but looking at just the 4-5-6 story, it looks more like Palpatine is an opportunist (who doesn’t care if his loyal servant Vader dies), and Vader looks extremely conflicted about whether to do what’s best for Luke or his “master”.

Leia and Han actually do fall for each other in part 5. I’ve always thought that she kissed Luke not because she had the hots for him, but because she wanted to piss off Han who she really liked but didn’t want to admit it. By the end of part 5 she fully realizes it as Han is about to get carbo-frozen.

Was that true when the original trilogy came out? I thought Lucas made that up for Phantom Menace.

Palpatine could probably have used force lightening to block Luke’s attempt to kill him in ROTJ had Vader not stopped the blade. The same way that he used it to slow down Mace Windu in ROTS. That way he gets to see that Vader’s loyalties still remain.

What puzzles me is that the Sith don’t just go about having children and doing family dynasties. The Jedi don’t because they are repressed. But the Sith? They have no inhibitions that way.

AND it isn’t strictly true. There are definitely more than two Sith in episodes 1-3.

Right; if Chewie had been in the room at the time, she’d have kissed him instead. But it’s pretty clear that the writers had the whole siblings thing in mind in Empire– Consider also “No… There is another”, or Leia’s awareness of Luke’s predicament during the Cloud City duel.

That wasn’t lightning blocking the blade; that was the blade blocking the lightning. Mace could have killed him there, but didn’t, because he wanted him alive and captured to stand trial.

I believe he did pull that out of his ass for Phantom Menace.

Sidious and Maul
Sidious and Tyranus
Sidious and Vader

There were always two at a time.

While I agree that he pulled that out of his ass for the prequels I think it’s noteworthy that even in the original trilogy Sidious didn’t want more than one apprentice. By pitting Vader and Luke against each other he was ensuring that he’d wind up with the best possible apprentice- whoever won would take the spot. And Vader of course knew this, so it sort of makes it more twisted knowing that he was bringing Luke back with full knowledge that this would be, in his master’s eyes, his test to remain apprentice.

But of course that wouldn’t have made Han as jealous. I mean, she thought Chewie was a walking carpet! :smiley:

Has Lucas ever clarified what “there are always two” means?

To me it means, if you find one Sith, you can be sure there’s a second. That doesn’t mean there aren’t more pairs of Sith hiding out in the galaxy. Sith are so backstabby they never form groups or teams or anything. When you find a Sith, that person is always someone’s master, or apprentice.

I guess I don’t understand the confusion. Vader had clearly set a trap for Luke. His plan was to freeze him in carbonite. Han was frozen in carbonate to make certain that the process wouldn’t kill Luke. As I remember it, this is explicitly stated in the dialog.

The problem is that Luke was way more advanced than Vader or the Emporer had predicted. Vader pushed him into the freeze chamber, and he just popped out. This left Vader with the realization that he would have to turn Luke right then or lose the chance. His only chance to he with his son, was to offer him the universe. So that’s what he did.