The core of the Star Wars saga has always been the struggle between the Light Side of the Force and the Dark Side. In Disney’s sequel trilogy, which plans to wrap up the entire Skywalker saga later this year with the ninth chapter, The Rise of Skywalker, has focused more on the dichotomy of the Light Side and the Dark Side of the Force more than ever before. The protagonist, Rey, has been continuously tempted by the Dark Side, while the antagonist, Kylo Ren, has been continuously tempted by the Light Side.
10 “He has grown strong. Only together can we turn him to the Dark Side of the Force.”
In Return of the Jedi, the Emperor realized that Darth Vader intended to continue searching for Luke Skywalker in his attempt to turn him to the Dark Side. The Emperor assured him that, in time, Luke would come to him. Whether he wanted to try to convert his father back to the Light Side or defeat him once and for all in a rematch, he would come looking for Vader: “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.”
9 “Kylo Ren is strong with the Dark Side of the Force. Without the Jedi, we won’t stand a chance against him.”
Ever since The Last Jedi gave us a new version of Luke who was grizzled, cynical, and bitter – and wanted to end the Jedi Order for good – Star Wars fans have been debating whether or not he’s right about the Jedi. Rey certainly seems to think he’s wrong, insisting throughout the whole movie that the Jedi should continue to prosper, because otherwise, the Resistance will have no chance of defeating Kylo Ren and the First Order. By the end of the movie, Luke has a change of heart and sacrifices himself to allow the Jedi to continue in their struggle.
8 “Luke, don’t give in to hate. That leads to the Dark Side.”
When Luke Skywalker goes to Dagobah to be trained as a Jedi by an even older, even wiser Yoda than we saw in the prequel trilogy, he’s joined by the Force ghost of Obi-Wan, the guy who sent him to Dagobah in the first place. As soon as Luke realizes Darth Vader is setting up a trap to capture Han and Leia and use them as bargaining chips to get Luke to turn himself in, he tells R2-D2 to fire up the X-wing. But Obi-Wan warns his young, heroic friend that if he faces Vader, he’ll be facing him alone, and that if he acts out of hatred, he’ll be led to the Dark Side.
7 “The shroud of the Dark Side has fallen. Begun, the Clone War has!”
Near the beginning of Attack of the Clones, when Palpatine is in negotiations with Yoda and Mace Windu about whether or not the Republic is about to go to war with the Separatists, Palpatine asks Yoda if he believes the political talks will lead to war. Yoda says, “The Dark Side clouds everything. Impossible to see, the future is.”
This scene seems to foreshadow a war breaking out, but no one actually expects it to happen, so when the Clone Wars begin at the end of the film, the audience is surprised – especially since the Dark Side prevented Yoda from seeing it coming.
6 “The Chosen One, the boy may be. Nevertheless, grave danger, I fear in his training.”
Yoda proved more than ever before that he’s the wisest of all the Jedi in The Phantom Menace when he objected to Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan training Anakin. As soon as Anakin came before him on Coruscant, he could sense darkness in his soul. Qui-Gon was adamant that Anakin was the fabled “Chosen One,” and while Yoda doesn’t deny this, he still thinks that training Anakin to use the Force would be a bad idea. He had a change of heart after Qui-Gon’s death to appease his dying wish, but as it turns out, he was right on the money about the grave danger posed by Anakin’s training.
5 “You’re fulfilling your destiny, Anakin. Become my apprentice. Learn to use the Dark Side of the Force.”
Towards the end of Revenge of the Sith, the best prequel, Anakin’s journey to the Dark Side comes down to one integral moment. He finds Mace Windu and Darth Sidious in an intense battle. Sidious is hitting Windu with Force lightning and Windu is trying to hold it off with his lightsaber. Anakin has to choose which one to save – the Jedi Knight or the Sith Lord. In the end, he chooses to save the Sith Lord, chopping off Windu’s hand, allowing Sidious to send him flying out the window, completing Anakin’s path to the Dark Side of the Force.
4 “The First Order rose from the Dark Side. You did not.”
This line from Tekka in the opening scene of The Force Awakens might be hinting that Kylo Ren will not be redeemed. In the original trilogy, Darth Vader’s redemption wasn’t even considered a possibility until the very end of the third movie, in which his Dark Side tendencies were questioned and he killed the Emperor to save his son.
But the sequel trilogy has been suggesting Kylo Ren will turn back to the Light Side and be redeemed pretty strongly since the beginning. Maybe it will invert the Vader story arc and have a darker ending, if Kylo Ren does not turn good and remains evil.
3 “If only you knew the power of the Dark Side...”
In the climactic sequence of The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker took on Darth Vader in the lightsaber duel we’d been waiting to see since the saga first began. Unfortunately, Luke hadn’t completed his training and Vader managed to overpower him, besting him in combat and lopping off one of his hands. He gets him backed onto a ledge and, there, offers him a position at his side in leading the Galactic Empire. Luke swears he’ll never join Vader, but Vader tries to lure him in with the promise of a mass of power that he can’t even comprehend yet.
2 “The Dark Side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.”
The Sith Lord Darth Plagueis is explored in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, which Disney renamed “Star Wars Legends” after they acquired Lucasfilm, thus removing them from the established canon. This angered a lot of fans, since it meant that all those hours of reading novels and comic books and playing video games were technically a waste of time. But since Plagueis was mentioned by Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith as he wooed Anakin over to the Dark Side, he managed to slip under the wire and remain canon. Hopefully, he’ll be depicted in one of Disney’s future movies.
1 “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.”
This is one of the final things Yoda says to Luke with his dying breath in Return of the Jedi. Luke has come back to Dagobah to complete his Jedi training, but Yoda assures him that he’s almost done. To complete his training, he’ll have to face Darth Vader again. He also warns Luke not to underestimate the immense power of the Emperor, because once he’s under his spell and facing temptations to join the Dark Side, he won’t be able to save himself and stay on the righteous path. This is the mistake that Luke’s father made all those years ago.