8. Fake Darth Vader
When Did They Die: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Who Were They: A ghostly Force apparition Luke Skywalker encountered as he underwent Yoda’s trials on the planet Dagobah
How Did They Die: Luke bested it in a lightsaber duel, only to reveal his own face beneath Darth Vader’s destroyed mask
The closest Star Wars ever really came to a surrealist piece of art was in that cave below the surface of Dagobah where Luke stumbled upon the ghost of Darth Vader. The fight that ensued dreamy and unreal, and ended with Vader’s mask exploding to reveal a perfect likeness of Luke’s face inside. Some real nightmarish stuff, that.
Keep in mind that all this happened before the big reveal that Vader was Luke’s father. This was the writers’ way to hint that that was coming, but it also works on another level.
As Luke was learning and honing his powers with Yoda, there was a real risk that he could give into the Dark Side if he didn’t keep his emotions in check. That possibility was always there, lurking beneath the surface and ready to show itself if Luke gave it half a chance.
Even if the Darth Vader Luke found and killed was an hallucination or an apparition, it served as a warning to not trust his impulses long before he knew that he was spawn of the Dark Lord himself.
Next: 7. Qui-Gon Jinn