We all know that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father, as that was the biggest revelation during the end of the climax of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. Meanwhile, in Return of the Jedi, it was revealed that Luke and Leia were siblings all along, and that means that Leia was also the daughter of Darth Vader. So, did Darth Vader know all along that Leia was actually his daughter as well?
Darth Vader only found out about Luke’s sister during their final confrontation in the Death Star II during the Battle of Endor. Vader found out about her when Luke got emotional during their battle, but it was never really shown that he knew this sister was because Vader never mentioned her name.
It is worth noting that Luke and Leia were never planned to be siblings from the very start, as George Lucas kind of just winged the story of Star Wars. In that regard, that is why Darth Vader never found out that she was his daughter all along. The books, meanwhile, found a way to plug the plot holes. With that said, let’s look at whether or not Darth Vader knew about Leia.
Does Darth Vader Know Leia Is His Daughter?
One of the reasons why the original Star Wars trilogy was so successful was the fact that there was a big revelation in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back regarding the relationship between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. It was revealed that Vader was actually Luke’s father all along as we got to see a story that explores how the good guy needs to come to terms with the fact that he needs to defeat his own father, who is the bad guy in the story.
Of course, the revelations never stopped there. In Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, it was also revealed that Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa were siblings all along. This backstory was shown in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, when it was established that Luke and Leia were the twin children of Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala, who gave birth to them on her deathbed.
The interesting part here is that Darth Vader and Leia actually met face-to-face during the start of Episode IV: A New Hope when the dark lord of the Sith tried to interrogate her into revealing where the droids that were carrying the plans to the Death Star were. However, he failed in that attempt as the Empire never found out about C-3PO and R2-D2.
Then there’s the fact that, when Darth Vader and Luke faced off with one another for the first time when they were piloting their own fighters during the Battle of Yavin, he immediately sensed their connection. Of course, it also helped that Emperor Palpatine also told him that Anakin Skywalker’s son was still alive, and that allowed Vader to conclude that this young man was his son. But did Darth Vader actually know that Leia was also his daughter?
It is worth noting that it was never established in the original trilogy that Darth Vader knew that it was actually Leia who was his daughter all along. But he did know that Luke had a sister, and that revelation occurred during the Battle of Endor in their final confrontation with one another in the Death Star II.
When does Darth Vader find out Leia is his daughter?
Unsettled after sensing his child, Vader returned to his master and informed her of the shuttle’s arrival and Luke’s presence. Sidious allowed him to land at the base of the Endor shield generator, where he was to wait for Skywalker, who Palpatine said would come to him. Vader carried out orders, and just as Palpatine predicted, during the night Skywalker turned himself in an attempt to talk to him and return him to the light side.
Although Vader praised his son’s abilities with the Force and in building a new lightsaber, he rejected his son’s pleas, stating that Anakin was dead, and handed Skywalker over to the Emperor, believing that he was dead. could not be redeemed. Vader escorted his son to the Death Star, to the Emperor’s hall. Shortly after, the Rebel fleet arrived to find Endor’s shield generator active and protecting the Death Star.
As a battle between the Rebels and Imperials raged, a strike team on Endor attempted to destroy the shield generator on Endor’s surface, and Sidious attempted to induce anger in Skywalker. In a moment of weakness, Skywalker lost control, but Vader parried his attack and engaged him again. Eventually, Vader telepathically discovered the existence of Skywalker’s sister, Leia Organa, and threatened to corrupt her instead.
Just then, his son lost control and attacked him in a rage, cutting off his right hand and knocking him to the ground. Sidious then ordered him to execute Vader and take his place at his side. Realizing that he was becoming what he wanted to destroy, Skywalker put his lightsaber aside and declared himself a Jedi, like Anakin Skywalker before him.
Furious, Sidious hurled numerous Force bolts at him, attempting to torture him to death. Finding himself in a similar position to thirty-three years before, when he had to choose between Mace Windu or Sidious, Vader grabbed the Emperor and prepared to throw him down a power shaft, which led to a reactor, after hearing his son’s pleas for help.
Since then, Darth Vader ceased to exist, and Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi Knight, was reborn. Angered by his apprentice’s betrayal, Sidious unleashed an even more powerful Force lightning attack on Anakin; in his hatred, his only thought was to cause his now-former apprentice more pain, even being able to use his own powers to save himself. At the price of damaging his life support armor, Anakin threw his master into the reactor.
By slaying the Emperor and ending his reign, the redeemed Jedi fulfilled his destiny and brought balance to the Force. With his mind free from the influence of the dark side, Anakin looked his son in the face for the first and last time, not with the hateful yellow eyes of the Sith but with blue eyes full of remorse as he realized all the atrocities he committed as Darth Vader.
The redeemed Anakin finally saw his son not as a Jedi, a mistake, or a threat, but as his and Padmé Amidala’s son, and he smiled at him. Luke insisted that he had to save him, but Anakin told him that he had already saved him, and asked him to tell Leia that Luke was right before he died. His selfless sacrifice allowed his spirit to be preserved in the Force by his former mentors, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda. Unable to leave him behind, Luke took his father’s body from him and loaded it onto the shuttle, with which he escaped just before the Death Star’s destruction.
On Endor, Skywalker built a funeral pyre to burn his father’s armor in the style of Jedi funerals, but alone, since the sight of Vader’s suit burning would be a cause for rejoicing for everyone but him. As his son set fire to the pyre to burn off his armor and then joined his friends and his sister at an Ewok village to celebrate the victory, Anakin returned from Beyond the Force with Yoda. and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Why Didn’t Darth Vader Know That Leia Was His Daughter?
We have established that it was only during the final parts of the original trilogy that Darth Vader was able to put the puzzle pieces together and realize that Leia was his daughter. Then again, we also know that he could have actually used the Force sometime in the earlier parts of the trilogy to learn that she was his daughter all along. So, why didn’t Darth Vader know that Leia was his daughter?
The simple answer here is that George Lucas never meant for Leia to be Vader’s daughter at all. It was only in writing Episode V that he realized that turning Vader into the fallen Anakin Skywalker could be a big hit to the fans of the movies. But then, his original plan was for Luke, Leia, and Han to be a love triangle before settling with the story that Luke and Leia were twins all along. After all, Lucas probably wouldn’t have made Leia kiss Luke if he had already decided that they were siblings.
So, in a sense, the only reason why Darth Vader didn’t know that Leia was his daughter when they had their confrontation at the very start of the original trilogy was the fact that Lucas hadn’t even thought about the idea yet. But this plot hole was filled up by the books that were released after the original trilogy.
In one of the canon books about Leia, there was a part where Vader tried to interrogate her after capturing her at the beginning of the original trilogy. However, he failed to fully interrogate her and learn about her identity and the whereabouts of the droids because he felt that she was strong with the Force.
Leia was always the more headstrong of the Skywalker twins. Meanwhile, even though she didn’t know that she was Force-sensitive, her natural affinity with the Force and her headstrong nature were probably enough to keep Vader’s interrogation abilities at bay. This prevented Vader from connecting with her and learning about her true identity.
But if Vader knew that Leia was strong with the Force, why didn’t he think that she was his daughter? After all, there weren’t a lot of Force-sensitive people left in the galaxy, especially after the purge and the inquisition.
This leads us back to Episode III, where Emperor Palpatine lied about Anakin’s children dying along with their mother. He didn’t lie about Padme dying, but he lied about the twins dying because he probably didn’t want Darth Vader to hold on to the remaining semblance of what made him Anakin Skywalker.
As such, because Vader had continued to live his life thinking that his children were already dead, he didn’t make an assumption regarding Leia being his daughter even though she was strong with the Force. His faith in the Emperor was strong enough for him to believe that he was telling the truth when he told him that his children were already dead, and that never made him reconsider the possibility of Leia being his daughter.