The Star Wars movies are full of iconic quotes, from Han Solo‘s perfectly improvised “I know” to Emperor Palpatine‘s monologue about the power of the Dark Side. When it comes to iconic Star Wars quotes, however, few lines are as memorable as Darth Vader telling Luke Skywalker the truth about his father.
We all know the Star Wars scene in question, from The Emperor Strikes Back (the best movie in the series, by the way) where Luke’s dangling off the edge of Cloud City. Trapped, Vader tells the young Jedi, “Luke, I am your father”, in one of the greatest plot twists in cinematic history.
Except Vader never says, “Luke, I am your father,” you’re probably just misremembering it. The exact scene plays out like this. Vader tells Luke: “Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father”, to which the young Skywalker screams: “He told me enough! He told me you killed him!” Vader then drops the bombshell, “No, I am your father!”
So why do so many people misremember that moment? Well, the most likely reason is it’s a cool quote, but outside of the context of Luke and Vader’s shouting match, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it?
So when science fiction movie fans were recreating the scene for their friends, they probably changed it to “Luke, I am your father” because it adds the scene’s context without remembering the previous two lines.
Curiously, this isn’t the only quote fans of science fiction quite often get wrong. We all know the classic Star Trek quote, “Beam me up, Scotty”, except the thing is, Kirk never said that in the original Star Trek series. Yeah, isn’t memory a funny thing?