Fans love making reaction videos these days, with everything from new trailers, cinema screenings, and coverage of comic-con events finding their way onto the web for all to see. Back in 1983 however, it seems Star Wars fans were ahead of the curve, after a video has surfaced of a cinema crowd going wild for the big Darth Vader twist in Return of the Jedi.
We know Star Wars fans are some of the most passionate people out there, and while this sometimes gets in the way of the true values of the franchise, by and large it’s a beautiful thing when galactic geeks unite and share their love for the Star Wars movies and TV series.
In a video on YouTube, someone has shared a (very low quality) recording from a movie theatre back in the ‘80s, which reveals how the audience reacted to Darth Vader’s incredible redemption arc at the end of the final science fiction movie in the original trilogy. It was a huge event in the Star Wars timeline, and clearly it blew the minds of those watching at the time.
In the clip, we see Emperor Palpatine attacking Luke Skywalker with his force lightning as Vader watches on. As we know, Palpatine very nearly kills young Skywalker, until Vader turns on his Sith master and saves his son.
There is audible distress as we see Luke writhing around on the floor, feeling the effects of the evil Emperor’s brutal attack. But, as Vader has a change of heart, you can hear the audience getting excited, before screams and cheers ring out when Vader sends Palpatine hurtling to his ‘death’ as he throws him down a reactor shaft.
It’s a classic moment in Star Wars history, and so pivotal to the arc of Anakin Skywalker. To have experienced it at the time, and not know what was coming, must have been truly incredible!
You can see more of Anakin Skywalker, and his evil alter-ego Darth Vader, in the Star Wars series Obi-Wan Kenobi on the streaming service Disney Plus right now.