Cinema, much like the real world, is filled with estranged families that eventually come together. Sometimes the reunions are happy ones. Sometimes, not so much. In the case of “The Empire Strikes Back,” the revelation that Luke Skywalker’s true father (uh, spoiler alert?) is actually his nemesis, the Sith lord Darth Vader, lands in the latter category with an unequivocal “nooooooo!”
Matched only by his very own infamous “noooo,” Vader’s confession — “I am your father” — remains one of the most profound and memorable sentences ever uttered in movie history… and the sting is still being felt more than 30 years later.
A four-year-old boy’s reaction to Vader’s revelation for the very first time has been taking the Internet by storm this week, and the reason isn’t surprising: for generations of geeks, young and old, the Dark Lord’s about-face remains one of the most chilling and unsettling moments of our childhood… assuming you skipped over that other “Star Wars” trilogy for the classic one, of course.
After the jump, members of the MTV News team recall their memories of witnessing the iconic scene for the very first time.
Josh Horowitz: “I’m not quite old enough to remember my reaction when I first saw the iconic ’Empire’ moment, but I certainly remember the three (?) years we waited before ’Jedi’ came out and the endless debates with my big brother about whether Darth was lying and, more importantly, who the hell the ’other’ was?!? Any tension between us was only exacerbated when I read the ’Jedi’ comic before it came out and screamed to my brother ’Darth Vader turns good!’ Pretty sure that’s when things got physical between us. Oh no, I didn’t ruin it for you, did I?”
Kevin Sullivan: “I distinctly remember being confused by Luke’s reaction to the revelation. ’What? I thought he already knew.’ The inaccurate quote, ’Luke, I am your father,’ was such a common saying by the time I saw the movie that I knew it before I actually saw ’Empire Strikes Back.'”
Laurel Woods: “I was eleven when I saw ’The Empire Strikes Back.’ I waited in line at the local mall for almost 13 hours, listening to the ’Star Wars’ soundtrack on my walkman. The AC unit in the theater was broken and couldn’t be turned off. I watched ’ESB’ with my dad, freezing, sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time. When Vader told Luke he was his father, I turned to my dad and asked ’How can Vader have a human son if he’s a machine? I don’t get it.’ My dad just shook his head and laughed.”
Brian Phares: “For me, the moment was totally ruined because I, being the stupid seven year old kid I was fishing through my parents VHS collection, watched ’Return of the Jedi’ first. Primarily because it had the coolest name, also because I was home alone and had nobody to scold me, and lastly because I didn’t realize back then that usually the first movie in a franchise sports the name of said franchise. Whoops!”
Tami Katzoff: “’The Empire Strikes Back’ was actually the very first ’Star Wars’ movie that I ever saw. I vaguely remember going to the movie theater with my parents (I was very, very young). And I do remember Vader’s revelation. But what struck me most about that pivotal scene was – and these were probably the exact thoughts running through my head at the time – ’Luke’s hand just got cut off! By his dad’s lightsaber! Cooool!!'”
Tell us what you remember of the classic “Star Wars” moment in the comments section and on Twitter!