Forgiving Your Father and “Return of the Jedi” (1983)
“All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside. It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it.”
Re-watching Return of the Jedi (1983) as an adult makes the scene where Luke burns the body of his father stand out as the true climax of the original trilogy- the culmination of Luke’s journey. While it may seem tragic that sister Leia wasn’t there beside him, this was something Luke had to do alone. After all, it was only Luke who saw the human face of his father and bore witness to his humanity- only Luke would have been able to understand his father. Luke delivering his father’s funeral was his final rite of passage into manhood, and the true return of the Jedi.
Every man will have to bury his father, but will every man have understood his father when the time comes? The evolution of a man’s relationship with his father mirrors Luke’s struggle with Darth Vader throughout the course of the Star Wars saga- from not truly knowing him through the inevitable conflict of a young man’s transition to adulthood. If you’re lucky you’ll have a moment where the pieces come together and you see your father as a part of yourself- but not everyone gets there… and, unlike a Hollywood movie, the story may end first.