While watching ‘Blue Harvest’ (The Family Guy ‘Star Wars’ parody episode), I was impressed with how much The Widget caught in terms of the references to the original film.  (She also laughed out loud at Doctor Who and Asteroids jokes, but that’s clearly my influence showing through.)  Afterwards, we talked about how Vader is Luke’s father, and how Ben Kenobi stole him away as a baby to keep him safe from his father.  The child then asked me a question that didn’t occur to ME until 1989 or so:

“How come Darth Vader didn’t just come get him?  Isn’t Tatooine his home town?”

The conversation made me realize once again the flaws inherent in Obi-Wan’s plan to keep young Skywalker safe from his dad’s corrupting influence (and also that I’m doomed when she becomes a teenager) but our conversation did beg a query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) isn’t in the business of rhetoricals, and thus is asking you to come up with a reasonable and/or funny explanation, asking: Given that Luke Skywalker was stashed on his old man’s home planet under his father’s real last name, why didn’t Vader ever seek out his child?  (Bonus points for NOT using an existing Expanded Universe rationale!)


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. I always hand-waved it in my brain by using the “Hiding in plain sight” rationale. It’s flimsy, but it’s something. It requires a certain suspension of disbelief, like Superman putting on glasses and being able to blend in.

    Other explanations could be that, well, he was pretty busy running the Empire and had other things on his mind. Maybe he knew about him and had that shred of humanity left that he didn’t want to get him involved, until his presence was revealed to the Emperor by Luke joining the rebellion? Or, if we must factor in the prequel trilogy, they lampshade the shit out of it when the Emperor flat out tells him Padme died, and it’s assumed the babies die with her.

  2. A couple of things based only on the movies – i’m not sure Anakin knew that Amidala was going to have twins. And when he heard she had died, he must have assumed the children died as well, because he never asked about them (or if he did off camera, I’m sure palpatine told him they had died as well).

    Considering how much he detested Tatooine, there would be little need or interest to return there once his mother died.

    So where better place to hide the child than in plain sight.

  3. Appeal to Audacity. A kid with last name of Skywalker on the planet that Darth Vader grew up on and fostered with his stepbrother?

    No one in their right mind would do that. It’s so crazy of course it will work.

    That said:

    Tatooine is shown to be outside the normal realms of galactic society in the first prequel when crazy force powerful Anakin has never been found by the roving bands of Jedi kidnappers… recruiters and money that should be universally accepted is not. I doubt the Imperial Census Bureau did anything more than ask Jabba how many citizens he wanted to claim were on the planet. I think that Luke would have been found if he actually applied to the Imperial Flight School.

    I am curious why more attention wasn’t placed on why Leia was heading to a backwater with secret plans. I would have thought that the Death Star would have been brought in and Jabba been forced to prove there wasn’t a rebel base and/or the Hutts were supporting the Rebels.

  4. Anakin’s emotional immaturity, compounded with the loss of his wife, compounded with the sever physical trauma, compounded with Palpatine’s influence. Vader must’ve had huge psychological problems. Probably never thought to ask.

  5. As others have stated, first of all, he thought Padme died without giving birth. He’d have no reason to look for a child. Additionally, Tattooine is shown to be ‘off the grid’ basically, so it’s not like he’s likely to get reports of a Skywalker living there.

    I think a better question is “Why did Obi-Wan hide Luke in plain sight?’ The answer is to use him both as bait, and as insurance. if Vader does decide to start looking, he probably could find the kids no matter what Obi-Wan did to hide them. So, Luke sits out in the open, easily found. If Vader comes calling, Obi-Wan is there, both to protect Luke and to get a second chance to kill Vader. And if Vader takes down Obi-Wan and gets Luke, there’s no reason for Vader to hunt further, and at least Leia remains hidden.

    • This actually makes sense…

      Although the fact is that Luke had to find Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan wasn’t exactly hiding behind one of the dunes waiting for his trap to spring.

      One could imagine that it all happened on the particular day that Obi-wan was off in one of the sleazy dingy local bars/diners (which judging from the movies he likes to frequent for some reason).

      • Also very possible that after so many years of waiting for the inevitable rematch with Vader, Obi-Wan had simply come to the conclusion that it was just not going to happen.

  6. Well probably that he just didn’t look for him.

    I don’t believe that he ever really knew he had kids, given the F’ed up state that dudes mind was in he likely just assumed everyone is dead when told she died, that or the Emperor lied telling him the kiddies are dead to get that good old anger flowing.

    Once you believe something, and in that state he was probably really easy to lie to, you really don’t question it until it gets shoved in your face, like Luke eventually was.

  7. Did you not watch Revenge of the Sith? At Padme’s funeral, they made her look pregnant, so if Vader ever had a hankering to find his kids, his wife’s grave was the place he’d look.

    • I haven’t managed to Watch the whole Revenge of the Sith movie yet, though after listening to Mr Plinkett’s reviews (who reminds me of a meaner/eviler Matthew) I feel I should Watch the prequels in order to play “spot the scene with no logic mistakes or with no *that’s no moon* size plot holes”.

      But the fact Vader never even looks into the whole death of Padme just seems dumb… He betrays the Jedi, kills children and friends for a shot at keeping her from dying, is told he choked her to death from a guy that looks like a monster and just got away to lying to the whole galaxy for decades, takes what he said for cash and moved on.

  8. Who said he was that bright anyway. I am pretty sure Intelligence was a dump stat. Look at the way C-3PO flew apart and he probably had instructions.

    Also, I doubt Luke had a ImpBook page.

  9. well, I remember in the novelization of the movie, Padme was thought to have been killed, he didn’t know she was pregnant, how that happened who knows? Not like he was at her funeral either. He spent all those years working closely with the Emperor, he didn’t know about either child.

  10. Oldstarwars Fan (Oldcomicfan) on

    Well, if you actually watched the prequel trilogy, you’d know that Vader saw a future vision of Padme dying in child birth, and after he fell into the lava, Palpatine told him that he had killed Padme in his rage. The twins weren’t born until after that, and we can assume that Obi-wan used his skills to block Luke’s presence from being broadcast across the Force. A simpler explanation is that Lucas just didn’t pay attention to the details or, and this is more likely given that he inflicted the Ewok movies and Jar Jar Binks upon us, not to mention The Christmas Special That Shall Not Be Named, he simply held Star Wars fans in contempt and didn’t credit them with the intelligence to notice such contradictions.

  11. Tatooine was a place where he was born and grew up as a slave, was taken away only to have his mother, the only bright spot of his childhood, left behind, and upon his return savagely raped and killed. The sudden and abrupt extended family that he discovered, (the Lars bunch) pretty much told the moodiest Jedi Ever she was dead and they weren’t gonna bother to look for her any more.

    In the meat time, He was trained into becoming a Super hero, fought in and became a great General in an epic, galaxy changing war, had a to secret love affair with the ruler of a nation, Betrayed (Or was betrayed by, from a certain point of view) the super ninja monk Jedi, and lost 70 percent of his body as he then became the second most politically powerful being in the Galaxy.

    This is not the type who goes to High School Reunions, or maintains friendships with the kids from the old neighborhood. I’ve only had half those things happen to me, and I don’t even have the old gang on my facebook. My guess is the only time Vader ever thought about Tatooine, was as a test site for that big old space gun on the Death Star.

    Then there was the fact that, odds are Luke was listed under Lars in the Galaxy Far far away Yellow pages. Obiwan, btw, who also only lived a block away, must have kept his number unlisted.

  12. Vader had visions of Padme dying in childbirth and then Palpatine told Vader he’d killed Padme before she went into labor, so Vader had no call to every look for offspring he did not know existed. It made sense for Obi-wan to take Luke to Tatooine, which was the last place Anakin was likely to pay a social call upon, but it doesn’t make sense that Luke would take the name Skywalker (a dangerous name no matter where he went) and not take the last name of his foster parents (Lars), hence my explanation below. However, it does explain Owen Lars’ reluctance to allow Luke to go to the Academy, where his name probably would trigger all sorts of flags.

    The simpler explanation is probably the best, which is that George Lucas simply forgot since it had been a quarter of a century since the earlier films.

    Either that or (and given that Lucas inflicted the Ewok movies and The Christmas Special That Must Not Be Named – and Jar Jar Binks – upon his legion of fans, I think this is most likely of all) Lucas simply detests Star Wars fans and didn’t credit us with the intelligence of catching the contradiction.

    • If the prequels taught us anything is that George Lucas should never have full control of a project.

      He had the sets ready before he started writting the script.
      He literally had no idea of what he was doing and surrounded himself with terrified yes men, in a studio he owned, with no one to point out that “midichlorians” and other crap like that was not a good idea…

      I mean the whole plot of episode 1 was about this trade tax we never learn about and an embargo blockade Obi and Gin pass thought *twice* in a single unarmed ship, said embargo is causing Naboo people to die though we never see anyone die from lack of whatever the embargo is keeping from getting to Naboo anyway.

      The trade federation is a 100% behind the shadowy figure’s plan, we never learn why though… So many plot holes so little time.

  13. According to the movies:

    “I don’t like sand. It’s coarse …and rough …and irritating …and it gets everywhere” -Anakin Skywalker (SW2: Attack of the Clones)

    Anakin basically does what he likes now that he is all darkside-y. Thus, he is mentally incapable of going back home, a place where all the things he hates exist. Especially his mortal enemy: SAND!

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