Still: I dunno... Those three were just standing there. No Jedi reflexes, extremely long response time. Honestly, that whole Jedi Order in the PT looked like a bunch of sleepy old men unable to understand or feel or see what was happening around them. That scene with Sidious proved how 'asleep' the Jedi were. Luke and Leia certainly don't look 'asleep' in the OT.
You think Palpatine's swordsmanship during RotJ would have been on par with what it was during RotS? I doubt he so much as touched a light saber during that 23 year span of time. /shrug
He'd still smoke Luke, though. No doubt.
Lets be honest, the saber skills of a CW-era Padawan were vastly beyond those of RotJ Luke. That said: assuming 3 elite CW-era Jedi Masters weren't any better than RotJ Luke is a drastic, and completely unwarranted, overhype of Luke's prowess, imo. Remember, force potential is utterly inconsequential without the proper skill/know-how in which to apply said potential--- and Luke had barely began to scratch the surface of his christ-power at the time of RotJ.
Luke's 'defeat' of Boba Fett was laughable at the very least.
The prequel films had nothing to do with why I believe Vader was holding back. We saw the conflict in him during ESB. We saw even more conflict in him during RotJ. Luke said it best: "You couldn't bring yourself to kill me before and I don't believe you'll destroy me now."
The Return of the Jedi duel, while great, wasn't a legitimate "fight". The only purpose of the duel was to trigger Luke's descent to the dark side and force him to turn. Vader and Palpatine both were attempting to egg on Luke to turn, and as such, they had no real intent of killing him (at least not at first). And the only time Luke had Vader on the ropes was when Luke momentarily gave in to his darker emotions and overwhelmed his father.
In a "real" fight, Vader would have curbed him. Palpatine even more so.
This thread alone is why I despise the prophecy of the Chosen One and I have my own retcons for canon. In the OT, Luke was supposed to defeat the Emperor, but Anakin turned good and did it as a suprise.
With the PT, Anakin is the only person who can defeat Palpatine, and Luke is just a catalyst to redeem him, meaning that Luke or Leia could never kill Palpatine, because only Anakin could do it. That's a lame idea.
Vader was always conflicted, and there was always good in him. These facts were driven home time and time again. Even before the prequels were released, I never believed Luke and Vader were peers--- I thought it was made abundently clear that Vader was holding back because he never truly wanted to kill his son.
After Vader mentioned turning Leia to the dark side, Luke stopped holding back.
They were both holding back initially. The difference is that Luke stopped holding back after Vader's attempt at mind-phuckery, while Vader never seemed to go all-out.
Imo the film(which supersedes the novel in terms of canonicity) is clear. The good in Vader prevented him from wanting to slay his own son, thus he was constantly holding back-- Lucas drove that point home multiple times via character statements.
Right, but again: the difference is that Vader, unlike Luke, never got pissed and went all-out during their battle(a 'final frenzy attack', as you call it.) He held back the entire time, because deep down, he was good. Remember, that entire scene was ultimately about the redemption of Vader-- about him turning from the dark and going back to the light-- about him converting from Darth Vader back to Anakin Skywalker.
Here are a few pertinent comments Luke made during RotJ: "I know there is good in you, the Emperor hasn't driven it from you fully."
"Search your feelings, Father, you can't do this. I feel the conflict within you. Let go of your hate."
"Your thoughts betray you, Father. I feel the good in you, the conflict."
"You couldn't bring yourself to kill me before and I don't believe you'll destroy me now."
Glad to see you back... And especially in this forum.
And thanks, man! I've actually decided to check out the other forums outside of the comic book ones for the first time since I've registered.
But yeah. Even going by the Original Trilogy's intent and barring the "retcons" from the Prequels, Vader held back the entire time. The only time Luke got the upper hand was because he briefly gave in to the Dark Side, which was why Palpatine got all orgasmic over it.
If RotJ Luke fought Vader in a "forum battle" devoid of plot, Vader would have likely best him. Palpatine would obliterate him.
"Now, suppose, here's the question. Could Luke Skywalker have done it directly, by killing the Emperor too (and not just Vader, he could kill Vader possibly, he almost did) and saving the galaxy from them?"
You ask several questions here, but the base of all of them is could Luke "defeat"/kill the Emperor? The reason he threw his saber away was because he knew he was trapped. If he killed Vader, he would become an agent of evil and ruled by Palpatine, if he killed Palpatine he would continue down the Dark Path with his father at his side. Even when Anakin redeemed himself by killing the Emperor, he knew the only escape for him was death, he chose that path to save his son.