For the last 3 days since seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi I have repeatedly begun writing blog posts. I got about ten paragraphs in to my general review and realized that I’m having writer’s overload. I’ve had writer’s block over the last few months, generally scrapping ideas as I begin to think into them, but with a new Star Wars movie out I have a lot to talk about. So I decided to focus in on one idea and see it through. This is my in depth dive into Luke Skywalker’s role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Upon seeing The Last Jedi, I was thrilled with the movie. However, upon going online afterwards, I saw that fans were split about 50/50 with very passionate stances being taken. I will admit that I took to Twitter to defend the camp of the movie lovers. An argument I got into had to do with Luke in this movie. There are so many points being made about his role in this movie, which is what inspired me to start my Last Jedi blog posts with this topic.
Our first glimpse of Luke in the sequel trilogy (ST) was in the final scene of The Force Awakens, when Rey finds him and offers up his old lightsaber. He had no lines in that movie and fans were making conjectures and theories as to what could be going on with Luke in the ST. It isn’t long before we find out in The Last Jedi. Luke takes the iconic lightsaber from Rey and comically discards it over his shoulder. This very first interaction sets the mood for the rest of the movie. Luke wants NOTHING to do with the Jedi. He wants the Jedi to end with his death and he has gone into exile in the first Jedi Temple on Ahch-To to await this end.
A lot of fans are extremely distraught by Luke’s gruff behavior and disenfranchisement with the Jedi Order. They believe that Luke should be a powerful Jedi Master, who was simply going to Ahch-To in search of some ancient answers to help with the current crisis and he would be thrilled to train Rey to use her new found force powers. I don’t see why this would be the case though. Luke has created the darkest villain the universe has seen since the Emperor and it was HIS fault. He failed. This theme of failure is carried throughout the film, but it is most prevalent in Luke’s character. It is explicitly stated by Yoda that to grow, even the most powerful Jedi Masters must fail. Luke is afraid of failing again, which has lead to his self exile. I enjoy this more human side of Luke Skywalker. He explains it very well to Rey in her training. Jedi become legends and people forget that they make mistakes. That message was as much for the audience as it was for Rey.
Many fans seemed to think that Luke’s decisions surrounding Ben Solo were out of character for him. They’re basing this off the decisions he makes about Darth Vader from the original trilogy (OT). Many fans want to know, if Luke was willing to save Darth Vader, one of the most sinister villains in the history of Star Wars, why wouldn’t he try to redeem Ben Solo? Why did he try to kill him instead? First, we have to realize that Luke has a deep fear of the Dark Side, and redeeming Darth Vader was the only choice that the galaxy had. He saw light in him, and had to attempt to save him. Second it is made very clear in The Last Jedi that the darkness Luke senses within Ben is stronger than any darkness he has felt before, even from Vader. In a brief moment of weakness, Luke considered ending Ben in his sleep. He does say in the film that this thought lead to instant shame and guilt, and he knows this is possibly his greatest failure (this event leads to the creation of Kylo Ren). I think that Luke’s biggest regret was creating Kylo Ren, and this is what has lead to his exile and his gruff attitude.
When asked about the most powerful jedi that ever existed, George Lucas has answered Luke Skywalker. While Lucas is not the one calling the shots any more, it is made apparent in this film that Luke is possibly the most powerful Jedi to ever exist. Many fans are claiming that he appeared weak. Perhaps we weren’t watching the same movie, but let me explain how amazing Luke Skywalker really was in this film. To gain ultimate power, a Jedi must become one with the force. This power is that of immortality. This is through the means of force projection from the spiritual plain. Only the most powerful Jedi that have ever existed have been able to achieve this power. Namely Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Yoda, and Qui-Gon Jinn in canon. However, to become one with the force, a Jedi must sacrifice his living body. Luke Skywalker not only achieved the power of force projection in this film, he did it before becoming one with the force. He sent his image across the entire galaxy to delay Kylo and the First Order, giving the rebels time to escape.
Many believe the entire idea of Luke using a projection is a sign of his cowardice. However, Luke could not have made it to Krayt in time to save the rebels, so he used a power that we’ve never seen used by living Jedi in canon. He was that powerful. It was also a wise choice because, despite Luke being immensely powerful, no one could have survived the barrage from the First Order Heavy Assault Walkers. Kylo Ren would have swiftly ended Luke Skywalker with one order to fire and Luke would not have been able to keep the First Order from killing the rebels.
There is another ability that Luke displays in this movie that proves just how powerful he is. It’s not as flashy, and fans of the movie canon who are unfamiliar with legends lore would not catch it. Up to this point I’ve used canon to prove that Luke Skywalker is powerful. While I think this needs to be the case for the majority of arguments made about characters in the ST, hardcore legends fans can not deny the power of Luke Skywalker either. This is because he willingly severed his connection to the force. Rey makes the observation that she could not sense the force in Luke. This is because he has shut himself away from it. This is no small feat in legends. As explained by Kreia (Darth Traya) in Knights of The Old Republic 2, to willingly sever a connection to the force creates a wound in the force, one that is powerful enough to destroy the force itself. Meetra Surik is the only Jedi that I’ve heard of other than Luke who has cut off their own connection to the force. In the case of Meetra Surik, it took years for her to regain her connection. Luke seemingly reconnects to the force at will in the movie. Granted, the rules may be different in canon, but I don’t think the ability to turn away from the force is any less impressive. A Jedi cutting their connection to the force is like the average person being blinded. It takes incredible strength to endure.
Luke Skywalker has always been a fan favorite. The debate rages on as to whether or not this movie did the character justice. For the reasons I’ve stated here, I think that The Last Jedi ends our journey with Luke Skywalker (at least in his physical form) in spectacular fashion. I’m going to draw this post to a close here, because this topic is deep, has many facets, and I’d love to hear what you think. Comment below or on the platform where you found this link and let me know what you think. My articles on Star Wars and The Last Jedi are just getting started and I’d love to do more like this. Let me know what you thought about it. As always, thanks for reading, and may the force be with you.