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I've been thinking about Luke's character lately in the wake of the whole "this is the Luke I always wanted to see" stuff. This post will probably be long and maybe a bit rambling although I'll try to compartmentalize it to prevent that. Really there is nothing new in terms of my end game conclusions but I think at least the thoughts I put out here are not things I've really said before. Plus I just kinda wanna beat a dead horse, I mean its already dead so what harm can it do?

1-Luke as he is in TLJ: I said recently that had they decided to make Luke more like the old Luke in this movie it could have worked, the more I think about it though the more I come to the conclusion that based on TFA and what we know of Luke especially from ESB that there was no other real way to go with Luke in TLJ. Here is why. Lets all go back in time to Fall of 2015. Ofcourse everyone is excited for the movie, we had seen Han and Leia in promotional stuff and trailers but no sign of Luke. One of the big spoilers is that Luke only appears in the very final scene. Most people did not believe it, could not accept it, myself included. How could Luke not be a part of this and help his friends? 

Then the movie comes out and the very first thing we see in it is "Luke Skywalker has vanished..." Its the driving force of the whole movie. Everyone wants to know where Luke is, why he went there and why hes stayed there. Then we get to the third act on Starkiller Base and alot is going down. His nephew and former student is falling even further to darkness, an incredibly powerful young woman is just coming into her powers, his sister Leia and the whole Resistance is moments away from being destroyed and his best friend Han Solo is in great danger and indeed does get killed. I know myself, and Im sure many fans, during thei entire third act kept thinking "ok, Luke is gonna show up now, wait no ok, hes gonna show up now. Ok wait its gotta be now." Ofcourse he never shows up and we eventually find him on an island in the middle of an ocean. Now I get that in Star Wars technically being on an island dont matter much but from a visual perspective hes stranded himself on an island.

Now my question would be if Luke is waiting there coming up with some plan to return and save the day and be the hero what the heck could be a more important moment than whats going on at Starkiller Base? We know from ESB that Luke can sense when Han and Leia are in danger and that hes unwilling to sacrifice them for the greater good. So if Luke doesnt come back to save Han and allows him to be murdered the only logical conclusion can be that hes not the "old" Luke. The fact that Luke does not save Han makes it impossible for it to be that he was waiting there with some plan to rejoin the fight. Because if he was doing that and was willing to sacrifice Han then thats a totally different Luke than in the OT anyway. I realize you could come up with some contrivince that Snoke was blocking Lukes vision or whatever but that would just be a cheat basically that wasn't based on character or theme or the history of the movies. So basically yeah TLJ had no choice to make Luke how he is based on TFA and ESB.

2-Luke would  never hold a saber over Ben. I think this ignores something Luke has done in the past. Again it goes back to Empire. Luke in that movie we all know sees the future of Han and Leia suffering and maybe dying. So what is Luke's reaction to this? To prevent this future from happening. Just like his father did in the PT. Luke in Empire manages to get away with it but really only barely as his return puts Leia in more harm than if he hadn't come back. Obviously Anakin's attempts to stop the future have more dire consequenes and really he made the future that he was trying to prevent.

So lets go to the flashbacks in TLJ. Luke looks into Ben and he sees the future, he sees that Ben will "destroy everything I love." So what is Lukes immediate instinct? Well just like in ESB it is to prevent this future from happening. He ignites his saber but then realizes "what am I doing" but its too late. Ben wakes up and we all know what happens. Just like with Anakin, Luke's trying to prevent the future is actually what causes it. But again Lukes initital reaction of trying to prevent this future from happening is exactly the same as what he does in ESB.

3-Why did Luke exile himself: Its not just that he gives up, its that really believes that his powers can only hurt and that being a "hero" cant help. Just think about it, as  jedi he can see the future. So if this future is bad the ofcourse a hero tries to prevent it. However in trying to prevent this terrible future he actually causes it. So then you say "well stop doing that." Well thats basically what he does. He cant live with seeing these terrible futures and not doing anything about it, however he knows if he tries to do anything about it that it will often have dire consequences. Its a vicious cycle that needs to end in his mind. 

4-The idea of sort of tearing down Star Wars and what it means. Alot of fans say TLJ doesnt get Star Wars and was just trying to tear it down or say it doesn't matter. Well look at ESB as compared to ANH. In ANH Luke is basically a young dreamer looking off to the horizon dreaming of adventure. Really one of the most iconic scenes in ANH is Luke literally gazing at the twin sons on the horizon. Then lets get to ESB. Yoda scoffs at these notions. "Adventure, heh, excitement, heh. A Jedi craves not these things." He also scoffs at the notion of looking to the horizon, which as I said earlier is one of Luke's iconic scenes. Everything that is great about Luke in ANH Yoda shuts down in one scene. He takes the entire character of Luke from Star Wars and says "if you want to succeed you have to be a totally different person." It takes what we all love about ANH and just says "nope" and its great.

Its almost exactly the same in TLJ. Everything we love about Luke, how he never gives up, will fight for his friends and is a legend and a hero. Luke scoffs at these notions exactly the same as Yoda scoffs at being a dreamer in ESB. Its really the same thing. The idea of who you were earlier and what you wanted to be earlier being completely not what is needed going forward.

5-Luke on Mando. Ive made some arguments about this recently so I won't get too into it, other than one more thing. We all know Star Wars is famous for visual storytelling. That really you could watch the movies with no dialogue and still kinda know whats happening. Right from the jump when Vader shows up in ANH, you know he is evil, you know what he is with zero context given. If you were completely ignorant of Star Wars and watched Vaders appearance in ANH youd know he was evil. Now Ill just ask this: if you were completely ignorant of Star Wars and had no idea who Luke was and saw the first shot of him from that episode what would you think?

 

lukemando.jpg

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I never understood the Luke backlash in the sequel trilogy.  I knew Luke wasn't going to get involved before Last Jedi came out.  How did I know?   Because of the OT.  It spells it out pretty well.  

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Exactly, its pretty simple and I probably didn't  need to be so wordy in the first part. If Luke doesnt come back to save Han Solo then something has to be really wrong with Luke. Thats it. 

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There was always going to be a "Luke problem" if you made sequel films. And maybe please, PLEASE let's not get drug into another EU debate on how Luke could have been portrayed because of the books.

 From the second the ST was announced, I had a problem in the fact that Luke defeated evil at the end of ROTJ. For the Sith to come back, or for his win to be undone would be a mistake to me.

If you look at Luke and add 30 years, you'd assume he'd be not unlike Obi-Wan on ANH, but having grown into his power. That was an assumption we all were making. But it's problematic.

The way we expected Luke to be was more or less what we got on Mando. And it's really cool-- BUT... it's like playing a video game on God mode. At first it's fun as hell, but once you realize there is zero risk and everything will go fine, it gets old and boring.

Mark Hamill was of the opinion that having Luke show up all Dues Ex to save the day in TFA would have been great-- but it would have completely undermined the new characters, who the ST is supposed to be about.

In TFA, JJ dealt with the "Luke problem" by silo-ing him. By not having him appear until the very end, he kicked the can on how to portray Luke to TLJ. And Rian Johnson had the exact same issue. You can't have a God-level character going around saving the day when the story is supposed to be about somebody else. So, he doubled down on the Obi-Wan angle and not only de-powered Luke, but also un-motivated him. I get WHY Rian chose to do this, it made things easier. But then of course, it ends up fracturing the fan base and almost breaks Star Wars. Luke post-ROTJ is a story problem.

I had excitement and hope after TFA, even if it missed the mark in a few places. But in retrospect, looking at the ST, I am reminded of the adage "just because we CAN do a thing, it does not mean we MUST do a thing." I feel like movies like Rogue One and shows like Mando were a much smarter move than trying to go back to the big three from the OT. I don't know if there was a true way to use them that would have made everyone happy when their stories functionally end with ROTJ. (Again, NOT an invitation to talk about the EU.)

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I will never talk about the EU, lol.

Here is the problem with what you are saying. There is nothing in ROTJ to suggest Luke is some kind of crazy powerful guy. Its not like he goes head to head with the Emperor and win with some crazy display of power. He wins by throwing his saber away. Just because a group of fans thinks Luke becomes this God like powerful figure doesn't make it so and doesnt mean there is anything in the movies to even suggest it. Your point isn't that Luke can't be a great, compelling character going forward. Your point is that a section of the fanbase won't accept Luke as anything but this super powerful hero eventhough nothing in the movies suggest that is the case. You don't not tell a story because "well some people have this in their mind about Luke and we can;'t really challenge it." In fact that's exactly why you do tell a story. 

Like my point in my first post, you say this "almost broke Star Wars." But its not different than when in ESB Yoda basically shoots down every facet of the horizon looking, adventure seeking Luke we know from ANH in like one 30 second take down of it. 

Its almost like you are saying "well the fans are wrong but well they are the fans so what are gonna do, we better not mess with it". 

For me Luke's story throughout the whole saga is tremendously interesting and works. He is the farm boy who rises to amazing renown and accomplishment and power. Thats all on-screen. Then he becomes full of hubris which leads to failure and ultimately redemption. The 2nd part is not some sort of weird add on that doesn't fall into an archtypical character path. It's a pretty old trope. In TLJ when talking about the PT era Jedi and their hubris and thinking the force belongs to them, he is talking about himself. 

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Here is the problem with what you are saying. There is nothing in ROTJ to suggest Luke is some kind of crazy powerful guy.

If the OT existed in a vacuum, you may have a point. But it didn't. We had the PT, the CW, and Rebels, not to mention before TLJ, we had Vader's Rogue One moment. If you took all of that, then portrayed a post ROTJ Luke as NOT having any of the things we've been told the Jedi could do, you'd have just as many angry people.

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Your point isn't that Luke can't be a great, compelling character going forward. Your point is that a section of the fanbase won't accept Luke as anything but this super powerful hero eventhough nothing in the movies suggest that is the case. You don't not tell a story because "well some people have this in their mind about Luke and we can;'t really challenge it." In fact that's exactly why you do tell a story. 

THAT'S WHY YOU TELL A STORY!? I HAD NO IDEA.

Dude, you can't tell me what my point is or isn't. The "Luke problem" is, there is no way to portray him that is going to make everyone happy. The Mando moment did, but because it was an isolated moment we didn't think was possible to see. It wouldn't work long form. There was no way to win. Make him a God, it goes old and boring, Make him less than a good you piss off half of fandom. It's kind of like the problem with Superman. The best stories generally have to find a way to make him weaker.

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That was my "just because we can..." point. Luke's story was DONE. I know you don't think the ST is a tack-on, but it is. Luke's arc was designed to be, and completed in, ROTJ. Anything beyond that point risks undoing what came before. That's why the EU sucks for me, and it's why the ST ultimately failed. 

I think it was wrong to do an ST, especially when R1 and Mando have pleased far more people than the ST entries did. Lucasfilm is currently making over 10 shows/films in the SW universe and none of them have a thing to do with Luke. 

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At the same time with both Rogue One and Mandalorian you can make a really good case that the most talked about scenes in both of those involved Anakin and Luke. So they are still leaning on them. If you are going to use them do something interesting with them, dont just give 2 minute fan service scenes.

A few weeks ago you said I was trying to kill peoples happiness when in reality you are saying alot of what I said about the Luke scene on Mando. Fun scene watching him slice through droids but ultimately not anything very interesting. 

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I never said the Mando bit was pointless. If anything that was the perfect way to do a post ROTJ Luke.

If there was no ST and all we had was the Mando cameo no one would be complaining.

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And Id agree with you if Luke's story was just hes leading the Jedi and is the same Luke and is fighting for the good guys. Then there is no reason to go forward at all. Its liek George RR Martin says the only thing really worth writing about is the struggle within someones own heart and mind. So if Luke is the same good and the struggle is just against some new enemy then its not worth telling. If you can come up with new struggles for Luke to have and learn from and overcome then its 100% a worthwhile story. Now if you dont think the Luke story is compelling in TLJ especially thats ok I just completely disagree. 

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35 minutes ago, Tank said:

I never said the Mando bit was pointless. If anything that was the perfect way to do a pair ROTJ Luke.

If there was no ST and all we had was the Mando cameo no one would be complaining.

Right, if there was no interesting version of Luke then the Luke who shows up as a deus-ex-machina and slices through some robots would be the best version weve had of him in a while.

I assumed Luke would rise to the level of being able to cut down robots, its really not that interesting to confirm it.

And really I hate coming off as negative on this show. I watch it and enjoy it every week. I really do like it. I guess my "negativity" is just in comparison to others opinion of it. If someone was here who hated the show Id come across as super positive. 

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Ahem...

Anyhow,

I stand by what I said in that I am bored with the mentor trope and hoped if that was what did happen Luke actually got a story arc that lasted two movies. 

With that said, I think there are a few ways to take Luke...just two things I thought of while reading this thread.

1.  Rip off Asimov's Foundation.  Have him disappear and rebuild the Jedi ala Foundation ala Haro Seldon.  Disappear and stay hidden...maybe even in plain sight.  The enemy is the decay of the galaxy itself as it descends into chaos without the central body holding it together.  Luke's mission is to save the knowledge/ Jedi survive the chaos that is to ensue.

2.  I remember an early rumor that I loved; an early title for E7 was An Ancient Fear.  No clue what the story would have been, but I am a sucker for something very old waking up.  I know you don't want to have, "here's something even bigger and badder than the empire" but turn it into man versus himself story as Luke and company journey through the galaxy and discover mysteries of the force to find this ancient phantom menace. 

 

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There is no "Luke" problem. There is a fan problem. A problem of "I had a Luke poster when I was a kid and I pretended I was him and now hes not what I always wanted!!! wah wah wah." Thats the problem. And whats funny is that is exactly part of what his character is supposed to be. That heroes can never truly live up to their own legend. 

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I'd always envisioned Luke became so connected with the Force that his level of understanding and consciousness was somehow transcendent of everything else.  War and conflict was something he wanted to be rid of.  Kind of like Dr. Manhattan.  If that was more of the focus in Last Jedi, it would make more sense.

I'm probably not explaining it well, but I figured he'd become so powerful, by that I strictly mean his connection and understanding of the Force, and that's partly why he went away and refused to come back. 

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I’m super tempted to add Luke’s name to the censor. How many times do we have to have the “TLJ is awesome and everyone who doesn’t agree is a whiny bitch” posts/thread? Give me Zerimar’s EU posts any day. At least there’s more to cover.

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27 minutes ago, Fozzie said:

Give me Zerimar’s EU posts any day. At least there’s more to cover.

Well after this one I don’t think Choc can ever criticise Zerimar again over caring too much about things that don’t matter. . .

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At least you can argue about the Last Jedi still.  It's already been concluded that the EU is the worst thing ever.   Besides, Zerimar has moved on and has now embraced the new EU. 

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28 minutes ago, Dark Wader said:

Well after this one I don’t think Choc can ever criticise Zerimar again over caring too much about things that don’t matter. . .

Luke Skywalker don't matter?

Really though I have no problem if Zerimar or anyone else wants to talk EU till the cows come home. Jedi Cool updates threads every single day about EU books. I obviously have zero problem with that. For all I know Zerimar posts in there every day. Its more the sort of (sometimes) constant just mentioning of it when really it has nothing to do with whats being discussed. 

Thats pretty much why I created this thread. I didn't want to add this to a thread that already was being discussed where people were enjoying a different convo. If Zerimar created EU threads and discussed whatever I would never pop in and be like "no well Luke really did this..." blah blah blah. Id leave him alone to discuss it. 

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1 hour ago, Fozzie said:

I’m super tempted to add Luke’s name to the censor. How many times do we have to have the “TLJ is awesome and everyone who doesn’t agree is a whiny bitch” posts/thread? Give me Zerimar’s EU posts any day. At least there’s more to cover.

I didn't say anything like this. If people don't like the movie its fine. There is alot of Star Wars now and most people won't like every aspect. I should have been clearer and thats my fault. When I say there is a fandom problem I don't mean your average fan who doesnt like TLJ, not at all. Im commenting on them. The problem is fan who still, 3 years later, comment with rude nasty comments when Star Wars twitter wishes Kelly Marie Tran a happy  bday. People like that are the problem. 

And like I said in my first paragraph I know that Im at least somewhat beating a dead horse. I know I can be a bit overbearing sometimes with posts about that movie. I just really do love it that much. And really I suppose from my own hubris sometimes I feel I can make a newish point about it that may make someone else see the movie as I do and appreciate it more like I do. 

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8 hours ago, The Choc said:

Luke Skywalker don't matter?

Well he is certainly no R2D2.

But I was just teasing. I pretty much share your sentiments on it anyway, though I will confess that out of all the main characters throughout the series, Luke has been my least favourite so I haven’t had the expectations a lot of fans have with him.

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On 1/18/2021 at 2:55 PM, The Choc said:

There is nothing in ROTJ to suggest Luke is some kind of crazy powerful guy. Its not like he goes head to head with the Emperor and win with some crazy display of power. He wins by throwing his saber away. Just because a group of fans thinks Luke becomes this God like powerful figure doesn't make it so and doesnt mean there is anything in the movies to even suggest it.

I said this last year in another thread and got shit on by everyone here and told I was wrong. 
 

I have no idea how this assumption of God Luke came from. Luke had a tiny fraction of the training of an actual Jedi. I guess he’s born with a crazy M-count / Godpower because genetics? I’m not sure that’s even really implied in the OT. What they do say is that he’s their last hope - they’re desperate so this kid with some potential will have to do. 

I agree there is a Luke Problem going into the ST if you assume he’s God, but what’s wrong with shocking fan assumptions? I think that’s when Star Wars is at its best and that’s what the team making this last trilogy really didn’t understand. Luke isn’t the most powerful Jedi of all time - he defeated evil because he inspired his father. Love defeated Hate and all that nonsense.

The problem that the old crew’s story was finished is real, but it’s not unsolvable.  

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On 1/18/2021 at 11:48 AM, The Choc said:

5-Luke on Mando. Ive made some arguments about this recently so I won't get too into it, other than one more thing. We all know Star Wars is famous for visual storytelling. That really you could watch the movies with no dialogue and still kinda know whats happening. Right from the jump when Vader shows up in ANH, you know he is evil, you know what he is with zero context given. If you were completely ignorant of Star Wars and watched Vaders appearance in ANH youd know he was evil. Now Ill just ask this: if you were completely ignorant of Star Wars and had no idea who Luke was and saw the first shot of him from that episode what would you think?

 

lukemando.jpg

In ANH, we do have the context of the opening crawl. "Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents"...so we do know the bad guys are the ones doing the chasing. I also recall they dressed Vader in black because that is a traditional villain color. They used black for Luke in ROTJ to symbolize he is vulnerable to going to the dark side like his father but underneath the black was white to show he is still good. However, colors aside, even if you had no idea who Luke was while watching Mando, you did see that the heroes of Mando (Mando, Baby Yoda, Cara Dune) were in trouble and someone came to rescue them. So you have that context without knowing who Luke is.

Sometimes we have an initial bias that is either confirmed or overturned by a character's later actions. Sometimes we have clues in a character's appearance about if they are good or bad, but there is no way of knowing for sure until we know more about that character. For example, if Vader showed up in ANH looking like this:

hellovader.jpg

Maybe you might think, "Hey, he doesn't seem like such a bad guy." But once he starts strangling people, it might cause you to think again. :D

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