Rewatching Star Wars 4-6: TLJ got Luke Right.

Drek

Member
Oct 27, 2017
862
He was always a whiny shit. He wined to his uncle constantly. He was perpetually moody and short sighted.

During the entire first movie he vacillates between grand standing acts of "heroism" and despondent pouting when he feels like he's being upstaged.

In Empire he bails on his friends to go to Dagobah. He directly disobeys Yoda and Obi Wan to go to Cloud City. He didn't die in that encounter but still threw everything in jeopardy.

In RotJ he stunts on enemies he's more powerful than and when faced with a real challenge only pulls off not dying because Vader does a heel-face turn.

The only reason people think he's some great paragon is the extended universe, which was all non-canon and a big retcon for a generally childish, self-centered, and emotionally short sighted character.

The Last Jedi version is a far more accurate continuation of his personality following the events recapped in TFA. That is also a more believable character as the son of the childish, self-centered, and emotionally short sighted Anakin Skywalker.

His sacrifice at the end of TLJ was the most noble thing he's ever done and even that was an epic grand stand to clown on his own nephew. The one he failed because for all the Skywalker family natural power with the Force they fundamentally don't get the idea of balance within the force. Each successive generation for three generations in a row going zealot for one "side" or the other. Then they pontificate as to why that's totally right when all the core philosophy speaks to the need for a balance, which they personally reject at every turn.

In summary - Luke is a shit. TLJ was very much in-character. The Skywalker men are a bunch of emotionally stunted man children given more credit than they're due because they're good at space magic.

And anyone who complains about action scene choreography in TLJ needs a rewatch. TLJ looks like some John Wick level combat in comparison.

Also Donald Glover's portrayal of Lando in Solo might be the best acting job in Star Wars history. He embodied an iconic character originally framed by Billy Dee and not only nailed Lando, he did so in an expanded format from the original movies in an entirely believable way that meaningfully grew the character. If Han had been done that well Solo would have been one of the best SW movies ever. Instead its just a fun movie with two standouts stealing scenes (Glover and Waller-Bridge).
 

Truant

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,567
Yeah, TLJ had issues, but Luke wasn’t one of them. Just wish he had more screen time.
 

Rendering...

Member
Oct 30, 2017
8,684
Absolutely. You're absolutely right.

Here's my view on Luke in TLJ from another thread:

I'm going to try (and fail) to be brief:

The OT kicks off by taking Luke on a bog standard hero's journey. As a young hothead who wants to escape farm life and his backwater planet, he's carried far by natural ability and the right mentor, Obi-Wan. ANH concludes with Luke triumphant: he overcomes his doubts, for the moment, and wins a major victory for the Rebellion.

In ESB, Luke has developed basic Force ability. He acquires a new mentor in Yoda, and in the Force nexus of the Dagobah cave he experiences a memorable reminder of his tendency for self-sabotage and how that might lead him to walk Vader's path. But his old stubborn impulsiveness flares up and he rushes off to save his friends with insufficient training. Luke is broken by Vader. His newfound strength in the Force is useless against a more experienced opponent, and he's devastated by Obi-Wan's apparent betrayal in failing to reveal that Vader is Luke's father. He is left physically ravaged and mentally defeated. The whole Cloud City episode leaves Luke, Han, and Leia at their lowest point in the trilogy.

In RotJ, Luke is more confident in his Force ability, and he has accepted the disturbing truth of his lineage. He returns to Yoda to complete his training, just in time for Yoda to die. Untrained but somewhat more experienced, Luke makes the same mistake he did in ESB by overestimating his abilities and throwing himself at a superior opponent. The Emperor dominates him completely, cutting through Luke's rhetoric, eroding Luke's confidence in his allies, baiting Luke to attack, and ultimately pitting father against son in a duel where either of their losses is Palpatine's gain. Yet again, Luke's undisciplined nature costs him dearly. He unwittingly betrays Leia to Vader, then flies into a rage when Vader suggests she might be a softer target than Luke. Luke's heroic moment of self-sacrifice, where he refuses to execute and supplant his father, is Luke making the very best of his own failure. Luke is immediately cut down by the Emperor and would have died if Vader's own inner conflict hadn't fallen in his son's favor.

Luke, the last living Jedi, is a man defined by his flaws. It's only through the support of his friends, and his ability to get through to an already conflicted Vader, that he's able to salvage his failures and secure a future for his cause. The more noble aspects of his character shine throughout the trilogy, and make him a likeable and sympathetic hero. But he is not an infallible and wise leader. He does not demonstrate superb insight or judgment. He is not a brilliant duelist, or a near-omnipotent Force wizard. He is just a man with some natural talent, and a lot of support, who persevered.

That's where RotJ leaves Luke.

TLJ picks up a few decades on. We find Luke in self-imposed exile, resigned and depressed after suffering what he views as his greatest and most personal failure of all. Luke had resisted the dark tendencies of his bloodline enough to prevail, but only just, in the battle for his father's soul. But now, he has contributed to the fall of his nephew. Kylo's descent into darkness wasn't Luke's doing, but the impulsive nature that Luke could never escape surfaced again at the worst possible time. Luke's momentary temptation to strike down Kylo in his sleep tipped Kylo over the edge. Luke, on his lonely island, sees himself as a failure and an imposter. How could he possibly measure up to Luke Skywalker, the towering Jedi of legend, when he has let his friends and family down, and the next generation of Jedi was lost under his watch?

TLJ brings this theme of failure into focus, lending Luke's journey a complexity and pathos that the OT happily glossed over in its highly entertaining but fairly surface-level storytelling. The crucial character development is this: Luke, cursed by failure all his life in spite of his great victories, finally develops the wisdom to accept that failure is not to be feared or resented. It is inevitable. Failure is the key ingredient for growth, and it forms necessary stepping stones toward true success: discovering a higher purpose for the pitfalls and disappointments of life, and passing on a worthy legacy.

By the end of TLJ, Luke has stopped running. He reconnects with the Force, reunites with his sister, and demonstrates the greatest feat of Force mastery in all eight films--hinting at his true potential as the Chosen One--with a Force hologram that transcends the limits of space-time. Now fully stepping into the role of Luke Skywalker the legend, he very publicly reinforces his image as an invincible Jedi master, buying time for the Resistance to escape and planting seeds of hope throughout the galaxy. This act culminates in Luke becoming one with the Force, which only true masters can achieve.

Luke dies having won in every way that matters:

- He secured the Resistance's escape.
- He humiliated Kylo in front of his army and damaged their morale by appearing to be supernaturally resistant to weapons.
- He inspired his protege, Rey, to revive the Jedi Order not just by the letter, but in spirit.
- He primed galactic civilization for her message, and made his own legend a powerful rallying point for the resistance of tyranny.
- He became a true Jedi master after a lifetime of struggle.
- He made peace with himself.

Rewatch TLJ and see if this interpretation holds up. It's all right there in the text. If anything, Yoda's scene gives up the game, in case the subtext wasn't clear enough. Perhaps he should have said more!
 

DrForester

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,081
I wish we had gotten more old Luke. I grew up with the OT, Luke was my hero.

That being said, I really cant think of a better way for him to go out than what we got in TLJ, it was great.
 

Cipher Peon

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,127
I agree that they got him right in being a boring and obnoxious character.

Never liked Luke and was hoping TLJ would be a fresh of breath air on that front. Alas
 

Mona

Member
Oct 30, 2017
15,382
watching luke in the OT makes the corners of my mouth curl upwards
watching luke in TLJ makes the corners of my mouth sag downwards

so whatever they did with him, they didn't do it right where it matters the most
 

Tzarscream

Member
Oct 28, 2017
2,542
I sometimes feel I watched a different film when I see people hating on TLJ (barring a couple of issues).

Forced Awakens was without any character.
 

shtolky

Member
Oct 27, 2017
581
You're 100% right (besides him being "a shit"). He's a flawed, impulsive, emotional, powerful, complex hero with a big heart and a lot of issues. The ending of TLJ was perfect for his character's arc.

But do you realize what you've done?
 
Oct 31, 2017
4,348
Luke Skywalker is the best part of The Last Jedi, always was

I wouldn't call Luke a shit beyond A New Hope but he's always been someone trying to hold his emotions in check even though the would regularly betray him- that moment in ROTJ was when Vader learned Leia was Luke's sister and Luke went nuts on him
 

shnurgleton

Member
Oct 27, 2017
10,515
Boston
the last jedi was better than the force awakens and it's going to be better than jay jaybrams' skwalker ascension

round 4085703845 - FIGHT
 

Tookay

Member
Nov 15, 2017
400
Yeah, he's a whiny shit in the beginning of the OT.

Then he's not because he undergoes what we call a "character arc" and learns some things - including that his masters were wrong about Vader.

He is vindicated for believing his father is good and refusing to kill him, the way Obi Wan wanted him to.

The sequels then revert this character growth by making him contemplate killing his own nephew and making him as mopey as he used to be.

Justifying TLJ's character assassination by cloaking it in "early Luke arc" characterization is a huge misreading of the text and how you were supposed to come away feeling about Luke by the end of ROTJ.
 

Raijinto

Member
Oct 28, 2017
7,742
I agree. Having Luke basically be like Ben Kenobi or even worse some super duper ultra Jedi would've been very lame and very uninteresting. I didn't want Luke to be much more than what he was in the OT and what he was in TLJ which was a flawed but still powerful Jedi.
 

Reinhard

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,963
I had no problems with Luke in TLJ, it was the Finn and Rose stuff that needed complete re-working, and the Poe/Holdo (laura dern) stuff could have been easily fixed by her telling him she suspected a spy was on-board so she wasn't sharing her plan.
 

chrisPjelly

Avenger
Oct 29, 2017
6,645
I had no problems with Luke in TLJ, it was the Finn and Rose stuff that needed complete re-working, and the Poe/Holdo (laura dern) stuff could have been easily fixed by her telling him she suspected a spy was on-board so she wasn't sharing her plan.
Pretty much. I would also have liked if we got more training sequences with Rey.
 

shtolky

Member
Oct 27, 2017
581
Yeah, he's a whiny shit in the beginning of the OT.

Then he's not because he undergoes what we call a "character arc" and learns some things - including that his masters were wrong about Vader.

He is vindicated for believing his father is good and refusing to kill him, the way Obi Wan wanted him to.

The sequels then revert this character growth by making him contemplate killing his own nephew and making him as mopey as he used to be.

Justifying TLJ's character assassination by cloaking it in "early Luke arc" characterization is a huge misreading of the text and how you were supposed to come away feeling about Luke by the end of ROTJ.

I see the point about Vader mentioned frequently and I am not sure I understand it. A lot of people say that their Luke wouldn't have even considered murdering Ben because he saw the good in Vader and turned him away from the dark side. I don't agree with this at all. First of all, it ignores that fact that the Luke who turned Vader is far younger and probably more idealistic than older Luke who thought about killing Ben. Ask a 60 year old if they are the same person as they were when they were 30 and you'll probably be surprised by the answer. Secondly, the scene where he considers taking Ben out explicitly states that ALL Luke saw was pain and destruction. He saw no conflict, he saw only tragedy and given all the tragedy Luke experienced up to that point, it makes sense he might not react favorably to seeing more death and destruction of those he loved. With Vader, he constantly feels the conflict, the good in Vader. He tells this to Obi-Wan and Vader himself in ROTJ.

So, I don't really see why one has anything to do with the other. If anything, him experiencing so much pain and death before the Ben incident explains why he would act in such a way, and him feeling shame and guilt about it literally a split second after he ignites the lightsaber is 100% Luke. That's growth.
 

Fatoy

Member
Mar 13, 2019
873
He is vindicated for believing his father is good and refusing to kill him, the way Obi Wan wanted him to.
It's a pretty mild vindication, though. Sure, Vader couldn't go through with killing his own son, but good he was not - even if you take the prequels' lousy 'downfall' story into consideration.

I think the big disparity between people who like The Last Jedi and people who hate it stems from whether they saw Luke as a hero. For me, he was one of a bunch of people - all of whom had flaws - who vanquished the bad guys. Then the character obviously took on a life of its own outside the movies, and everyone wanted to be Luke because he was a space wizard, and they wanted him to step in and fix everything in The Last Jedi. Then he turned out to be a cantankerous old man whose life the Force had, frankly, ruined just like it ruined his father's.

In the new films, Luke's main objective seems to be stopping the Force (and its codified religion / order) from wrecking anything else - which makes perfect sense after his realisation that Ben Solo was getting just as messed up as everyone else the Force really touches.

Where I think that idea falls apart a bit (and where I feel TLJ falters as an entry in the series) is the film then ending on the idea that anyone can be a Jedi, so there's probably a good one out there and maybe it's Rey or the kid with the broom. Obviously we're supposed to believe in Rey and think Luke is just shellshocked and withdrawn, but if you take all eight films to date as a whole, the Force sure seems to fuck people up.
 

nazgul_hunter

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,331
Agree 100% and the only reason for the whiplash is that in the 34 IRL years between ROTJ and TLJ, Luke's stature grew to a mythical size with the fanbase. It's sad that it worked out that way, but a sequel trilogy in the early 90s probably could've explored the aspects of Luke's character that most people wanted to see in the movies we got.
 

Contramann

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,582
Yeah Luke was characterized fine. No idea where anyone is coming up with "They messed up myy Luke!" unless they're thinking about the EU.
 

FernandoRocker

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
4,245
México
The Last Jedi killed all the hype I had for Episode 9. Not being hyperbolic here.

And the reason why The Last Jedi killed all my hype for Episode 9 was precisely for they way Luke was portrayed. Before TLJ happened, Luke was supposed to be the most powerful Jedi ever. It really hurt when Rey was able to defeat him on the island.

And Luke should not have been a projection in the final scene against Kylo. He should have been there, showing lots of Jedi skills... maybe defeating all those AT-AT vehicles by himself using the Force or something.
 

Praetorpwj

Member
Nov 21, 2017
1,057
Luke is a hero. The Last Jedi is a piece of shit that will shortly be retconned to the dumpster where it belongs. This thread is welcome to join it.
 

Gustaf

Member
Oct 28, 2017
6,146
it is as almost TLJ played the fact that the LEGEND OF LUKE SKYWALKER was bigger than the man itself.
 

Pooh

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,535
The Hundred Acre Wood
Absolutely. You're absolutely right.

Here's my view on Luke in TLJ from another thread:
This take and the OP are exactly why I like TLJ so much and why I think it's possibly the best Star Wars film. That Luke's path followed the theme of the film so well, and that only through acceptance of failure could Luke reach "Jedi master" status, is just so beautiful and I never thought it could be done in a Star Wars film.
 

Pilgrimzero

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,867
Like every old character brought back, he didn’t grow as a person after 30+ years.

Yeah amazing stuff.