The Last Jedi: What Went Wrong With Luke Skywalker
Spoilers for The Last Jedi and Star Wars, in general. Available to stream now on Disney+.
Mark Hamill, reprising his role as Luke Skywalker
It seems like it was almost a millennia ago when we had last crossed paths with The Last Jedi, the second installment in the sequel trilogy of what would later be known as the bookend of The Skywalker Saga.
And while this particular film opened to critical acclaim way back in December of 2017, its reception among moviegoers left much to be desired, to say the least.
Aside from a myriad of problems relating to weakly constructed subplots and characters behaving in irresponsible and incredulous ways for the sake of furthering the plot, one of the biggest rejections that left a bad taste in audiences’ mouths was the portrayal of none other than Luke Skywalker himself.
Now, this is not to say that Mark Hamill was to blame. On the contrary, Hamill portrayed the character to the best of his ability, only to be let down by the mishandled script that dictated his every action.
Since the conclusion of the original Star Wars trilogy with 1983’s Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker registered in fans’ hearts and minds as a sort of paragon of hope and all that is good in the galaxy far, far away.
However, the portrait of the man that audiences were presented with in The Last Jedi, almost 35 years later, was of a man utterly unrecognizable to his faithful followers, creating a form of disconnect as the disbelief encapsulated viewers right from the get-go.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with the depiction of a noble and honorable character falling from grace, but the problem lies in the justification for such a metamorphosis to take place that ultimately resulted in the rejection of the character.
You see, the character of Luke Skywalker prior to the events of the sequel trilogy has been of a man who never gives up on others. After all, despite being reminded countless times by his closest allies that Darth Vader was a lost cause, the younger Skywalker nevertheless risked everything to save him, because deep down, he knew there was good in his father. His ideals, and understanding of the Force, led him to endanger his life at the electrified hands of the Emperor to prove that he could turn Vader back to the light. And boy, how right he was.
With that understanding in mind, how then can a character such as Luke Skywalker one day decide to just give up on his nephew, Ben Solo (later, Kylo Ren), almost to the point where he nearly slew the youngling in his sleep? Where was the same ideals and understanding of the Force that made him turn Darth Vader to the light in this given situation?
In short, it does not make a modicum of sense.