Star Wars: The Last Jedi (TLJ) is the 8th installment of the classic sci-fi saga started by George Lucas back in 1977. This is the second film of the second trilogy series of Star Wars bankrolled by Disney which has acquired Lucasfilms in 2012 which gives them the right to determine which direction the saga will go. This film is directed by Rian Johnson and brings back most of the cast from the previous film The Force Awakens (TFA).
Where TFA gives audiences a sense of familiarity (several scenes are reminiscent of the original trilogy series), you might think TLJ would be the same. From start to finish, yes it will make you think so but in every corner, there are surprises which tend to disrupt anything we are anticipating. Given the vastness of this topic, this article will focus mainly on Luke Skywalker.
At this point, this is a SPOILER ALERT! Do not proceed unless you have watched the film.
A Far Cry
For one, many expect Luke Skywalker to train Rey the same way he was trained by Yoda on the ways of the Jedi. But to our surprise, Luke does not seem interested as seen when he nonchalantly tosses aside the lightsaber Rey handed to him in the early part of the film. When he finally relented, he teaches Rey in an unusual way, kind of like the way Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel in The Karate Kid, not exactly the way we hope for.
Then there is Luke’s reluctance to come back with Rey and help the Resistance led by his sister Leia and despite learning of the death of his friend Han Solo (from TFA). Many seem to expect that he would not think twice when his sister and friends are concerned. This is a total departure of the Luke Skywalker who was ready to do anything for his friends that he would cut his training short to come to their aid (ESB).
TLJ’s Luke is barely a shadow of his former self – the hero of the Rebellion against the Empire. Who could forget that naïve yet eager moisture farm boy from Tatooine who was eager to get out of his mundane life by joining the Rebellion; rescued a Princess and helped destroy the Death Star (ANH)? Who could forget an eager student of the Force to the point of committing many mistakes in his training? Who went off to face Darth Vader when he was not yet ready and ended up losing his right hand (ESB)? Who could forget a daring Luke who boldly went inside Jabba the Hutt’s palace to rescue Leia and Han from the clutches of the intergalactic gangster? Who was able to get his father Darth Vader to turn back to the Light, defeat Emperor Palpatine, bring down the Empire and helped restore the Republic (ROTJ)?
TLJ’s Luke is a bitter and disillusioned man; he felt unworthy to even call himself a Jedi Master. He felt he is a failure after his nephew and student Ben Solo turned to the Dark Side as Kylo Ren and destroyed the Jedi Temple he built in order to restore the Jedi Order. What we did not expect is he would emotionally fold up rather than get back up on his feet again and rebuild. This is something some if not a lot of fans expect to see in Luke Skywalker. They are hoping no see an older and wiser Luke ready to take another chance in training an aspiring Jedi in Rey who could have been his redemption.
However, Luke still had some redeeming qualities. After seeing the light with the help of Yoda (who manifested himself in spirit), he finally helped the Resistance by giving them time to escape while he faced Kylo Ren. Surprisingly, he was not really on the planet. He was still in his sanctuary in Ahch-To. He Force-projected himself which surprised Kylo when he thought he finished him off. Sadly, Luke went out the same way as Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, becoming one with the Force after being exhausted from using all that power. But this does not mean we will not be seeing him in Episode 9. One hint was when he told Kylo, “See you around, kid.”
Not Happy Campers
This is one of the points raised by die-hard Star Wars fans (the other issues are another story). This did not go the way they wish it to be. Even Mark Hamill himself was initially not happy with the way his character would be portrayed. If he had his way, he could have walked out on the set at any given time. Somehow Johnson managed to make Hamill see things his way and the latter understood it which is why he went through the filming without a fuss. It can be inferred that he has come to terms with the fate of his character and that Luke Skywalker’s “legacy” has been preserved.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi has given fans a hint on what may happen to Luke. If it is any comfort, he is not the “Last Jedi.” It does not take much to figure out that the proverbial torch has now passed on to Rey who is also the hope of the Resistance. As for the fans, there are those who have come to terms with the outcome and look forward to see what comes next in Episode 9. Those who refuse to accept it are trying to petition Disney to rewrite the story and time will tell how they will respond though we can anticipate what it will be.
Featured Image Source: Lucasfilms/Walt Disney Studios