Star Wars: The Last Jedi is all about Luke Skywalker and Rey — both their relationship with each other and the galaxy at large. What is Rey’s purpose in the conflict that’s engulfed the entire galaxy? She questions this throughout the movie, never quite getting the answer she’s searching for. Luke also struggles with his failures and the reality of his absence from the New Republic and what it means for those he loves. Neither of these characters face easy truths in the middle chapter of the sequel trilogy, and it’s only through choosing a path that they’re able to come out on top in the end.
Still, without question, Rey and Luke couldn’t be more different. Sure, they both have parent issues and are thrust at a young age into a war they never imagined they’d be fighting, but there’s much that separates them. For one thing, Rey has accomplished certain feats that Luke never did during his lifetime. Then there’s the fact that Rey just seems more competent at a young age than Luke did when just a farm boy from Tatooine. In fact, here are 15 things that Rey did that Luke never could in the Original Trilogy and beyond:
15. REY DIDN’T NEED ANYONE TO PROTECT HER ON JAKKU
Rey proves that she’s a capable fighter in her very first scenes in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In fact, she’s doing much better on Jakku than Luke ever did on his own desert planet. While we see Luke having a hard go of it on Tatooine — whether it’s because he wants to get off that rock and join the Imperial Academy or he’s being pummeled by Sand People — Rey is holding her own as both a scavenger and a survivor in a very rough place.
Even when the scummy Unkar Plutt sends his goons to take her down and steal BB-8, Rey holds his own and doesn’t need any rescuing. The same can’t be said for Luke, who needs Obi-Wan Kenobi to save him from the Sand People.
14. REY USES THE FORCE BEFORE SHE RECEIVES ANY TRAINING
Some fans have called into question Rey’s Force abilities in The Force Awakens, but the answer to her powers may be in the title of the movie. Something awakens inside Rey, which allows her to use the Force against her First Order captors. She is even to repel Kylo Ren’s mind probing and use the Force to call Luke’s old lightsaber to her at a pivotal moment on Starkiller Base. May we remind you that she does all of this without any formal training.
On the other hand, Luke’s has a movie’s worth of training before he’s able to use the Force to fire his proton torpedo into the Death Star’s exhaust port, which destroys the superweapon before it Yavin IV can suffer the same fate as Alderaan. Obi-Wan taught him not to trust his senses all the way back in the Millennium Falcon, which comes in handy here.
13. REY BEAT THE MAIN VILLAIN ON HER FIRST TRY
Even Supreme Leader Snoke is livid that Rey, a young scavenger from junkyard planet with no formal Jedi training, was able to best his apprentice in a duel. Kylo Ren is straight up embarrassed by Rey on Starkiller Base. Being unable to use the Force to read her mind is one thing, but getting your butt whooped by the untrained Rey is completely different. She’s never even held a lightsaber in combat at this point, yet she has no problem handing Kylo Ren his butt in their climactic duel.
Luke didn’t even face Darth Vader in his first movie. Instead, their first showdown came in The Empire Strikes Back — and there’s no question that the Dark Lord of the Sith showed Luke who’s boss. The young Rebel escapes Cloud City utterly defeated (and with one less limb).
12. REY HAS A FORCE VISION WAY EARLIER THAN LUKE
Rey’s vision inside Maz Kanata’s palace is still the subject of much debate among Star Wars fans. Is she seeing the past, the future, or both? How can she have memories of the Knights of Ren if “she’s never met them?” And why does touching Luke’s lightsaber trigger these visions? We probably won’t know the answer to these questions until Episode IX (or beyond), but one thing’s for certain: Rey’s Force vision came way before Luke even knew he could see the future in The Empire Strikes Back.
Luke sees a city in the clouds and his friends being tortured by the Empire. He has no choice but to leave Dagobah and abandon his training to save Leia, Han and Chewie. But he doesn’t unlock this foresight until much later in his adventures. Rey can see things almost from the beginning.
11. REY DOESN’T LET ANGER OVERTAKE HER
One major thing that differentiates Rey from Luke: she’s not given in to anger. The same can’t be said for Luke, who almost falls to the dark side during his fight with Vader on the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi. In fact, he even chops off his father’s robotic hand in the process. Luke is probably one strike away from the dark side.
Rey has a lot to be angry about, too. Not only did her parents abandon her on a desert rock in the middle of nowhere, but she has no idea what her purpose is in the larger conflict that’s engulfed the galaxy. Worst of all, the hero who she thought could help her understand what the deal is has turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. All that said, Rey doesn’t lose her cool when she comes face to face with Snoke.
10. REY IS NOT BROUGHT DOWN BY THE PARENT REVEAL
Like Luke before her, Rey has serious baggage when it comes to her parents. They abandoned her on Jakku at a young age and never bothered to return. She’s waited for years to no avail. When she decides to adventure out into the galaxy and find some answers, Rey finds that the truth is not easy to come by. It’s Kylo Ren who finally reveals her parents’ identities to her. The answer is that her parents were drunks who traded her for drinking money.
It’s a painful realization, but it’s not enough to bring Rey down. When Luke found out that Darth Vader was his father, he was completely devastated and all but defeated. In fact, Luke tried to commit suicide in Cloud City. Yes, it was brave to sacrifice himself instead of joining his evil father, but Luke didn’t react anywhere near as well as Rey did.
9. REY WITHSTANDS TORTURE TWICE
We’re not saying Luke had it easy, but he’s not had to endure the pain of being tortured twice by bad guys. After all, Luke wasn’t nearly as scared of that rancor as Jabba the Hutt hoped he’d be. When he is tortured by Emperor Palpatine, engulfed in powerful rays of Force lightning, he begs his father to help him. In the end, Darth Vader saves Luke from the Emperor and stops the mindless torture of his son.
Rey, on the other hand, survives being tortured by both Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens and Supreme Leader Snoke in The Last Jedi. Yes, she gets some help from Kylo the second time, but that’s only after she’s already suffered through Snoke’s incredible power. She’s a true survivor.
8. REY SEES THE GOOD IN KYLO REN WHEN LUKE CANNOT
Luke’s major failure is revealed in The Last Jedi. He failed Ben Solo and attempted to murder his young apprentice in order to stop him from turning to the dark side. As Mark Hamill put it, “The only way I could approach that scene was: ‘If given the chance, would you kill baby Hitler?'” Luke could not see the light still inside of Ben and instead pushed him further to the dark side with his betrayal.
Through her connection with Ben, Rey can still feel the good inside of Kylo Ren. In fact, she’s about the only person in the galaxy who still wants to help him turn back to the light side. Of course, Kylo eventually pushes her away too, but it’s not before his faith in the dark side is shaken by Rey, if even for a few seconds. Rey sees good where Luke cannot.
7. REY NEVER LOSES HER ASTROMECH DROID
Luke has a hard time in the opening section of A New Hope. Not only is he stuck living the farmer life on a desert planet, but he doesn’t even have time to pick up his beloved power converters. What’s worse, he can’t even keep track of a little R2 unit that’s bent on finding an old hermit out beyond civilization. Luke loses track of Artoo about 30 minutes into the movie and has to go out and searching for him.
Meanwhile, it’s Rey who rescues BB-8 in the first place and keeps him safe from the dangers beyond Niima Outpost. Even when Unkar Plutt’s thugs try to steal BB for a quick buck, Rey quickly springs into action to protect the droid. Good thing BB wasn’t hanging with Luke.
6. REY BEATS LUKE IN COMBAT
By the time Rey meets Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, he’s cut himself off from the Force completely, choosing to live a humble life as an old hermit on a distant planet on the outskirts of space. In fact, for most of The Last Jedi, it’s clear that Luke is nowhere near as powerful as he once was. It takes a lot of convincing from both Rey and Yoda to get him to use the Force again and help the Resistance.
But before that happens, Rey finds out the truth about Luke’s past with Ben, which leads to a confrontation between the two. In the fight between master and apprentice, it’s Luke who goes in the mud. Rey bests the Jedi Master in a staff fight, if only briefly. No small feat.
5. REY STILL HAS ALL OF HER LIMBS
The Empire Strikes Back was not kind to Luke. That was sort of the point, right? Not only was the Rebel base on Hoth destroyed, but Luke was also bested by Darth Vader in a duel he never really had a chance of winning in the first place. Oh, and he found out that the mass murdering villain from the first film was also his father. Worse than all that was the fact that Luke had his hand cut clean off by a lightsaber. A bad day indeed.
You could make the argument that Rey’s not had anywhere near as terrible a day as Luke had on Cloud City. Sure, her parents are basically shams and all of her mentors will be dead by the time Episode IX comes around, but at least she still has all of her limbs intact. Good for her!
4. REY CAN PILOT THE MILLENNIUM FALCON
Back in the days of the Original Trilogy, lots of fans probably couldn’t wait for the day Luke would get behind the controls of the Millennium Falcon and pilot the Corellian ship across the galaxy. That day never came, of course — at least not on the big screen. Luke preferred his X-wing to another space vessel, and Han was never too keen on having someone else pilot his beloved ship anyway.
That didn’t stop Rey from piloting that garbage ship out of Jakku, though — and she did it with style, pulling off some crazy stunts in order to evade the First Order TIE fighters. Rey is a natural at piloting the Falcon. Perhaps Luke would have been too, but it’s too late to find out now.
3. REY IS MORE ADEPT AS A STUDENT THAN LUKE WAS WITH YODA
Let’s face it: Luke was a terrible student. Always a bit headstrong and looking for the fastest way into the action — like his father before him — he had a terrible time on Dagobah with Yoda. He failed several tests, including his trip into the Force cave and using the Force to pull his X-wing out of the swamp. Worst of all, he abandoned his training altogether in order to save his friends from Darth Vader (we can totally understand that last one).
Rey is nowhere near as much of a pain to Luke, who really continues to be as stubborn as always in the mentor role. She is a proficient student, quickly picking up lightsaber skills and showing off a tremendous connection to the Force. Rey even inspires Luke to come out of retirement. Star student!
2. REY’S FORCE BOND IS MORE POWERFUL THAN LUKE’S
The Last Jedi features crazy Force abilities the likes of which we’ve never seen on the big screen before, including Luke’s ability to project himself across the galaxy. There’s one power we have seen before: the Force connection between two Force-sensitive characters. Luke was able to communicate with both Leia and Darth Vader through the Force in the original trilogy.
Rey has a connection to Kylo Ren, too. This might be because they are opposite sides of the same Force coin or something else entirely — surely, some people are still hoping these two have a familial connection. Whatever the case, Rey’s connection with Kylo is much more powerful. In fact, she can see into Kylo’s whereabouts and what he’s doing. Luke could only communicate and sense others, but Rey basically has Forcetime.
1. REY TEAMS UP WITH KYLO
One of the best sequences in The Last Jedi features Rey and Kylo teaming up to take down Snoke and his Praetorian Guards. Fans in theaters cheered as Rey and Kylo decided to join forces against a common enemy. The aftermath is, of course, a bit disappointing, as Kylo decides to become the new Supreme Leader and take over the galaxy for himself. But that can’t tarnish the awesomness that is Rey and Kylo fighting side by side.
Would Luke have joined his nephew in battle if given the same chance? We’ll never know, of course, but given the fact that the Jedi Master tried to kill the apprentice in the first place, it isn’t likely that we would have ever seen these two team up to fight the First Order.
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