A decade after the dust settled on the final entry in George Lucas’ Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, Revenge of the Sith, fans of the series (both old and new) lined up en masse for the first new chronological episode since 1983’s Return of the Jedi. After more than three decades The Force Awakens finally gave us all a glimpse into the lives of the heroes from the original trilogy. Han Solo was still a rapscallion, only older and no wiser. Leia was still leading the good fight against tyranny in the galaxy. And Luke was…well, he was hiding. From the opening crawl of The Force Awakens we knew that Luke’s whereabouts were unknown to his friends, but we didn’t think he’d be missing from most of the film.
Two years later, we finally got a chance to see Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in a larger capacity than a non-speaking 60-second cameo right before the credits roll with the release of The Last Jedi. Luke was obviously older, but surely a Jedi Master also grows wiser. That last bit was contentious among fans who felt that grumpy old Luke was a far cry from the version of the character they fell in love with, despite the logical character progression.
15 BELT UP, BEARD DOWN
Getting old is tough. Your basic faculties can begin to diminish and the face you see in the mirror becomes a shadow of the one you once knew. Also, on a less grim note, sometimes your sense of style goes out the window. Jedi Masters are not immune to this. While we’re sure Yoda wasn’t a hit young…whatever his is, the humanoid Jedi often lose their coolness factor.
After all, Obi-Wan went from young, handsome Ewan McGregor to a world-weary Sir Alec Guinness over the span of nineteen years. We guess Tatooine life is tough. Luke Skywalker spent a much longer time in exile than either of the aforementioned Jedi Masters. And while getting crotchety and reclusive were fates that befell Luke, too, the increased latitude of his belt pushes him into familiar grandpa territory.
Actor Mark Hamill was absent from Star Wars films for more than 30 years. In fact the only glimpse fans of the franchise got of Luke Skywalker during this sabbatical was in the form of an infant Luke at the tail end of the final installment of the prequel trilogy, Revenge of the Sith.
The road to rediscovering Skywalker was long and punctuated with a final destination that left many fans wanting more. Within the film The Force Awakens, the entire central plot revolved around a literal map leading to the whereabouts of the vanished Jedi Master. This plot resolves with a piece of map being hidden in Luke’s iconic droid, R2-D2. If Luke really didn’t want to be found, then you would think that any trail of breadcrumbs leading to his location would have been scrubbed. Obviously this wasn’t the case.
13 GET OFF MY LAWN...ER, I MEAN ROCK!
To say Luke Skywalker was reluctant to train Rey is a gross understatement. When the young, fresh-faced Padawan hopeful landed on Ahch-To, Skywalker denied her an audience at every turn. For some fans it was perturbing to see one of their favorite heroes behave in such manner. When we last saw Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi, he had defeated Emperor Palpatine and helped his father, Darth Vader bring balance back to The Force.
From what anyone could tell, the future was wide open for Luke. The possibilities of what he would become were endless. But one of those possibilities was to become a crotchety hermit who didn’t want to be nagged by a young person. If The Last Jedi had taken place on Earth, we’d imagine Luke spraying Rey with a garden hose to deter her moxie.
12 FORCE FREAK OUT
Is the legendary Jedi Master Luke Skywalker prone to hissy fits and complete freak outs? Well, if you’ve been paying attention the currently longest running space opera then you know the answer to that is yes. Getting caught up in the moment and flying off the handle seems to be a Skywalker family trait. From Anakin to Ben Solo, generations of Skywalkers have a hard time keeping their cool. Luke is no different.
In The Last Jedi, the seemingly stoic Luke has a couple moments that harken back to the farm boy from Tatooine. When he catches is would-be Padawan, Rey conversing with murderous nephew he blows the roof off…literally. And when his own Jedi Master, Yoda sets the ancient scripture containing the Jedi teaching, he squeals at a two foot, green ghost. So yeah, Luke’s not the coolest customer.
11 IT'S WHAT THE JEDI DO
The Jedi have a long history of failing miserably and in an act of masochism, engage in self-inflicted exile. When Yoda couldn’t defeat Emperor Palpatine at the end of Revenge of the Sith, he hightailed it to the desolate swap planet of Dagobah. And when Obi-Wan Kenobi left his apprentice Anakin for dead on the fiery shores of Mustafar, he absconded with an infant Luke Skywalker to Tatooine where he gave up his Jedi ways and lived in a dingy mud hut. Very noble.
Luke Skywalker took a page right out of their book. When he had a moment of malice toward his nephew Ben Solo, he inadvertently created the Dark Side scourge, Kylo Ren. And while Luke’s philosophy about what The Force really is and why it is an act of hubris to think it belongs solely to the Jedi does make sense, it make some fans upset.
10 BLUE MILK: IT DOES A BODY GROSS
Okay, so what’s up with the crazy sea cow thing Luke milks in The Last Jedi? Even the biggest fans of the film have to admit that this moment really churned their stomachs a little. While Luke milking the Thala-siren on the rocky shores of Ahch-To was mostly played for comedic effect, it also illustrated a point to the audience and Rey, who was quite befuddled by it: Luke was a man living off the land.
Back on his home planet of Tatooine, Luke worked on a moisture farm in the middle of the desert (which seems like the last place to find prosperity in that occupation), so dealing with harsh environments and living off the land is essentially second nature to Skywalker. We suppose that the blue milk Aunt Beru served up in A New Hope is just better straight from the source, no matter how gross it is.
9 A CHANGE OF HEART
Idealism is tough to uphold the older you get. The fervor for adventure and the passion for rebellion some people hold dear to them wane as the march of time continues plodding forth, eventually diminishing to a hobbled limp. In the case of Luke Skywalker, we first meet him is A New Hope as a glassy-eyed farm boy, wishing to get off the desolate town he was trapped in by any means necessary. He was basically the embodiment of a Bruce Springsteen song…but in space.
Fast forward decades later, after Luke became the last known Jedi by the end of Return of the Jedi and built a school to train a new generation to follow his path, only to see it all grumble before him due to his own conflicted emotions, we find him a ghost of his former self. A very grumpy, reclusive ghost.
8 PEOPLE KEEP ON LEARNIN'
Force Ghosts have proven that they can traverse great distances across the Galaxy. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Yoda all popped on Endor to make a quick appearance at the Ewok party at the end of Return of the Jedi. The planet of Ahch-To has also been shown to welcome Force ghosts. Yoda drops in just to give Luke a hard time (or one more lesson, depending on how you look at it) and smack him in the head with his cane.
It would stand to reason that other ghosts could visit the reclusive Luke just the same. While the scenario this meme poses is hilariously goofy (the Porg in Luke’s stew pot is the cherry on top), it does make us question whether or not Anakin has dropped in on his son since that celebration on Endor.
7 CAN'T TOUCH THIS!
Apparently Force Projection really takes it out of you. In the final confrontation between Kylo Ren and his uncle Luke Skywalker in the climax of The Last Jedi, fans finally got to see the hero of the original Star Wars Trilogy take on an army as a Jedi Master. But things didn’t play out in the traditional way. Luke didn’t cut down AT-AT Walkers and Stormtroopers with his lightsaber. Instead, Luke bought his friends and loved ones time to escape.
The revelation of Luke not actually being there was a cinematic sleight of hand and a moment that will forever be hotly debated among Star Wars fans for years to come. Love it or hate it, Luke Force Projecting across the Galaxy just to mess with his nephew is as petty as it is amazing.
6 HISTORY LESSON
No one despises Star Wars more than Star Wars fans. A portion of people who grew up loving the original trilogy as children were quick to bash the prequel trilogy (which do have a myriad of issues), and some fans who fell in love with the prequels as children have been vocal critics of the sequel trilogy.
But the fans who derided the prequel trilogy so vehemently may want to keep their expectations in check or, at the very least, try to quantify the quality of the films based on when they were released, and just who they were marked toward. While, yes, Star Wars has always been an intellectual property for everyone, the vast majority of material that is released is for kids…and there’s nothing wrong with that even with many of Star Wars’ darker tones and grumpy Jedi.
5 WATCH PORGS
Who doesn’t love Porgs? People who don’t love adorable things, that’s who. But despite their cuteness, these roly poly avian creatures would make terrible watch dogs. They are far too curious and ubiquitous to Ahch-To to let Luke Skywalker guests have arrived. The Millennium Falcon landing near them, a mysterious girl traversing the cliffs, and the presence of a giant dog man didn’t seem to upset the Porgs in the slightest. That last one, however, probably should have.
In The Last Jedi, Luke has cut himself off from The Force, which means he can’t necessarily sense someone’s presence through the mystic realm the Jedi utilize. If Luke truly did not want to be found, he must have had a ton of faith in the remoteness of Ahch-To. What’s an act of hubris now, young Skywalker?
4 BAD LUCK LUKE
The anticipation surrounding the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was monumental. Not since the release of the first prequel film, the Phantom Menace, were fans clamoring to revisit a galaxy far, far away. But with The Force Awakens, the excitement was a little different. This wasn’t backstory or just a mere expansion of the universe; this was a continuation of the characters we last say more than three decades prior.
The central character from the original trilogy, Luke Skywalker was the biggest enigma going into The Force Awakens. He wasn’t shown in any of the trailers leading up to the film’s release and for the most part audiences has no idea how he would play into this new installment. It turned out that despite the story revolving around him, Luke would be relegated to the final shot of the film. Sorry, Mark Hamill...
3 WHAT WOULD GEORGE DO?
Age restrictions for budding Padawans seem to fluctuate in the Star Wars films. When Yoda declares Luke for being “too old” in The Empire Strikes Back, it had many fans wondering what age does one peruse the path of a Jedi. Apparently the age of 19 is beyond that limit.
In The Last Jedi, Luke tries consistently to deter Rey (who was roughly about the same age as Luke was when he approached Yoda) from training to be a Jedi, but he never once throws out the “you’re too old” line in his protest. Perhaps he learned that age isn’t what matters when becoming trained to tap into The Force. If George Lucas had given a pass over the script, maybe this would have popped up as a callback.
2 LEGEND HAS IT
Disney buying Lucasfilm Ltd has spawned some of the best Star Wars stories ever written, but it also omitted decade of canon from the myriad novels, comic books, and video games that kept the brand alive between films. While many fan favorite characters like Luke’s wife, Mara Jade have now been relegated under the heading of “Star Wars Legends,” which is basically fancy talk for “non-canonical,” the fates of other characters that stayed canon were heartbreaking.
Between Han Solo being murdered by his own son and Luke becoming a hermit who cut himself off from The Force, one could only assume that the characters longed for better days from “Legends.” One of the more positive aspect of the old canon getting the boot is that Chewbacca didn’t get crushed by a moon, so there’s that, which is nice.
1 GIVE THE MAN A HAND
One of the biggest mysteries in The Force Awakens is just how in the world Maz Kanata came into possession of Luke Skywalker’s blue lightsaber. The last time audiences saw the iconic laser sword on screen was at the climax of The Empire Strikes Back, during Luke’s epic duel with Darth Vader, during which the blade (and Luke’s hand) is lost.
Maz mentioned that how she obtained the lightsaber was a “story for another day.” But is she omitting the grisly fact that maybe Luke’s hand was still clutching to it? When Rey presented the weapon to Luke on the cliffs of Ahch-To, maybe Luke’s biggest annoyance was that someone found the saber but didn’t think to bring his hand along with it. Maybe he wouldn’t have tossed it over his shoulder if they had.