View Poll Results: How has THE LAST JEDI affected your view of Luke Skywalker?

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  • Luke is GREATER than ever!

    24 25.81%
  • No change. Luke is Luke, just older.

    14 15.05%
  • Didn't like this take on him at all.

    55 59.14%
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  1. #166
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Walton View Post
    I still feel really ambivalent about The Last Jedi's characterization of Luke. I feel like it's brilliantly executed. Mark Hamill gives one of his finest performances, arguably Oscar-worthy (especially given the character's 40 year baggage and Mark's creative disagreements about the script).

    But I don't buy into the idea that Luke would truly think it best to stand by and do nothing while the space-Nazis take control of the galaxy.

    I do think Luke is more interesting when he's somewhat broken, but there's A LOT of middle ground between the Legends version (essentially a superhero) and him being a complete wreck. In a perfect world, we'd see a Luke who's cynical and witty, but still fully involved in the fight against tyranny. Luke didn't have the baggage with the Jedi that the film seemed to imply, since he wasn't trained in the traditional way and achieved his greatest victory by turning Vader against Yoda and Obi-Wan's advice. Luke was the ideal figure to re-shape the Jedi Order in a way that dealt openly and honestly with their failures.

    All that said, the climatic battle is Luke Skywalker's finest moment. One of my favorite scenes in the franchise.
    I’m mostly with you, but with one major caveat: O think the biggest mistake made with Luke in TLJ was the sheer size and enveloping nature’s of his role in the film, since it wound up hollowing out time and focus that should have gone to Rey, or to bulking up Kylo as a threat, or to giving Finn a worthwhile story.

    Hamill is doing a great job, and Johnson’s ambition came from the right place, and even though I do think TLJ Luke is ultimately out of character and dubiously written on a basic level, I think I could have run with it if the writing for the ST’s leads was up to snuff. I’m loose enough that I could look at Luke, figure he’s written out of character, but roll with it if I liked the rest of the film, and if Luke was a supporting character who’s arc didn’t become the centerpoint of the film.

    I mean, I was excited to see Luke, but I was putting down money to see the continuing story of Rey, Finn, and Kylo, not an epilogue to Luke’s story.

    There’s plenty of Han fans who have a point in saying that TFA’s version of Han seems to have regressed off-screen so that Abrams and Kasdan could portray a loner, smuggler Han separated from Leia, all without really adequately explaining that. But Han is ultimately a supporting character in TFA; not only is his “regressive” starting point handled for only a short amount of time so you can get over it quickly, but he’s used to sell Finn and Rey to the audience even more and his death at Kylo’s hands is used to define Kylo’s evil. So even if you don’t like Han’s story, if you like Finn, Rey or Kylo’s story, you can enjoy TFA because of how they used Han.

    TLJ puts way too much emphasis and time into Luke’s story, particularly considering its risky nature and how it really doesn’t build up Rey in any significant way. Rey is basically demoted to supporting character for Luke’s story (and Kylo’s as well, but that’s more because of the film ignoring her perspective for its man-crush on Kylo), and doesn’t receive “the rub” from Luke in any real way. She got one half-hearted, almost decent meditation lesson from Luke, than acted as an audience stand-in so Luke could explain his characterization to the audience with her other lesson, all before she left him to mail herself to Kylo. The only real service Luke performed for her arc was to supposedly drive her into Kylo’s influence (which makes no sense), and that’s it.

    Then he takes the actual climax away from her by confronting Kylo, who gets belittled and humiliated in a film that never really rebuilt him after his TFA loss in the first place, meaning that when Luke leaves the film, our heroine is underdeveloped and out villain is somewhat pathetic.

    And on top of all that, Luke’s shadow puppet show is supposed to be more motivating to the Galaxy than 1) the destruction of Starkiller Base in TFA, 2) the destruction of the Hosnian System in TFA (think Pearl Harbor-style anger for the Galaxy), 3) Holdo obliterating several Star Destroyers in one attack in TLJ (even if the moment is an example of poor writing), and 4) Rey lifting what amounts to a mountain to physically rescue the survivors Luke’s buying time for.

    To really, deeply, enjoy TLJ, you *have* to like Luke’s story. It’s too central to the plot and holds too large a monopoly on the significant moments of the narrative. And outside of *maybe* Rey and Kylo’s interaction (unless you’re revolted by its shoddy writing, like I am), there’s really nothing else significant to focus on. TLJ dismisses Snoke as a potential intriguing character, uses all the military plots to try and just resurrect the OT status quote, but sloppily, and has Finn running around in a circle so he can undergo redundant character growth of downright pathetic scale.

    And since TLJ’s story for Luke is risky, and since it really doesn’t handle critical thinking that well if you don’t jive with Rian Johnson’s creative impulses, the whole movie suffers as a result.
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  2. #167
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    Bringing this thing back from the dead because it’s the thread I can use to answer a more off-topic conversation I was having on another:

    Quote Originally Posted by WebLurker View Post

    Why was it out of character?

    As far as it being introduced in the wrong place, I kinda liked how it forced Rey to adjust her perceptions as she figured things out. I mean, over the movie, both her and Luke and right and wrong about different things, sometimes even a mix on the same point. I like that kind of writing and find it more interesting then the straight right/wrong difference.
    The central question for me with Luke is this: is he “broken” in a believable way, in a believable amount, and for believable reasons?

    We all knew after TFA Luke was broken. We know that Lucas had intended for Luke to be in exile as well. So h8m being in exile is not really the question. Neither to be frank, is his endpoint for TLJ - good writing can make any character do anything for believable reasons.

    But bad writing, which I do believe did end up in Luke’s story at a concert level, can signal a real change in character from an external source instead of an internal source.

    By which I mean this: there was no reason “Broken Luke” should be just a self-absorbed coward... but that is what he *is* in TLJ.

    And a lot of that comes down to some conceptual decisions undermining execution to the point where the execution points to him being out of character with previous portrayals.

    Luke’s initial goal in TLJ is to sit on his duff, doing nothing but waiting to die and griping meaninglessly, and wait to die... while billions are murdered by the First Order. His greatest failure, when it comes to his focus, is meant to be more for “betraying” and “pushing” Ben Solo to darkness... even though Ben Solo (in TLJ’s script) then immediately became a school shooter that *very night*, and frankly all those students deserve more sympathy than Ben.

    And the way the film plays it, Luke feels that the Jedi should die off, and that it’s better for his Neo-Nazi Mass Murderer of a nephew to be allowed to continue wreaking havoc unopposed by a Jedi than for him to do *anything*, at all. And all because he freaked out when reading his nephews mind and realizing he seemed to be a turd. Not that he read his nephews mind while he was sleeping in the first place, not that his nephew than murdered his other students, not even the kind of cruelly evil thought that his mistake was in holding back instead of killing Kylo. All of those would still be insufficient to explain his sedentary obsession with his own man pain and Ben’s feelings... but not as insufficient as him feeling he failed Rian Johnson’s man-crush,

    Abrams stuck Luke on the island with the First Jedi Temple, heavily implying he was there to do *something*, looking for something, and initially shot Luke’s introduction scene intending to have him surrounded by floating rocks. All the TFA and TLJ concept art featured Luke clearly there fro a purpose, with the Force as his companion. Lucas wanted him to be uncovering the Whills.

    And all Rian Johnson could come up with was a grouchy self-obsessed whiner lacking the OT Luke’s overwhelming compassion (to the point of it being a flaw in ESB), touch of pragmatic heroism (like being willing to just be bait to ensure Vader can’t find the strike team and that Vader and the Emperor die in ROTJ), and evolution into an emotionally mature man in the OT.

    You can *easily* break that character into an exiled hermit, but you’d need more reason fro him to break, you’d need more nuance to it than him just being an Oscar Bait-y navel gazer, and you’d still need him to be doing *something* on that island, both because that’s a core part of his character and because that’s the setup you’ve been given by TFA.

    Hamill was right to argue that there were problems to Luke’s story, just as he was right to acknowledge there was *some* artistic value in Johnson’s vision in hindsight.

    But this wasn’t Luke in The Last Jedi, and this wasn’t supposed to be Luke’s film, either. (For more on the latter point, see the previous post this thing was buried with.)
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  3. #168
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    Default Luke's characterization in TLJ

    So, I read that a lot of people were upset about how Luke was treated in TLJ. They called him a coward hermit and that he was destroyed to prop up Rey.

    Am I missing something?

    In ROTJ, Luke is younger and different. He wants to confront his father, he gets his passing Jedi grade from Yoda and he confronts DadVader and turns him back to the good side. Plus he wants to fight the good fight against Vader.

    In TLJ, Luke is older and different. He exiled himself because he felt that he failed Kylo Ren. He doubted himself. He has that little moment with Yoda later when the books are burnt. That little moment reminded me a lot of ESB in that he was an unwillfull student and Yoda had to hit him on the head to remind him of what's important about the Jedi teaching.

    He's afraid of Rey's power not because he's a coward but he's reminded of what he saw in Kylo Ren.

    People were upset that he went to kill Kylo. The attack happened in Kylo's version of the story. In Luke's version he stops himself and Kylo reacts to what he thinks is an attack.

    In the end, Luke comes back to fight for the resistance.

    So, I'm not seeing any kind of character asassination.

  4. #169
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    I think fans wanted something like Han and Leia in TFA, they might not be together anymore but he's still pretty much the same guy and wants to do the right thing. He's slightly hesitant about reuniting with Leia but that passes pretty quickly.

    I know that they were trying to draw some parrarels to Obi-Wan but Obi-Wan's exile wasn't really out of shame but necessity and once things started moving he was ready to get back into action immediately.

    Luke in the old EU, apart from marrying, starting a family and rebuilding the order was largely static, kind of stuck in his ROTJ version (Even on the covers taking place 20+ years after ROTJ he's still pretty much a 30ish clean-shaved Mark Hammil). The Mandalorian depiction is more of what fans wanted I think, Luke more or less in his ROTJ prime.
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  5. #170
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    Luke was the only one that saw good in Vader. Even Kenobi said he's more machine than man and a lost cause. Still, Luke surrendered to the Empire, pleaded with his father, and almost died saving him. Luke was hope in a near hopeless situation.

    Now we have the Sequel Trilogy. Kylo Ren has the potential to be evil. So Luke decides to put him down. Things are looking bad? So we'll have Luke go into hiding and become a hermit drinking...whatever the hell milk that was.
    - Wow, why are fans upset?

    It should have been Luke ready to save Kylo Ren, not overpowered Rey.

    Yes, everybody in that Sequel Trilogy was used to prop up Rey and yes, Luke's Character was completely crapped on. Even at the end of TFA, Rey was sent up to give Luke his Lightsaber? Not his own sister let alone somebody in the cast he actually knows?

    The Sequel had some big potential. The idea of Han and Leia having a son training with Luke sounds awesome.

    Thank goodness for the Mandalorian. "talent is nothing without training"
    Last edited by Godzilla2099; 05-28-2021 at 10:20 AM.

  6. #171

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    Quote Originally Posted by Godzilla2099 View Post
    Luke was the only one that saw good in Vader. Even Kenobi said he's more machine than man and a lost cause. Still, Luke surrendered to the Empire, pleaded with his father, and almost died saving him. Luke was hope in a near hopeless situation.

    Now we have the Sequel Trilogy. Kylo Ren has the potential to be evil. So Luke decides to put him down. Things are looking bad? So we'll have Luke go into hiding and become a hermit drinking...whatever the hell milk that was.
    - Wow, why are fans upset?

    It should have been Luke ready to save Kylo Ren, not overpowered Rey.

    Yes, everybody in that Sequel Trilogy was used to prop up Rey and yes, Luke's Character was completely crapped on. Even at the end of TFA, Rey was sent up to give Luke his Lightsaber? Not his own sister let alone somebody in the cast he actually knows?

    The Sequel had some big potential. The idea of Han and Leia having a son training with Luke sounds awesome.

    Thank goodness for the Mandalorian. "talent is nothing without training"
    Yeah I think that's the biggest problem. A broken Luke by itself is not a terrible idea. It can work but the way he's broken has too also work. I can think of ways too get the same result with a different means.

  7. #172
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    The latest volume of the Star Wars does an OK job with dealing with Luke struggling with the stuff from EMPIRE. (Part of the comics's first issue actually takes place during ESB, between the Falcon's hyperspace escape and Lando leaving with the Falcon while Luke is in the medical bay).
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  8. #173
    Mighty Member Godzilla2099's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MASTER-OF-SUPRISE View Post
    Yeah I think that's the biggest problem. A broken Luke by itself is not a terrible idea. It can work but the way he's broken has too also work. I can think of ways too get the same result with a different means.
    I wouldn't mind if Luke had a period of being a little bummed out. He could have been in nomad stage to think things out, saw a village about to get crushed by an avalanche but before he could help, its stopped by elders of the village using the force. The twist was that those elders were children Vader supposedly 'killed' at the temple. Turns out he let them go but never use the force again or else...and they believe him.

    That gives Luke the morale he needed (Because he was right about his dad) to go out there and help his sister save his nephew

    The Entire Sequel Trilogy was easily one of the worst written projects I've seen. Made me appreciate the Prequels so much more.

  9. #174
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    Luke characterization was my biggest problem with that mess.

    I was expecting him to die I know was necessary fot the history to focus on Rey, but his death was so lame and void of meanning, and hat projection a trick so stupid that I just hated it.

    A good death making an effort to fix his mistakesand lefting a high note wasn't too much to ask for. Instead he commited suicide making a lame joke call. So out character.
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  10. #175
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coatl View Post
    Luke characterization was my biggest problem with that mess.

    I was expecting him to die I know was necessary fot the history to focus on Rey, but his death was so lame and void of meanning, and hat projection a trick so stupid that I just hated it.

    A good death making an effort to fix his mistakesand lefting a high note wasn't too much to ask for. Instead he commited suicide making a lame joke call. So out character.
    I feel like there’s a certain requirement to TLJ, and especially to Luke’s death:

    - You kind of have to either have a privileged POV and be ignorant and apathetic about other, more justified POVs, or at least be willing to play along.

    TLJ is a film best experienced by a successful but depressed white dude looking for encouragement that they can do the *bare minimum* and get praised for it. Barring that, you have to choose to ignore everything that would make that POV not work for you.

    To put it bluntly, it’s a load of rich kid bullcrap that Luke in TLJ is supposed to inspire people if Finn in TFA wasn’t supposed to inspire them more.
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  11. #176
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    I loved the luke from tlj more than anything really. The thing is hes more like yoda when yoda is in exile but hes got a big famous family he carries and people look up to and then ben betrays him and that devastates him and thats where he doubts himself. But he finally gets it when rey comes and so he helps the rebels but he knows can't save his nephew since theres a lot of unstable emotion in him.

  12. #177
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    I kinda actually liked cranky old man Luke, too bad the character was short-lived.

  13. #178
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    Quote Originally Posted by bullrun27 View Post
    I loved the luke from tlj more than anything really. The thing is hes more like yoda when yoda is in exile but hes got a big famous family he carries and people look up to and then ben betrays him and that devastates him and thats where he doubts himself. But he finally gets it when rey comes and so he helps the rebels but he knows can't save his nephew since theres a lot of unstable emotion in him.
    Quote Originally Posted by wjowski View Post
    I kinda actually liked cranky old man Luke, too bad the character was short-lived.
    The thing is, Yoda actually still shows compassion to the wider Galaxy, only retreated to exile when he had no choice, and was actually useful to Luke’s story. TLJ!Luke is mostly a self-centered coward in comparisons… but he didn’t have to be. Grumpy Old Man Luke could still have trained Rey, still have had a better reason for being in exile, and likely had all thre strengths and none of the man, many weaknesses.

    I really feel like most of TLJ’s “good” stuff with Luke is held back by the way Johnson castrates the rest of the film - and the character’s previous portrayal - to try and restrict everything to a moral victory for Luke that’s just not that inspiring.

    - He denigrates the victories of Finn, Rey, Han, and Poe from TFA so that his paltry smoke show from Luke can be “inspiring.” Bullshit. Finn in TFA is exponentially more insipidity than TLJ’s Luke.
    - He uses Rey as a window to his Luke story rather than using Luke to sell Rey’s story, get her trained, and flesh out her character. Luke had the OT, and it was great. But because Johnson wants to “fix” him by injecting pure cynicism into the tale, Rey loses an entire film so that a pity party can take center stage.
    - He embraces an elitist perspective for Luke that honestly makes Luke seem like he only really cares about his family and his pride, rather than about the Galaxy. The nonsense “Jedi would only make things worse” idea is bullshit as presented by Johnson - lightweight Gen-X commentary with no critical thinking behind it.

    And I just don’t feel like the film treated the Skywalker family legacy the way it should have for its purposes. Luke being excited about Ben’s “mighty Skywalker blood” doesn’t mesh with Luke knowing the full horror of what Vader was, and how much of a burden the family legacy was already - which would have made a better reason for him trying to stay out of the fight.

    Hamill’s performance is fantastic. But I don’t want to see this selfish coward again.
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