This post idea came to me as I was updating my Tumblr account and noticed a GIF set taken from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. I suddenly became so aware of Luke’s suffering and strength in this one particular scene. If you haven’t seen Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back, please leave my blog RIGHT now and go watch it – no, seriously! It is one of my favourite Star Wars movies for many reasons but for this post, I’d like to focus on something that I’ve been arguing ever since the writers decided to turn Luke into a crazy old Hermit in The Force Awakens.
In this scene, we see a battered, weary, suffering Luke Skywalker who has faced quite possibly the worst thing in the universe you could face as a protagonist. Your very own father is literally the embodiment of all that is evil, and you’ve just faced him in an epic duel and lost monumentally. If that weren’t enough, you’ve also lost your hand, the support of your friends is half a galaxy away and you’re really at the lowest possible place both physically and psychologically. Just look at Luke’s expression. He’s just done and I mean done.
Now consider this is the same man that becomes Luke Skywalker in The Force Awakens. People who find themselves in this situation in their lives usually never recover. Some choose to give in altogether because all is lost. And who could blame them? Luke Skywalker however, takes that fear, hurt and pain to a different place and calls on his strength in the Force to save him. Is this the action of a beaten, downtrodden man who is running and hiding from his fears?
If that isn’t enough of an argument, not only does Luke recover but he eventually becomes a Jedi Knight like he promised he would. He completes his training with Grand Master Yoda and faces his father one last time in the epic Original Trilogy finale, Return of the Jedi. In the final moments, Luke refuses to give into the dark side (no small feat), forgives his father and allows Darth Vader to truly fulfil his destiny as The Chosen One and come back to the light as Jedi Anakin Skywalker once more.
And this is why I will never agree with how the writers took the essence of everything Luke represented in the Star Wars universe and kinda spat on it. Maybe he was redeemed at the end (well, that is what some of my friends think) and the way he passed on was beautiful and all that. But it still doesn’t excuse how he was dragged through the mud first.