An open letter to any fans who may have felt disappointed with Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi.
Dear Fan of Luke,
I’m guessing you had an attachment to Luke Skywalker growing up. I’m guessing you thought that one day you might be like him. Perhaps you dressed up as him on occasion and perhaps you were inspired by him to be courageous and full of heart as you got older. It’s okay. At one point we all fall in love with a character who speaks to us on a level no one else will ever understand. Especially when we’re children.
I’m guessing when you found out that Mark Hamill would reprise his role as Luke, you freaked out and maybe cried. You were going to see the hero you admired come back, older and wiser. You wanted to see him in action again. You wanted to see him ignite his lightsaber. You know, the one he threw to the side after the Emperor asked him to kill his own father. Luke proved himself, he’d never turn to the dark side. He believed it and we, as an audience, believed it.
The next time you saw Luke, he looked unkept and a little crazy. Why? What happened to the hero you once knew? Well, the story goes that he wanted to train his nephew who was strong in the Force. His nephew, however, was so attracted to the Dark Side that even Luke was fearful. Is it so hard to believe that one of the greatest heroes whoever lived, could be scared? The story continues that Luke became so fearful he decided to invade his nephew’s mind in the middle of the night. No, Luke would never do this… not our Luke Skywalker. And there it is. He isn’t our Luke Skywalker.
He’s a character in a series written by so many wonderfully different and talented people. Everyone has their own version of Luke Skywalker that they want to believe in. And that is okay. The Luke that we saw in The Last Jedi is the same Luke from A New Hope and on. Thirty years have passed. It is safe to say that Luke has seen some shit. He worked so hard and gained the knowledge he felt he needed to start training the next generation of Jedi. Can we really blame him for wanting to get rid of the person who was going to burn it all down? That moment was fleeting, but it was profound and it affected Luke for the rest of his life.
He knew what he did was wrong. He knew what he thought he was about to do was wrong. And because he felt ashamed and lost hope, he chose to punish himself by leaving everything and everyone behind, including the Force. Luke lost hope. When he was younger he was full of hope. He looked off into those twin suns and dreamt of a bigger and better life. He eventually got what he wanted, but sometimes those things that you dream of don’t even satisfy you in the end.
When Luke is eventually approached by Rey, he is in a mental state where he can’t even think about training another Jedi. He failed and he refuses to create another Kylo Ren. It’s understandable. It isn’t until Yoda reminds him of what it is to be a master and a hero and to never lose hope in those who bring light with them.
When Luke appears on Crait as a Force Projection he does it knowing that the feat could cost him his life. At this point, Luke doesn’t care. He needs to be there to inspire hope in the rebellion and the galaxy and us, yes, even us. He tells his nephew that he will not win and disappears into thin air. Did that disappoint you? Did you want Luke to actually be there and be weak and old and die at the hands of his nephew? Or did you want him to live and kill Ben Solo in front of his sister on Crait? It seems the best course of action was something we could have only dreamt up.
You don’t have to like The Last Jedi. You don’t have like old Luke. We as an audience just need to accept that the Luke who dies on Ach-To is the same Luke who kicked ass on Tatooine. His story, for the most part, is complete. He did amazing things when you were younger and he did some not-so-amazing things when you were older, but most importantly at one point in your life, he gave you hope. Never forget that.
PS: We are all Broom Boy.