Did Luke Skywalker deserve better?
The simple answer to that question would be yes, he did.
As to why he deserved better, that’s exactly what I’m going to argue right now. It would be remiss of me if I didn’t preface this by stating my opinion of The Last Jedi. Right now one of the most bitter battles is between those that hate it and those that love it; I’m not sure I fall into either category. There are aspects of it I love and there are aspects I could do without. So, in this ongoing war, I’m smack in the middle as I’m neither a hater nor a lover.
Luke Skywalker’s Importance
Whether you like him or not—and I’ve met very few that truly don’t like Luke Skywalker—you can’t deny his importance. Luke Skywalker isn’t just important to the fans, old and new, but to the saga itself; he’s the most prominent main character in the original trilogy.
And yet, he doesn’t have his own theme in the original trilogy. The reason being is that the main theme is technically his song. You know that tune that everyone relates to Star Wars, even when you’ve never seen it? It was created with Luke Skywalker in mind. In the words of Star Wars composer John Williams:
“When I thought of a theme for Luke and his adventures, I composed a melody that reflected the brassy, bold, masculine, and noble qualities I saw in the character”
Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, talks about John Williams and about the first time he found out about it in an interview for projectorandorchestra.com.
So, to say he is important is an understatement. I was one of those that agreed with JJ Abrams that Luke should be the cliffhanger of The Force Awakens. He needed to set up the new saga in such a way to be interesting to old and new fans. Despite only being in the last scene, Luke is present throughout the movie. The hope of his appearance created an excitement towards the new series and what would happen next.
Then comes The Last Jedi and, well, everyone has seen what happened. We got greeted with a Luke Skywalker that didn’t feel like Luke Skywalker.
Is That Luke?
I understand that people change over the years, especially after trauma, and I’ve argued it myself. But the point remains we saw very little of the Luke we all love.
I love the scene with Leia, even if I wish he had physically been there, and I love the way he stands up to Kylo. Yet we barely see a reaction out of him regarding Han despite the fact that they were best friends. We barely see a reaction out of anyone other than Rey, but that’s a whole other issue and I won’t get into it right now.
I understand Luke being hopeless and not wanting to help Rey at first. But then it is like he barely even tries when he does help. We get very few training scenes until he technically gives up. And he wouldn’t have tried to kill his nephew while the kid slept in his bed, not even for a single second.
This is the same man that wouldn’t give up when his evil father was trying to kill him. He didn’t give up on Vader; in fact, he brought about his redemption. Is The Last Jedi trying to tell me that he’d change so fundamentally? That’s what I don’t buy.
The Death of an Icon
I definitely don’t think he should have died. It was bad enough that Han died. Not to mention all the other original characters that were implied to have died. I get that it is a war but it feels a disservice to those that made the series what it was.
Yes, it feels like a disservice to Mark Hamill, who put his heart and soul into Luke. Mark Hamill is sweet to pretty much all his fans, and he gives them the freedom to see Luke as they want to see him. If it makes them feel better than that is a good enough reason for Luke to be gay, straight, bisexual, etc. in their eyes.
I think he and his character both deserved better if only because of the love they’ve shown everyone over the years. It does not matter if you love or hate The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker still deserved better.