Luke Skywalker: The Hero’s History and Future

A long time ago, in an interview that seems far, far away, The Maker himself said that the sequel trilogy would explore more grey than any of its predecessors. Despite his absence from the product, this seems to still be the path the franchise is following.

The new Star Wars is very grey. While the prequels were clearly about the fall into darkness, and the original trilogy about the rise from it, the sequel trilogy is fertile ground for anything and everything in between. With the death of Han Solo, Disney has proven that they are willing to try new things and take risks, not just provide fan service and bring in the billions.

One possible avenue I have heard the internet mumble about is that they might consider exploring is Luke Skywalker turning to the dark side. I have to say that this scares me to the point that I have literally lost sleep considering the possibility of Luke turning. Basically, were this to happen, the original trilogy would be useless. All the growth he made from a whiny teenager to a distinguished and honorable leader would be null and void. The hero of generations would become nothing more than another waste of cinematic potential.

Luke would have to have a major change in character to turn to the dark side.

Thankfully, I don’t think that this is going to happen, as there is much canon evidence, both past and present,  that Luke is still intended to be the hero of the light forevermore. For one, his exposed mechanical hand in The Force Awakens is a throwback to the end of Return of the Jedi, wherein he has his mechanical hand exposed and sees that he is on the verge of becoming exactly what he is trying to save his father from. That is the turning point that makes Luke realize that you do not defeat darkness by fighting it, but rather admitting that it is a part of you and allowing the light and the darkness to exist together because without one you cannot have the other. It is likely that Luke has not put skin back on his mechanical limb so as to serve as a constant reminder of this lesson.

Further, of course, Luke is wearing Jedi looking robes at the end of The Force Awakens that are very light, the lightest we have seen since meeting Ben Kenobi. It would be against the nature of Luke, whose clothes seem to match the tone of his mental state throughout the original trilogy, to wear light robes were he in darkness or even struggling with it. Consider how Luke’s attire gets darker and darker throughout the original trilogy, and how they reflect his current state and attitude. His current robes seem to say “pure” and “light.”

Even more importantly, Leia has not felt him fall to the darkness. In Jedi, when Luke tells her that she is her sister, she says that she has somehow always known. This implies that there is an innate connection between the two via the Force, and therefore it is completely implausible that she would not have felt something, especially when seeing the impact Han’s death has on her.

All of this adds up to a lot of evidence that Luke is not going to fall to the dark side in the sequel trilogy. The story of Star Wars has gone quite far to show that Luke is clearly of the light. This is not to say that they will not make him go a little bit towards the dark to create the grey that George Lucas spoke of all those interviews ago.

This is not something that is out of character for Luke, even with all of the light we have seen within him. In his youth, Luke had a tendency to get angry and frustrated when things did not go his way. When he returns from the homestead after seeing his family brutally murdered, he accepts Ben’s offer to become a Jedi with a bit of darkness in his eyes. In Empire, we see his need to help his friends cause him to rush to Cloud City, which costs him more than a hand. As Luke fights Darth Vader, he has no choice but to become more and more aggressive, and thus more dark, as the fight goes on. In the end he does prove that he is willing to die rather than turn to the darkness by jumping from where he hangs, possibly into his end. Even though he is saved, and one would imagine that learning that Vader is his father would cause him to want to stay far from anything even remotely dark side, the next time we see him he is covered in black and choking guards. Sure, he saves his friends, but he also kills a lot of people. And when he faces Vader yet again, he makes the darkness he embraced before look like child’s play. The underlying theme of the entire original trilogy is that struggle to overcome darkness.

  • Luke came close to the dark side before, and it caused him to make a choice.

Eventually, the true hero emerges and Luke saves Vader from the dark side. More than anything else, I think this is the point worth focusing on because it shows that Luke’s moral code is strong, even in the face of certain death at the hands of Palpatine. He refuses to break, despite bending. He never gives up, and he never gives in.

The question then becomes not if Luke will turn to the dark side, because he most certainly will not. The question is: what lesson did Luke learn from all of this? Did he learn to embrace both light and dark, and will he teach Rey this? Did he learn that a Jedi should not fight at all? Did he learn that the Force is not what any of us ever imagined it to be?

There are so many possibilities, and this makes the potential of the sequel trilogy quite thrilling. What do you think will happen with Luke? Comment below!


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