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Doing Luke Better

Discussion in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' started by Adam812, Aug 18, 2018.

  1. Adam812

    Adam812 Rebel Commander

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    A lot of people really hated the way the character of Luke was used in TLJ. I personally didn’t hate it but understand why others do.

    Given what Abrams and Kasdan already set up in The Force Awakens, I am curious to hear what could have been done differently. In TFA, we learn he felt responsible for Ben Solo’s rebellion and exiled himself.
    We also know he never came to help Han and Leia in that film. Surely he would have come to their aid had he sensed what was going on. Especially with the Republic capitol being blown up. If Luke was the hero we knew and loved, he wouldn’t have needed to be sought out by Rey. He would halve gotten out of his slump and came to the aid of the resistance on his own.

    So the character arc given to Luke in TLJ makes perfect sense to me given what TFA set up. It seems natural to me that TLJ would give Luke a redemption story. I can’t think of any other way it could have gone.
    I think it is only fair for JJ to share the blame for the way Luke was handled. What else could have been done better for Luke given what was established?
     
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  2. AstromechRecords

    AstromechRecords Jedi General

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    He had actually cut himself off of the force so he couldn't have sensed them...but once he knew, he could have done a lot more...while he would have been more powerful in death, his death in TLJ was too unnecessary
     
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  3. Sparafucile

    Sparafucile Rebel Official

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    I never wanted or expected any of the OT3 or 4(Lando) to be front and center. To be honest, I was surprised they were so central to the story line and my feelings on that are mixed. Before TFA, I was open to Luke being anything from the bad guy (a la Vader, starting TFA evil and exploring how he got there through the trilogy) to being the hero, but mostly I expected him to be play a role similar to Obi-Wan in ANH.

    After TFA, we knew he lost his academy and a pupil, his nephew in a tragic way, and left everything and everyone. As far as I remember, that was pretty much all the info given, and it was delivered by Han, as in, his pov. I think that's an important distinction to make here, this being SW.

    So going from TFA, Luke did not necessarily have to be cut off from the Force. That tidbit was all RJ.

    He did not necessarily have to have committed anything evil, wrong or bad, but likely would have at least felt responsible (rightly or wrongly, justified or not) for his perceived failure. That's not to say he couldn't have done anything evil, just that it wasn't needed, that was a determination needed to be made by RJ and his team (looking at Luke creeping his nephew in his room here).

    Luke's x-wing did not have to be inoperable, that too was a decision made by RJ that was his baby.

    I think it's fair to ascertain based on Han's interpretation that Luke would have been either depressed, angry, fearful, sad, disillusioned, while other possibilities could be he was at peace with his decision, content, lonely, shrouded I mystery, he could have taken on a new student secretly, the whole leaving the world as a way to focus on doing right for just one. The possibilities are really endless. It could have been any combination of the above and probably others I haven't thought to mention right at this moment.

    For myself, after TFA I expected a gruff and grumpy Luke, which I got. I assumed he would have still been the good decent man from RotJ at heart, but feeling the loss of his students and his nephew to the dark side, following the path of his master Obi-Wan with his Vader could have been devastating enough imo.

    If I take issue with something, is RJ's attempt to try and get sympathy for Kylo through the narrative, then doubling back on it. We seen it in TFA, now we see it again in TLJ, in both instances they very much seem to be absolutes.

    In TFA, I was under the impression that Kylo did not struggle that much to kill his father, that in the end, he wanted to do it out of hate and to complete his training and impress Snoke. At least that's how I interpreted it after Han's death. I felt the conflict within leading up to that climax, but I wasn't sure it was genuine or an act to lure his father to him. I thought that was cleverly done, a neat subversion because we weren't privy to Kylo's inner thoughts, the story in TFA was clearly about Rey.

    In TLJ, they play on a similar theme, but it had already been done. I think it having almost exact same result takes something away from it, it's like a rehash of a rehash. At this point, I think it shows that RJ was writing his story before JJ's product was done. So back to the topic at hand, I feel Luke was utilized primarily as a tool to give sympathy to Kylo, only to show he wasn't worthy of said sympathy. It reduces Luke, and though I did not need him to be the hero of this story, I simply feel it disrespected him and the OT in a way by going this far to explain something that in the end didn't even matter (Kylo's potential redemption and goodness).

    Instead they doubled down on Kylo being evil, which I think is great, but they didn't need to drag Luke through the mud for that, it had already been done in TFA. It's like the same story was told twice. "Look people, Kylo's the villain, oh wait, maybe there's good there, oh no he killed his dad and nearly killed Finn and probably would have killed Rey had he been able." to go back to TLJ where "Look people, Kylo's evil, oh wait, Rey senses good, oh, and look, it's Luke's fault he's evil, but he's still good, he can't kill his mom... oh wait, he's still evil and is losing his feces trying to kill Rey, his mom and the entire resistance."

    I think the series could work if it came from Leia's and Han's eyes, but form Rey's it loses something and doesn't feel genuine. I can see a parent wanting to believe in the goodness of their child, but not a stranger who witnessed this person kill a father figure and try and kill her, not to mention mind rape her.

    I think the story could have been told and left Luke's integrity and character more intact then what he was at the end of TLJ. I don't feel his portrayal in TLJ was necessary to the story, especially after Kylo once again chooses evil.
     
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  4. Mosley909

    Mosley909 Rebel General

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    For me it didn't feel like it was a natural progression, standing there in Jedi robes looks mournful and wistful then he tosses the lightsaber over his head in Slap Stick/Spoof like manner and goes and gets changed into grumpy clothes, I found it really jarring.

    It might of worked for me if they had demonstrated to the audience that this isn't the Luke we remember in a slightly more subtle less slapstick manner. watching those first few Luke scenes I have to remind myself this is the actual film not a spoof sketch.

    Plus even they did do it better, I still don't understand why they would want to go the route they did with Luke, pretty much every Star Wars fan for as long as I've known them has been looking forward to seeing Luke back on screen and getting to go on an adventure with him as a full blown Jedi master. If you where listing the things fans wanted to see most in this trilogy that would likely have been top by some distance. So when they finally get the chance to do that and they decide not to, you have to give fans something utterly spectacular to even beat a crap version of what people have talking about for 30+ years, so when they use that opportunity as just another subversion in a film thats drowning in them, and then just killl him off, well its just sad.
     
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  5. NinjaRen

    NinjaRen Supreme Leader

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    For my part I wanted Luke even "worse", respectively more broken and with more deeds to deal with. For example him being responsible for the death of Rey's parents.
    An all mighty and wise Luke would have been pretty boring.
     
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  6. Mosley909

    Mosley909 Rebel General

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    If they where going for the broken down Luke they needed to excute it better the comedic almost spoof like tone they went for just felt stupid. It felt that the need to subvert expectations above story.

    I don't disagree that an all knowing all powerful Luke would have been dull, including characters like that just kill films becuase their is no threat. But that doesn't mean your only option you have is to have either a broken down Luke or an all powerful Luke. it doesn't have to be as black and white as that.

    Plus even if you wanted to show a broken down Luke, which could of been really intresting if it was done in a bit less of a silly way, you could have done a great story of him putting himself back together to try and make up for his wrongs and have him go on that adventure fans have wanted to see for 3 decades and this was our only chance to do.
     
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  7. Rayjefury

    Rayjefury Force Sensitive

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    In TFA we learn Han's perspective of what happened with Luke. IMO there is nothing that locks us into that story line, anymore than we are locked into Luke's father being killed by Vader because Obi Wan said it ANH. There was no requirement for a broken, Force disconnected, waiting-to-die, Luke - those IMO were all Rian's choices.

    There were a myriad of ways to explain Luke being gone:

    He went to Ach-To for answers and falls into a Force Coma
    He went to Ach-To for answers and falls into a Force Trap/Suspended Animation
    He went to Ach-To for answers and is caught in between worlds

    There is probably an infinite number of ways to explain why Luke was actually gone. Rian chose to write that it was because he ashamed of contemplating murdering his nephew in his sleep. To me, a completely unacceptable and ultimately unnecessary re-imagining of Luke all for the sake of building empathy for a character who arguably does not need it for the trilogy to work.
     
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  8. Force238

    Force238 Rebel Commander

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    I think the issue is that Luke's character in TLJ was not consistent with the character development in ROTJ - an issue already discussed in details elsewhere and pointed out by Mark Hamill himself. However, if the following changes were made in TLJ, then I believe Luke's character would have been consistent with ROTJ and with the set-up in TFA.

    1. I would remove the story element where Luke thought briefly about killing Ben and so causing the massacre at the "Jedi academy".
    2. I would add a story element where Luke had visions of him killing Ben in the future instead of redeeming Ben. This would be why Luke had isolated himself on Ahch-To, in order to prevent the outcome where his beloved nephew would die at Luke's own hands. Then when Luke told Rey "this is not going the way you think", it would dawn on him that he had scolded Rey for doing what he had done - namely to have blind trust in force visions of the future - which he realized could be a mistake. This would provide a plausible reason why Luke then changed his mind and decided to help the Resistance. (With the current version of TLJ, I still don't quite understand how the actions of Rey and Yoda caused Luke to change his mind.) As for Luke's visions, they would be mistaken interpretations of what happened on Crait.
     
    #8 Force238, Aug 18, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2018
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  9. p03

    p03 Force Sensitive

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    Honestly if you watched the pre interviews of TLJ you should have known what we were going to get. Was it a natural direction? Nope. He saw good in his father but not his nephew? Makes zero sense to me but people see this as a natural progression? :confused:
     
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  10. BrotherRoyVA

    BrotherRoyVA Rebel General

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    I think if they wanted to show that Ben is so far gone, they should've done it later in the movie after Luke had fought heroically to save him. The whole tired, ashamed, and wanting to die Luke didn't feel natural and the reason for it also felt forced. Luke didn't even try. He knew Snoke had gotten to Ben and like Rey said, at that time Ben had not made a choice. It was Luke's attempt to kill Ben that pushed him toward Snoke. Instead, up until that point, Ben was still with his Uncle training from what it seemed. Now, Ben seems more at war with the fact his family betrayed him and that has pushed him far into the dark side. All unnecessary and unnatural due to way Luke was handled.
     
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  11. greenbalrog

    greenbalrog Rebel Commander

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    I agree. In my mind after the events of TFA I always thought Luke went to Ahch-To looking for answers, and then ... something happened. It felt so natural for that to be the case that in a way I still long for that to have been or be the case and that we were only told half of the story.

    My turn.

    Luke went to Ahch-To looking for answers, and then...

    ... he was closed off from the force against his will due to some trap/event.
    ... something happened and he got stranded there and couldn't communicate outside the Island. So, he took the time to explore and study the place.
    ... and he found that the recent generation of Jedi got it all wrong from sacred books/visions/inscriptions and this time he would fix it.
    ... he realized that he would need to be on the island for quite some time to be able to medidate/train/explore long enough to acquire a piece of knowledge or an artifact.
    ... he did something that consciously or inadvertently caused (or made him feel) a very strong surge on the force (Rey)
    ... he lost his Jedi powers, diminished and became just Luke. Ashamed of this and not seeing how we could be of help he just stayed there waiting to find answers.
    ... he was not himself (or at least not as we knew him) because: a) he lost his mind; b) he converted to a new order he learned from the first Jedi temple; c) was cast a Jedi mind trick from the most powerful Force wielder alive.
    ... he could not return because of some reason so he provoked Rey's force visions, awakened R2 and hoped Rey would find him to get him back to the fight
    Or, a mix of the above.

    And I'm sure there would be many more ideas based on the premise Luke went to Ahch-To looking for answers that would be much better than these.

    So, Luke could return with answers or even new powers to help turn the tide of events, with or without the direct help of Rey, possibly with. He would train her, and then they could have an argument about Ben. The rest could be exactly the same. Rey leaves saying she has seen the future. Luke says she is not ready, that she will not succeed and that "things will not go the way [she] thinks". Rey leaves anyway, Luke stays behind. Rey would fail to turn Kylo, the same way everything happened. In the end, we could have Rey joining the Rebels on Crait (instead through the Falcon) and Luke would do his force projection showdown (a trick he learned in Ahch-To) because that was the only way to help them. Rey could then do the same rock lifting trick and save everybody, now from the inside the cave, and the rest would be identical.

    Conclusion: Rey was not ready. Her intentions were good but naive, and she learned her lesson. Luke was the consensual Luke. To make Rey look better in this scenario, we could re-inforce Snoke's influence on her via their skype call. Luke stalls the First Order, Rey saves the Rebels in the cave by lifting rocks. The Last Jedi Team in action exactly the same as in TLJ. The difference would be that Luke's motivations to go to Ahch-To and the reason he did not return would be completely diferent, and with that I don't think you'd have half the backlash TLJ received, at least not on what Luke is concerned.


    The Luke I knew would never give up on his friends and would do anything in his power to find help or answers to help them in any way he could, unless he would not be himself due to some external factor. In TLJ we could say he was not himself due to an internal factor (himself), or, and this is where I think many dislike the approach, Luke was not strong enough and felt defeated. And again, I feel many think the reason he felt defeated was not strong enough. Yes, he contemplated killing his nephew during his sleep, but personally, and that was the major reason the film gave us, I find that insufficient for him to give up on everything and exile himself in Ahch-To.

    A defeated and depressed Luke who went to the most infindable place in the galaxy to just hide and disconnect from the force because he was convinced he was part of the problem is plausible, in a "real world" sense, but I don't think that was the story, in a "movie sense", a large section of Luke fans (including myself, and Hamill himself) would want to see. I like it from a certain point of view, but I don't find it a very consistent or satisfying enough progression to Luke's arc, even considering his final showdown, and only after being convinced by his former master that that was the right thing to do.
     
    #11 greenbalrog, Aug 19, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2018
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  12. Rayjefury

    Rayjefury Force Sensitive

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    Honestly, I think the Luke in TLJ is the Luke that Rian wanted to see, but not one anyone else generally wanted to see - especially after a 30 year hiatus. The "gotcha" moment / "Don't Meet Your Hero" Lesson just isn't worth the radical re-imagining Luke that we got. Rian's approach was much better suited to a stand a lone movie, his type of story telling was absoLUTELY the wrong choice for Ep 8
     
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  13. Background Character

    Background Character Rebel Official

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    In my opinion, it was a hell of a lot more interesting than simply spoon-feeding fans exactly what they were expecting to see. A predictable and safe movie is exactly what we didn't need after the fan-pleasing homage that TFA was.
     
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  14. Rayjefury

    Rayjefury Force Sensitive

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    The people who changed Coca Cola's formula back in 85 probably thought the same thing. "This will be more interesting than what people have already demonstrated they liked, let's do the unexpected and the unnecessary."

    They suffered a similar debacle (but seemed to learn from their mistake faster).

    I'm sure some people didn't mind the change, but I honestly think it was a bad decision.
     
  15. Moral Hazard

    Moral Hazard Force Sensitive

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    I like the thread and the poster's ideas.
    After my initial viewing I had thought maybe they could have had Luke a bit like Galen in RO!

    But for all these interesting ideas it seems to me that doing Luke “better” comes at the cost of either removing Luke's agency, undermining crucial story beats in TFA, or losing (sometimes subtle) messages that are important parts of the second film's story.
    Those and the other key elements in Han's exposition:
    • That Luke felt responsible.
    So the event had to be something related to Luke's actions or inactions.
    Like it or not, I thought it was at least interesting to see the writers go somewhere straddling both!
    • That Luke walked away from everything.
    So the event had to be significant enough to get Luke to question his place in the universe.
    Like it or not, at least Luke's moody reaction to his existential crisis was classic male Skywalker!
    You're not wrong. But I felt with the OT change there was at least some motive for Obi-wan to be 'wrong' and that the decision added multiple facets of drama.

    Here it's tricky. Even if the writers milked drama out of Han being mistaken it would seem odd that a credible and well-informed character (one of those who knew Luke best) would spout nonsense exposition to the leads specifically when he's there for the purposes of veracity and sapience.
    There was always going to be something that Luke was ashamed of after JJ's story choices - the character was always going to have had a weakness exploited.

    That older Jedi remain susceptible to bending fear to anger doesn't require a "re-imagining" of Luke. All it requires is acceptance and acknowledgment of the universe created by George Lucas.
     
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  16. Background Character

    Background Character Rebel Official

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    There's a difference between changing the taste of a commercial soft drink product and evolving a character in a 9-part epic saga. If you view Luke Skywalker as a commercial product tailored to appeal to a consumer, you'd be right. But in terms of telling a rich story with characters who evolve over time, who grow and change as a result of their experiences, good or bad, it's far more interesting and relatable to give us the Luke we didn't expect, as opposed to a man who hasn't changed one bit in 35 years for the sake of keeping with what is familiar and expected.
     
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  17. Sparafucile

    Sparafucile Rebel Official

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    A few points.

    Luke isn't Anakin, nor was he raised by Anakin. Yes, they share some genes, but in no way does Luke have to follow Anakin's moodiness. The argument to that is of course, he could, he just doesn't have to. We didn't really see that in Luke in the OT, baring when he gets his hand cut off, but that's an extreme circumstance.

    We'll have to agree to disagree on some elements. I see removing the flash back scenes as only having positives to the story overall. Knowing that Luke fought and failed with Ben really all that is needed, placing blame on Luke is not necessary. Luke could be ashamed that he held back allowing to defeat him (and thus go on to kill or turn his students) or he could be ashamed and humiliated that Ben flat out beat him. He could have been ashamed that Ben had fooled him into a trap, or that Ben had more charisma and was able to turn his students under his nose.

    The point is, there were many reasons why Luke could have been ashamed and stayed away, many of those work far better imo than what we got in TLJ.
     
    #17 Sparafucile, Aug 20, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
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  18. Ghost of Obi Wan Kenobi

    Ghost of Obi Wan Kenobi Rebel General

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    Luke was handled well in TLJ. The only thing I would really change is showing more scenes of Luke alone, so that way we would “get inside his head” and understand his thought-processes better. We didn’t really get much of that in the film. Luke was sneaking around the falcon for a minute before running into r2. And we saw him alone, going to the tree to light it on fire..... until yoda came. We never truly got to see him alone in complete solitude.
     
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  19. Moral Hazard

    Moral Hazard Force Sensitive

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    If anything I'd say Anakin's moodiness was derivative of Luke's.
    For the record I thought Luke was whiney and moody for a decade before seeing moody Anakin (and I love the passionate, emotional and flawed character he is).

    The script describes Luke's introduction this way:

    "As the farmer carefully inspects each robot, he is closely followed by his slump-shouldered nephew, Luke Skywalker."

    But I'm not the only one who see's this in him too.
    From the Hero's Wiki:

    "Much like his father, Anakin Skywalker, Luke is intelligent, wise, selfless, brave, prideful, impulsive, and loyal. He has a sense of justice, honor and good morals; of course, like his father, he is sometimes overconfident, short-tempered, hot-headed, aggressive, unpredictable, impatient, difficult, and emotionally insecure."​

    I saw a lot of moody Luke Skywalker in the OT before his hand was cut off.
    In ANH:

    A New Mood.gif

    & in ESB:

    The Moodiness Strikes Back.gif
     
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  20. greenbalrog

    greenbalrog Rebel Commander

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    I understand what you mean and I even agree to an extent, however I'm a critic of TFA for playing it too safe, and I wasn't satisfied by the way Luke was handled in TLJ. Not the movie events by themselves, but rather on Luke's motives and decisions that led to him being in Ahch-To.

    I see a big difference from offering fans exactly what they were expecting to see and offer something that is in many ways identical to what they already saw (case being TFA who has too many references and parallels to ANH). TLJ could be refreshing and not play it safe, and in many ways it really is that, and still portray Luke in a more expected and consistent way. This would theoretically please more fans (starting by Hamill himself) and still deliver a fresh new take on the Star Wars saga.

    So, in my view, making depressed waiting-to-die Luke wasn't necessary to make TLJ unexpected and refreshing. There were many other ways you could achieve that that would not make many fans upset (or sad), and I'd argue you could end up with exactly the same events and scenes, including Luke's final showdown and even death without having to go with that approach. Because, again, in my view, the problem was more on the reason Luke was on Ahch-To and not exactly what happens next.

    Ryan had a tough job, no doubt, which was on how to make something unexpected and fresh and not upset the fans in the process. He was hired to do it and told the story he believed in, which is a plausible one, and I respect that. However, this is Star Wars, and Luke Skywalker we're talking about here, a generational hero. A character of this magnitude in such a beloved universe, especially a character we didn't know nothing about since 1993 and were left with a huge cliffhanger in TFA, should have been handled with more love and care, and more softly in my opinion, because Luke lives in all of us.

    In sum, I did not enjoy the way Luke was handled in TLJ, especially the motives and decisions that led him being on Ahco-To. The story isn't over yet though. Luke will appear in IX so maybe JJ and co will find a way to please everyone in the end, which is what counts, at least for me.
     
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