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Porco Azzurro's take on Luke on Crait

Discussion in 'General Sequel Trilogy Discussion' started by Pobody's Nerfect, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. Pobody's Nerfect

    Pobody's Nerfect Jedi Commander

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    So a little while ago I asked a question in my status update - which was more badass, Vader doing his thing at the end of Rogue One or Luke brushing the debris off his shoulder on Crait? And Porco Azzurro pointed something out to me that I think deserves a full post.

    Darth Vader failed to get the plans. All that fury and power meant nothing.

    Luke got exactly what he wanted on Crait.

    And I got to thinking about how similar the two battles were, Vader against the Rebels and Luke against the First Order, each a lone warrior with a lightsaber - the focal point of the enemy's firepower, versus a numerically superior force with lots and lots of blasters. Truly father and son.

    But somehow Luke was tactically in control and Vader wasn't. Luke bent the entire First Order attack group to his will. Vader just killed people. And I realized how much alike Luke and the Emperor are, using subterfuge and decoys to misdirect their enemies. Everything happened exactly how Luke wanted it to. The Resistance escaped, a spark was lit, the First Order was exposed as ineffective fools, and Broom Boys around the Galaxy were inspired by the tale.

    And Vader was left with nothing except the dead bodies of his enemies.

    What can we learn from this? That, dear friends, is what I hope to read about in your comments.
     
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  2. Porco Azzurro

    Porco Azzurro Force Sensitive

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    It’s interesting, isn’t it? :)

    I like the question you asked, and it obviously prompted the comparison I made. It wasn’t meant as any great slight against that scene in Rogue One, which I do think is amazing, on many levels, including Vader’s, as you say “badass”-ery.

    But yeah, to quote myself and my profile post reply/comment to you:

    “Luke. His mere presence on Crait was already transcendent - the shoulder-brush said so much with so little. Vader’s tantrum was powerful, but he was still flailing around in anger, and let’s not forget actually failed in his task - Luke succeeded in his.”

    I think one of the wonderful things about Star Wars is the mixture of the spiritual, the universal, the individual and the physical (political/military etc). It’s called Star Wars - it could also be called something like Aliens Battle! or Eternal Tension or Universal Balance...

    In the question posed, you have Vader, at this point in the saga trying to obtain the stolen plans to the Death Star, a destroyer of worlds, a planet killer, and fore-runner to an eventual star killer. Political and military ambitions, via the methodology of the Sith, to dominate with tyranny and absolute power. Everything on the grandest of scales, with scary violence and all the “badass” dark-side Force use that goes with it.

    Whereas Luke’s actions at the end of TLJ are in some senses, on a much smaller scale. More restrained. More dignified. More civilised, as Obi-Wan might put it. And as I said, I think the flick of non-dirt off the shoulder signifies so much in so little.

    It signifies to Kylo Ren, supposed heir-apparent to the legacy of Darth Vader (quite aside from the familial relation) that he was facing the man who had already defeated what in many ways Kylo still aspired to become.

    It helps sell the distraction, the illusion that Luke is physically there to both Kylo and to the audience.

    It subtly reminds us of Luke’s early scene when he tosses his lightsaber over his shoulder. Here, at the end of the movie, he flicks imaginary dirt off his opposite shoulder.

    It humorously shows us something that seems impossible by virtue of doing something is even more incredible. He appears to survive a tremendous barrage of firepower because he is, let’s remind ourselves, projecting himself across space! I’ve said in the past, I know the use of humour rubs some people up the wrong way in TLJ, but I genuinely believe almost all the humour in the film carries a more serious element at the same time.

    I think it speaks to (and of) the light side of the Force, in more than one sense too. Light as in the good, the brightness of the stars the First Order are willing to extinguish - but also light as in lightness of weight - lightness of spirit. That new, unburdened state which enables Luke to reach this new enlightened state of being. His image, not solid but light. The very opposite of the heavy, emotionally and physically burdened Kylo and Vader dressed in black and carrying emotional scars, (crimes even).

    Luke just dusts off his shoulder. With the First Order bearing down on him, and the nephew and apprentice who he failed but who failed him when he was turned by the dark side. Luke dusts off his shoulder. That is ultimately what it all means - a speck of dust that is flicked away. The Force that Luke is presently joining is eternal, the energy from stars, and from all living things, is all one - one with the Force. Luke has transcended the “crude matter” Yoda spoke of.

    Vader killed some people looking cool, sure. That’s badass. But he still failed to get the plans.

    Luke transcended physical being and then joined the eternal, universal Force. He saved the Resistance and the future of the Jedi. That is way badass!

    This post turned out longer than I expected. :D

    Final note... Luke dusts off his shoulder... inspires the galaxy... which is represented by a boy with a broom. A broom! When he grows up, he won’t need a broom, just a flick of his hand across his shoulder... ;)
     
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  3. Pobody's Nerfect

    Pobody's Nerfect Jedi Commander

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    This went from badassery to philosophy in a heartbeat, and I like that!

    Luke created a diversion by facing his enemies to allow the rebels to escape. Ironically, Vader also created a diversion by facing his enemies that allowed the rebels to escape, when all he had to do to keep the Death Star plans out of rebel hands was blow up their ship.

    Could Vader not see the simple solution because he was so angry? Did his urge to personally decapitate the thieves overrule his strategic common sense?

    Vader almost got the plans. He was just a few seconds too late. But that doesn't change the outcome, nor does it excuse the fact that his presence on the rebel ship meant all the Imperial Fleet's firepower couldn't be used against it. It was an unforced error and it cost the Empire their Death Star. The objective should have been the center of attention, not Darth Vader.

    Contrast that to Luke. The objective was evacuation right under the First Order's noses, and for that to happen, the diversion had to be the center of attention. And it was. Luke played Kylo Ren just like Poe played Hux while shooting down the Dreadnaught's defenses.

    Because Luke could see what Vader couldn't. Luke could focus on what was important, but Vader could only focus on his rage. Luke didn't feel the need to be vindicated, or triumphant, or to punish his enemies. Vader couldn't feel anything except those things.
     
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  4. Porco Azzurro

    Porco Azzurro Force Sensitive

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    Yes. I think Leia sums these ideas up beautifully when she tells The Grand Moff: “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers”. That goes for the Empire, but also for the Sith. The Jedi got a lot wrong for sure, but their philosophy of harmony and living in balance is spot-on.

    I like to think that the will of the Force is the natural ‘flow’ - the dark-siders have to ‘manipulate’ it, in ways that “many consider unnatural” - yes Palpatine, and they’re right! I think that’s part of why the Sith not only appear to want to be tyrannical and dominating... I think it’s basically required in order for them to get anywhere - they have to cheat, manipulate and distort the ‘flow’ of the Force. The Jedi, at their best, go with it, and so small, wise, decisions can pay off in surprisingly effective ways for them.

    That idea of the small is interesting when you consider what we’ve heard about where George Lucas was going to take his hypothetical Sequel Trilogy, with the whole ‘microscopic’ stuff and more midi-chlorians.

    (Ooh, Porco said the ‘m’ word, sorry... !)

    The thing with midi-chlorians is, to me they were always a beautiful analogy for the energy-transferring cells we have in real life. And less talked about is the ‘meridians’ of Chinese medicine, that have similar characteristics. And you see a lot of stuff about that in wushu films, granting heroes extraordinary martial arts powers. All very Jedi. And yes there is the more fighty stuff inspired by Japanese Samurai, but the Jedi are more akin to the enlightened warrior monks I think.

    To me, ‘Jedi are more Li Mu Bai than Seven Samurai’, if you’re familiar with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I have actually often wondered if my love of CTHD made me accept Luke’s story in TLJ far more easily. Leia’s role in TLJ too actually! If you can suspend the disbelief in the way required for that, so-called ‘Mary Poppins’ Leia is no big stretch, and sure, what Luke does is incredible, but it’s a natural extension of everything we know about the Jedi and their failings, but also their ideal focus - an enlightened spirit that is as near to the Force as can be. And in that harmonious state they can retain their identities, because then real trick is I think their identities have been emptied of selfishness and ego before physical ‘death’. And that is why the Sith cannot do the same. They have to find alternate routes to living longer - I’m hoping these are all things touched upon in TRoS.

    Ok long ramble over. I love Star Wars! :D
     
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  5. oldbert

    oldbert Jedi General

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    Luke confronts his biggest failure and is able to stay calm, "peaceful" during that confrontation. Like at the end of the ROTJ throne room scene he overcomes his instincts to fight his enemies outside and gains a victory over his innermost fears.
    Like Harry Potter in front of Voldemort in the forbidden forest, it's about accepting that it can be a much bigger achievement to let go and step back than attacking your enemies.
    The true hero confronts his fear and let it go.
    The aggressor kills his opponent and binds himself to his fears more and more with every "enemy" he kills outside of him.
     
    #5 oldbert, Nov 18, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
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  6. Kato Sai

    Kato Sai Jedi Commander

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    You learn as Yoda confirmed to Luke in ESB, the Light Side is stronger. I once wrote to my sword master regarding the Duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan on Mustafar:

    “Anakin is Chaos and Kenobi is Confrol (Not a Get Smart joke). Anakin uses the choas of the Dark Side to increase his power and unleashed Djem So blows; but as Ani or should I say Vader pummeled his old master, Obi was is in control, using Soresu to defend and wait for the moment to deal the duel ending blow which happens at the High Ground.”

    Vader’s fury costs him because it is not controlled or focused, its chaos. Luke like Kenobi has control of his feelings and uses it to master the situation.
     
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  7. Pobody's Nerfect

    Pobody's Nerfect Jedi Commander

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    Both the Dark Side and the Light Side have their limitations. The difference here is that Vader seemed unaware of his, Luke embraced his and turned them into assets. Let me break this down -

    Vader's anger and fury clouded his tactical thinking. He had the Imperial Fleet at his back but he gave that advantage away by stepping onto an enemy ship. The Fleet couldn't fire on the Rebels without firing on Vader. It was the exact same mistake he made during the Battle of Hoth, effectively making himself a hostage.

    Luke also made himself a hostage. The difference, of course, is that Luke did so deliberately, not in a blind rage. Because Luke was already a hostage. He was in self exile, a hostage to his own sense of failure, haunted by his last interaction with Kylo Ren. Luke felt the need to pay for his crime, the crime of not being the legend he expected himself to be. It seemed natural for him to arrive on Crait just in time to die with those he let down, to suffer for his failure.

    Luke used his inner demons to set a trap. He appeared to play the part expected of him, the part his guilt demanded he play. But Luke didn't let his guilt make his decisions. That's the difference between Luke and Vader. Luke used his guilt to sell the distraction, Vader's anger became the distraction. Luke wasn't blinded by his guilt like Vader was by his fury. Luke's mission was to evacuate the Resistance off of Crait and he used his guilt as an advantage in selling the distraction. Vader's mission was to get the stolen plans back but his anger caused a tactical error and erased the Imperial Fleet's advantage of superior firepower.

    We all have inner demons. Do we master them or do we let them master us?
     
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  8. The Hero With No Fear

    The Hero With No Fear Jedi General

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    I love so much about Luke’s stand against the First Order. I see people complain all the time about him not showing up in person, but it’s so much more profound that Luke wasn’t there in the flesh.

    Ever since the events of the Original Trilogy (in real life and in universe) people have built up their own image of who Luke is, including Rey. Luke Skywalker isn‘t perfect and, like a lot of us, he can’t always live up to everyone’s expectations of him. He couldn’t even live up to his own self-image since the night of Ben’s fall to the dark side. The galaxy needed a legend, so Luke gave them one. He projects an image of an idealized version of himself, one who can also do feats of mythical proportions (withstanding the firepower of all those First Order walkers; not being even slightly ruffled in the aftermath of their assault; not being affected by Kylo Ren’s lightsaber; vanishing before everyone’s very eyes.) As far as the wider galaxy knows, the Resistance has this mighty Jedi Master Luke Skywalker on their side. The First Order won’t stand a chance!

    Luke also exemplifies Yoda’s teachings from ESB. He isn’t just “crude matter”, he is transcendent. He uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack. (Passes on knowledge and wisdom to Leia and Ben; never even clashes his lightsaber against Kylo’s.) His not being affected by the heavy amounts of firepower from the technological behemoths on Crait also mirrors Darth Vader’s words in the conference room scene in ANH and just goes to show that technological terrors are insignificant next to the power of the Force.
     
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