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Why I like the lightsaber toss.

Discussion in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' started by cassidy, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. cassidy

    cassidy Rebel General

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    First off, I want to say that I'm someone that does not like TLJ. However, I really have tried my best to enjoy the film, and to find things about it that will make me appreciate it.

    For others that don't like the film, and say "I turned it off at the lightsaber toss." - I want to express that I believe this scene was one of the best parts of the film. Before the prequels came out, we knew of Yoda and the Emperor. Two extremely powerful force users that seemed to be beyond the level of needing a physical weapon (and perhaps they actually reached that point by episodes 5 and 6). I always thought it was interesting that Yoda never taught Luke any lightsaber techniques. I feel like Johnson attempted to honor this concept and express that if Luke were to truly be so powerful, he wouldn't need a lightsaber as it would almost be looked at as an amateur force user's weapon, nor would he have any sentimental attachment to such an item, resulting in the toss.

    At this moment I believed that the reason we couldn't see Luke's green lightsaber on his belt at the end of TFA and the early part of TLJ was because he had grown beyond needing a lightsaber after ROTJ (but then they revealed the flashback where he ignites it and thinks about killing his nephew and kind of ruined that - I was really hoping Luke was training new Jedi without the need for a lightsaber, which would be why Kylo Ren had to construct his own without prior training, resulting in an unstable blade).

    ANYWAY, I must say, for all the reasons to not like TLJ, this one really doesn't bother me. I think that moment was great and perfectly executed and just wanted to share my perspective on it.
     
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  2. Sparafucile

    Sparafucile Guest

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    I think the Jedi philosophy of passiveness supports this. Luke after all defeated the Emperor without his lightsaber.

    Yet, the idea of a lightsaber goes beyond it being a mere weapon. It's part of training to construct, in the Jedi way. I'd have to assume there would be some Jedi teaching associated with it. It's like the day that I give my son his first knife, before that he will use mine and learn to use it as a tool, not a weapon. When I believe he can use it properly without hurting himself, and trust that he has the maturity to use it as a tool and not think of it as a weapon, then he will have earned it.

    Then of course in SW there are these force users who are the anti-thesis to Jedi called Sith... who aim to dominate others. I wrote just today how, to me, the great thing about SW and the OT is that the message is "love conquers all" without making it corny, and in that lies the genius of the story. But when faced with an ideology that aims to dominate through force and denies freedom and human rights, then good people need to rise up and stand against it. Jedi have weapons beyond lightsabers, sure, but I don't think fights would go in the good's favor if they were unarmed and Sith had those same talents plus a lightsaber.

    So as much as I could see Luke not needing a lightsaber anymore, the reasoning in TLJ is lacking. He doesn't disregard the lightsaber due to having gained some knowledge or greater understanding, he does so because he rejects the ideas, en masse, of the Jedi.

    I did not like the seen as soon as I saw it, but I was very much interested to see the reasoning, and then I my suspension of disbelief was wholly lost. I still listened later, but everything Luke said after that moment just pushed me further and further away. There was no logical reasoning, imo. It cheapened the story, and went against the general progression of human experience. Usually with age comes wisdom with life experience, more clarity, more serenity, which all seem to be things Jedi aspire to. TLJ flips that on its head. Rey has this as a teen, despite being granted powers from 0-100, and that flood of power that would corrupt most people doesn't phase her. Neither her age or her experience has prepared her for anything like this, but she navigates it with barely a hitch. Luke meanwhile who's had a large scope of understanding completely forgets all he learned, or should have, and does what a teenager should do. He's impulsive, reactionary and then pouts when things don't go his way. It means he never grew as a man, but more, he never grew as a Jedi either. If anything, he regressed on all fronts by the time we meet him in TLJ.

    Even with his experiences, as dire as they were, it doesn't compute for me, and I can't help but wonder what message the ST is trying to deliver to the audience. RJ was kind of stuck, and kind of not. He was stuck in a way that he could have had Rey progress as Luke did, and thus take some lumps and then RJ be criticized for mimicking ESB even more than he already is. Instead he chose to invert the master/student trope, while also making the main viallian, Kylo, ambiguous.

    It's left fans with very few questions. Deciding to make Luke a huge screw up, elevates Rey and dehumanizes her, makes her less relatable. By killing Snoke, it removes the villain, because Kylo is ambiguous. It might have worked better in a TV series where others could have been introduced (KoR for example), but in TLJ, it left a void. It all started with RJ's decision to make Luke toss the lightsaber.

    That toss, and the subsequent lack of a quality explanation (my opinion) snow balled into the rest of the story and all the issues that reside therein.

    So as much as I understand your argument, and I could agree had Luke recluse himself for Zen reasons, the reasons given is what is the downfall of the movie, imo. Which is why I despise it.
     
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  3. Adam812

    Adam812 Rebel General

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    I like the light saber toss for the sheer shock value. It was so unexpected that I had to pick my jaw off the floor. I like being surprised like that in movies. I like being
    kept on my toes.

    It also makes more sense once we learn that Luke igniting his light saber is what got him into trouble in the first place. So it was fitting that at the end of the movie, he
    saves the day without using a light saber. The same thing happened in Return of the Jedi. He got himself into trouble by using a light saber against his father but was victorious when he threw the light saber down.

    So I agree with the OP on this point. A true Jedi master grows beyond the need for a light saber.
     
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  4. Jayson

    Jayson Rebel Official

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    I liked it because it was the second time Luke has thrown aside a saber and refused to fight.

    The first time, he was right. The second time, he was wrong.
    They're backwards from each other.
    First time, he was wrong to pick up the saber and attack with it, and right to throw it.
    Second time, he was wrong to throw the saber, and right to pick it up (virtually) and not attack with it.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  5. Porco Azzurro

    Porco Azzurro Rebel Official

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    It’s brilliant IMHO. For the reasons already given in this thread and more. As with other moments in the film, it initially felt like jarring humour, even a bit ‘silly’ (which is not to say I didn’t enjoy it even as just that). But then once I watched the rest of the film, especially a couple of times or more, the many underlying themes and threads that connected back to that one moment became clearer.

    Yes, to Jayson’s point he throws it away, like he threw away his saber on the second Death Star. Then it was a rejection of the Sith. In TLJ it’s (partly) a rejection of the Jedi. In ROTJ he throws it in front of him - rejecting the Emperor’s offer of a future at his side. In TLJ, he throws it over his shoulder, behind him - rejecting the past that got him to this point.

    And yes, to Adam812’s point, once one knows what happened between Luke and Ben Solo (actually any of the three versions presented), it takes on greater significance.

    I like that cassidy mentions Yoda too. I think Yoda has a part to think about here too regarding the lightsaber. In TLJ, Force Ghost Yoda reminds Luke what he told him about passing on what he had learned, including from his failures. In many ways, that is the central message for most of the main characters in the film. Of course Luke had been steeped in guilt for failing Ben Solo, and how that involved his lightsaber as mentioned, but think back to his earlier failure to which Yoda referred in a previous film - “remember your failure in the cave”. Remember his failure in the cave? “Your weapons - you will not need them” Yoda told him way back, on Dagobah. He ignored his teacher and took them anyway, and it showed him a shocking vision, as we all know.

    But wait! There’s more!

    Let’s consider the following events, all in the middle episodes of the trilogies.

    We saw Yoda himself show during the prequels that a lightsaber isn’t always the answer to winning a fight. Count Dooku (former Jedi and himself one of Yoda’s old padawans) says “It is obvious that this contest cannot be decided by our knowledge of the Force, but by our skills with a lightsaber“. Except... what happens? It’s a stalemate, and Dooku runs away, leaving Yoda to save Obi-Wan and Anakin with... his knowledge of the Force. In preventing the younger Jedi from being crushed by the heavy pillar, we saw another lesson TLJ actually re-teaches - about “saving what we love” rather than “fighting what we hate”.

    Maybe Yoda already knew this lesson well, but we saw it up on screen in AOTC. Then in TESB what does he do to show Luke the power of the Force ... his Sonic the Hedgehog routine with a lightsaber? No. We are reminded how the Force allows adepts to lift large, heavy objects like an X-Wing. Luke doesn’t believe it, that is why he fails (in one of the greatest movie scenes of all time IMHO). Yes. Oh ding ding ding! That is why he fails. We’re back to failure again. And we have a beautiful reminder of that scene in TLJ in Luke’s submerged X-Wing - it’s happened again, and he still hasn’t really learned the lesson - and he has lost his faith - and his ship remains underwater. Again. But at least this time he is not taking the lightsaber.

    And interestingly, Luke did in fact teach this lesson to Rey. He told her what his failure was. And it was to his shame, and it helped ‘create’ Kylo Ren. And his failure was to think, even for a moment, like he did in ROTJ, that a lightsaber might solve the problem.

    Also I think significantly, Rey ends up saving those she loves not by the use of a lightsaber - (indeed, we see ‘the’ lightsaber split in two, as though to hammer the point home with the ‘Holdo manoeuvre’ taking place at the same moment) - but rather by her belief in the Force - by lifting rocks, like Yoda lifted the pillar, and later Luke’s X-Wing.

    “Hear you nothing that I say?” “Your weapons - you will not need them”

    And so I strongly feel the rejection of the lightsaber is a wonderful encapsulation of many of the most important messages The Last Jedi contains. But it’s also a reminder of the lessons both learned and unlearned from the second episodes of each trilogy.
     
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  6. Jayson

    Jayson Rebel Official

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    I interpreted the X-Wing being left in the water as a symbol that Luke had given up.
    Because it remained in the swamp in ESB because he gave up and felt that he couldn't do it.

    This time around, Luke purposefully leaves it there, not because he has given up on trying to be able to lift it, but because he has given up on trying to find hope.
    Why bother?

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  7. cassidy

    cassidy Rebel General

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    I thought it was simply because he took one of the wings off the X-Wing to use as a door haha. Making it useless and just tossed it in the water. Considering he learned how to "holographically teleport" anywhere in the galaxy, who needs a ship?
     
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  8. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Rebel General

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    I agree with the OP's statement that of all TLJ's issues, the lightsaber toss isn't really a big one. It isn't the toss itself that bothered me as much as the fact that right away, the viewer gets slapped in the face with how disjointed E7 and E8 are relative to one another. E7 treats the lightsaber as an incredibly important item; almost a religious artifact. Then Luke treats it as worthless. At that moment I couldn't help but think to myself "OMG, Johnson wasn't kidding when he said there was no outline to this trilogy.... uh oh...."
     
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  9. Jaxxon

    Jaxxon Force Attuned

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    I forgot who originally made this point, but the saber toss itself works narratively, but the *way* it happens feels goofy.

    If he had just let it slip from his hands and walk away, that would have been a great moment. But it plays like a joke, which--on the heels of "paging General Hugs"--sets up the whole movie to feel goofy.
     
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  10. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Jedi General

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    I think the divide over the toss really shows the differences between two sides in this fandom.

    Some appreciate the action that comes with a big lightsaber duel or large scale battle.

    Some appreciate the ideas of nonviolence and redemption, rather than violence and revenge.

    I do think both have their places in Star Wars and I don't think either is necessarily better or more true than the other... however, in this specific case with Luke, I think it's pretty clear what would most apply to him.

    The one thing that I'd say could've possibly been changed is the tone of that scene. While it doesn't personally bother me, I could see an argument being made that Luke could've more nobly refused to take the saber, rather than simply tossing it.

    But I don't think being a bit of a snark is out of Luke's character, especially in TLJ. Kinda sets the tone, really.
     
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  11. bferr1972

    bferr1972 Rebel General

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    My belief is that Luke renounced the use of violence as a means of achieving an end, that he found alternatives to fighting that still upheld the Jedi's core original mission of being guardians of peace and justice. He throws his lightsaber away in ROTJ and again in TLJ because he no longer needs it to achieve his goal. I believe that Luke's saber toss, as well as his standoff at the end of TLJ, is an exemplification of this Sun Tzu maxim: "For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill; to subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill." I also believe this to be his third and final lesson to Rey.

    By the way, another Sun Tzu maxim could apply to the lesson Poe must learn throughout the movie: "He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious."
     
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  12. Angelman

    Angelman Jedi General

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    This is exactly why Luke throwing the lightsaber away is such a powerful statement.

    Absolutely not! Luke treats the lightsaber as extremely important to him, something he does NOT want back in his life. Throwing away a worthless item would have had no impact, and he could just as well have turn that into a vase or something if that was the case. No, by throwing it away Luke demonstrates how important the lightsaber is (or was) and how he wants nothing more to do with it.
     
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  13. Old Jedi

    Old Jedi Clone Commander

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    I certainly can appreciate several of the comments and enjoy the very different perspectives on this scene.

    For me though it is one of the most absurd things ever written into a SW movie. It’s literally a laugh out loud moment because of how stupid the scene is. It is a completely implausible reaction given the context of the scene.

    Imagine you’re on a street corner (or even wandering in the wilderness to be all alone!) and someone whom you’ve never even met or laid eyes on walks up to you and holds out a family heirloom that you can immediately identify as genuine and haven’t seen in a decade. Even if it’s something that has nothing but negative connotations for you, do you take the object, say nothing at all, throw it over your shoulder and walk away? ZERO chance. No sane person would react that way. NONE. Had Luke even expressed shock at seeing it and not taken it and said something like “Get that away from me” it would at least be a REMOTELY plausible human reaction.

    Luke could have taken the saber, said he hates sand, walked away and stepped in Porg poop and the scene would have been no worse. The saber toss is an all-time train wreck of a scene in SW movie. It cannot be redeemed.
     
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  14. Porco Azzurro

    Porco Azzurro Rebel Official

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    I think you need to factor you’re a space wizard who arguably isn’t entirely sane in that hypothetical though... ;)

    But even as a human reaction, I think it’s entirely understandable and plausible given when we learn about Luke’s mental and emotional state and the reasons for it. The lightsaber represents emotional pain professional/teaching failure, and a moment of considering familial betrayal (seen as actual betrayal by Kylo). It also represents the Jedi order, which at this Luke has rejected, or at least is struggling with. In some ways it’s a symbolic metaphor for ‘putting your fingers in your ears and saying ‘nurrr nurrr I’m not listening’ when you know someone is telling you something you really suspect is true but you don’t want to hear it.

    I think Luke knows the Jedi are the good guys. And I think Luke knows that someone has to step up to confront Snoke and Kylo Ren and the First Order. He can’t bring himself to burn that tree and Jedi texts, even though he tries to. He is a man at war with himself, believing his power was a curse not a blessing, and that now he would do more harm than good by getting involved. Until Rey and Yoda finally help him back on the right path and he is finally at peace and with purpose, both in his appearance on Crait and thereafter.

    So whilst I can understand not liking the flippancy and perceived failure at an assumed attempt at humour upon the first viewing, I have more trouble understanding the strength of some people’s negative reactions to it on repeat viewings. But that’s my problem understanding, I’m not saying it’s an invalid response/opinion. MTFBWY
     
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  15. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Rebel General

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    No. Just no. You might have a point if he agonized over the decision... showed some emotion... thought it over.... but instead he casually tosses it over his shoulder in a scene played for lame laughs. None of what you describe above is in that scene.
     
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  16. Jayson

    Jayson Rebel Official

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    And I disagree with you. :)
    I read that scene pretty much requiring that Luke sees it as valuable and important.

    That's the whole point. What he did value once, he is trying to ban and deny himself now. He's not perfect, and he's wrong, but he is trying to deny himself his friends, his ship, his religion, and the Force. He rejects it quite right for saying three things:
    I hate this (because it haunts him)
    I want nothing to do with whatever is going on
    Piss the f### off

    I got that from the move; those three messages, and to me it was clear it was of value.

    I didn't think anything in ROTJ by Luke tossing his saber without even agonizing over the idea.
    Once he made the decision; ping - done.

    And yeah - people were pissed that he threw it back then too. I listened to arguments all through school about how he should have kept it, fought the Emperor, that there's no way Luke would throw a saber with what it means to him...a lot of the same stuff I hear now.

    So, Hey! Full circle. :D

    Oh, and it wasn't written for laughs. That it causes laughter is a byproduct, but RJ already went over why he had Luke do this and it wasn't to get a good chuckle being a troll.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  17. Old Jedi

    Old Jedi Clone Commander

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    Rian once said “I knew it was going to be shocking, but I did it because it felt like, obviously it’s a dramatic expression of it, but it’s an expression of honestly the way that he is going to react to that moment.”

    And that is maybe the massive fundamental flaw of the scene. RJ even admits it’s a “dramatic expression” of how Luke feels...which I’d argue in this case is synonymous with “exaggerated expression.” IMO that’s probably why people laughed when it wasn’t intended to be funny. The reaction as written and acted was so “dramatic” it comes across as absurd; a “WTH? Nobody would ever react that way” moment. That so many people thought it was intended to be funny or laughed because they actually did find it funny and Rian never intended for it to be humorous only further undermines the idea it was a well written/acted scene.

    The writers at SNL wished they had thought of it.
     
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  18. Jayson

    Jayson Rebel Official

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    Except a whole bunch of us love it and got it perfectly fine without a problem.

    It's quite honestly one of my favorite moments because it's when I knew this movie was going to go right for me, and it's a moment that, personally, I can relate to. If I were in Luke's place, that would likely be my reaction. Because it's so g##d### monastically punk rock.
    It's a mistake I really believe Luke would make.

    The number one concern I had going into this trilogy was that Luke would get elevated to some d### holy crusade Jedi super-Neo and I'd end up sitting through flawless Luke running around with boring preachy lines while whooping a## all over the place in some new "Jedi martial art with a saber" crap.

    And instead, this happened. And I was immediately relieved.
    I laughed because I was relieved and because I could relate to the moment.

    I know some folks hate it, but honestly, I want it as a f###ing shirt I love it so much. It's in my best top 5 Star Wars moments - it might even be the best moment for me...it's definitely the best Luke moment for me.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  19. Grand Admiral Kraum

    Grand Admiral Kraum Force Sensitive

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    Never have I been so split on a Star Wars film, there are parts I love and other parts I genuinely dislike.. but the lightsaber toss seemed like the most logical thing for Luke to do in that moment. What use was a lightsaber to him? Sentimentality has no place in a Grand Master's life.. and let's not forget that this lightsaber killed all of those younglings in Episode III. Luke may have been aware of this via Obi Wan's ghost.

    it's a non-issue, I couldn't believe what I heard when a certain Youtuber claimed it was Disney's way of "demasculating men" by throwing away what was supposed to be a phallic symbol. Ridiculous. Overlord DVD smoked one too many deathsticks.
     
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  20. SKB

    SKB Force Sensitive

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    The only toss that matters (r2-d2 2)(lightsaber) (luke)

     
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