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Why is Luke considered a hero in Return of the Jedi?

Discussion in 'Original Trilogy' started by The Birdwatcher, Dec 30, 2020.

  1. The Birdwatcher

    The Birdwatcher Rebel Official

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    From a logical perspective, anyways. I'm just curious about Luke's heroism.

    If a reason is listed, I would kindly ask that:
    1. Don't use the green lightsaber as a reason
    2. Don't use the black clothing as a reason (unless the symbolism shows Luke's heroism- the ripped open version of the clothes is both symbolically and aesthetically pleasing).
    3. Please don't use his stoic or generally calm demeanor as a reason- it doesn't make him heroic, just makes him emotionless. I know some people may cite it as maturity (and probably manhood), but true maturity is managing and controlling your emotions- not detaching them from your body. (Which is what TESB Luke does, actually, in his focus on Vader at the start of the Bespin fight in TESB. Also, at many parts of the fight, to be honest.).
    4. Please avoid referring to Luke's pushy/cocky demeanor- while it does show that Luke's not perfect in this film and in ANH, TESB, it makes him arrogant (and a bit stupid), like when he rolls his eyes in front of the emperor when he meets him in the throne room (also undermines the emperor's powers and character by doing so- by not taking him as threatening). Luke has been cocky in respect to Vader before- he states that "he's full of surprises", but that's in respect to Vader's dialogue and is a bit of Luke's sarcasm and cockiness coming out in the fight (feeling a bit confident in his abilities and training in the Force). There's plenty of time where Luke (both on the Dagobah planet and on Bespin) takes the threat of Vader seriously.
    5. You can use Luke's reasoning to save his father, but I would prefer for it to be explained with a good argument, as it's used simply in many cases.



    (Unless you feel that these requests deny the power of Luke's character in Return of the Jedi (and I will permit thoughtful responses and arguments to this topic), please adhere to this list to challenge yourself and defend your claims.)
     
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  2. MandoChip

    MandoChip Hate me later. Work now.
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    I watched a IGN movie commentary where Sam Witwer brillianty explains why Luke is the perfect hero and why ROTJ is a perfect end to the Skywalker Saga. Its great, I think you might like it!

    Dave Filoni & Mark Hamill himself have also explained Luke's (and Anakin's) arc very well in various interviews, panels etc. And I'd say these people know Star Wars better than any of us.
     
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  3. Jaxxon

    Jaxxon Green Space Rabbit

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    I'm a bit confused about this whole thing and why you have such a specific list of rules to follow. But why not?

    Why is Luke a hero? I'll tell you why he's a gosh darn freaking hero. He's got a cool green lightsaber. He wears black. And most of all he has a pushy/cocky demeanor.
     
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  4. DarthSnow

    DarthSnow Brood Brother
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    Luke wasn't a hero until he walked in to that throne room with only Vader and the Emperor.

    Of course, he was bestowed "hero status" after blowing up the first Death Star, yes. That may have been the moment he started believing in himself, in the Force, and could see what he was capable of. But that did not make him a hero. He wasn't a hero for saving rebel lives on Hoth by finding a way to slow the walkers, or when he rushed off to save his friends on Bespin. He was foolish and headstrong, too confident in his abilities but ultimately without purpose. And then he failed. that was the first step of his heroic journey.

    After that, he corrected himself and his path. It changed from one of destruction to one of self-worth. He took the time to complete his training and become more of the man, the Jedi, the hero, that many had already thought him to be. And what's crazy to think about is that almost all of this happens off-screen, between TESB and RotJ. It's why the Luke we see appear in Jabba's Palace is so different than other Luke we had previously seen.

    But back to my opening statement... he was a hero for surrendering and walking into that throne room prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, facing his fears while ensuring all but certain death. I think he had an idea of what he wanted to accomplish, and I'm sure he got the result he wanted but I am not sure what transpired in that room was anything near what he expected to happen. Heck, he almost failed again by giving in to his impulses and letting the Emperor twist his mind into almost destroying his own father. Luckily he overcame that. At that point, it wasn't about him anymore. It was about the ones he loved, and what he could save rather than what he could destroy. And in my eyes, that's what made him a hero.
     
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  5. Jedi Master Wysk

    Jedi Master Wysk Rebelscum

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    I find your lack of faith disturbing.
     
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  6. The Birdwatcher

    The Birdwatcher Rebel Official

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    It is all the more disturbing that fans readily accept Luke's heroism on account of the plot, often without questioning or conducting analysis on it to determine its (subjective) effectiveness. His actions and emotional actions (Hamill's) often betray the true nature of a hero, in my honest opinion.
     
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  7. Matt_T

    Matt_T Rebel General

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    Are we really arguing if Luke Skywalker was a hero? He faced down both his father/adversary and the freakin' galactic Emperor -- two dark lords of the Sith. He willingly gave himself up, fully believing his friends would blow up the Death Star with him on it in an attempt to bring his father back and defeat said Emperor. All because he knew what he was doing was right.

    Has it come to this?
     
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  8. GingerByte

    GingerByte Guest

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    Luke is a hero:
    H.E.R.O
    H
    e
    Ensures
    Real
    Opportunities
     
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  9. Messi

    Messi G.O.A.T.

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    In ANH Luke's wore white (at least most of his look is white) to show innocence. He's still beginning his way of the jedi.

    In TESB he wores grey (gris) to show that he is halfway of been complete white (a good jedi) or a complete dark (a bad jedi/sith).

    In ROTJ if makes a lot of sense been "complete" dark for a short period because he must confront his fears (face Vader and the Emperor). At the end his outfit shows that the is white (a good jedi) by the inside.
     
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  10. eeprom

    eeprom Prince of Bebers

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    The moral to George Lucas’s parable is that aggression, born from fear, is the gateway to corruption and suffering. Luke is tempted by that fear, the same fear that once enticed his father, but persevered where others failed. He epitomizes the ethical concept promoted by the narrative. Thus, by the narrative’s standards, he is heroic.

    You’re perfectly entitled to have a different standard for what you believe makes someone heroic. But you don’t have much standing if it runs contrary to how the story itself defines it.
     
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  11. Use the Falchion

    Use the Falchion Jedi Contrarian

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    I had an entire post written up, but you asked for a logical perspective, so I'll try. In ROTJ, Luke is the hero because:

    He rescues critical allies who hold vital information (Leia & C3PO) from a criminal kingpin.
    He helps take down said kingpin, temporarily stopping said criminal influences.
    He provides a critical distraction for his allies; the Emperor and Vader are focused on him so his allies can do what they need to do. It may not be under the radar as expected or planned, but it does help. Do you really think the Rebellion's plan would have worked had Vader been down on the moon of Endor?
    He turns the second most important man in the Empire to his side; said turning results in the death of the Emperor. Even if that didn't mean the fall of the Empire proper (as Shattered Empire, Aftermath, Battlefront 2, and The Mandalorian all show), it DID mean the lost of central power, authority, and legitimacy.

    So all in all, Luke was key (maybe not pivotal, but definitely key) to the fall of a tyrannical empire. I'm pretty sure that makes him a hero.

    Now from an emotional view of these events:
    Luke saves his friends.
    Luke helps take down bad guys while saving his friends.
    Luke believes in his father and is willing to go head-to-head with the Big Bad just to prove it.
    Luke's utter faith in his father gives his father the strength to do a critical redeeming action.
    Said redeeming action helps decide the fate of the galaxy, so by proxy, Luke's faith in his father helped save the galaxy and the soul of one man thought long gone, while also allowing for the end of tyranny in the galaxy for a time.
     
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  12. smpreet

    smpreet Clone

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    Luke saves Han, Leia and the gang from Jabba in the first half of the movie, they wouldn't be there for the final battle if not for him.

    Then in the 2nd half when he goes to the Death Star and Battles Vader he finishes his narrative arc that started in the first movie.
    Luke in A New Hope: "I want learn the ways of the force and become a Jedi like my Father."
    Luke Return of the Jedi: "You've failed your highness, I am a Jedi, like my father before me."

    It is the narrative conclusion to the arc that he began in the first movie, that is why he feel like, and is, the hero of this story.

    Additionally, on this journey he learns that Vader is in fact his father which is a huge blow to him, over comes this and decides that he must turn him to the light side again, and managed to do so.
     
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  13. The Birdwatcher

    The Birdwatcher Rebel Official

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    Why is Luke a hero? I'll tell you why he's a gosh darn freaking hero. He's got a cool green lightsaber. He wears black. And most of all he has a pushy/cocky demeanor.

    If you believe so, okay. :) I appreciate the sense of straightforward humor here, anyways.

    Luke wasn't a hero until he walked in to that throne room with only Vader and the Emperor.

    Of course, he was bestowed "hero status" after blowing up the first Death Star, yes. That may have been the moment he started believing in himself, in the Force, and could see what he was capable of. But that did not make him a hero. He wasn't a hero for saving rebel lives on Hoth by finding a way to slow the walkers, or when he rushed off to save his friends on Bespin.

    He wasn't? All three of those reasons make Luke a hero, in my opinion, along with arguing against Han to rescue the princess in A New Hope- to save her from being killed.

    He was foolish and headstrong, too confident in his abilities but ultimately without purpose. And then he failed. that was the first step of his heroic journey.

    Uh, if you mean in respect to heading off to save his friends on Bespin, perhaps that's debatable, but even then Obi-Wan and Yoda DID AGREE to Luke confronting Vader- they were just reluctant about it- especially during the present time.

    YODA
    Stopped they must be. On this
    all depends.
    Only a fully trained
    Jedi Knight with the Force as his
    ally will conquer Vader and his
    Emperor. If you end your training
    now, if you choose the quick and
    easy path, as Vader did, you will
    become an agent of evil.

    The thing is, Yoda believes that Luke will inevitably become an "agent of evil" by pre-emptively ending his training because he would either be overcome by Vader and the Emperor or tempted by the dark side by being insufficiently prepared. However, while Luke fails to conquer Vader (He does put up a good fight, though.), Luke still resists Vader's offer to become "an agent of evil" by making the jump. I think fans underestimate Yoda's potential pessimism here- his belief that Luke will follow in Vader's footsteps, even though, Luke repeatedly shows the contrary, in a lot of cases.

    After that, he corrected himself and his path.


    He did? He seems to have doubled-down with his "reckless" behavior in many instances.

    And not, just because the third draft of Obi-Wan ROTJ says otherwise does not mean that it makes sense unless we must accept the plot at face value:

    BEN
    To be a Jedi, Luke, you must confront and then go beyond the dark side
    - the side your father couldn't get past. Impatience is the easiest
    door - for you, like your father. Only, your father was seduced by what
    he found on the other side of the door, and you have held firm. You're
    no longer so reckless now, Luke. You are strong and patient. And now,
    you must face Darth Vader again!

    Also, apparently, "not being patient" is part of what led to the dark side in this case, but Vader was seduced by the dark side, Luke was not.

    Here's a number of points:
    1. Luke deciding that it's best to save Vader from the dark side, despite the fact that he could easily be captured by Vader, and then Vader would be free to find/slay the remaining rebels on Endor. In the film, Vader sends out/permits Imperial commanders and their troops to capture and find the rebels on Endor, hoping that they'll do their job (to capture/kill? the remaining rebels). Not only was this reckless of Luke to do so, but Luke actually does endanger the rebels in the film by leaving them when his Force abilities and talent for improv plans and leadership would have helped the rebels out.
    2. Luke recklessly taunting the Emperor by pointing out his weakness- his overconfidence, instead of shutting up. He also rolls his eyes at the Emperor, showing that he does not take him seriously, which is reckless, considering that Luke has been told by Yoda to not underestimate the abilities of the Emperor and that this is Vader's master.
    3. Luke's- "knock all the bad guys into a pit plan" for Jabba's palace. He is hoping that all the pieces will come out right. They pretty much do, but this was extremely risky, as many options/alternative situations could have played out (i.e. R2-D2 not being there/being checked/ Jabba threatening the group by taking Leia as a hostage, etc.).
    4. Luke having the group infiltrate Jabba's palace one by one, endangering their safety each time he sends a new person down, instead of sending one friend or himself to parley with or fight Jabba.
    5. Luke snapping out of the belief that Leia is the rebels' only hope, when the rebels' hope could easily stem from anyone/anywhere else-i.e. Lando, Mon Mothma, etc.
    6. Luke acting purely out of naive compassion towards Vader's goodness, instead of compassion with common sense to save Vader.
    Etc.

    It changed from one of destruction to one of self-worth.

    He took the time to complete his training

    By training off-screen, in what I assume is the OP Tatooine cave of training, from the deleted scene shows of Luke completing his green lightsaber. He spent one year in that cave and completed his entire training there, without any outside or additional assistance. (Unless Mos Eisley has some areas where Jedi can train, but it seems unlikely.).

    Also, I need to point out that in The Making of Return of the Jedi, [Lucas stated that] Luke making/completing his lightsaber symbolizes his transition from a child to man (and that his Jedi skills are complete, according to Vader in the film), even though a lot of plot points say otherwise.

    and become more of the man, the Jedi, the hero, that many had already thought him to be.

    Luke showed plenty of his manhood or hero- being a Jedi, by simply doing the right thing in ANH and TESB, despite still being more of a teen, imo.

    And what's crazy to think about is that almost all of this happens off-screen, between TESB and RotJ. It's why the Luke we see appear in Jabba's Palace is so different than other Luke we had previously seen.

    Yes. And I will be honest here, it's abrupt.

    But back to my opening statement... he was a hero for surrendering and walking into that throne room prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice

    Sacrifice???

    LUKE
    You're wrong. Soon I'll be dead...and you with me.

    The Emperor laughs.

    If a sacrifice is making a distraction, which both the Emperor and Vader could circumvent by sending Imperial commanders and stormtroopers to do their jobs, then it's fine. It sounds like Luke was expecting the rebels to mow down both of them while in the throne room- a similar situation to the Jabba's palace situation, where Luke has his allies taking take of stuff while Luke confronts the main bad guy directly (Jabba; the Emperor/Vader). It cannot be Luke taking down the Emperor, as the Emperor claims that doing so will turn Luke to the dark side, which isn't what Luke desires here. That being said, why Luke is cocky enough to even say this-I'd think if he was wiser (and humbler) he'd shut his mouth- as to not alert the Emperor about the Rebels' plans? If the Emperor and co. didn't know about the plans already, a red flag could have been raised here- it's a risky move, but it's shown to display Luke's heroism (which isn't very heroic but arrogant in this sentence, imo), or a sense of, "Oh yeah bad guy? You're in trouble, your comeuppance is coming!".

    , facing his fears while ensuring all but certain death.

    What is Luke's fear in this situation? Confronting Vader? He already said before and during the fight

    I think he had an idea of what he wanted to accomplish, and I'm sure he got the result he wanted but I am not sure what transpired in that room was anything near what he expected to happen.

    Perhaps, but Luke expected to die, as far as I know.

    LUKE
    I felt his presence. He's come for me. He can feel when I'm near.
    That's why I have to go.
    (facing her)
    As long as I stay, I'm endangering the group and our mission here.
    (beat)
    I have to face him.

    LUKE
    There's more. It won't be easy for you to hear it, but you must. If I
    don't make it back, you're the only hope for the Alliance.

    LUKE
    You're wrong. Soon I'll be dead...and you with me.

    Also, while combing through the dialogue pieces here, I've realized that Luke makes a a very possible contradiction here. When he talks to Leia he's not sure that he'll make it back, but when he's talking to the Emperor, he's sure that he will die. Either Luke was hoping that Vader would have a sudden change of heart when he went to Vader during the scene on the bridge, and he was hoping that he'd be released by Vader. It's a bit naive for Luke to do so; I know the film makes a point about Luke's compassion being his undoing, but why? This is fairly reckless when Luke is supposed to be a mature person. Another thing, is that it means that Luke's given up hope (of living) by admitting that he's going to die in front of the Emperor- unless he has determined that the rebels should take them both out.

    EMPEROR
    I have foreseen it. His compassion for you will be his undoing. He will
    come to you and
    then you will bring him before me.

    And also the question of whether Luke EVEN HAD compassion towards Vader in TESB- there's little reason besides- "He's my father" in Return of the Jedi.

    Heck, he almost failed again by giving in to his impulses and letting the Emperor twist his mind into almost destroying his own father.

    (That's Revenge of the Sith dialogue, which hasn't been developed for at least another 20 years yet.

    OBI-WAN: (continuing) You have allowed this Dark Lord to twist your mind until now . . . until now you have become the very thing you swore to destroy.)

    If you mean presently, within ROTJ's script, we do have:

    LUKE
    It is the name of your true self. You've only forgotten. I know there
    is good in you. The Emperor hasn't driven it from you fully. That is
    why you couldn't destroy me. That's why you won't bring me to your
    Emperor now.

    The Emperor drove Vader's goodness nearly away entirely.

    Even with all of this, however, it's STILL VADER who coerces Luke into destroying Vader, not so much the Emperor, as the Emperor egged Luke to destroy him [the Emperor] initially and only encourages Luke to have the "hate flow within him" during the battle, which is vague, even though it might be implying to have Luke try to hurt Vader.

    EMPEROR (laughing)
    Good. Use your aggressive feelings, boy! Let the hate flow through
    you.

    Luke looks momentarily toward the Emperor, then back to Vader, and
    realizes he is using the dark side. He steps back, turns off his
    lightsaber, and relaxes, driving the hate from his being.

    So, Luke stops himself here. Actually, the Emperor's words alerts Luke that he's going too far. The Emperor also fails to encourage Luke to finally kill Vader with his offer of power. So, there is little twisting of the mind here.

    Luckily he overcame that. At that point, it wasn't about him anymore. It was about the ones he loved, and what he could save rather than what he could destroy.

    True, but you're making an argument based on plot points and ideas from this film that The Last Jedi capitalizes on (that have been severely criticized by those who dislike The Last Jedi, anyways). But when push comes to shove, there is no real reason that Luke couldn't have destroyed the Emperor or Vader to simply stop the evil that they presented to the rebels or the Rebel Alliance. At least the Emperor? And to do so in order to save them. And one doesn't have to act out of hatred by doing so- just merely a sense of justice, as that's part of Obi-Wan's definition of a Jedi in the original Star Wars film.

    And in my eyes, that's what made him a hero.


    I guess? I got to disagree here, unfortunately.
     
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  14. NinjaRen

    NinjaRen Supreme Leader

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    Luke Skywalker is the defintion of an modern epic hero. The characteristics of this kind of hero are:

    1) Noble birth
    Most epic heroes come from an above average heritage.
    => Luke is the offspring of the chosen one and the queen of Naboo

    2) Capable of deeds of great strength and courage

    => Luke is brave and uses the force

    3) Great warrior
    The hero usually establishes himself during combat or war
    => Luke destroys the DS1, fights in the battle of Hoth, etc.

    4) Travels over a vast setting
    => Luke visits many different locations and planets to learn and grow

    5) National heroism
    Before a hero can be celebrated by people around the world, he must first be recognized in his home country as a heroic person.
    => Luke becomes a hero in the Rebellion (his home), then he becomes a legend in the whole galaxy (ST)

    6) Humility
    The hero commits to his deeds because he knows they need to be done. The fame/rewards that he may recieve are only a matter of course, not the reason for completing the quests.
    => Luke knows he has to face his father and the Emperor, otherwise he can never be the hero which the galaxy needs

    7) Faces supernatural foes and/or recieves supernatural help
    => Luke has to face the evil Sith and gets help by the mystical Jedi

    8) Tragic Hero
    The hero rises to power quickly and with ease, but then falls from grace.
    => Luke learns to be a Jedi fast, but then he loses it all in the ST


    I know this thread and the OP is more about ROTJ. But you have to keep these traits in mind to decide who and who isn't a true hero in fiction.
     
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  15. Anubis78

    Anubis78 Mad we are all mad here.... Now time for tea
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    he represents hope.
     
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  16. Flyboy

    Flyboy Force Attuned

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    Cuz he does heroic things. I mean like... that's it. He's on the right side and he fights for the right reasons. It doesn't take much more than that to be a hero.

    I've often said I think Luke's entire being too often gets boiled down to just the final 10-15 minutes of ROTJ. He's a very complex and flawed character and I don't think he's the hero that many revere him as (At least in the OT, I do think he reaches that level in TLJ), but denying his status as a hero completely? No way.
     
    #16 Flyboy, Jan 4, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
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  17. The Birdwatcher

    The Birdwatcher Rebel Official

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    Are we really arguing if Luke Skywalker was a hero?

    It's in respect to Return of the Jedi's Luke. I think that both A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back Lukes are good heroes at the least- I am suspicious of Return of the Jedi's Luke. Especially since despite the tightness of the script (and analyzing the script has shown that it's tighter than many fans I think would even know), it shows a number of logical/unrealistic points and an emphasis on symbolism. Not that Star Was wasn't already abundant in symbolism in A New Hope or The Empire Strikes Back, but some of the plot points hinge on it, even though I admit that the symbolism is really good in Return of the Jedi- it's rare to find compelling symbolism/visuals in modern filmmaking and to this extent. What I wish was that this symbolism would line up better with realistic/compelling motivations/reactions from characters (as it is for the most part in A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back), but instead a lot of odd (yet unique, which I appreciate) choices have been made. I find the execution to be questionable in a lot of areas.

    He faced down both his father/adversary and the freakin' galactic Emperor -- two dark lords of the Sith. He willingly gave himself up, fully believing his friends would blow up the Death Star with him on it in an attempt to bring his father back and defeat said Emperor.

    Only on the Death Star II in front of the Emperor does Luke say that. Before on Endor, he states that he's unsure if he will survive to Leia, and after Vader throws the Emperor into the elevator shaft, Luke tries to escape with Vader. So, no, I do not think that it means that he expected to fully die ON the Death Star II before he arrived on it and after Vader threw the Emperor. It was only during his time on Death Star II that Luke confirmed that he expected to die, which honestly, could have been a lie, to create drama, or a script error.

    LUKE
    You're wrong. Soon I'll be dead...and you with me.

    All because he knew what he was doing was right.

    No, because of compassion, or saving his father from the dark side, which is suddenly an issue in Return. There is no real evidence of Luke having a crisis over saving Vader from the dark side in TESB; he's only horrified that Vader's his father in that film. And weirdly enough, it may not be so much that he's trying to do the right thing- at first possibly-

    LUKE
    Because...there is good in him. I've felt it. He won't turn me over to
    the Emperor. I can save him. I can turn him back to the good side. I
    have to try.

    "I have to try" is a sincere attempt to possibly do something good. Although, the emphasis is on saving a person, which I am finding somewhat disturbing that Vader's choice or autonomy in this situation seems out of the question. If Luke is to turn Vader back to the good side, then he has to first persuade Vader- which never happens- only on what I think is a superficial degree with Luke's appeal to Vader being his father to his sense of former goodness and being a Jedi knight. It's also quite rushed, imo, despite the tightness of the script.

    There is also the disturbing revelation that I've found in the Making of Return of the Jedi were Lucas states that the point where the Emperor offers Luke "to have him join at his side" is It maybe not so much to save Vader, but to save Luke from the dark side, which ACTUALLY makes Luke trying to save himself from the dark side, rather than saving Vader or saving Vader out of his goodness or compassion. When Luke makes his statement of defiance to the Emperor, it's not him saying that he loves his father or has compassion to him (The first draft is different; Luke is more compassionate and addresses Vader.); it's sticking it to the Emperor.

    LUKE
    Never! I'll never turn to the dark side. You've failed, Your Highness.
    I am a Jedi, like my father before me.

    If the implication of mentioning his father is a statement of compassion or love and belief in the goodness of Luke's father, then fine. Or a sense of honor, I suppose. Luke's addressing the Emperor in this case, however, and Luke is highlighting his role as a Jedi. I cannot determine if Luke's addressing his belief in Vader's goodness or love, for that matter- the quote's nuances are complex here. At the least it:
    1. Highlight's Vader/Anakin's former role of being a Jedi
    2. A Jedi means "upholding peace and justice" in the Old Republic- i.e. a time when the Empire didn't rule over everything
    3. Implies Luke's belief that Vader is still good by prior dialogue during the bridge scene: "I've accepted the truth that you were once Anakin Skywalker, my father" and " It is the name of your true self. You've only forgotten. I know there is good in you. The Emperor hasn't driven it from you fully."

    However, there is STILL no real evidence for Luke sparing Vader out of love or compassion, besides the act of not killing Vader, which implies it. But given these pieces of information:

    Lucas: ...."But Luke turns off his lazer sword, throws it at the Emperor. "I have controlled my hate; I don't hate my father. If you are so much on the dark side, you kill me--- I dare you."- The Making of Return of the Jedi, p. 73.

    ""During the final confrontation, when Luke has Vader on the ground, the red lights of the elevator were design elements but were there specifically, " Lucas would say. [in the future, presumably in a Return of the Jedi DVD commentary] "The color goes symbolically into the blood of the father and son, and a move toward hell-- because this is where Luke is either going to hell or not."- p. 170, The Making of Return of the Jedi

    This is incredibly questionable in respect to Luke's flat-out motives. Production and statements seem to indicate that Luke also is:
    1. Making a dare to the Emperor, purposefully forfeiting his life/challenging the Emperor
    2. Showing that he's in control of himself and emotions rather than exhibiting outright compassion or love, unless the mention of Luke's father (and sparing Vader), is Luke saying that he has compassion or love towards Vader
    3. Avoiding going to the dark side, which Lucas compares to hell as an extreme example
    4. Arriving at a point where he must make his decision rightly, or it appears that he will go to the dark side or hell permanently.

    Three of these points are made on the basis of a value system; it has nothing to do with love or compassion, just avoiding a negative outcome- control of emotions, avoiding the dark side. Because of this, Luke's heroism (for me, anyways) falls a lot more than it normally would on a first watch.

    Normally, viewers are drawn to the sense of relief of Luke avoiding the dark side (which has been built up from the film's beginning) and defiance to the Emperor, feel emotionally satisfied by his appeal of being a Jedi (cool mystic warrior who stands for peace and justice in a space fantasy), Luke's final reaffirmation of his belief in his father still being a Jedi in his eyes in respect to stating "like my father before me", and honoring his father's legacy as a Jedi. 4 points at least.

    LUKE
    Never! I'll never turn to the dark side. You've failed, Your Highness.
    I am a Jedi, like my father before me.

    Keep that in mind.

    However, with the added context from The Making of Return of the Jedi and the visuals of the scene are more difficult to spot; they supply additional information which fuel Luke's motivation and explanation for it in this scene.

    The end result (and it took me some time to arrive at this) is potentially as not honorable for Luke's character, especially as a heroic stand (which Luke later contradicts by asking Vader to later save his life, if we are to believe that Luke intended to give his life/sacrifice himself here). He is giving up his life as a dare, an act of defiance and avoiding going to the dark side, since Lucas states that this is a pivotal moment where he will either go to the dark side or not. He cannot simply accept the Emperor's offer and still remain good or on the good side or compromise. It's go to the dark side or not.

    While the first piece of information from The Making of Return doesn't line up with the finished film perfectly (lightsaber is tossed to the side), significant information is explained (Luke's tense breathing, disarming himself), which lines up with the mentioned dare and Luke's control of his actions.

    In the first draft, Luke spares Vader, because they share a connection and Luke still sees Vader of some value with his goodness:

    Vader: Finish it! [Wanting Luke to kill him to inherit half the Empire to rule as Vader would have.].

    Luke looks at the Emperor, then to his father

    Luke: No, you are my father and there is still good in you. I only fight in self-defense. Not to do your Emperor's bidding.

    With that Luke extinguishes the Emperor's lazer sword and tosses it to his father, who ignites it as he catches it.

    pp. 28-29, The Making of Return of the Jedi- Rough draft summary

    What is different about the rough draft summary:
    -Luke addresses Vader, not the Emperor
    -Avoids making the dare to the Emperor
    -Tosses the lightsaber to Vader
    -Luke trusts Vader to not kill him with the lightsaber, which is why he tossed it to him. The act also shows that Luke believes in Vader's goodness by doing so.
    -The toss to Vader makes Luke less stupid, since Luke trusts Vader to toss it back or use it in some fashion rather than entirely disarming himself.
    -Luke has compassion towards Vader by explicitly saying, "no", to Vader's request to kill him. In the finished film, it is more ambiguous and clouded with the dare and dark side imagery.
    -"You are my father" line makes Luke to acknowledge that killing his father is morally wrong and may express love for him. In the finished film, Luke at Dagobah states that he can't kill his father, but here it's more personal, a bit more loving. Rather than something that he can't do.
    -"There is still good in you"- sparing Vader on account of his remaining goodness. This part makes Luke less stupid- he knows if Vader were all bad, then he might have a reason to kill him (even though he states that he only fights in self-defense).
     
    #17 The Birdwatcher, Jan 4, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
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  18. Grand Master Galen Marek

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    He's considered a hero for bringing balance back to the force & accomplishing so much that the galaxy was indebted to him forever.
     
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  19. NunbNuts

    NunbNuts Rebel Official

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    Luke is the hero at the center of the typical hero's journey which Lucas used as a model for the story based on Campbell's work. It was clearly Lucas' intention, it's the whole point and he was not exactly subtle in the execution. He's a textbook hero to the point that (as more of a Han/Lando/Chewie guy) I always thought he was kind of a boring nerd.
     
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  20. oldbert

    oldbert Guardian of Coffee Breaks

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    In my opinion the problem behind the discussion is, that we as humans are extremly "subjective" beings. Our personal reality and therefore our opinions are exactly.. PERSONAL.
    Oth, millions of people try desperately to look for the so called OBJECTIVE and rational and unquestionable TRUTH or realities.
    I think like in many other ways, if the majority of people agrees about something to be true and it akso "feels" right for them and if it's not completely nuts or against all LOGIC at that time, sthg becomes TRUTH gor a certain period of time as long the majority of people like the outcome.

    Luke - also for me in personal - was a fictional, supernatural character, that I could relate to, because he was a very human character, with a lot of naivity at the beginning of his journey - like myself when I saw him on screen for the first time - AND even in ROTJ he was NOT ready to outmatch the emperor. BUT he tried his best for his friends and for his father and let go his hatred at the right time.
    Could it have gone all wrong? Of course. Was the plot perfectly crafted and everything followed the RULES OF OBJECTIVITY AND LOGIC? No and imo there isn't much left storytellingwise, if you would try to tell the perfect hero story, that EVERYONE agrees with emotionally AND rationally.

    Luke feels or at least felt like a Hero I could relate to at a certain point of my life. And reading through the posts above, that was the case for lot of people.

    Lucas created a space fairy tale with huge impact that spread a lot of positive energy and hope around the globe.

    EP7 and 8 also tried to prolong that kind of spirit, that imperfect people, no matter what heritage and character issue they might have, can make a difference.
    But, you see even these statement is very subjective in a way.

    What's the conclusion of my monolog above? Feel free to discuss if ROTJ Luke is a TRUE UNQUESTIONABLE hero OR NOT. BUT don't expect your point of view to be TRUE FOR EVERYONE.
     
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