Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to The Last Jedi? Although critics love the latest Episode VIII, with some of them proclaiming that this is the best film in the series since The Empire Strikes Back, the more hardcore fans are divided about it. Me? I personally enjoyed it a lot and I was rather shocked that there are a lot of Star Wars fanatics that hate it, making it actually the most reviled film in the franchise. Seriously! Episode II: Attack of the Clones had an audience rating of 57% on Rotten Tomatoes and, as of this writing, The Last Jedi is at 56%! Heck, it may have dropped a few percentage points as I’m writing this right now!
I just had to look at what fans are saying regarding what’s wrong with Episode VIII. And, yeah, there are some things I agree with and some that I disagree with. However, there is one big issue that has gotten a lot of hate and it’s something that I thought was interesting as it is a huge point of contention. With that in mind, this post will not change your mind if you hate The Last Jedi. I will not Jedi Mind Trick you into thinking that you’re dumb for thinking that this thing made The Last Jedi a terrible film in your opinion. However, I do like to give my point of view on this specific issue and get to the nitty-gritty if I agree with it or not.
Now, it does seem like I’m very vague about what issue this is, well, that’s because I haven’t put up the SPOILER WARNING! But now that I have, let’s go talk about it!
The biggest issue Star Wars fans have about The Last Jedi was how Luke Skywalker’s portrayal and how he was used. In the Original Trilogy, Luke Skywalker is a wide-eyed, optimistic farm boy who wants to fight against The Empire and go on adventures. When a couple of droids show up, he gets wrapped up in the biggest adventure that’s every happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away! Throughout Episodes IV, V and VI, Luke matures and learns he’s in tuned with an all-powerful energy field that binds the galaxy together. He finds his adopted parents killed by The Empire and his mentor in the ways of The Force killed by Darth Vader, a Sith Lord who uses the Dark Side of the Force. His then finds out that his father is Darth Vader, has a twin sister named Leia and becomes one of the last remaining Jedi Knights. Even with all of this, he still keeps his youthful positivity throughout all of those challenges.
This has all changed, though. In Episode VIII, Luke’s spirit has been crushed after a dreadful turn of events when he attempts to revive the Jedi Order. He takes in Ben Solo, the son of his sister, Leia, and his best friend, Han Solo. In The Last Jedi, it’s revealed that he detects Ben Solo has been corrupted by Supreme Leader Snoke and, in a moment of weakness and poor judgement, he unsheathes his lightsaber to kill his nephew. Luke does relent but Ben sees his uncle and mentor with the lightsaber over him and explodes in a fury. Depressed and ashamed that he failed to revive the Jedi Order and that he failed his loved ones. Luke then sends himself on a self-imposed exile on the planet that houses the first and only remaining Jedi, stops using the Force altogether and plans to die there until Rey showed up.
The reason why fans totally dislike this is because, instead of getting Captain Positive, they got Grumpy McSadface. This is a really big change for those who watched the films while George Lucas was in control of Star Wars. Additionally, we never did get to see the great Luke Skywalker return and kick-ass. Oh, you can mention that the scene where he was on the salt planet and battled with Kylo Ren/Ben Solo but you know that’s a cop out because he wasn’t actually there! Luke returned to using the Force and used it to project himself through time and space to make it appear he was really there. After that, poof! The greatest Jedi the galaxy has ever known just dies like a fart in the wind.
Fans are upset with this direction Disney took Luke Skywalker and I do kind of understand the outrage. Luke is probably one of the most iconic pop culture characters of all time and to see him go through a drastic change was jarring… at the start, in my case. But, as the movie went on and we got to see more of him, I understood his position and the change in character.
Luke is one of the most tragic heroes in the Star Wars universe if you really think about it. Like I mentioned, he lost his adoptive parents. He managed to bring his father back from the Dark Side, only to lose him a few moments earlier. His two Jedi masters died while he was teaching him. It seemed like everything was going to turn around for him after the events of the Original Trilogy. Nope! It was only more heartache and pain as one of his own disciples and his very own nephew turns to the Dark Side and kills the rest of the padawans he was training. But this time, it’s different. It’s different because he’s the one at fault. He’s the one who created the monster and he’s the one who unleashed this monster. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back and he couldn’t take it anymore. He couldn’t face Han and Leia as well because he accidentally sealed Ben’s fate and turned him to following Snoke.
So, I did understand why Luke was in the state he was in The Last Jedi and I loved his journey back to redemption. In fact, I thought this was a fabulous take on the character and a genuine surprise but I guess, for fans it’s just too drastic of a change and does destroy the image of the character in the process. At the same time, though, fans should’ve expected Luke to be a little different in between that 30 years gap. It’s like bumping into someone who haven’t seen in a long time and they seem like a totally different person. I’ve ran into friends who I haven’t seen after high school at times and amazed how different they’ve become because of one thing or another. This is what happened to Luke; something happened and his personality changed because of it. That’s essentially what happened in between the events of the Original Trilogy and The Last Jedi. It just so happened that the event (him turning his nephew the hate spewing killing machine) changed him utterly that he’s just not the same person he was 30 years ago.
Also, it’s not like Disney didn’t change characters from the Original Trilogy before. At the end of Return of the Jedi, it’s implied that Han Solo and Leia get together. In The Force Awakens, it’s revealed that they split up after their son, Kylo Ren/Ben Solo, joined the First Order. The couple didn’t get their happy ever after as Kylo Ren killed his own father. This was something I expected fans to go ballistic over because the main couple in the Original Trilogy didn’t work out. Yet I didn’t hear any major outrage from fans because I guess the change wasn’t big or drastic enough.
I liked what they did with Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi because it shows actual character development. I will even admit that the final shot of Luke, as he looked into the horizon of two setting suns which mirrored that iconic scene in Episode IV, before he surrendered himself to the Force brought a tear to my eye. Okay, it did suck that he actually wasn’t on the planet… but it was still a beautifully shot scene! And even though Luke Skywalker is dead, that doesn’t mean that he won’t show up again! If Yoda can come back as a Force ghost after 30 years, why can’t Luke?
Anyway, that’s my take from the entire Luke Skywalker controversy in The Last Jedi. I totally get the opinion that the way they handled the character was a travesty and an insult to fans who grew up watching him. I just hope these same fans respect my opinion when I say this was one of the things that made me enjoy The Last Jedi just a little bit more than I should have.
What’s your take on the entire Luke Skywalker backlash from The Last Jedi? Do you have any other issues with the film? Let me know what they are in the comments section below!