‘Star Wars’: Would It Really Have Been Out of Character for Luke Skywalker to Destroy Ben Solo?

While Luke Skywalker was not the focus of the latest Star Wars trilogy, the story could not have worked without him.

His connections to the story are obvious. Besides his relation to Han Solo, Leia, and their son, Ben, he serves as Rey’s mentor throughout the second film. In that film, we get a jaded, bitter Luke who isn’t as heroic as he was the last time we saw him.

To some fans, this is a change of character. However, as some on Reddit pointed out, it makes sense in the big picture when he confronts his evil nephew at the end. 

Luke’s arc 

When we first met Luke Skywalker in 1976’s Star Wars, he wasn’t an immediate hero. He had little knowledge of the force and barely knew anything about combat. Despite that, an aging Obi-Wan Kenobi helped unlock his inner Jedi and embark on the journey that would not only solidify his place as a proverbial chosen one but change the future of the galaxy forever. 

Throughout the first three movies, Luke goes from an innocent teenage farm boy to the most powerful force for good in the entire universe. The son of Darth Vader, he’s everything his father was without the dark side getting in the way. Perhaps, this is why some hate to see their beloved protagonist relegated to the role of a bitter older man in the new series. 

When Rey sees Luke at the end of The Force Awakens, he’s no longer the optimistic force he was at the end of Return of the Jedi. He is a reclusive old hermit who has given up on being a force for good. However, as we learn about what happened with his nephew, it begins to make more sense. 

Luke and Ben

Despite playing vital roles in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, Luke and Ben share barely any screentime together. As the second film unfolds, however, we learn that Luke trained Ben as Yoda and Obi-Wan trained him. Ben is overtaken by the dark side’s power, causing his eventual downfall and transition into Kylo Ren. In the showdown, Ben realizes how much stronger Luke is in the force when the two face-off and Luke reveals himself to be a mere projection. 

It echoes his father’s story, but it also reflects his own. While Luke may have been, by all intents and purposes, an ambitious twenty-something last time we saw him, he’s grown jaded after seeing the empire take hold again. The fact that an optimistic young man could develop into a bitter old hermit. After all, had one or two things gone wrong, his entire story may have gone the way of his nephew. Fans on Reddit broke this down. 

The fans awaken 

Mark Hamill
Mark Hamill | Rich Fury/Getty Images

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In defense of Luke Skywalker’s arc, Reddit user u/juantreses breaks down the similarities between his story and his nephew’s story. This is where the breakdown of his parallels begin to make sense compared to the character on screen. 

“Luke now has trained Kylo and has the same relationship to him as Obi Wan with Anakin. The relationship of master-padawan. He has trained Ben and knows his power. He also knows what a powerful jedi turning to the dark side can become. He then follows the teachings he has had from Obi Wan and Yoda out of pure desperation: kill the bad to bring back/keep peace in the galaxy and that’s what he’s about to do as we can see in the controversial, and much hated, flashback. Only to realize exactly at the last moment that he’s wrong. You see what I’m trying to get at here?”

U/Darth_Tonitrus broke this down more basically. 

“Luke is human, he’s capable of making mistakes. He did and unfortunately that bad timing meant that momentary mistake ballooned into something much larger.”

Whether fans like it or not, not everyone is the same person at 65 that they are at 25. For a young man to be broken down like Luke was, they have to go through a lot. With the weight of the galaxy placed on Luke’s shoulders and a society that falls into the same traps, it makes sense that he’d go jaded with the galaxy far away.

This is why The Last Jedi is so divisive. After all, while some want new journeys from their most beloved characters, others want to see them as they had three decades earlier. However, when looking at Luke’s story as a whole, everything about his turn makes sense inside a vacuum.