‘The Last Jedi’: A Small Change That Would Have Made the Movie Almost Perfect
The griping by Star Wars fans over the direction of The Last Jedi still goes on, almost three years after its initial release. Much of that sentiment goes to director Rian Johnson and the trajectory of Luke Skywalker, particularly how the latter reacts to the Jedi.
In one pivotal scene, he was shown throwing over his shoulder the lightsaber once belonging to his father. How he did this created a fan uproar, and proof of why The Last Jedi continues having a major divide in the fan community.
On social media, fans did not necessarily admonish Luke throwing his lightsaber away. They only wish he would have done it like he did in Return of the Jedi.
Many fans now accept the realities that Luke was a failed Jedi
Reddit had a recent interesting discussion on Reddit about the above scene and how Luke ultimately failed to live up to the Jedi code. To the diehard fans, this was an abomination in making Luke turn against the Jedi into a shade of gray.
While he did not turn to the dark side, he still disavowed the teachings of the Jedi to go his own way.
At the same time, there was a clear misinterpretation that Luke was vengeful and wanted to murder Ben Solo while in training. Most fans see that now as Snoke trying to peddle a lie about Luke Skywalker.
Other forums like Quora have far more mixed opinions, including the idea Luke fully did intend to kill Ben Solo because he could see what the latter would unleash. Feeling a sense of guilt about not killing him, Luke fled to Ahch-To to try to come to grips with his conflicted thoughts.
Then the famous scene: Luke throwing the lightsaber over his shoulder (given to him by Rey) as an act of ridding the past. Was this really character assassination on the part of Rian Johnson, or did the lightsaber throwaway scene need better writing?
Some fans feel like throwing away the lightsaber was too cavalier
When Luke has the scene of throwing his father’s lightsaber over his shoulder, he does so in a slightly comedic manner and looked at as thumbing the nose at the older fans. They all grew up making Luke a hero and not one who would wantonly throw a lightsaber away like it was a piece of junk.
Said one fan on Reddit above: “Yes exactly, it’s not that he threw the saber, it’s how he did it.” This comment was in response to the initial thread idea saying the movie should have had Luke tossing the lightsaber to the side as he did in The Return of the Jedi.
Having a parallel like that would bring a stronger connection to the original trilogy as fan service. Of course, going in the opposite direction was the modus operandi of The Last Jedi.
Can a good argument be made Luke throwing away his lightsaber so cavalierly was a mistake? According to some fans, the film paralleled past Star Wars history in a more interesting way than just mimicking similar lightsaber moves.
Luke’s reaction was arguably a full-circle moment
Rian Johnson defended the moment when Luke threw away his lightsaber by saying to Collider above: “He’s made this choice. He’s there for a reason. 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.”
Arguments will likely go on forever about whether this ruined Luke Skywalker or helped his character arc. One thing Reddit users noted above is it might have paralleled an unexpected character: Qui-Gon Jinn from The Phantom Menace.
Said one user via Movie Web: “They are mirrored characters. The point is that even though Qui-Gon didn’t succeed at bringing change and the order stayed blinded by their dogma, eventually another Jedi came along who got it right. Who valued empathy and intuition just like Qui-Gon did.”
In this case, perhaps Johnson will earn some needed points from fans in bringing things almost as full-circle as JJ Abrams did in The Rise of Skywalker.