‘The Last Jedi’: Luke and Kylo’s Face-Off Mirrors an Iconic Moment in ‘A New Hope’

The Last Jedi flipped the Star Wars universe on its head, doing some truly groundbreaking things with some legendary characters.

Along with furthering the development of new trilogy characters like Kylo Ren and Rey, it also closed the book on the overall franchise’s most important character: Luke Skywalker. There was even a final confrontation between Luke and Kylo that both moved the story forward while also finishing Luke’s journey. 

One great element of the Star Wars saga is that themes and motifs often repeat themselves throughout the films. This happened again during Luke and Kylo’s face-off, as it mirrored an iconic scene from A New Hope. 

The Kylo Ren/Luke Skywalker dynamic in ‘The Last Jedi’

Adam Driver
Adam Driver | Mike Marsland/WireImage

In the sequel trilogy, Kylo Ren is the very definition of a fallen star. Raised as the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, he’s also the nephew of Luke and the grandson of Darth Vader.

Though Luke begins to train him, he eventually succumbs to the dark side and joins Supreme Leader Snoke. He eventually murders his own father, sealing his fate. 

Luke begins The Last Jedi tossing away his father’s lightsaber. Throughout the film, he begrudgingly trains Rey in the ways of the Force as he continues to dwell on his past failures training Kylo Ren. Eventually, he learns to accept his failure and learn from it rather than let it consume him.

He confronts Kylo and it’s eventually revealed that he’s present as a Force projection rather than in his corporeal form. Luke gives the Resistance time to escape from Kylo and the First Order, sacrificing his life in the process. He tells Kylo, “See you around, kid” before leaving him to ponder the future. 

As an uncle-nephew, mentor-protege storyline, it was expertly done. It showed how Kylo still harbored resentment toward Luke. But was this resentment warranted? 

How Luke Skywalker failed Kylo Ren

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Luke redeems himself at the end of The Last Jedi, but his failure with Kylo Ren was a big one. In the film, Luke tells Rey that while he was training Kylo, he sensed his impending turn to the dark side. He lifted his lightsaber to strike his Padawan down as he slept but realized the error of his ways before he could finish the job. Kylo woke up, thinking his uncle was going to kill him. This hastened his path to the dark side, and Kylo never truly forgave Luke. 

This failure from Luke mirrored his actions in Return of the Jedi. After engaging in a lightsaber duel with his father, Darth Vader, he lost control of his emotions. He then struck wildly at his father, cutting off his hand. He realized in the moment that he was wrong, and threw his lightsaber aside before he could succumb to the urges of the dark side. 

Luke’s failure with Kylo didn’t just harken back to Luke and Vader’s battle. It also reminded Star Wars fans of another epic struggle – this one between Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi. 

The iconic scene from ‘A New Hope’ that Luke and Kylo’s face-off mirrors

Obi-Wan Kenobi trained Anakin Skywalker (who later became Darth Vader). In A New Hope, Vader and Obi-Wan meet on the Death Star for a final confrontation.

A Reddit user pointed out that In Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan admits that he failed Anakin. Luke admits this with Kylo as well, apologizing to him. The two shots even look similar. 

That’s why Vader and Obi-Wan’s showdown in A New Hope is so reminiscent of Kylo and Luke’s in The Last Jedi. It’s a master who failed his apprentice, atoning for his sin, and ultimately sacrificing himself for the good of the galaxy.

It’s an interesting juxtaposition. Since Kylo and Vader have similar conclusions to their story arcs, the connection between the two stories is definitely a valid one.