There are two Star Wars threads that have recently crossed my path and they knit together very well within my personal head cannon.

The first claims that Leia followed more in Annakin’s footsteps (military leader, guns blazing diplomacy) and Luke followed in Amidala’s (seeking to tame the darkness in Annakin / Vader, sought mercy not war).

The second thread really builds on this and it focuses on the the big finale between Vader and Luke at the end of Return of the Jedi. Luke manages to get the upper hand against Vader (literally as he has cut Vader’s hand off) and the Emperor cackles over this triumph. This isn’t a victory for Luke. It is Pyrrhic at best, what it really is about is Luke’s failure to resist the dark side. You really the anger and fear in his wild swings as the villains threaten that if Luke will not join them then perhaps his sister shall be brought over to the dark side.

As Luke stares down at the severed limb of Vader, then to his own mechanical hand that replaced the one Vader had scored in their previous duel, and he sees so clearly the fall of his father and the potential dark future hanging before him, hinging on this next choice he makes. He is drowning in shock and horror and shame, but in that moment he finds his resolve and casts aside his light saber. Weaponless, he declares that he will never join the Emperor. What sort of strategy is Luke planning? That’s a different discussion for now …

Vader manages to rise and make his redemption through self sacrifice and takes out the Emperor, a deed that Luke could not bring himself to do and even Anakin originally failed to do when he had been confronted with Darth Sideous’ moment of weakness and exposed evil so many years ago. I have heard tell of a lost bit of script that when Luke removes Vader’s helmet, Anakin with his dying breath tells Luke that he now sees before him the man he had once tried to be.

Building on these two threads, it easily emerges how Kylo’s response to Snokes is roughly how young rebel Leia might have reacted if she had confronted Vader instead of Luke. Instead of passive defiance and accepting death rather than the Dark side, it is easy to imagine Leia gunning both evil men down and taking up the reins of power to restore the Republic but at what cost to her?

In The Last Jedi, Luke’s response to the presented light saber may have come off as flippant but it was at least honest. Previously he had given in to the dark side with anger and lost his father and more than a little of himself. For a brief passing moment he had allowed his fear of what his nephew was becoming to guide his hand, and again he lost family and an entire school. To enter into the battle again, it would be inevitable that he would be exposed to his own darkness. This is a fight that Luke is not only afraid of but it shames him much as Obi Wan was probably shamed for what transpired under his watch.

There has been a fair bit said about Luke’s last stand on Crait  being very in character with Luke’s past. This is his attempt at redemption, one echoing Old Ben facing off one last time against his fallen apprentice more than Anakin’s final act of rebellion against his master. This was a sacrifice to inspire others to pick up the mantle he had grown to weary to carry any longer, not one to erase a greater evil. Again, hammering at the difference between the Rebellion and the Empire – how we fight is as important as why we fight, something the Order of the Jedi seemed to have equally lost by the time of the prequels.

It follows that in the next episode there ought to be at least one more moment of Luke’s presence appearing to Rey, the trickster guide as Yoda had become, a finger pointing to a future unknown. Though Rey’s parentage has been dropped in apparently at least one video game, her destiny is still to really be realized in its fullness. The question remains on what she will be her decision in that moment of confronting Kylo. Will she be overcome at rage so many deaths including Han Solo, or will she seek him out with hope of redemption? My bet is that Kylo will meet his end as a result of his own actions, renouncing Rey and his parents one last time and perhaps one last vision of Luke …

One thought on “In Defense of a Lightsaber Spurned

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