Is there anything as controversial in the history of the saga as the portrayal of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Ever since Episode VIII came out two years ago, those who hated the movie haven’t stopped blasting writer/director Rian Johnson for “ruining” the hero of the Original Trilogy with his bold, revisionist take on the character.
As he often does, Johnson has recently replied to one of these fans on Twitter and offered his defense for why he depicted Luke as a broken man, with his faith in the Jedi waning, in TLJ. The original post was a reply to an in-depth breakdown comparing Luke’s actions in Return of the Jedi with Johnson’s film, with the tweeter arguing the director “completely destroys” Luke. Following this, Johnson stepped forward to offer his thoughts on their claim.
Gil, I understand that point of view but I completely disagree with it. In fact I think it disrespects the character of Luke by treating him not as a true mythic hero overcoming recurring wounds & flaws, but as a video game character who has achieved a binary, permanent power-up.
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) December 20, 2019
The question of whether TLJ‘s presentation of Luke was the right way to go is such a thorny one, with even Mark Hamill having made clear that he disagreed with the direction – though he’s since admitted he regrets voicing this opinion. Whatever side of the divide you fall on, you have to concede that Johnson illustrates his point well here, demonstrating that he wanted to focus on the humanity of the character rather than deifying him or keeping him stagnant.
It’s also pretty funny and ironic that this fan is thankful that Abrams is back for The Rise of Skywalker, when it was Abrams who set up the idea of Luke hiding away from the universe as a hermit in the first place in The Force Awakens. Johnson was just taking the story to the natural next step in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.