“It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.”
That’s Obi-Wan Kenobi there, who regaled the young Luke Skywalker about the finer details of the Force in Star Wars: A New Hope all those years ago. It’s sound logic, too, and formed part of the foundation on which the Jedi Order was built.
Be that as it may, The Last Jedi arguably dismantled the myth that the Jedi were all-seeing, all-knowing sages, after viewers were introduced to a lonely Luke Skywalker who had all but given up the fight against widespread tyranny and, specifically, the First Order. Part of this self-imposed exile involved Mark Hamill’s Jedi cutting himself off from the Force, and thanks to writer-director Rian Johnson, we now have a better understanding of Luke’s thought process.
For me, the reason that Luke had to turn off the Force was because of Leia. Because if he didn’t, if he had a connection to Leia, if he could see his sister suffering, if he could hear her calls for help, there’s no way he’d be able to do what he thinks in his head is what he has to do – which is to stay on that island (Ach-to) for the greater good of the galaxy.
By embracing his isolated home on Ahch-To, Luke Skywalker effectively distanced himself from the Resistance – and his sister Leia, in particular – for the “greater good of the galaxy,” though Hamill’s hermit was ultimately given some much-needed perspective by the wide-eyed Rey.
In a previous interview, Rian Johnson also reaffirmed that Luke’s desire to exist in a state of total isolation can be traced back to Empire.
In this way he’s able to finally do the thing he couldn’t do in Empire, which is cut off the emotional, isolate himself into what he’s convinced himself is the right thing.
There’s also the small matter of Ben Solo, given Luke felt partly responsible for his nephew’s turn to the dark side. All in all, Hamill’s Jedi staged his last stand on Crait (Ahch-To, really) to carve out enough time for the Resistance to escape, and while the actor initially hoped Luke Skywalker would be spared until Star Wars: Episode IX, there’s always a chance he’ll return by way of the Force. Talk about going full circle!