Luke's Force Powers
Rey was almost instantly anointed this galaxy's Mary Sue due to her tremendous skill set and quick adeptness at developing Force powers. While Luke Skywalker didn't necessarily progress as quickly as his future apprentice, he still had quite a journey in A New Hope. When audiences met the farm boy, he was a talented pilot but never left Tatooine, dreaming what life beyond the twin suns could be like. A short escape from a Death Star later, Luke is flying an X-wing (a vehicle he presumably never saw before) through a narrow Death Star trench and using the Force instead of a targeting computer to deliver the killing blow to the battle station. He didn't even know what the Force was a couple days prior to his grand adventure and he saved the galaxy with it.
Luke also picked up on lightsaber wielding pretty fast as well. While en route to Alderaan, Skywalker did a short exercise with Obi-Wan and after a brief struggle was able to deflect remote shots with the blast shield down on his helmet. It's true that Luke is the son of a powerful Jedi Knight, which could offer an explanation, but he received minimal training at most in the original film. In fact, facing the Millennium Falcon remote is the only practice Luke has on-screen with the laser sword. Extending this to the rest of the original trilogy, Yoda never teaches him fighting techniques in Empire Strikes Back, but Luke still duels with Darth Vader at the end of the film. Maybe one doesn't need extensive training to use the Force?
Story Conveniences In The Script
One of the calling cards of Star Wars (and most films in general) is convenience. In order for the movie to happen, sometimes great coincidences need to take place. Somehow, Rey stumbled across BB-8 and rescued him. By a miracle, Finn wandered from the TIE fighter crash site to Niima Outpost and encountered Rey and the droid that belonged to Poe Dameron. Han Solo and Chewbacca are able to detect the Falcon on their scanners and reclaim the ship as their own moments after it leaves Jakku. Some die-hard fans may write this off as being the will of the Force, but others tend to roll their eyes at how perfectly things fall into place. But the truth is, A New Hope is guilty of the same thing.
At the droid sale, Uncle Owen originally purchased R5-D4, and moments later the robot's bad motivator rendered it useless. Luke was then able to get R2-D2 and see Princess Leia's message, changing his life forever. When Luke was knocked out by Tusken Raiders chasing after the escaped Artoo, Obi-Wan Kenobi magically appeared to save him. During the Battle of Yavin, right when Vader was about to shoot Luke's X-wing down, Han Solo just happened to know where his friend was and swooped in to become a hero of the Rebellion. These coincidences are no larger than other ones seen in the saga, and as long as they remain semi plausible and don't stretch credulity too much, audiences will be willing to buy in.
Character Backstories Aren't Extensive
Star Wars has always thrived with in media res storytelling, dropping audiences into the middle of the story and trusting them to catch up. When a narrative is in constant motion, there usually isn't time to learn the origins of all the characters viewers meet along the way. This was a criticism some had of Rogue One. While all members of the ensemble weren't fully fleshed out or realized, director Gareth Edwards provided enough information so fans knew where they were all coming from. Again, certain parts were a little underwritten, but everybody had a brief backstory told in one or two lines of dialogue so they weren't just completely blank slates. It's a tried and true Star Wars tradition that started back in A New Hope.
We've already touched on how Vader could be considered a weak villain in some eyes, but some of the heroes receive a similar treatment. Han Solo and Chewbacca - the two who made fans tear up with joy in Episode VII trailers - are hardly detailed. Audiences learn that they're smugglers and pilots who will take jobs for money, but beyond that, the duo's history remains a mystery. We get one line about how Obi-Wan Kenobi was once a general in something called the Clone Wars and nothing more. Lucas did this intentionally to give the galaxy far, far away a lived-in feel to show it was a world with a rich past. The Star Wars characters were memorable because of their characterization, not necessarily their backstories, but some viewers might have issues with that.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019