Luke Skywalker is the protagonist of the original Star Wars trilogy and has also played a small, albeit key, role in the two sequels movies named The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi respectively. While his character died in the latter, fading into the force akin to how Ben Kenobi died in A New Hope, fans are expecting to see him reappear when The Rise of Skywalker releases this winter.
And while Luke is one of the best characters the franchise has to offer, he’s not exactly been on-point with all of his decisions. We now take a look at the best, and worst, ones he has made up until this point.
10 Good: Buying The Droids
While it’s Owen Lars who spends his credits on acquiring droids C3PO and R2D2 from Jawas on Tatooine, he does so with help from Luke Skywalker who suggests which of the products on offer to buy.
Luke immediately is drawn to C3PO, who he believes could benefit the family due to the fact he’s a protocol droid. He initially snubs R2D2 but is able to convince Owen into buying him after R5-D4 malfunctions - and this decision paves the way for the fight against the Empire. Without the droids, Luke would have stayed as a Tatooine farm boy for the rest of his life, rather than end up being the main player in the fight against the bad guys.
9 Bad: Tackling Darth Vader When Not Ready
While Luke is stronger, both as a person and a Jedi Knight, in The Empire Strikes Back he still makes mistakes within that movie. And the biggest of those is choosing to take on Darth Vader when the evil Sith Lord’s powers easily outweigh his own.
While young Skywalker’s decision to try and save his friends deserves commending, he was told by both Yoda and Ben Kenobi that he wasn’t ready to tackle Vader...yet. He learns this for himself when his hand is sliced off by the villain, who also reveals himself to be his father, leaving audiences stunned in the process. Losing your hand and discovering you’re related to the worst person in the galaxy? That’s some blow...
8 Good: Going With Ben Kenobi
When Luke Skywalker meets Ben Kenobi and learns that Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru are in danger from the Empire, he immediately races back to try and save them from a horrible death. He’s unsuccessful, however, and chooses to stay with Kenobi having previously been hesitant of embracing his destiny as a Jedi Knight.
This is a good decision because it’s this which signifies the start of his training. Luke takes baby steps during A New Hope but his powers heighten significantly in the next movie, The Empire Strikes Back.
7 Good: Trusting His Instincts
Luke Skywalker demonstrates his growing strength by the end of The Empire Strikes Back when he’s presented with the chance to blow up the Death Star and avenge the deaths of his two family members.
He’s involving in a space battle with Darth Vader, managing to barely cling on as the villain reigns blaster bolts down on him. Luke then has the chance to make the shot to destroy the Empire’s evil space station and decides to trust his instincts, closing his eyes and allowing the force to influence his action. Fortunately this risk pays off with the Death Star exploding into a fireball - and Vader is sent spinning away by returning hero Han Solo.
6 Bad: Taking The Emperor’s Bait
Luke Skywalker is arguably the most-popular Star Wars character in existence because of his plucky attitude and determination to do the right thing. However, in 1981’s Return Of The Jedi, he very nearly turns to the dark side after falling for Emperor Palpatine’s bait.
Palpatine goads Luke into striking him down, teasing him that his friends are destined to die on Endor in the unfolding battle down below. Skywalker loses it, summoning his lightsaber and attempting to kill the Empire’s talisman only to find Darth Vader in his way. If it wasn’t for Vader, though, then he would likely have switched sides.
5 Good: Going To Tatooine
Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian all make the bold decision to try and save the carbonated Han Solo from the clutches of the evil Jabba the Hutt. Given how well-protected the gangster is, it’s certainly not an easy mission to embark on.
And it doesn’t exactly go smoothly, with Chewie and Leia both being imprisoned and Luke managing to cling on for his life when pitted against a Rancor. Fortunately, though, the decision pays off with Skywalker using his prowess with a lightsaber to rescue his friends and steer them to safety while Jabba’s Sail Barge explodes in the background.
4 Bad: Trying To Kill Ben Solo
The next two posts on this list go hand in hand, with both coming to light in The Last Jedi. Luke Skywalker appears briefly at the end of The Force Awakens and, when we see him, he’s clearly a man in some turmoil. And, in the sequel, we learn he’s riddled with guilty for attempting to kill Ben Solo during his nephew’s time at his Jedi academy.
Regardless of whether or not you agree with Rian Johnson’s own decision to take Mark Hamill’s character in this direction, it’s obvious that this was a bad move from Luke. Not just because it tarnishes his reputation but also because it’s the final step in Ben’s fall to the dark side.
3 Good: Changing His Mind
Within the same battle sequence, Luke Skywalker is able to pull himself away from the dark side by deciding to not kill Darth Vader, despite lobbing the villain’s hand off during a blistering lightsaber duel.
It’s a risk, particularly as Vader had tried everything into tempting his side to change allegiances. But his choice is vindicated when his father, after years of acting as Emperor Palpatine’s stooge, decides to throw his master down the chute of the second Death Star to his seeming death. Vader’s act of redemption ultimately costs him his life, however, and Luke lies his father’s corpse on a plinth in Endor, watching on as flames consume his armour.
2 Bad: Shutting Himself Off From The Force
It’s bad enough that Luke Skywalker tries to kill nephew Ben Solo, despite not doing the same with the much-more-villainous Darth Vader previously, but shutting himself off from the force is, arguably, an even worse decision from the Jedi Master.
In doing this it means he’s effectively given up, choosing to take himself away while his friends suffer. In his absence Han Solo is murdered by Kylo Ren on Starkiller Base, while Leia nearly gets gunned down during the Resistance’s attempts to flee from the First Order. If Luke had not chosen to go down the grumpy-old-hermit path then maybe, just maybe, the two people closest to him would have both stayed together and been saved from such tragedy.
1 Good: Saving His Friends On Crait
Luke Skywalker, throughout most of The Last Jedi, is somewhat frustrating to watch. He’s out of sorts and out of character, shunning those closest to him despite their clear desperation for him to step out of the shadows and return to the fight against the First Order.
But he redeems himself at the very end of the blockbuster, force projecting himself away from the galaxy to trick Kylo Ren into fighting him while Rey, Leia Organa, Poe Dameron, Finn, Chewbacca and the rest of the Resistance fighters are able to escape and continue the battle another day.