We tend to revisit classics around the holidays, and it doesn’t get much better or more classic than the Star Wars universe, or its beloved hero Luke Skywalker, for that matter. While we love Luke, we readily acknowledge that as a character, he is prone to making foolish decisions while often acting purely on emotion—which isn’t exactly the Jedi way. Granted, all Jedi are different, but Luke tends to exhibit a bit more capriciousness than the other do-gooders who align with the positive side of the Force, which is largely why fan theorists and beloved characters alike have worried about his impetuousness leading him to the dark side.
And while Luke hasn't succumbed to evil the way his dad did, he has displayed a tendency to whine, mope, and make horrible decisions that make things worse for those he cares about. That got us thinking, and we decided to highlight his craziest moments in the original trilogy, as well as the Expanded Universe (or Legends) and pop culture-verse. We also included The Force Awakens, because technically, Luke is in it, and his presence (absence, really) is strongly felt.
Without further adieu, we give you the 15 Most WTF Things Luke Skywalker Has Ever Done.
15 He leaves R2 behind in The Force Awakens
“That little droid and I have been through a lot together,” Luke says in A New Hope, before they went through a million times more. R2-D2 is like a loyal pet and a best friend to Luke, and the droid saves him time and again. Luke takes R2 to Dagobah—twice—in what are arguably the most important trips of his life. He takes R2 to battle as his wingman on multiple occasions, and he and his friends have all been saved by the tiny beeping droid on more than one occasion. Plus, up until the end of the movie, the lone image we get of Luke in The Force Awakens is of his robot hand reaching out for R2 for comfort. So why in the world would Luke take off without his little buddy?
We see in Awakens how depressed R2 is without Luke; he basically shuts down, which is no good for anyone involved. The two were reunited at the end of the latest installment of the films, but they never should have been apart to begin with. Way to ditch your loyal sidekick, Mr. Jedi.
14 His disappearing act
It’s almost like Jedi live under the mantra: “I’m the last of a really awesome line of warriors, and thus, I must become a total recluse. See ya.” We had hoped Luke would be different. We longed for a Force-using hero that didn't feel the need to become a Jedi-hermit, maybe even one that could become an amazing leader who stays in the public eye as the pushed onward into an Empire-less future.
But, alas, he, like Obi-Wan and Yoda before him, chose a life of seclusion and left all those who cared about him behind. We definitely need to know more about his story post-Jedi, and we’re sure to get huge chunks of info in Episode VIII, but we know Luke left the galaxy behind after Kylo Ren went all Darth Vader on everyone. We get that he felt responsible, but didn’t this same sense of responsibility for others make him want to stay to defend those he loved and their core Rebel values? Wouldn’t he still feel responsible for caring for those who were still trying to do good, especially once the First Order came into power? It was selfish of him to disappear, and we’re not over it yet.
13 His reaction to the make-Han-jealous kiss
Luke, c’mon, man! Can’t you read the situation, or the room? We all know the scene, because it makes us all cringe without fail every time we watch it. Leia kisses Luke in a move that is super-obviously meant to make the overconfident Han Solo jealous, and how does Luke react? He grins immediately, leans back in his chair, hands folded behind his head, smugly smiling at the smuggler who really has Leia’s heart. Seriously, Luke?! You weren’t weirded out by that at all? You didn’t sense a great disturbance in the Force there?
His initial reaction when he saw Leia was also disturbing. He sees a barely visible flickering hologram of her from R2’s pre-VHS playback system and, instead of fearing for her safety or pondering her predicament, he says: “Who is she? She’s beautiful.” Yeah. And she’s also related. We thought the Force helped you sense things?!
12 Luke Skywalker meets the Muppets!
Just a few months prior to the release of The Empire Strikes Back, way back in 1980, Mark Hamill appeared on The Muppet Show to promote the upcoming film—and he did so in character as Luke. With the droids in tow, Luke makes a grand, bumbling entrance when he literally crashes through the wall of a Muppet domicile, confused about what planet they’ve just landed on. In a bizarre twist, Luke then introduces Kermit to his “twin brother” Mark Hamill, who proves to be a less than capable song and dance man.
Later, during a “Pigs in Space” skit (a segment that parodied the Star Treks and Star Wars of the universe), Luke explains he has stolen the pigs’ ship, The Swinetrek, so he can go rescue Chewbacca, which actually doesn’t happen. What does happen is the full-on Miss Piggy treatment: she gives herself Leia hair and shamelessly flirts with Luke, who is actually a real jerk to her when he fat shames her. Yes, this all really happened. You can watch the scene here.
11 He seems more upset about losing Obi-Wan than he does his aunt and uncle
We get why the young dreamer we meet in Star Wars puts his dreams of Jedi-dom over his family when arguing at the dinner table with Uncle Owen. He’s not a farmer, he’s a wannabe Rebel pilot. And we definitely get why he flees his home planet with Ben and the droids. What we don’t understand? Luke looks sad and forlorn when he comes across the charred corpses of his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. He looks dejectedly at the ground for a few seconds, and then he takes off. But his reaction when Ben dies is much more angry and visceral: he screams out loud and immediately seeks vengeance after Ben is killed. He nearly gets killed himself trying to avenge Kenobi (good thing Stormtroopers can't shoot, right?).
The aunt and uncle who raised him should mean more than a guy he just met. And yet, if you go back and watch both death scenes, you’ll see a total imbalance of reaction on Luke’s part. He seems to care much more about losing Obi-Wan, who was fighting in a battle he was certain to lose, than he did about his (presumably) innocent aunt and uncle, who got slain by Stormtroopers for buying droids. Kind of a head scratcher.
10 He leaves in the middle of his training
This is no surprise to anyone obsessed with the original trilogy, but it's definitely worth a mention. Luke leaves Dagobah in the middle of his Jedi training to “help” his friends, despite everyone around him telling him he’s walking into a trap. Yoda warns him against it. Ben’s ghost tells him not to leave before his training is complete. But Luke takes off in spite of these myriad warnings from the great men he idolizes, charging off into a situation that was always going to end badly for him.
He leaves after seeing a 900-year-old Jedi pull a spaceship out of a swamp with his mind after he himself failed to do so (one would think he might want to stick around to see what else Yoda could do). But not our young Skywalker. And, in the end, it was all to no avail anyway, because he lost his hand and failed to save his friends–they ended up having to save him.
You had ONE JOB to do (stay in a swampy wasteland and train day and night to become a Jedi Knight so you can save the galaxy...no big whoop), and you failed miserably, sir.
9 His behavior in The Crystal Star
Fans and critics alike panned and derided Vonda McIntyre’s this-doesn’t-really-feel-like-Star-Wars-at-all book, The Crystal Star. It contained several elements that were odd at best and ridiculously awful at worst. The book featured werewolves (spelled wyrwulfs), nonsensical plots, a centaur that makes friends with the Solo kids, and a very easily duped Luke, whose Jedi powers are rendered useless throughout much of the book.
One nonsensical plot involves Han and Luke’s mission to find missing Jedi we know nothing about. On this mission, Luke uses the Force to disguise his physical appearance, and, in the same chapter, follows a creature around because he thinks its physical similarities to Yoda might mean it’s a Jedi. So, he's still Force-sensitive, and can use the Force to change the way he looks, but he can’t feel or sense another Jedi?
Soon after, Han and Luke come upon a bizarre cult led by the villainous blob Waru, whom Luke becomes swayed by. How can a Jedi be swayed? Because the nearby titular crystal star apparently disrupts the Force and renders Jedi powers useless. It reads like a bad soap opera set in space, and Luke never once feels like Luke in it. It's easily one of the oddest contributions to the Expanded Universe.
8 Luke sending the droids into Jabba’s Palace
We get that R2-D2 was a key player in Han’s escape, what with carrying Luke’s lightsaber and all. But Luke couldn’t have thought of a better way to get his weapon into the building without endangering his droids? And it’s obvious C3P0 has a big mouth and reads a room almost as well as his master, so why send him at all?
To top it off, Luke threw Threepio into the mission blind, which terrified the bilingual bot. “Artoo, you’re playing the wrong message,” a clueless and terrified C3PO says when R2 plays a recording of Luke offering the droids to Jabba as a gesture of good faith. This wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t see droids getting tortured in terrible ways at Jabba’s Palace, of course, but we definitely did. You’d think a Jedi would be hip to the fact that he was sending his friends into a potential torture chamber, but, then again, he has a tendency to put his friends in danger quite a bit...
7 He endangers his friends (and the entire rebel mission)
He says it himself, out loud, in the movie: by accompanying his friends to destroy the Empire, he has put them all at risk. Why? To begin with, he knows Vader can detect his presence, and yet, he goes anyway. He says, mid-mission, as though he’s only just realizing it then, “I shouldn’t have come.” Yeah, considering the way Force-users can feel each others' presence and you’ve just alerted Vader that you and your friends are near, probably not, Luke. Again, this comes down to planning.
Again, this comes down to planning. He couldn’t have found a better way to contribute to the efforts of the alliance? Why wasn’t he trying to draw Vader away from everyone else instead of always allowing himself to be drawn in? This was the third installment--doesn't he know by now that Vader feels him coming, or that his friends aren't immune to traps or turmoil? We know he's not as smart as Obi-Wan or Yoda, but couldn't he have been a bit smarter and more on-the-offensive than this?
6 Luke Skywalker, savior of the whales
In the EU novel the Glove of Darth Vader, Luke visits the watery planet Calamari (not a typo) with Admiral Ackbar in search of, you guessed it, the hand of Darth Vader that he chopped off in Jedi (more on severed hands later). While searching Calamari for Vader’s glove, which had been prophesized to be worn by the next leader of the Empire, thus highlighting its importance, Luke once again gets sidetracked from his primary imperative.
He learns of an awful Whaladon (whales in the EU universe) factory in which the Empire illegally trap and hunt the creatures for their flesh. The chief villain of the story, Trioculus, is summoned by the head of the factory, who has found Vader’s glove there. Luke and Trioculus have their inevitable showdown, and while Luke succeeds in destroying the Whaladon abuse factory, he doesn’t get the glove—Trioculus does, and he also gets away with it, leaving Luke empty handed, if you will.
5 He made a terrible first impression with Yoda
This was really annoying, folks, and it's probably one of Luke’s worst moments. He is a complete jerk to Yoda the first time he sees him, despite there being zero cause for such treatment. After crash-landing in Yoda’s swamp, the Jedi Master naturally comes out to inspect the situation, and, as we’ve established, Luke does not read the room very well. While Yoda acts like a nosy child and looks through Luke’s possessions, our not-so-noble hero is less than understanding or tolerable. He snatches food out of the tiny creature’s hand instead of letting the little old guy have a nibble, and he has zero tact or patience at first. He’s condescending and dismissive, almost like an annoyed babysitter who just wants to go home without dealing with the kids at all. He only softens when he learns the tiny green creature in front of him may or may not help him find the Jedi Master he seeks. Kinda selfish, and what a terrible first impression!
He only softens when he learns the tiny green creature in front of him may or may not help him find the Jedi Master he seeks. It's all kind of selfish, and a terrible first impression to make on the guy who's going to transform him into the savior of the Rebellion.
4 Luke battles, and almost loses to, his clone Luuke
Brought to you by Luke Skywalker’s severed hand, we bring you Luuke Skywalker. Timothy Zahn’s book, The Last Command, his final entry in the Thrawn Trilogy, is a mixed bag with a few great moments and a handful of highly memorable ones, both good and bad. One of the most memorable is the Luke-on-Luuke battle ended by Mara Jade.
A bit of background: the demented clone of a Jedi Master, Joruus C’boath, got ahold of the hand Vader cut off, and had an evil clone of Luke made from it. This evil clone, Luuke, who also had Luke’s missing saber from the Cloud City fight, is loosed, and he has a very similar skill set to the original. So similar, in fact, that when Skywalker faces off against his clone, he’s pretty much owned in their saber battle. Had Mara Jade not freed herself from captivity and killed Luuke with Leia’s lightsaber, our hero might have been toast.
3 He gives up way too easily when trying to lift his ship out of the swamp in Empire
You’re only gonna try once? This oft-overlooked scene from The Empire Strikes Back becomes increasingly annoying with every rewatch. Luke tries to pull his ship from the muck one time, gets it to move a little, and then promptly gives up and starts whining. You’re training to be part of the order of the Jedi Knights, and you’re giving up after a single attempt? Aren’t you supposed to not be quick to give up? Even more baffling is his lack of concern about how Yoda perceives him, or how he should perceive himself. Part of the issue is that
Part of the issue here is that the ship moved. It’s not like it didn’t budge, and his strength was drained and he just couldn’t physically stand to try anymore. He moved his spaceship with his mind, even if the movement was slight, and he didn’t feel the urge to try to do that again. We know if we had just barely moved a hulking metal object with mindpower only, we’d want to try to move it again, if only just to play around with our enviable mental abilities.
2 He gets captured by Ewoks.
Yes, Ewoks are resourceful and clever and cute as can be. But should they be able to capture and tie up a Jedi Knight? This was yet another totally obvious trap Luke couldn't seem to avoid walking into. He never felt like he was being watched by one set of eyes, much lets dozens of them? He couldn't have used to Force to be more attuned to his surroundings? You would think being on foreign ground searching for the enemy would heighten his senses and make him hyper-aware, but instead, he gets captured yet again.
Granted, he tries to stop Chewie from literally taking the bait set by the Ewoks, and his Jedi trickery is what helps free them from Ewok captivity. But at the end of the day, a Jedi Knight was in Ewok captivity, and it was his inability to read his environment that got his friends captured, as well.
1 His plan to free Han from Jabba.
This was all so complicated when it didn’t have to be. Everyone from Lando to Threepio was involved—we’re wondering why Luke didn’t have Admiral Ackbar come along and masquerade as a member of the band just for good measure.
There wasn’t a lot of depth to the plan to free Han Solo; a disguised Leia pretends to be holding a captive Chewie against his will, and the droids show up under the guise of being gifts. R2 plays a message from Luke that pretty much tells Jabba he’s involved and coming to get Solo, and then, when he shows up, he doesn’t try to sneak in—he walks through the front door, where he immediately begins using good ol’ Jedi trickery until a wrench is tossed into the plan and he has a dalliance with the Rancor. The plan is so convoluted, fans are still arguing about which parts were planned and which weren’t. As a whole, the plan is so convoluted, fans are still arguing about which parts were planned and which weren’t.
What else has Luke Skywalker done that left fans scratching their heads? Let us know in the comments.