Luke Skywalker is one of the big screen’s greatest and most beloved icons. He’s perhaps the most heroic character in the Star Wars universe, since he’s able to see the good in everyone – even the most evil man in the galaxy – and he’s always there when his friends need him, even if it means letting his emotions get in the way of logic.
Across the Star Wars saga, this heroic character has been involved in plenty of lighthearted comedy, but he’s also seen his fair share of emotionally charged moments. So, here are Luke Skywalker’s 5 Funniest (And 5 Saddest) Moments.
10 Funniest: “What a piece of junk!”
What sets the Star Wars universe apart from other sci-fi works with futuristic technologies and settings is that it feels lived-in. And while a giant spaceship like the Millennium Falcon might look cool to the audience, it’s the Pontiac Aztek of the Star Wars universe.
When Han and Chewie take Luke, Obi-Wan, and their droids out to see his ship, Luke says, “What a piece of junk!” That line kicked off a tradition in the Star Wars saga that no one respects the Falcon. Years later, Rey would call it “garbage” when she and Finn escaped from Jakku on it.
9 Saddest: Unmasking his dying father
It was inspiring in Return of the Jedi when Luke refused to fight Darth Vader. He knew that there was good in his father, because he was once a Jedi Knight, and he believed that he could still turn back to the Light Side of the Force. In the end, of course, he did, because he couldn’t stand to watch Luke get tortured by the Emperor’s Force lightning.
Unfortunately, throwing the Emperor down the reactor core shaft proved to be fatal for Vader, and as he lay dying, he removed his mask to look upon his son with his own eyes for the first time.
8 Funniest: Yoda hits Luke with his stick
The Empire Strikes Back is often called the darkest entry in the Star Wars saga, but it has plenty of lighthearted moments. Most of them come in the second act when Luke travels to Dagobah to be trained as a Jedi by the self-exiled Master Yoda.
He meets a little green alien who pokes fun at him and whacks him with his stick, so Luke is understandably surprised when this diminutive gremlin turns out to be the mythical, all-powerful Jedi he was sent to learn from. This section of the film has plenty of slapstick comedy, but it doesn’t feel tonally inconsistent, because it’s sheer fun.
7 Saddest: Tossing his lightsaber away
Rian Johnson made a lot of bold choices with The Last Jedi, and most of them proved to be controversial among the Star Wars fan base. J.J. Abrams had established a mysticism surrounding the old, grizzled Luke Skywalker in the final moments of The Force Awakens. Rey arrived on Ahch-To and found the long-missing Luke, then held out his lightsaber.
Dramatic music played and the credits rolled. Two years later, audiences saw the payoff. Rey handed Luke his lightsaber, and he just tossed it over his shoulder and walked away. It was funny, and informed audiences that nothing they expected to happen would be happening in this movie, but still a little sad.
6 Funniest: Partying with the Ewoks
Some Star Wars fans have a sour opinion of the Ewoks, including some of the people who worked on Return of the Jedi. Apparently, when renowned concept artist Ralph McQuarrie realized that George Lucas wanted him to design teddy bears, he refused to do it. But the Ewoks are a lot of fun.
Their sadistic party at the end of the movie, playing the drum solo from “Yub Nub” on Stormtrooper helmets, juxtaposes lighthearted comedy with sinister overtones in interesting ways. Luke joins in with the party, with his ghostly father figures watching over him, to celebrate the Rebellion’s victory.
5 Saddest: Finding that the Empire killed Owen and Beru
The original Star Wars movie follows Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” to a T. Luke Skywalker is a farm boy on a desert planet who dreams of flying off and joining the intergalactic skirmish currently raging across the galaxy.
His uncle buys two droids from the Jawas that the Empire happens to be after and, one evening, Luke returns home to find that the Empire has come to his aunt and uncle’s house and burned them alive. This is his call to adventure, his point of no return, his catalyst into the titular interstellar conflict(s). It’s time to be a hero.
4 Funniest: “When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not.”
Yoda’s death in Return of the Jedi should be one of the saddest moments in the Star Wars saga, and it is. Luke feels the gravity of losing his Master in the middle of his Jedi training. But Yoda himself has accepted his fate and, on his deathbed, he cracks jokes.
He tells Luke, “When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not.” The juxtaposition of Luke trying to wrap his head around his imminent loss and Yoda making jokes about his age to lighten the mood makes this one of Luke’s funniest moments in the saga, despite also being one of the saddest.
3 Saddest: Cremating Darth Vader
Although the story arc of the original trilogy is well-known now, if fans came out of A New Hope and were told that Darth Vader would be redeemed in two movies’ time, they wouldn’t have believed it. He was a faceless manifestation of evil. Once The Empire Strikes Back revealed that a regular man – a formerly heroic man – was under that mask, the redemption arc seemed more likely.
Then, in Return of the Jedi, he achieved that redemption. In his son’s eyes, he was a hero again. Luke had only just got his dad back when he had to take his body down to Endor and cremate him, which is pretty sad.
2 Funniest: “Aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper?”
While Darth Vader was striking Obi-Wan down with his lightsaber elsewhere on the Death Star, Princess Leia struck Luke down with her acid tongue. He’d infiltrated the Empire’s space station and disguised himself as a Stormtrooper to get to Leia’s cell and save her. As soon as he entered the cell, she sarcastically said, “Aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper?”
Although Rodney Dangerfield’s “I don’t get no respect” refrain would’ve been an appropriate response from Luke here, it didn’t let it stop him from saying his iconic heroic quote: “I’m Luke Skywalker, I’m here to rescue you.”
1 Saddest: Becoming one with the Force
Although all three protagonists from the original trilogy appear in Disney’s Star Wars sequel trilogy, The Force Awakens is really Han’s movie and The Last Jedi is really Luke’s movie. Since The Force Awakens ended with Han’s death, many Star Wars fans figured that Luke’s movie The Last Jedi would end with Luke’s death. But it still came as a surprise and hit hard.
After triumphantly projecting himself onto Crait to distract Kylo Ren long enough for the Resistance to escape, Luke became one with the Force on Ahch-To and his physical consciousness dropped dead.