Is STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI’s Luke Friend or Foe?

Rian Johnson’s hilariously honest declaration that Luke Skywalker is definitively the last Jedi got us thinking. Maybe there’s a reason he has to be the last of his kind. Let’s be real—the Jedi are hardly Star Wars‘ most perfect organization. Though they’re undoubtedly better than the Sith, they still essentially raise child armies who often die in battle or are murdered by their unstable mentors (#RIPYounglings). Has Luke finally realized that the imperfect era of the Jedi must truly end once and for all? And what ramifications could this have on Episode VIII and the last Jedi himself? Has Luke followed in his father’s footsteps and turned to the dark side… for good?

After Kylo Ren betrayed Luke, we know that ol’ man Skywalker went rogue, ending up on Ahch-To, the home of the first Jedi Temple. But what led him there and what happened to him along the way? During Rey‘s first Force experience in the basement of Maz Kanata’s castle, she saw Luke kneeling before R2-D2. When he put his robot hand onto his faithful droid, Artoo’s blue light turned red… the color of the Sith. In the new trailer for The Last Jedi, we see the same shot but from a different angle. It seems to occur at the same time that the Knights of Ren are devastating an unseen setting. Surely these two things must be connected. Could it be that Luke was inadvertently involved in the founding of the Knights of Ren after using both the dark side and the light to train his most powerful student, Kylo?

This wouldn’t be the first time that the Jedi have turned to studying the dark side in an attempt to master the Force. We’ve talked about the gray Jedi before–Jedi who embrace both sides of the Force–and in this context it’s important to look at their history. The term is an ancient one that refers to Force users outside of either Jedi or Sith disciplines or users who try to use both methods. Even Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s Jedi master, Qui-Gon Jinn, was considered a bit of a rogue due to his regular disagreements with the Jedi Council. So, Luke will likely have discovered the fact that there were curious Jedi before him and could easily have taken their lead.

Leia and Han let us know that Luke had been gone for a very long time, and as far as we know, that time was largely spent alone. Living such a solitary life could have easily driven Luke to the edge, especially living with the grief of losing his student and whatever chaos the Knights of Ren unleashed on Luke and his young charges. In the words of Yoda, we know: “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” We also saw in the new trailer that Luke regrets not being more afraid of the raw power that he saw before he vanished, so perhaps that fear ate at him and led to him turning away from the light.

We need to go no further back than Luke’s own father to see the damage that fear can do to a lost Jedi. For those who haven’t seen the prequels or read the books/comics/internet, let us fill you in. Luke and Leia’s father Anakin was drawn to the dark side by Senator Palpatine, who used Anakin’s fear of losing his secret wife Padmé to take advantage of the young Jedi’s immense power. Anakin became a living incarnation of Yoda’s famous words and ended up actually causing the very death that scared him so much. Could it be that Luke followed the path of his father and gave in to his fear of the boy who betrayed him?

This seems like a stretch, but we know this new trilogy isn’t afraid of hurting fan faves (#RIPHan). So if, as we fear, Luke has turned to the dark side, what could that mean for Rey? Might Luke’s desperation for the Jedi to end possibly drive her into the proverbial arms of Kylo or Snoke? Rey is driven by a need to belong and if Luke rejects her, or worse tries to harm her, might it be the catalyst she needs to find her family somewhere other than in the light of the Resistance?

If this were the case, then Rey wouldn’t be the first Padawan who strayed towards the dark side due to their mentor. Luke’s own master, Yoda, had a young charge decades before who became one of the most powerful Sith in the galaxy due to their constant clashes. Count Dooku turned to the dark side after becoming disillusioned with the Jedi order and his master. Though we doubt Rey will fully go dark, it would follow a tried and tested Star Wars pattern if she at least strayed from her path due to her master’s reluctance to help her.

Controversial as it may be, we’re putting it out there: it might be good for Luke to turn away from the Jedi. What have they really given him? A master who lied to him constantly, a father figure who did the same, a robotic arm where his hand used to be, and probably some PTSD. Maybe Luke’s path has changed. That could be good not only for him but for Rey too. In the Star Wars universe things are constantly fluctuating, and maybe it’s time for the binary ideas of Jedi and Sith to die. Who better to usher in this new era than the (ex) Chosen One himself?

Are you affronted that we could suggest Lucas’ golden boy might have gone rogue? Had a bad feeling about Luke from the beginning? Let us know in the comments!

Images: Disney, Lucasfilm

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