Luke Skywalker, destined to be one of the most famous Jedi Masters, began his childhood on a moisture farm on the desert planet of Tatooine. His adventures had him join Princess Leia and smuggler Han Solo in an epic battle against the Empire, the evil political power behind which the powers of the Dark Side of the Force were secretly building a plan for galactic domination. In the course of his adventures, Luke learned of his true parentage and family and overcame the imminent danger of the Sith to save his friends and his world from evil domination.
But that charmed beginning did not last.
Luke’s attempt to revitalise the Jedi Order through a new school was tainted by the dark leanings of his nephew and student, Ben Solo, son of Han and Leia. Luke struggled with this problem and nearly fell to evil in his desire to correct it. Ben succumbed to the Dark Side and in that one action and its aftermath, Luke renounced the world and his hopes and exiled himself to a distant, lonely planet at the heart of the Force.
All was not over, however, and Luke was called on to play one final part in the great struggle.
History of Luke Skywalker
The Galactic Civil War
Luke was raised by his aunt and uncle on Tatooine, eking out the humble life of moisture farmers in the midst of a barren desert. He never knew his mother, and did not know the true identity of his father, believing the man to have been killed in the battle against the forces of evil: the Empire. Like many young men, he dreamed of an exciting life. In his case, this took the form of dreams of being a pilot, of fighting for the Rebellion against the forces of the Empire. He saw it as following in his father’s footsteps, and carrying on the family legacy of heroism. His uncle forbade it.
It is ironic, though, that his uncle’s purchase of new droids would be the act that opened up the world to Luke and changed his life so dramatically. R2-D2 and C-3PO carried with them a link to much more than the simple adventure Luke longed for. R2, perhaps through chance, but more likely trickery, managed to be free of his restraining bolt for long enough to sneak off in the night. The fragment of a message that he had revealed to Luke and C-3PO was part of a mission he had been given to find and secure the help of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Fearing his uncle’s anger and disappointment, Luke heads out after the droid, with C-3PO along to help. The duo is attacked by Tusken Raiders (Sand People), but this setback turns out to be the way they make contact with Kenobi, who scares off the raiders and rescues them. The hermit, known locally as Ben Kenobi, is in fact the Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi, the man R2 set out to find. Kenobi reveals that he was the teacher of Luke’s father, and that the two of them fought against the Dark Side of the Force. Luke then asked Kenobi how his father had died. Kenobi put the blame on Darth Vader, who had turned to the Dark Side and killed Luke’s father. He also shows Luke his father’s lightsabre and gives it to him as an inheritance.
Obi-Wan and Luke then see the holorecording of Princess Leia asking for Obi-Wan’s help. The stolen plans for the Death Star, the great weapon of the Empire, have been stored in R2’s memory banks. She asks Obi-Wan to take them to her father on the planet Alderaan.
Obi-Wan urges Luke to join him on the quest, to learn the ways of the Force and join the Rebellion. Though Luke desires to do this, he knows that his leaving would be too great a loss to his uncle and aunt on the farm and would cripple their ability to earn a living. He turns down the offer. Obi-Wan accepts this and returns Luke to the farm, only to find that his aunt and uncle have been killed. Made to look like a Tusken Raider attack, Obi-Wan reads the signs and determined that it was Imperial Stormtroopers that had attacked and tried to camouflage their activities. Luke vows to fight the Empire and become a Jedi Knight like his father.
The pair, along with the droids, hire Han Solo and Chewbacca, a smuggling duo who manage to get them off of Tatooine and to the coordinates of Alderaan, only to learn that the plant is gone, destroyed by the Death Star and its commander, Darth Vader. They attempt to flee but are caught in the tractor beam and hauled aboard the weapon’s infrastructure.
During their attempts to his from the Stormtroopers and engineer an escape, they learn that Princess Leia herself is being held captive on the Death Star. They rescue her, disable the tractor beam, and are about to escape when Darth Vader and Obi-Wan face off in a lightsabre duel. Obi-Wan turns off his weapon though, allowing himself to be absorbed into the Force, and giving his friends the time to escape.
They meet at the Rebel base on Yavin 4, Death Star plans in hand. An attack mission is planned and both Luke and (reluctantly and almost too late) Han Solo participate in the fight. In the end, Luke focusses on the Force and, under the guidance of Obi-Wan’s voice, takes the shot to destroy the Death Star.
The Empire was not destroyed, however, and nor was Darth Vader.
The Empire comes back in strength, finding and attacking the Rebel base on the ice planet of Hoth. Luke is now a commander and is nearly killed while out on patrol. He is investigating the impact of an object (looks like a meteor but is actually an Imperial Probe) when he runs into a wampa, a huge monster that looks like a cross between an ape, a polar bear and a ram. It nearly kills him, but he manages to cut its arm off with his lightsabre and escape into the cold, which nearly kills him. During the ordeal, Luke is visited by a vision of Obi-Wan, who urges him to go to the Dagobah system in search of Yoda, a famous Jedi Master who can train him up in the ways of the Force.
Han notices that Luke is not back from patrol yet and heads out into the super-cold night to find him. When he does, his tauntaun collapses from the cold and they have no way back. Han cuts open the belly of the beast and stuffs his friend inside, crawling in after him. This makeshift shelter and the residual heat of the beast keeps them warm enough to survive until rescuers reach them in the morning.
Luke recovers from his injuries and takes part in the battle against the Empire, which attacks using huge AT-AT walkers and Tie Fighters, as well as ground troops. The battle is won by the Imperial forces, but not before the Rebels manage to delay them long enough for most of their forces to escape. Luke, after the battle, heads for Dagobah in obedience to Obi-Wan’s advice.
Yoda is not what Luke expects. Instead of some formidable giant or ripped warrior, Luke finds a strange little green creature who speaks strangely and acts more like a little rodent or pest than a Jedi Master… at least at first. Once Yoda agrees to train Luke, however, the little creature’s power is revealed, and Luke learns that it isn’t the size of the warrior or the challenge that matters – the Force is strong enough to prevail. The Force not only brings great strength, agility, and telekinetic powers, but also some insight into what is happening in other places, or what the future may hold. It is during a moment of his training that Luke sees a vision of his friends, in danger and pain. Against the advice of Yoda and he leaves his training early and goes to help them.
Luke arrives at Cloud City, walking right into Vader’s trap for him. The two fight, and it becomes obvious that Luke is outmatched. Vader cuts Luke’s hand off and defeat seems inevitable. It is at this point in the duel that Luke learns the truth – Darth Vader is Luke’s father. Vader asks Luke to join him, to overthrow the emperor and rule the galaxy together. Luke’s heart is broken. He refuses Vader’s offer and instead casts himself into the depths at the centre of the city, escaping with his life.
Luke then leads a mission to rescue Han Solo, who is trapped in frozen carbonite. Both are in the possession of Jabba the Hutt, back on Tatooine. Luke is much more powerful than he used to be and goes into Jabba’s lair to bargain for Han’s life – but Jabba is also more powerful than Luke anticipated. Luke is then dropped through a trap door into a cage with a rancor, a massive creature intent on eating him. Luke, however, is more powerful than Jabba anticipated, and manages to slay the monster. Still in custody though, the friends are taken into the desert to be fed to the Sarlacc, but they heroes manage an escape.
Luke then returns to Dagobah to complete his training but finds that Yoda is at the end of his long life. Yoda’s last words to Luke are that there is no more need of training, but that he had to confront his father, Darth Vader. Yoda also reveals that there is another Skywalker, Luke’s hidden sister… Princess Leia.
During these events, the Empire is busy building a new Death Star. The emperor is there, as is Darth Vader, and the Rebel Alliance has come up with a complex plan to destroy it. Luke and the other heroes meet up on Endor, but when Luke sense’s Vader is nearby, he leaves them, knowing that his presence will endanger the mission. Luke goes to the Death Star and confronts his father and the emperor, stating that he believes there is still good in his father. The emperor laughs at him, asserting that it is too late for Vader. The emperor taunts Luke, and fans the high emotion until it breaks out in a fight between Luke and his father. Luke almost kills Vader, but in the end remembers his training in the Force and refuses to give in to anger and hate. He throws away his weapon.
The emperor has failed to turn Luke, so the Sith lord unleashes Force Lightning at Luke, nearly killing him with repeated blasts of it. Seeing his son suffer, Vader turns on the emperor and casts him into an abyss with his last strength. Luke has a last moment with his father, reconciling the two men and reattaching Vader to the Light Side again, just before he dies.
Luke then escapes the station as his friends blow it up, and he is now made whole again, a Jedi in his own right.
The New Republic
Luke travelled around the galaxy after the Battle of Endor, R2-D2 with him as always, seeking Jedi lore and the means to resurrect the order to its former strength and power. When Ben Solo turns to the Dark Side and his students are slain, Luke despairs of these dreams and vanishes into the far reaches of the galaxy, not letting anyone know where he went.
The First Order
Rey, an orphan and scavenger who has a mysterious connection to the Force, tracks Luke down on Ahch-To and begs him to help the Resistance, and to help her understand what was happening between her and the Force. Luke is still broken-hearted over the past events though, and refuses, telling her it is time for the Jedi to die out. She refuses to give up, and Luke finally tells her he will teach her just enough for her to understand why the Jedi order should end.
Rey does not change her mind, however, and tries to convince Luke that the galaxy needs the legend of Luke Skywalker to give them hope in the face of evil. He still refuses. She then leaves Ahch-To, but Luke has been changed by the interaction and allows the Force-Ghost of Yoda to give him one last lesson.
Luke ends up projecting himself to confront Kylo Ren on Crait, making it possible for the Resistance to escape from the First Order. He then allows himself to be absorbed back into the Force, as Obi-Wan and Yoda had done.
His legend, however, became even greater than before.
Lesser Known Facts About Luke Skywalker
Here are a few things people don't commonly know:
1. Luke built his green lightsabre (deleted scene, Return of the Jedi)
A rare, deleted scene was revealed to thousands of onlookers in 2010: Luke’s building of the green lightsabre in Return of the Jedi. The famous scene, revealed on the big screen at Celebration V, is still available for viewing on YouTube.
2. Luke's Floating Severed Hand (The Force Awakens, scrapped scene)
Mark Hamill said that, at one point in the movie’s production, there was talk of The Force Awakens opening with a shot of Luke’s severed hand floating in space above Jakku, still clutching the blue lightsabre, as it fell onto the desert planet, the hand itself burning up as it fell but the sabre surviving. The scene was to end with an alien hand picking up the famous weapon, perhaps linking Maz Kanata’s possession of the weapon to its loss earlier in the franchise.
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