All righty, here’s that new surprise series I told you about. My husband and I cooked it up last weekend, but it was mostly his idea (Thanks, honey!). Origins will feature little blips about current films, but will mainly focus on their earlier iterations or else films that are similar to them. Or, it might look at a book the film came from, such as in the Page and Stage series, only with less of a compare-and-contrast approach. I won’t try to force anything, though–if there are no good releases in a given month, we’ll just skip it. January, for instance, is a notorious wasteland when it comes to movies. On the other hand, there may be months that have a lot of good releases coming out; ergo, there might be more than one installment. We’ll see how it goes. Sooooo, without further ado, let’s get to the kickoff…
It’s hard to forget that the eighth episode of Star Wars, The Last Jedi is coming out on December 15th, seeing as teasers are dropping everywhere. There’s plenty of suspense going around, as the whole objective of the previous offering, Episode Seven, was locating an AWOL Luke Skywalker. Ever since the credits rolled, people have been speculating. Why did Luke run away? Why did his pupil, Kylo Ren turn Sith? Presumably, we’ll find out what he says to Rae, one of the new faces in the Star Wars universe, while they stand on that big rock out in the middle of the ocean.
Luke has been on quite a journey as a character. It’s pretty well-known, but here’s a quick refresher anyway just for the sake of context. The galaxy is controlled by the fascistic Empire, which rules through intimidation and destruction. In the midst of this upheaval, Luke was adopted as a baby by his uncle Owen and aunt Beru Lars, who were moisture farmers on the desert planet of Tatooine. Luke has a restless spirit that doesn’t lend itself to farming, and this only gets more pronounced as he gets older. Luke is a talented pilot with street smarts, but he has to learn discipline, and has his sights set on attending the Academy. Luke is also lonely, as the majority of his friends have moved on, leaving him behind. Through a series of misadventures, Luke joins Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, on a quest to rescue the beautiful Princess Leia. Obi-Wan tells Luke about who his father was, and he begins to explore the Jedi arts, learning to rely on the Force instead of simply his own strength. Luke gets more than he bargained for, though, and is devastated when his mentor, Obi-Wan is killed.
After he joins the Rebellion, Luke shows enough talent in leading troops that he’s quickly promoted to Commander. He’s found friends in Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Chewbacca. As far as his Jedi training goes, he’s floundering, although he’s mastered thinking his light saber into his hand. An appearance by Obi-Wan’s ghost points him toward a Jedi Master named Yoda, who gives Luke proper instruction. Luke is a quick learner, and he’s more mature than he was when he left Tatooine, but he still has trouble thinking things through.
The Star Wars franchise, while borrowing from mythology, pantheism, Buck Rogers, and Japanese cinema, follows a romantic archetype structure, also called the hero’s journey. This is one of the easiest story arcs to develop, as it’s basically a matter of filling in the blanks. The usual thing is for the squire to progress as a warrior until he can become a knight. In Luke’s case, he loses Obi-Wan before he is really able to start learning the Jedi ways. Yoda picks up where Obi-Wan left off, but unfortunately, Luke’s Jedi Masters have a way of dying just when Luke needs them most, which means he is essentially a squire without a knight.
My guess is that Kylo Ren’s turning to the Dark Side was too big a blow to Luke’s confidence, and that’s why he bolted. Luke’s predecessors had a chance to really settle into the Jedi lifestyle and teachings, since they started at very young ages. Even Luke’s dad had a head start on him at ten. Meanwhile, Luke had to wait until he was around twenty-two or twenty-three, and when he did start training he was given a crash course. Empire Strikes Back doesn’t really say how long Luke’s formal training was, but if he was on his way to meet the Rebels, it couldn’t have been more than a few days or weeks, maybe a month.
As such, Luke doesn’t get birthed into the Jedi Order; what he experiences are baptisms of fire. The only way he can know if he’s progressed is to face Darth Vader and the Emperor to see if he can resist being seduced by the Dark Side. Because of this, Luke doesn’t really have time to absorb what he learns and to build his confidence through trial and error in a safe environment. Luke made big mistakes that cost him dearly, and he had to succeed with help, even from unlikely sources.
Luke not only set out to school Kylo Ren, but he had the weight of rebuilding the Jedi Order on his shoulders. Training his nephew probably seemed like a safe way to start, especially considering the boy was the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia. What could possibly go wrong? Yet something did go terribly, terribly awry, and Luke blamed himself.
Of course, this is speculation. We won’t know what happened to Luke until Episode Eight comes out, or what’s next for him. Some, based on what has been released to the public, think Luke turned to the Dark Side, since he’s been shown in black. I personally disagree with this idea, because Luke wore black all through Return of the Jedi and was never in any real danger of turning. Wearing black can symbolize seriousness and resolve on the part of a character; it doesn’t necessarily denote evil intentions. It can also indicate a desire to blend in, or maybe even feelings of remorse or melancholy. It’s a bit improbable that Luke would turn to the Dark Side anyway. After all he went through as a character, it would be a major let-down for him to suddenly chuck everything he’s stood for. It also stands to reason that someone who lost a pupil to the Dark Side would flaunt it if that’s where he himself ventured. Ten to one, running away wouldn’t be a likely course of action.
Either way, it’ll be interesting to find out. I’ll be waiting with bated breath just like the rest of the world.