Luke Skywalker is a fictional character appearing in the original film trilogy of the Star Wars universe created by George Lucas. The character, portrayed by Mark Hamill, is an important figure in the Rebel Alliance's struggle against the Galactic Empire. He is the twin brother of Rebellion leader Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, a friend of smuggler Han Solo, an apprentice to Jedi Masters Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi and Yoda and the son of fallen Jedi Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader) and Queen of Naboo/Republic Senator Padmé Amidala. The now non-canon Star Wars expanded universe depicts him as a powerful Jedi Master and the father of Ben Skywalker.
In 2015, the character was selected by Empire magazine as the 50th greatest movie character of all time. On their list of the 100 Greatest Fictional Characters, Fandomania.com ranked Luke at number 14.
Concept and creation
Luke Skywalker was initially called "Anakin Starkiller", and went through multiple design changes. The character was at one point designed as a 60-year-old grizzled war hero, later as a Jedi Master, and as a woman. The last name "Starkiller" remained for the first few months of production, Hamill on-camera using the name 'Luke Starkiller" the sole time he referred to himself during filming. "Starkiller" was dropped due to what Lucas called "unpleasant connotations".
After Hamill was involved in a car accident, the Wampa attack at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back was written in to explain his facial injuries. An alternative ending pitched by George Lucas for Return of the Jedi was Luke assuming his father's role as Darth Vader after the latter's death and intending to rule in his place. Though Lawrence Kasdan favored the idea, Lucas ultimately declined, since the films were made for children. Another conclusion to the film featured the character disappearing into the wilderness akin to "Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti westerns".
During the filming of the original Star Wars trilogy, George Lucas informed Hamill that he would be needed to reprise the role when he was middle aged. Lucas further explained that his role as Luke would be handing "Excalibur to the next generation", to which Hamill had mute reaction due to it being decades away at the time. Hamill learned of the sequel trilogy over the summer of 2012 at a Star Wars celebration during a lunch where Lucas told him one was in development. Hamill recalled, after having shaved his beard to portray The Trickster in The Flash, requiring it to be grown back in time for the filming of his scenes.
Luke's lack of screen time in The Force Awakens was due to concerns by screenwriter Michael Arndt that his presence would mean the end of interest in Rey, leading to an agreement that he be removed from the plot and instead become a plot device.
In the prequel film, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Luke is born to Senator Padmé Amidala along with his twin sister, Leia. Following Padmé's death on Polis Massa and his father's turn to the dark side of the Force, Luke is taken by Obi-Wan Kenobi to Tatooine, where Luke is adopted by his father's stepbrother, Owen Lars, and Owen's wife, Beru Whitesun.
Introduced in the 1977 film Star Wars, the character represents the hero archetype of "the young man, called to adventure, the hero going out facing the trials and ordeals, and coming back after his victory with a boon for the community".
Luke Skywalker lives on a moisture farm on Tatooine with his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. Luke takes his first steps toward his destiny when he buys the droids C-3PO and R2-D2. When R2-D2 goes missing, Luke goes out to find him and encounters Obi-Wan Kenobi, an old hermit. Luke discovers that R2-D2 contains a message for Obi-Wan from Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan beseeching him to help her defeat the Galactic Empire. Obi-Wan says that he and Luke's father were once Jedi Knights, and that his father was murdered by a traitorous Jedi named Darth Vader. Obi-Wan presents Luke with his father's lightsaber and offers to take him to Alderaan and train him in the ways of the Force, but Luke rejects his offer.
Luke changes his mind when he returns home to find that Imperial stormtroopers have killed his aunt and uncle. He and Obi-Wan then obtain passage with smugglers Han Solo and Chewbacca on the Millennium Falcon, only to find that Alderaan has been destroyed by the Death Star, the Empire's new super weapon. Luke, Han, Obi-Wan, Chewbacca and the droids sneak onto the Death Star and rescue Princess Leia. Obi-Wan sacrifices his life in a duel with Vader so that Luke and his friends can escape.
During the film's climactic battle scene, Luke joins the Rebel Alliance in attacking the Death Star. In the trench leading to the Death Star's exhaust port, Luke hears Obi-Wan's voice telling him to "trust his feelings"; he takes Obi-Wan's advice and turns off his X-wing's missile guidance system, instead using the Force to guide the missiles and destroy the Death Star.
In The Empire Strikes Back, set three years later, Luke is now a lieutenant commander in the Rebel Alliance. While on a mission on the ice planet Hoth, he is nearly killed by a Wampa, but barely manages to escape. In the frozen wasteland, he sees Obi-Wan's spirit telling him to travel to the planet Dagobah and complete his training with the Jedi Master Yoda, before he is rescued by Han. When the Empire discovers the Rebel base on Hoth, Luke leads his squadron to cover the evacuation. Escaping Hoth in his X-wing, he travels to Dagobah and meets Yoda. He undergoes rigorous Jedi training, quickly increasing his power in the Force.
During his training, Luke sees a vision of his friends in danger. Against Obi-Wan and Yoda's advice, he travels to Cloud City to save them, only to be lured into a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader. As his mentors warned, Luke proves to be no match for Vader; the Sith Lord overpowers Luke and cuts off his right hand, causing Luke to lose his weapon. Vader then reveals that he is Luke's father and offers him the chance to turn to the dark side of the Force, and rule the galaxy at his father's side. Horrified by this unexpected claim, Luke chooses to die rather than be corrupted and throws himself into a deep reactor chasm. He survives, but is sucked into a garbage chute to the underside of Cloud City and left hanging onto a weather vane. Leia, flying away from Cloud City in the Millennium Falcon, senses Luke's peril and turns the ship around to save him. Aboard the medical ship after rejoining the Rebel fleet, Luke's missing hand is replaced with a bio-mechanical one. Aboard the ship, he hears Vader telepathically telling him that it is his destiny to join the dark side.
One year later in Return of the Jedi, Luke is now a Jedi Knight and has constructed his own lightsaber. He helps Leia, the droids and Lando Calrissian save Han from gangster Jabba the Hutt. Luke offers to negotiate with Jabba, but instead is forced to fight Jabba's fearsome Rancor. When Luke kills the monster, he is sentenced to death in the Sarlacc Pit. Luke escapes with R2-D2's help, saving his friends and destroying Jabba's barge, with the aid of his new lightsaber.
During his return trip to Dagobah, Luke learns from a dying Yoda that Vader is indeed his father. Luke then learns from Obi-Wan's spirit that he has a twin sister, whom he immediately realizes is Leia. Obi-Wan tells Luke that he must face Vader again in order to save the galaxy.
Arriving on Endor as part of a Rebel commando squad, Luke surrenders to Vader in an attempt to bring his father back from the dark side of the Force. Vader brings Luke to the second Death Star in orbit around Endor. Emperor Palpatine attempts to turn Luke to the dark side with promises to save his friends from certain death. When that fails, the Emperor goads Luke to strike him down to save the Rebels' losing battle with the Empire and over the forest moon of Endor. Luke momentarily lashes out in anger with his lightsaber, but Vader blocks his strike, and father and son battle each other again in a final duel. Luke keeps his emotions under control until Vader senses that Luke has a sister, and threatens to turn her to the dark side if Luke will not submit. Enraged, Luke viciously attacks Vader at full force, brutally overpowering him and severing his mechanical right hand. The Emperor goads Luke to finish off Vader and take his place. Luke glances at his own bionic hand and realizes he is on the verge of suffering his father's fate. He then regains composure and throws his lightsaber aside, proudly declaring his allegiance to the Jedi.
Furious, the Emperor attacks Luke with Force lightning. In agony, Luke calls out to his father for help; unwilling to let his son die, Vader grabs his former master and throws him to his death down a vast reactor shaft. However, Vader is mortally wounded by the Emperor's lightning in the process. As Rebel fighters race toward the Death Star's main reactor, Luke removes Vader's mask and looks upon his father's face for the first time. The redeemed Anakin Skywalker assures Luke that there was good in him after all, and dies. On Endor, Luke burns his father's body on a funeral pyre in accordance with Jedi tradition. During the Rebel's victory celebrations on Endor, Luke sees his father's spirit alongside those of Obi-Wan and Yoda.
In the first installment of the sequel trilogy, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it is revealed during the opening crawl that Luke Skywalker had mysteriously vanished some time in the 30 years following the events of Return of the Jedi. It is also revealed that he went into hiding after his nephew and apprentice, Ben Solo, turned to the dark side during training and became Kylo Ren, killing all of his fellow apprentices and ushering in the despotic reign of the First Order. Feeling responsible, Luke disappeared. Those who knew him best believed he left to find "the first Jedi temple". At the end of the film, the Resistance manage to reconstruct a map which traces the location of the Temple from the Empire's archives to his location, and he is subsequently found by the film's protagonist, Rey, who presents him with the lightsaber previously wielded by both Luke and his father.
In November 2015, the month before The Force Awakens was released, Hamill confirmed his involvement in Star Wars: Episode VIII. He will have a bigger role than in the previous film.
Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi was announced as one of the first four canon novels to be released in 2014 and 2015. Set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Heir to the Jedi chronicles the adventures of a young Luke. The novel is written from the first person perspective of Luke, and is only the second Star Wars novel to attempt this type of narrative voice (the first being Michael A. Stackpole's 1997 Star Wars Legends novel, I, Jedi).
With the 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm by The Walt Disney Company, most of the licensed Star Wars novels and comics produced since the originating 1977 film Star Wars were rebranded as Star Wars Legends and declared non-canon to the franchise in April 2014.The Legends branded novels, comic books and video games detail Luke's exploits following Return of the Jedi.
In the novel The Truce at Bakura, set one day after the battle of Endor, Luke and his friend Wedge Antilles recover a message droid from the titular planet, which was being invaded by the Ssi-Ruuk. Luke commands a task force, turning back the enemy army. He also meets Dev Sibwarra, a Force-sensitive human who had been captured by the Ssi-Ruuk, who is killed in the battle after turning against his captors.
In the novel The Courtship of Princess Leia, set four years after the Battle of Endor, Luke travels to the planet Dathomir. There, he discovers a group of Force-sensitive witches called the Witches of Dathomir, banded into two separate groups: a collective of benign, matriarchal clans; the one he is in contact with being the Singing Mountain Clan, and the witches who have turned to the dark side, called the Nightsisters. Discovering a prophecy in which it was told a Jedi would change the way of life on the land, Luke eventually realizes truly what the Force is for the first time in his life. While there, he destroys most of the Nightsisters (including their powerful leader, Gethzirion, and the galaxy's most powerful remaining warlord, Warlord Zsinj). Thanks to the help of the prophecy and witches, Luke recovers old Jedi records left by Yoda about 400 years prior. He decides to start a new Jedi Academy, something he has been trying to do for six months before the start of the novel by finding old Jedi records and archives.
In The Thrawn Trilogy, Luke meets former Emperor's Hand Mara Jade, who is bound by Palpatine's disembodied voice that repeatedly commands "You will kill Luke Skywalker". Mara Jade is working with her boss, a fringe-of-the-galaxy smuggler named Talon Karrde, who also plays a crucial role in this era. Although she was ready to fulfill that order to stop the voice, circumstances force her to keep him alive long enough to have him help escape a mutual danger. Despite her threats, Luke learns of Mara's curse and vows to free her from it. Meanwhile, the rest of the New Republic is fighting against Grand Admiral Thrawn, and thanks to Leia's help, he is eventually defeated, although Luke tried several times to get near him and his ally, Joruus C'baoth. Eventually, the desperate pair fights against Luke's clone, Luuke Skywalker, the apprentice of Joruus C'Baoth.
During the fight, Mara Jade destroys the clone and, with Leia's help, destroys C'baoth. This entire time, C'baoth has been obsessed with "molding" Luke and Mara to serve him, perhaps due to the fact that the Spaarti cloning cylinders he was made from have a reputation of turning people insane later in life. Nonetheless, C'baoth is defeated along with Luuke, and Mara's sacrifice silences her curse and completes her reconciliation with the Jedi, whom she later joins.
Jedi Academy Trilogy
In the Jedi Academy Trilogy, Luke resigns his commission in the New Republic's starfighter corps to pursue his Jedi studies and rebuild the Jedi Order in the Massassi Temple on Yavin 4, a decision some anti-Jedi politicians use against him. Luke becomes the New Jedi Order's leader. His students in the ways of the Force include; Gantoris, Kam Solusar, Tionne, Streen, Cilghal, Kirana Ti and others.
An older and wiser Luke Skywalker also appears in the Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy video games at the rank of Jedi Master. In Jedi Outcast, Luke helps Kyle Katarn in his fight against Desann and Empire Reborn by driving off Desann and his Reborn forces from Valley of the Jedi.
Hand of Thrawn
In the Hand of Thrawn Duology, Luke, now a Jedi Master, works again with Mara Jade, who has learned to better her Force knowledge since her training at Luke's Jedi Academy. He falls in love with her and they eventually marry. Later, in Edge of Victory: Rebirth, they have a son whom they name Ben after Obi-Wan Kenobi's pseudonym Ben.
New Jedi Order and The Yuuzhan Vong Invasion
In the New Jedi Order series, Luke creates a New Jedi Council. He idealises a new conclave, made up of Jedi, politicians and military officers. Included in this new Jedi Order are Tresina Lobi, Kenth Hammer, Kyle Katarn, Kyp Durron, Cilghal, Saba Sebatynee and himself. From the politicians and military came new Chief of State Cal Omas, Admiral Sienn Sovv (Sullustan male) and four others.
In Force Heretic: Remnant, he spearheads the mission into the Unknown Regions during the Yuuzhan Vong invasion to find the mysterious planet of Zonama Sekot, a planet that creates living starships. After the invasion is defeated with the help of the new Mandalorian Warriors, a Sekotian fleet and a Galactic Alliance-Imperial Remnant fleet, Luke leads the New Jedi Order on Denon, the temporary capital of the Galactic Alliance and the site of the newly rebuilt Jedi Temple on Coruscant.
In The Swarm War, the New Jedi Order moves to Ossus, the site of former famous Jedi temples and libraries that were mostly destroyed 4,000 years prior. Upon the Killik's invasion of Chiss space and the transformation of most of the Myrkr mission survivors into Killik Joiners, Luke determines that the Killik's collective mind is being unconsciously controlled by a hive called the Dark Nest. The Dark Nest is controlled by a former Nightsister named Lomi Plo, who became their Unseen Queen with her ability to become invisible by exploiting the doubts of inferiors. One of the Myrkr mission survivors, Alema Rar, attempted to plant seeds of doubt in Luke's mind by suggesting that his wife, Mara, may be somehow responsible for the death of his mother, Padmé Amidala, which he almost believes because of Mara's previous involvement as the Emperor's Hand.
This allows Lomi to escape from Luke. Luke discovers recordings of his father Force-choking his mother on Mustafar, his own birth, and his mother's death hidden inside the protective memory archives of R2-D2. Because of this, he is able to overcome his doubts about Mara and defeat Lomi Plo in the final battle of the Swarm War, cutting her into four pieces. Luke also withdraws the Jedi from Cal Omas' Advisory Council, as he plans to create a New Jedi Council that will give aid to the Galactic Alliance when needed. He also becomes the Grand Master of the New Jedi Order to give the Jedi a clear sense of direction. He has told the Jedi to either follow his leadership or make the order their priority, or leave. Jedi Danni Quee and Tenel Ka have resigned because of their duties to Zonoma Sekot and Hapes, respectively, while Corran Horn tries to resign, but Luke talks him out of it. Luke is also forced to exile Tahiri, Lowbacca, and Tesar Sebatayne to Dagobah for divulging secret information to people outside the New Jedi Order.
Legacy of the Force
In the Legacy of the Force series, Luke begins having visions of a figure cloaked in darkness destroying the galaxy and the Jedi Decree. In his dreams, this figure's presence is much like that of Darth Vader. Luke has been troubled by the fact that he has been unable to discern the identity of this figure. Complicating matters even more is the recent schism that has developed between Luke and his nephew, Jacen Solo. Already a tremendously powerful Jedi Knight, Jacen has begun adopting radical and extreme interpretations of the Force, causing a dramatic change in his personality. Luke fears that Jacen is pursuing the same path that ultimately led to Anakin Skywalker's fall to the dark side.
In Bloodlines, the situation worsens when Luke's son, Ben, becomes Jacen's apprentice. Luke must also battle his wife, who refuses to confront Jacen for fear of alienating Ben. In Tempest, Luke determines that the dark figure from his dreams is Lumiya, a former Emperor's Hand now known as the "Dark Lady of the Sith". Luke and Lumiya had fought several times over the years, but when Mara is murdered in Sacrifice, Lumiya deceives Luke into believing that she killed her. They battle again, and Luke saves a weaponless Lumiya from falling to her death simply so that he can kill her himself.
Luke returns to Coruscant where he is found by Ben, standing guard over Mara's body; upon speaking with his son, he realizes that Lumiya could not have killed her. Later in his private cabin, Luke breaks down over the death of his wife, knowing that her murderer is still at large. He does not realize that the killer is his own nephew, Jacen, who has now taken the Sith name Darth Caedus. In Revelation, Ben proves that Jacen killed Mara, but Luke is now reluctant to kill Jacen out of fear that he or his son will fall to the dark side in the process. (The decision is taken out of his hands in Invincible, when Jaina kills Jacen in a final lightsaber duel).
Fate of the Jedi
In this series of original novels, set about 40 years after the first film, Luke Skywalker, now in his early sixties, is deposed by the government from his position as Grand Master, and exiled from Coruscant. However, if he finds the reason of why Jacen Solo fell to the dark side, he can be allowed to return. Ben insists on coming with him. Together, father and son explore dangerous and little-known portions of the galaxy. Luke and Ben learn much about each other, about the Force, and about the great dangers threatening the Jedi. The great love the two surviving Skywalkers have for each other grows even greater as they repeatedly save each other's lives and explore the limits and powers and mysteries of the Force.
In the comic book series Star Wars: Legacy, set 133 years after Return of the Jedi, Luke appears as a Force ghost to his descendant Cade Skywalker, who has renounced his connection to the Force. Luke appeals to Cade to accept his Jedi lineage and fulfill his destiny to defeat the Sith, who by now have once again decimated the Jedi and taken over the galaxy.
Luke Skywalker appears in the Marvel-published Star Wars comics adaptations of the original trilogy, as well as an ongoing series that ran from 1977–86. When Dark Horse acquired the license two years later, he appeared in numerous projects based on the franchise as well. His most recent comic book appearance is in Star Wars: Legacy, set 125 years after the events of the original films. Luke appears as a spirit in the Force to his descendant Cade Skywalker and persuades him to once again become a Jedi and defeat the evil Darth Krayt and his burgeoning Sith empire.
Luke appears in the Disney LucasFilm video game Star Wars Commander. Luke is also a playable character in Disney Infinity 3.0 and Star Wars Battlefront and the game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed in a DLC. Luke can be played as a character in all the Lego Star Wars video games.
In 2015, Luke Skywalker was selected by Empire magazine as the 50th-greatest movie character of all time. Luke was also on the ballot for the American Film Institute's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains. On their list of the 100 Greatest Fictional Characters, Fandomania.com ranked Luke at number 14. IGN listed Luke as their 4th top Star Wars character, and he was chosen twice by IGN's readers as one of their favorite Star Wars characters. IGN's Jesse Schedeen also picked Luke Skywalker as one of the characters they most wanted to appear on the Wii, as well as listing Skywalker as one of their favorite Star Wars heroes. Schedeen also listed the character as one of the Star Wars characters they wanted to see in Soulcalibur. IGN also called the fight between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi one of the ultimate movie "boss battles". In a feature on speeches made by Luke Skywalker, IGN's Todd Gilchrist said that his favorite speech made by Luke was "I am a Jedi, like my father before me".
UGO Networks listed Luke as one of their best heroes of all time, and he was voted as one of the coolest Star Wars characters by UGO's readers. Inventor Dean Kamen has also code-named his new prosthetic arm system "Luke" in honor of the character.
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