Luke Skywalker is a fictional character and the main protagonist of the original film trilogy of the Star Wars franchise 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 and brother-in-law of smuggler Han Solo, an apprentice to Jedi Masters Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi and Yoda, the son of fallen Jedi Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader) and Queen of Naboo/Republic Senator Padmé Amidala and maternal uncle of Ben Solo / Kylo Ren. The now non-canon and discarded Star Wars Legends depicts him as a powerful Jedi Master, husband of Mara Jade, the father of Ben Skywalker and maternal uncle of Jaina, Jacen and Anakin Solo.
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 the character at number 14.
|Star Wars character|
|First appearance||Star Wars (1977)|
|Created by||George Lucas|
|Spouse(s)||Mara Jade (Legends)|
|Children||Ben Skywalker (Legends)|
Polis Massa (birthplace)
Luke Skywalker was initially called "Luke 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 used the name 'Luke Starkiller" the sole time he referred to himself during filming. "Starkiller" was dropped due to what Lucas called "unpleasant connotations".
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". Hamill had no reaction at the time, as he thought of making Star Wars films decades in the future as an abstract concept. Hamill learned of the sequel trilogy over the summer of 2012 at a Star Wars celebration during lunch where Lucas told him one was in development. Hamill recalled shaving his beard to portray The Trickster in The Flash, then letting it grow back 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 audience would have less interest in protagonist Rey, leading to an agreement that he be removed from the plot and instead become a plot device. Hamill attended meetings for script readings, and helped conceal Luke's role in the film; instead of dialogue, he read stage directions. Abrams said it allowed him to remain involved and that his reading helped make a "better experience for everyone".
Introduced in the 1977 film Star Wars (later dubbed Episode IV – A New Hope), 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 purchases the droids C-3PO and R2-D2. While examining R2-D2, he sees a message from Leia. When R2-D2 goes missing, Luke goes out to search for the droid, but is knocked out by Tusken Raiders in the process. He then encounters Obi-Wan Kenobi, an old hermit. Luke and Obi-Wan seek shelter, and R2-D2 plays the full message for Obi-Wan from Leia, 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 out that Imperial stormtroopers have killed his aunt and uncle. He and Obi-Wan then travel to Mos Eisley, where they meet smugglers Han Solo and Chewbacca at the Cantina. They team up and travel on the Millennium Falcon to Alderaan, only to find out that it has been destroyed by the Death Star. They board the Death Star and rescue Princess Leia. Obi-Wan deactivates the tractor beam, and he later sacrifices his life in a duel with Vader, so that Luke and his friends can board the Falcon and escape.
During the Battle of Yavin, 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 switches 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 (1980), set three years after the previous installment, Luke is now a lieutenant commander in the Rebel Alliance. While on a mission on the ice planet Hoth, he is captured by a Wampa, but 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 battle a swarm of AT-AT Walkers, but the situation turns out to be serious enough that he and the others participating in the Battle of Hoth have to retreat. Escaping 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 both Obi-Wan and Yoda's advice to complete his training, he travels to Bespin to save them, only to be lured into a trap, where he engages in a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader. As his mentors warned, Luke proves to be no match for Vader; the Sith Lord overpowers Luke and severs his right hand. 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 side. Horrified, Luke refuses, and throws himself into a deep reactor chasm. He survives, but is pulled 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 ship, he hears Vader telepathically, telling him that it is his destiny to join the dark side. Luke's severed hand is replaced with a bio-mechanical one.
In Return of the Jedi (1983), Luke is now a Jedi Knight, and has constructed his own lightsaber. He returns to Tatooine to help Leia, the droids, and Lando Calrissian save Han from the vile crime lord, Jabba the Hutt. Luke offers to negotiate with Jabba, but instead, Luke falls into a trap, battling against Jabba's Rancor. When Luke kills the Rancor, he is sentenced to death in the Sarlacc Pit. Luke escapes with R2-D2's help, saving his friends and destroying Jabba's sail barge.
During his return trip to Dagobah, Luke hears a dying Yoda confirm that Vader is 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 orbiting around Endor, where his master, Emperor Palpatine (a.k.a. Darth Sidious) tries to tempt Luke to the dark side. Luke momentarily lashes out with his lightsaber, but Vader blocks his strike, with father and son battling again. 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. Luke snaps and brutally overpowers Vader, severing his father’s mechanical right hand. The Emperor orders Luke to kill Vader and take his place. Luke glances at his own bionic hand and realizes that he is on the verge of suffering his father's fate. He casts his lightsaber aside, declaring these words, "I am a Jedi, like my father before me".
Furious, Sidious tortures Luke with Force lightning. In agony, Luke calls out to his father for help; unwilling to let his son die, Anakin Skywalker grabs his former master, and kills him by throwing him down a reactor shaft to his death. He is mortally wounded by the Emperor's lightning in the process. As Rebel fighters head toward the Death Star's main reactor, Luke removes Vader's mask and looks upon his father's face for the first and only time. The redeemed Anakin Skywalker assures Luke that there was good in him after all, and dies. On Endor, Luke cremates his father's body on a funeral pyre. During the Rebels' victory celebrations on Endor, Luke sees his father's spirit alongside those of Obi-Wan and Yoda.
In the prequel film Revenge of the Sith (2005), Luke and his twin sister Leia are born to Senator Padmé Amidala. 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 the desert planet Tatooine, where Luke is adopted by his father's stepbrother, Owen Lars, and Owen's wife, Beru.
In the first installment of the sequel trilogy, The Force Awakens (2015), the opening crawl reveals that Luke Skywalker had mysteriously vanished some time in the 30 years following the events of Return of the Jedi. Luke went into hiding after his nephew and apprentice, Ben Solo, turned to the dark side and was later dubbed Kylo Ren. When Ren killed all of his fellow apprentices and ushered in the despotic reign of the First Order, Luke felt responsible, and disappeared. 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 on the planet Ahch-To by the young scavenger, Rey, who presents him with the lightsaber previously wielded by both Luke and his father.
In The Last Jedi (2017), Luke is initially reluctant to train Rey, telling her that it is time for the Jedi Order to end. After some persuasion from R2-D2, Luke starts training Rey but grows increasingly afraid of her power. Luke tells Rey that he had briefly considered killing the sleeping Ben after seeing a vision of the destruction he could cause, but relented; Ben woke to see Luke with his lightsaber drawn and turned to the dark side because he felt betrayed. Rey urges Luke to help her turn Ren back to the good side, but he refuses. When Rey leaves, Luke is visited by the spirit of Yoda, who assures Luke that he still has a purpose.
Luke appears on the planet Crait, as the Resistance are staging a standoff against the First Order, and he apologizes to Leia for his part in allowing Ben to fall to the dark side. Luke steps in front of the First Order's Heavy Assault Walkers, and unexpectedly survives an onslaught of blaster fire ordered by Ren. Ren charges at Luke in hand-to-hand combat, seemingly bisecting him with his lightsaber, but Luke remains unscathed; still on Ahch-To, Luke has sent a projection of himself to Crait, using the Force. This distraction allows the Resistance to escape the planet. Luke tells Kylo that he will not be the last Jedi before his projection vanishes. On Ahch-To, Luke collapses then looks off in the horizon to see the planet's two suns setting before he disappears, having become one with the Force.
Luke has been confirmed to appear in the ninth chapter of the series.
Luke appears in the animated Disney micro-series Star Wars Forces of Destiny (with Mark Hamill once again reprising his role). The episode "The Path Ahead" details him training with Yoda on Dagobah. He also appears in the episode "Traps and Tribulations", which takes place shortly after the Battle of Endor and shows him and Leia assisting the Ewoks in stopping a rampaging monster known as a Gorax.
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).
In April 2014, most of the licensed Star Wars novels and comics produced since the originating 1977 film Star Wars were rebranded by Lucasfilm as Star Wars Legends and declared non-canon to the franchise. 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.
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. He is forced to contend with the spirit of ancient Sith Lord Exar Kun, who lures one of his most powerful students, Kyp Durron, to the dark side.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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. 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 in order to 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. Empire also ranked him as the third greatest Star Wars character. 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. WatchMojo ranked Luke Skywalker as #3 on their "Top 10 Star Wars Characters" list.
Mark Hamill was nominated a Saturn Award for Best Actor in for his portrayal of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, and won the award for his portrayal in The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Last Jedi.
In 1976, Mark Hamill had a serious car accident after filming Star Wars, which involved an operation on his face. It was speculated that the Wampa attack at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back was written in to explain his facial injuries, but George Lucas specifically disputed this in the DVD commentary of The Empire Strikes Back.
Asked by fans if Luke could be gay, Hamill said in 2016 that the character's sexual orientation "is meant to be interpreted by the viewer". He added, “if you think Luke is gay, of course he is. You should not be ashamed of it. Judge Luke by his character, not by who he loves." Ryan Britt of Inverse noted that leaving interpretations aside, in all media Luke has only been portrayed as straight. In the original Star Wars films, he is attracted to Leia before discovering she is his biological sister. Deleted scenes from the film show Luke attracted to a female character from Tatooine named Camie, and the novelization of The Last Jedi features Luke's fantasy of having married her. The novel Heir to the Jedi shows Luke attracted to a female named Nakari Kelen in the time before The Empire Strikes Back. Most notably, Luke marries Mara Jade in the Legends line of novels, though these have since been separated from official Star Wars continuity.
In regards to Luke's portrayal in The Last Jedi, many fans expressed disappointment in how he was depicted "as a grumpy old man whose failures had driven him into hiding", a stark departure in how Luke was characterized in the original trilogy. Hamill originally stated that he "pretty much fundamentally [disagreed] with every choice [The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson] made for this character," but that he had the utmost respect for Johnson and was willing to do his part to realize Johnson's vision.