One of the lines in Star Wars that has always confused me is something that Yoda told Luke once when he was training him on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back. Luke wanted to know how he could distinguish the good guys from the bad guys and Yoda said he would know if he was calm and at peace with himself. Then he said: “The Force is used for knowledge and defense. Never for attack.” Now, while this was an interesting idea that the Jedi supposedly believed in they didn’t exactly follow through with that concept with their actions. I mean think about it, for decades the Jedi used violence to try to keep “peace and order” in the galaxy but their ways only begot more war, more enemies, and more suffering. In The Clone Wars Obi-Wan’s old lady friend, Duchess Satine Kryze, confronted him with this truth.
Duchess Satine was the ruler of the once war-torn world of Mandalore and instead of joining either the Separatists or the Republic she decided to keep her world a neutral zone, for she wanted to keep her world out of the conflict and remain as a peaceful nation. On a diplomatic mission to Coruscant with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker joining her for protection she told Obi-Wan how she felt about the Jedi’s ways.
The Jedi were supposedly the guardians of the galaxy (I’m not trying to actually reference Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.) The inhabitants of the universe looked up to the Jedi Order to save them from the Separatists but the Jedi didn’t even try to achieve peace by fighting war with harmless negotiating. They solved every problem, every crisis, with violence and Satine didn’t believe in that. In her eyes the Jedi were just robed hypocrites using their religion to belittle others and claim dominion over the weak while spouting “wisdom” about the Force and destiny to glorify their violent reasoning to save the galaxy.
The Jedi were so blinded by their own power that they didn’t even sense the ruler of the Republic (who was a Sith lord!) manipulating every event to his own eventual dominion because there was just no way the Jedi could be beaten.
So, long story short, the Jedi were nearly wiped from existence and Yoda and Obi-Wan went into exile, waiting for a new hope to restore order to the galaxy.
Fast forward a couple of decades and Luke Skywalker is that new hope. He’s the new Jedi who will stop the reign of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine and bring peace and happiness back to the galaxy. But Yoda’s way of training was still the same as the olden ways during the days of the Jedi Order. He taught Luke how to resist temptation against the dark side, he taught him to conceal his attachments and suppress his feelings, and he gave him the tools and wisdom to defeat Darth Vader and Darth Sidious, but he was still in the mindset that violence was the only way to bring peace.
And it did, for quite a while. Luke turned Darth Vader’s cold heart (actually without violence,) Darth Sidious was defeated, and there was peace for many years.
But Luke ended up continuing the endless cycle of Jedi failure as he strove to make a new Jedi council, thought of using violence to rid the galaxy of a terrible new threat, his own nephew, Ben Solo, and in his hesitation Ben caught him about to perform the murderous deed and ultimately turned to the dark side, destroying Luke’s temple and his students, and becoming the evil Kylo Ren.
Luke Skywalker failed his nephew, he failed the galaxy, and he placed himself in exile, deciding to live with the shame of his mistake until he eventually died. And then Rey came.
Luke didn’t train her like his master had once taught him. He didn’t teach her how to resist the pull of the darkness or to suppress the attachments she felt to her friends. Instead, he decided to teach her the faults of the Jedi and why the Jedi needed to end. Her persistent belief in the Jedi actually brought a little hope back to the grumpy ex-Jedi master. Yoda also knew that she was the future of the legacy of the Jedi and he helped Luke realize that the Jedi didn’t exactly need to end but they did need to evolve. And so Luke knew he had to make sure that spark, that new hope that Rey embodied, would live on past his legacy and his failure.
When the Resistance was on their last leg and it seemed that all hope was lost Luke returned to save the day but he finally did something that millennia of Jedi didn’t have the guts to do, face evil with nonviolence. In the duel between him and Kylo Ren not once did he strike back at his extremely angry nephew. He only dodged his attacks, further annoying Kylo Ren and distracting the young Supreme Leader from completing his goal; destroying the Resistance.
Luke, at that moment, finally heeded the words Yoda once told him. “The Force is used for knowledge and defense. Never for attack.” The Last Jedi showed the evolution of the Jedi and Luke Skywalker was at the helm of this new idea of the Jedi legacy. The fact that he didn’t use violence to fight evil was one of the coolest things I’ve seen in Star Wars and the incredible thing was his plan actually worked, for the Resistance got away and the Jedi would end up living on through Rey.
Of course, afterwards Luke finally became one with the Force, thus joining his friends Yoda and Obi-Wan and his father, Anakin Skywalker but his sacrifice was the perfect ending to his story. Luke Skywalker has always been, to me, the coolest Jedi in Star Wars and the fact that he finally did evolve the teachings of the Jedi and used a peaceful approach to combat evil is awesome.
Maybe he will pass on this idea to Rey and she will save the galaxy from Kylo Ren and his First Order without even having to ignite a lightsaber but whatever the case I believe Luke is the first true Jedi in Star Wars and that’s pretty awesome.
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a marvelous day. May the Force be with you.