Monday 22 June 2015

Journal of Whills: Part 3 - Luke Skywalker

I knew that Luke Skywalker would have to get a spotlight article relatively early on in this project. Whenever people talk about their favourite Star Wars characters, few mention Luke as their number one and I think that is a great shame. He is after all the hero of the story, he sets the events in motion that lead to Obi-Wan stepping up to fight evil once again, inspired by the hope of another who may follow the ways of the force. He convinces Han Solo to care for more than money and return to stand for something more, he brings these two bumbling droids along with him and makes a human once again out of the ultimate symbol of darkness. His character arc is what the entire series pivots on, going from eager adventurer to rebellious disciple and conflicted warrior.
It’s his quest to become a Jedi knight that intrigues the viewer in what the entire Star Wars culture is. As he only hears rumours and diluted stories about the older conflicts he acts as a window for anyone watching, they are essentially viewing the universe through his wide eyes. Of course when we see our hero and window put through difficulties not only do we sense a change in his own personal emotions but the entire galoaxy appears to undergo a tonal change. Following his severe wounding and traumatic knowledge of his true parentage at the hands of Vader the galaxy briefly becomes a dark and almost unpleasant place. But by the end, with his hand restored there is a simultaneous glimmer of hope. Obviously the fact that Han goes missing and Lando and Chewie set out to find him contribute to both changes but all the same, as Luke goes through emotional development, so does the galaxy. This means that all the conflicts and battles are basically a backdrop for his personal struggles.
That iconic image of Luke starring out to the twin suns on the horizon embodies so much about not only his character, but the Star Wars concept in general. It’s mysterious and existential, cosmic and otherworldly while maintaining an idealistic and hopeful quality. But despite this eagerness and motivation to aspire Luke finds himself put at risk by his naivety. But at the same time he feels a sense of loyalty to his uncle, hence his reluctance to leave for Alderran.
Ben Kenobi acts as a figure of guidance who helps Luke grow more as a character. His teaching allow Luke to view the galaxy with more of a patient overtone that allows him to connect with the spiritual elements of world that allow him to begin a path along the force. Han Solo also allows Luke to develop significantly, as his involvement and friendship makes him view the world through a less black and white perspective.
A lot of fans seem to overlook the fact that Luke must eventually move away from these father figures and take independence. He loses Ben, Han and even the metaphorical figure of Anakin as his true identity and fate is revealed. Helped by Yoda, who issues a much harsher method of training than Ben, Luke steps out of the shadows of these guardians and is able to redeem his father by confronting him as an equal rather than a son.
Yoda also provides Luke with an outlook on his motivation and devotion. He also forces him to confront the fact that he is still looking towards the future rather than focussing on his current challenges and responsibilities. He masters his own feelings and gains a more profound awareness of the emotions of others, this allows him to understand and realise that there is still good in his father.
By the time Luke stands over the pyre on which his father’s body burns, whenever I watch it I always like to think of how the character started. Visually and mentally Hamill looks like he has aged the character in so many unique ways. Bearing everything I have said here in mind, watch it again and try to imagine the two different states of Luke Skywalker, starring out into the sunset, and then towards the remains of Darth Vader, with the exact same music playing for both scenes, the transformation may be shocking.  

So those are more of my ramblings on Star wars, I’d love to hear some of yours by leaving a comment below. Find me on Twitter with @JoshuaPrice97 and please recommend Film Fanatic on Google by clicking the icon at the top of the page. Thanks and bye. 

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