Luke ran away at a moment when he could have stayed and averted the entire rise of the First Order. It was precisely because Luke left that Snoke Kylo and others had an opportunity to lay waste to the galaxy. This is also why, while I love aspects of the epicness of Luke’s end on Crait, the argument that we should celebrate Luke’s effort as something that should inspire the galaxy and was an amazing act of sacrifice requires me to completely ignore the fact that Luke’s cowardice created and then grew the very enemies he is now being lauded for inspiring people to fight back against.
Lets celebrate Luke simply holding off (not defeating) enemies that have already essentially crushed everything he and his friends worked their entire lives for, enemies that he could have stopped before they even got started, if he had simply not run away. Yay?
By contrast, Obi-Wan and Yoda went into exile not as cowards but because they were literally all that was left of their order, but even in spite of that they had a plan in place to fight back against their enemies. They were playing the long game.
Luke on the other hand played no sort of game and just peaced out. Yet in the end I should celebrate the fact that he has basically brought the good guys back to a barely less state than they were when we first began his path in the Force. Honestly that’s pathetic.
And thats the bottom line for so many of us, they made Luke Skywalker pathetic. Even his victory and redemption really means nothing in the end. True victory and redemption would have been to not only acknowledge his cowardice openly (he never does) but also actually make up for it by striking his own blow to the first order.
Why not let Luke be able to get to do the damage that the Holdo Maneuver caused, for example, and go out in a blaze of glory? (I suggested this in another forum) Have him actually show up in the flesh on Crait before the rebels land there and still have all their transports, and bring down the star destroyer into the planet, killing him but giving the Resistance/rebels critical time to escape and (this is the key part) dealing the first order a critical blow, essentially making up in a small way for letting them become so big during his exile. Being more than just a distraction. He deserved something more like that.
The movie explored the nature of heroism - it’s not just about fighting what you hate, it’s saving what you love. Rose spells that out in a really cheesy dumb line at the end there in case you missed it. You can disagree with the message, but that’s still a part of RotJ and Star Wars in general to me.
Luke by the end of his arc in the OT learned to deal with things not with a lightsaber and violence, but with patience and a little compassion. He refused to strike down his father and threw his lightsaber away in a demonstration of his ideals. I don’t think his style is to wreck shit with a lightsaber and deal “critical blows.” Especially before the events of TFA, to a faction that hadn’t even done anything yet. And I’d wager being a force ghost and “more powerful than you can possibly imagine” is a lot better than kamikazing the FO just to hurt them.
Yes, his failure with Ben was a failure of himself and those ideals. But that’s the point of his guilt and disillusionment in himself. I don’t think he’d so soon after shamefully giving into his fear - if even for a second - do the same thing again, just with Snoke and the FO prior to TFA. After he has spent so long and gone through so much to develop that wisdom, he’s not going to make the same mistake twice. So he did what he thought was best, stay away. End the Jedi. To stop this madness forever. This whole cycle - the teachings that turned Vader and Kylo - ends with him. After all, the force and the light of it don’t belong to the Jedi Order. There will always be good and light with or without them. Just like there was still darkness after the Sith, otherwise we wouldn’t have Snoke.
I just don’t think TLJ asks us to celebrate Luke as an infallible legend, but as a man - more like you and me - who, in spite of his failures, was able to get back up from a rut and find a hero inside himself again. In some ways, that’s more true to the humanity of the character than the version many people wanted to see. The idea is that no one really deserves that burden. We’re all just people at the end of the day, even your heroes.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d be fine if we got the other thing too. But that’s what surprised me and what resonated with me with TLJ. They managed to take a less obvious path with the character that paid off in a way that was more poignant and emotional than I was expecting from Star Wars. We sometimes forget that Luke was just a simple farm boy and not always the self assured Jedi Knight from RotJ; he doesn’t lose his humanity just because he grew up. That was always his strength and what won against the Emperor in the first place - his compassion and love for his father. He wasn’t special because he kicked ass.
edit: WOW i’ve been beating a dead horse, i’ll shut up now. i just see the same thing all the time and no one ever responds to what i say all the way im sorry