Broom Kid said:
The idea that Luke Skywalker became a depressive old hermit who checked out for a decade because he was so ashamed of himself and angry at losing touch with what made him “a legend” in the first place? That’s not blasphemy to me. That’s interesting. And the way it was done was not just sad, but charming, too. To a lesser extent, a similar thing was done with Thor in Endgame. And to a lesser extent, some of his fans reacted much the same as Luke’s fans have reacted: The decision to do it was, in and of itself, unforgiveable, and so anything built upon that (to them) broken foundation isn’t worth giving over to. All they see is the humiliation and the “disrespect” to such a strong character. They see that as a punitive act against their hero, and they basically just… stop there.
I don’t entirely agree this is the case. To some sure, but to many others the disrespect is not in the humiliation, or punitive act against the hero, it is in the fact that they feel, it has not been properly motivated or set up. To them it’s like the story telling them, Luke’s different now, deal with it, and if you can’t, that’s your problem.
Well it’s a different way of telling the story. From go “what happened to Luke” is the primary mystery of the trilogy. It’s not like we catch up with Luke right away and he’s different, instead we’re gradually given more and more information about where he’s at (literally and metaphorically). The fact of the matter is the trilogy took a very specific approach with the characters - the new characters are the center and POV, and while the old characters pop in and get their moments, it is not a direct continuation of their stories from ROTJ. The difference in Luke is designed to be jarring and hard to accept, and in fact they give us an audience surrogate (Rey) to express this exact thing. You’re not supposed to just “deal with it,” you’re supposed to wonder why it’s happened.
Whether you accept the explanations or not is another thing. But I think Broom Kid has a point that many probably just tuned out entirely because they couldn’t get past something like the “disrespect” of him throwing the lightsaber. While others were a bit more open to the idea and curious.
For me it is similar to having the PT end with Anakin the hero, and then introduce him as Darth Vader in the next movie, and then show a tiny ambiguous flashback to explain how Anakin is suddenly an evil mass murderer.
Believe it or not, many wish this was the case (to preserve the surprises of the OT). Personally I think, being that the films were prequels, the point of their existence was to give backstory to the mysteries of the OT - but because of that, they should only be watched after. Ultimately the ST, whether one agrees with the approach or not, is designed to replicate the feeling of dropping into a story where we don’t know everything that happened beforehand - much like the OT did. I’ve said it often before, but I think the real title of TFA should have been Episode X.