Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan dying in the first two trilogies serves the narrative in the subsequent two films in their trilogies.
I believe Han, Luke and Leia’s deaths serve the narrative just as much. Han dying furthers Ben’s arc, as he goes deeper into the dark side after killing his father - taking that extra step - but is also more conflicted. Rey also loses her newfound father figure and it gives her good reason to hate Kylo Ren on a personal level in the next film.
Luke’s death doesn’t serve the narrative as much - he could have survived into the next film. However, there’s nothing edgy about it. Luke’s death is symbolic of him putting his trust in Rey and passing the torch down to the next Jedi; I also find it beautiful that he dies just as he regains the inner peace and heroic purpose he’d been missing for many years.
Leia’s death is the short term cause of Ben finally turning back to the light. He realises how much he is moved by her death, showing him that despite his best efforts, he too is ‘vulnerable’ to love just as Vader was; he also realises how much he feels he should carry on what she fought for and give up his identity as Kylo Ren. This is strongly implied in the scene with Han’s ghost/memory/vision thing.
I think you’re right to an extent but it’s all surface level due to the subsequent progressions of the narrative.
Han - I only find it to be once in the narrative that Kylo/Ben is confronted with his actions. However as soon as it’s said he deflects and puts it back on Rey and her need for validation and on her abandonment issues. We are told he has too much of his father’s heart. We are told that he thinks about him and that he’ll always be with him but we never actually see these things while he’s still posing as Kylo Ren. Maybe Han’s dice conveys thinking about him but I fail to see the other two points. The dice also only appear after his confrontation with Luke.
Luke - Absolutely and I agree. Within The Last Jedi itself Luke does these things and I’d even say he inspires hope for the galaxy as we see with the kids at the end but what comes after is a reset. Leia is now the Jedi Master teaching Rey. Rey never restores the Jedi Order on screen but instead she adopts herself into the Skywalker family. It isn’t Luke that inspired the allies to come together for the battle on Exegol but Lando.
Leia - I again agree in part but there’s no substantial payoff to her sacrifice as ultimately he dies. I thought that was only to pass if Leia didn’t stop her Jedi path? He may have helped rescue Rey from the Knights of Ren and even Force Healed her but he played no part in defeating Palpatine. He had no significant impact on the story after he’s redeemed beyond saving Rey.
So yes, I think at the time they do have some kind of impact on the narrative but as the story goes along they don’t come up again or they’re glossed over. Edgy probably was the wrong choice of wording. I meant it more in the need to have death for the sake of it. George never did that except really with the Death Star and Order 66 but that was because of their purposes in serving the story.
To continue with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan.
Qui-Gon - He was the father figure Anakin needed. Obi-Wan wasn’t ready for the trials of being his master and father figure. He saw Anakin as more like a little brother. Nobody except for Qui-Gon knew what to do with Anakin and Palpatine exploited it.
Obi-Wan - He guided Luke to Dagobah to train with Yoda and he helped push Luke towards confronting his father and Palpatine.
Their deaths had an impact on the character(s).
By comparison again.
Han - Rey remained unchanged by the death of Han apart from the instances where she confronted Ben and believed he couldn’t be turned back to the Light. Finn didn’t talk about him once after The Force Awakens. Poe didn’t mention him at all.
Luke - Rey mentions him to Leia at the snd of The Last Jedi but afterwards only gives him a moment’s thought in relation to the plot device of the Wayfinders. She also confides in him on the island. So it is a slight improvement. However Finn doesn’t mention Luke at all. Poe doesn’t either.
Leia - Rey doesn’t mention her at all except in relation to Leia’s lightsaber Luke gifts her. Finn and Poe mourn for a moment with Chewie but it’s quick to move onto the next story point.
Shouldn’t the central hero(es) we’re supposed to care about be impacted by the passings of their mentors?