[Rebuttal] Is Luke Skywalker A Christ Figure? Debunking The Cult Of The Last Jedi

It is no secret that many fans are angry with Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

While the film does have its defenders, a large portion of the fanbase has been quite vocal in its displeasure with the liberties the eighth installment of the main Star Wars saga took with the franchise, particularly in its handling of the character of Luke Skywalker.

In The Last Jedi, Luke has become a fallen hero. A tragic character who has turned his back on everything he accomplished in the original trilogy and living a life of self-imposed exile where he is planning to die rather than correct his failures as a Jedi, uncle, and teacher.

This take on the character of Luke Skywalker is radically different than what audiences saw of him in Episodes 4–6. This is the downfall of Luke Skywalker. His ruination. This is Luke 30 years after his ultimate triumph over the Dark Side of the Force — a broken man and a tragic figure.

Some fans have come to laud this interpretation of the character. But many fans have rejected it, feeling it is a betrayal of everything that made the character one of the most iconic in cinema history. Whatever one’s position on the subject may be, however, one cannot deny that Rian Johnson’s interpretation of the character was divisive.

While fan debate rages as to the merits of the changes The Last Jedi made to the character of Luke Skywalker, critics and defenders alike have argued their positions on the subject passionately. The most recent example of this is a very interesting defense of Rian Johnson’s changes from Bryan Young.

The Last Jedi vs. The Last Temptation of Christ

Skywalker vs. Christ — Are They The Same?

Bryan Young is an entertainment writer, critic, and fervent defender of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Recently, he had an article published on the website /Film where he made the argument defending the changes writer/director Rian Johnson made to the character of Luke Skywalker by comparing The Last Jedi to the film The Last Temptation of Christ.

In this article, Mr. Young attempts to justify Rian Johnson’s handling of Luke Skywalker by equating it to how the character of Jesus Christ was portrayed in The Last Temptation of Christ, drawing parallels between that film’s attempt to deconstruct the Christian mythos of Jesus and The Last Jedi’s attempt to do the same to the mythos of Star Wars.

I would encourage everyone reading this to check out Mr. Young’s original article for the purpose of context, but if you do not wish to do so, here are the basics of his argument:

  • Christianity is a religion.
  • Star Wars has become a type of religion.
  • Jesus is a mythological figure at the center of Christianity.
  • Luke Skywalker is a mythological figure at the center of Star Wars.
  • The Last Temptation Of Christ is a controversial deconstruction of the Jesus mythos.
  • The Last Jedi is a controversial deconstruction of the Luke Skywalker mythos.
  • Christian Fundamentalists resist any interpretation of Jesus beyond the orthodox interpretation.
  • Star Wars Fanboys resist any interpretation of Luke Skywalker beyond the traditional interpretation.
  • Star Wars fanboyism thus equates to blind religious fanaticism.
  • Upholding and defending traditional views is bad.
  • Accepting modern and deconstructed views is good.
  • Just how religious fundamentalists could not accept the version of Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ, so too can Star Wars fanboys not accept the version of Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi.
  • In both cases, the movies were right in their interpretation and the critics were wrong and close-minded.

This is a simplified version of Mr. Young’s argument regarding his article, but I feel it’s an accurate interpretation of his intent behind writing it. Based off of this view of Mr. Young’s stance, there are a few issues here where I completely disagree with his premise, which he uses to defend what is essentially the assassination of one of cinema’s most iconic characters.

Yes, I am one of those who believe that Luke Skywalker’s character was done great disservice by The Last Jedi, and that writer/director Rian Johnson did not understand the character at all, to the point where he essentially ruined Luke for many fans — me included.

This criticism does not stem from blind hatred or adherence to some type of “Star Wars Orthodoxy” where any change or evolution of the story is seen as a threat. Rather, my problems with The Last Jedi stem from my background as a writer who has studied narrative theory for years and who writes professionally. This isn’t to say I am a better writer than Mr. Johnson, just that I have enough training to spot bad writing when I see it.

In my experience, “Bad Writing” encompasses many facets of a story’s narrative. It can range from flaws in the plot all the way down to poor dialogue. But in that spectrum is the concept of character development, or the process by which an audience experiences a character’s growth.

The Case Against The Last Jedi

Rian Johnson, Martin Scorsese, Nikos Kazantzakis

Mr. Young attempts to defend the character development of Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi by comparing it to the character development Jesus Christ receives in The Last Temptation of Christ. I believe it was Mr. Young’s intention to justify Rian Johnson’s interpretation of Luke Skywalker by linking it to director Martin Scorsese’s interpretation of Jesus Christ and marginalizing the criticisms from the Star Wars fanbase based on the dismissal of similar criticisms that The Last Temptation of Christ received.

After all, the film version of The Last Temptation of Christ is lauded as being both brave and groundbreaking. Ultimately, it’s looked at as an amazing achievement in cinema. It won many awards, but also helped Hollywood break out of traditional Christian-based mores in order to tell more controversial stories. It was a disruptive presence that helped to usher in a new era of storytelling in Hollywood. I believe it was Mr. Young’s intention to have some of this respect and admiration for what can legitimately be considered a classic piece of cinema rub off on The Last Jedi by making this comparison.

However, I believe this comparison is inherently flawed, and I will explain why in detail. The reason it is flawed is because Mr. Young bases his interpretation on two comparisons which I fundamentally disagree with:

  • This first is comparing Rian Johnson and Martin Scorsese as filmmakers.
  • The second is comparing Rian Johnson to Nikos Kazantzakis as writers/philosophers.

I would argue neither of these comparisons are accurate. Firstly, Rian Johnson has nowhere near the level of skill and artistry as a filmmaker the caliber of Martin Scorsese does. Scorsese is a man who understands not only cinema, but narrative and character as well. Scorsese is a student of film, a teacher of cinema, and a man whose grasp of the language of movies changed the way they are made. Scorsese is a man who created some of the most iconic films in cinema history. His talents have not only been recognized within his own industry, but by audiences as well. He is a legend. Johnson has yet to reach that level.

By the time Scorsese made The Last Temptation of Christ, he’d already made Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and The Color of Money — all of which are considered cinema classics. By contrast, Johnson has made two films: Brick and Looper. Neither of which won any awards or are considered classics. To compare Johnson to Scorsese is like comparing Scott Adams to Leonardo Da Vinci. They are both artists, but nowhere near the same caliber in terms of skill and ability.

Likewise, author Nikos Kazantzakis, the writer of the book The Last Temptation of Christ upon which the movie was based, was a master of his craft. This is a man who was nominated for 9 Nobel Prizes for literature. He was also a philosopher in the vein of Nietzsche — an existentialist, nihilist, and cultural critic. He adopted radical writing techniques that had major impacts on the artform (such as writing as how people spoke instead of sticking to rules of proper grammar) and tackled controversial subjects others would fear to address.

The Controversial Christ Figure

Deconstructing The Christ Myth

Kazantzakis wrote The Last Temptation of Christ as a counter-argument to the orthodox Christian church’s interpretation of Jesus. In Kazantzakis’s day, the religious institution of the Christian Church only focused on the God-like nature of Christ. They saw him through a “divine lens” which focused only on his religious significance. To those who followed the Christian faith, Jesus was an idealized deity beyond any criticism or alternate interpretation. Jesus Christ was the living embodiment of God on Earth.

But Kazantzakis dared to ask the question — what about the human side of Jesus?

Kazantzakis was the first to popularize the notion that Jesus was a man before he was a deity, and that as a human, Jesus had struggles similar to all of us. It was a radical concept at the time and it took a lot of courage to stand up to the notion the Church held in such stringent regard. To equate Rian Johnson as a writer AND philosopher on the level of Kazantzakis is yet another terrible categorization of Johnson’s talents. Firstly, Mr. Johnson is not a skilled writer — at least not on the level of winning a Nobel Prize for his efforts (or even an Oscar for that matter). Secondly, his philosophy is surface-level progressivism at best, nowhere near the deep and studied philosophies that Kazantzakis explored.

Even Rian Johnson himself does not make the comparisons Mr. Young draws in his article. In fact, in the article itself, Mr. Johnson admits that The Last Temptation of Christ was not an inspiration to him in crafting The Last Jedi. So Rian Johnson himself does not make these comparisons between his abilities or intentions with those of Scorsese or Kazantzakis, but Mr. Young does. It’s Young’s argument that even if Rian Johnson did not intentionally make an allegory between his movie and The Last Temptation of Christ, they are there anyway.

Fans and Fundamentalism

Are Star Wars Fans Unable To Accept Change?

However, let us dismiss the notion that Mr. Young’s article is about Rian Johnson’s talents and skills as a writer/director, particularly in regards to Martin Scorsese and Nikos Kazantzakis. Instead, let us focus on the substance of his argument, which is essentially:

  • Luke Skywalker = Jesus Christ
  • Fan Criticism = Religious Fundamentalism

Before I get into the crux of the counter-argument here, I’d like to admonish Bryan Young on his comparison between how Star Wars fans reacted to The Last Jedi and how Christians reacted to The Last Temptation of Christ. From Mr. Young’s article:

Perhaps the thing that The Last Temptation of Christ and The Last Jedi have most in common are the public reactions over the handling of a figure viewed by many as a mythologized deity. The stories of both Luke Skywalker and Jesus are cultural touchstones that many have used as gospel, literal and figurative, to guide their lives. When The Last Temptation of Christ was released, there were protests and boycotts organized because evangelical groups were offended that the film represented a departure from the gospel narrative they knew. They picketed the movie studio that produced the film and even theaters that were showing it. One prominent evangelist, Bill Bright, offered to buy the film’s negative so that he could destroy it. A Catholic nun was quoted as saying the film was “the most blasphemous ridicule of the Eucharist that’s ever been perpetrated in this world” and “a holocaust movie that has the power to destroy souls eternally.” Martin Scorsese suffered death threats from these same groups.
Does that sound a lot like the over-zealous reaction of some to The Last Jedi?

I would like to point out here that there have been no instances of Star Wars fans picketing theaters or movie studios. When it came to protests surrounding The Last Temptation of Christ, theaters were literally burned to the ground. There were people who were literally bombing theaters in response to The Last Temptations of Christ’s screenings. In this case, you had religious zealots actually destroying property and putting lives at risk in response to the film.

Star Wars fans may be vocal about their dislike of The Last Jedi on social media, podcasts, and YouTube, but they have yet to descend into outright violence. No one has bombed a theater for showing The Last Jedi. People aren’t marching in the street to prevent it from being seen. The worst thing that’s happened because of The Last Jedi is that Star Wars fans didn’t bother to turn out to support SOLO: A Star Wars Story in theaters. So this comparison Mr. Young makes to attempt to vilify Star Wars fans and equate them with extreme religious fundamentalists is a bad comparison.

The Theme Of The Last Jedi

Should You Kill The Past?

The ONE comparison I believe Mr. Young is correct in making is that The Last Jedi and The Last Temptation of Christ are both deconstructionist & disruptive works aimed at making cultural critiques of established orthodoxy in regards to a beloved mythology.

Ironically enough, though, Mr. Young fails to understand that it is for that VERY REASON why Star Wars fans so dislike The Last Jedi. It took their popcorn entertainment escapist fantasy and turned it into a critique of the very thing it was supposed to be, effectively deconstructing and dismissing elements that made people fans of the story in the first place.

In short, The Last Jedi took Star Wars and got rid of everything fans loved about Star Wars to make something new which resembled Star Wars but lacked the core elements which made fans fall in love with it in the first place.

You could also say that this is exactly what Kazantzakis did with the Christian faith, oddly enough. But the difference here is that Kazantzakis’s goal was to deepen the human understanding of God by looking at Christ as a man, whereas Johnson’s goal was to dismiss all the stories which came before The Last Jedi and move Star Wars in an entirely different direction. Rian Johnson’s message was “kill the past,” whereas Kazantzakis’s message was “embrace humanity and all its flaws in order to do good.”

Quite the contrast in theme, is it not?

A Fundamental Misunderstanding

Which Character Arc Is Correct?

But setting the themes of these two films aside, let us look at Mr. Young’s central argument, which is that the characters of Jesus Christ in The Last Temptation of Christ and Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi are similar and should be regarded as an allegory for fan reaction to controversial interpretations of beloved characters.

In his /Film article, Mr. Young states:

“Luke’s arc follows a similar trajectory as Jesus’s in The Last Temptation, where he’s given in to his last temptation and removed himself to quiet isolation, letting others fight his battles for him. Hadn’t he given the galaxy enough? What more could he give? He’d done his good. For Luke, this temptation is to live a life of non-violent peace in hopes of breaking the cycle of violence the Jedi seem destined to participate in.”

This quote shows that Mr. Young fundamentally misunderstood the message of The Last Temptation of Christ, because he essentially leaves out the actual ending of the film as a means to justify his defense of The Last Jedi’s version of Luke Skywalker.

In The Last Temptation of Christ, Jesus is seen as a human being who carries original sin with him. Thus, he is vulnerable to all the evils of the world just like every other human is. He is scared to die, afraid to suffer, and tempted to be selfish. When he is crucified, he gives into the temptation by the devil to be human instead of performing the task God gave him. He then is spared from crucifixion and lives his life as a man, turning away from his destiny, just as Mr. Young described Luke doing in his article.

What Mr. Young does NOT reveal, however, is that at the end of his life as a man, Jesus realizes he made a mistake rejecting God’s path for him and he sacrifices himself to return to the moment of his last temptation and die on the cross, ultimately fulfilling his purpose.

Essentially, the moral of The Last Temptation of Christ is that only through conquering human weakness can man hope to understand God’s plan for him. It’s actually a message of profound philosophical spiritualism rooted in author Nikos Kazantzakis’s personal interpretation of his religious faith. It’s a fundamentally hopeful message that though we are all stained with evil and tempted to be immoral, we all have the ability to overcome such limitations and be good, as God intended us, and help others to achieve the same.

By the character of Jesus rejecting his human weakness and temptation to turn away from God’s plan, he proves himself to be a true son of God, not just another prophet (a man who preaches on behalf of God, as opposed to God himself). In the end, The Last Temptation of Christ, despite the fact that it deconstructs the portrayal of Jesus and interprets him counter to the way the church did, ultimately embraces the church’s take on him as a deity, not the deconstructionist take on him as a man. The end of the movie definitively ratifies the fact that Jesus was the true son of God and not just another human, thus agreeing with the Christian faith’s interpretation and those of its followers. It was a confirmation of the character of Jesus Christ and the mythos surrounding him, ultimately staying true to everything people believed about and loved about the character.

This is a stark contrast to Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi, who never actually embraces the original intent of his character once again. Instead, he actually embraces his weaknesses and ultimately fails to return to being the hero Star Wars fans know him to be. Though Luke does eventually emerge from his exile, the bitter, cynical, nihilistic character he’s become still remains.

According to Mr. Young, this version of Luke is not only justified, but perfectly acceptable. Mr. Young argues a few things when it comes to this new interpretation of Luke Skywalker:

  1. Luke is right in abandoning his calling and living in isolation.
  2. Rey shows him the error of his ways and is his catalyst for change.
  3. Luke sacrifices himself on Crait and ultimately redeems himself, just like Jesus.

Let us examine these three arguments, shall we?

Luke’s Character Arc

How And Why Does Luke Change?

First, let’s start with Mr. Young’s notion that Luke’s self-imposed exile to the planet of Ahch-To is justified based on this notion that he’s given into the temptation to not be a hero anymore. Restating Mr. Young’s argument from before:

“Luke’s arc follows a similar trajectory as Jesus’s in The Last Temptation, where he’s given in to his last temptation and removed himself to quiet isolation, letting others fight his battles for him. Hadn’t he given the galaxy enough? What more could he give? He’d done his good. For Luke, this temptation is to live a life of non-violent peace in hopes of breaking the cycle of violence the Jedi seem destined to participate in.”

Firstly, the very basis of this “character arc” is flawed to begin with, because it assumes things about the character of Luke Skywalker that were not previously introduced. What made Luke a hero in the original trilogy of Episodes 4–6 was not his fighting ability or Force powers. What made him a hero was his willingness to fight evil and protect what he cared about, even at the cost of his own life.

Even when Luke was at his lowest at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, where the Rebellion was routed, his best friend and ally had been captured, he’d lost his hand and his lightsaber, he’d abandoned his training, and he’d discovered his greatest enemy was the man he’d idealized his entire life — he never faltered in this conviction. Luke was willing to risk everything to not only save those he cared about the most, but save the entire universe as well.

That is what made his character a hero. Heroes never give up, no matter how dark things become. They are the spec of light in the ocean of night. The spark that ignites the flame of good to rise up against evil. They are the embodiment of overcoming weakness to do God’s work.

It’s the embodiment of the very message Kazantzakis set out to convey with his book The Last Temptation of Christ: Any man can be a hero, so long as he is willing to be good.

The Luke Skywalker we all know and love from Episodes 4–6 would never let a beloved family member AND student be taken by the Dark Side unchallenged. Even if Ben Solo was beyond saving, Luke would NEVER have abandoned him. He wouldn’t go to an island to die, he’d die trying to save his nephew. Just like Jesus was willing to suffer and die to save all sinners, Luke embodied the concept that no matter how evil someone is, they are not beyond redemption. He was always the one willing to make the sacrifice necessary to save others.

This is what many defenders of The Last Jedi fail to understand about the love many fans of Luke Skywalker have. Luke IS the hero of the saga. His character was cemented over the course of 3 movies. But The Last Jedi dismisses all this, to the point of betraying the essence of the character. Even if Kylo Ren was beyond redemption, as many The Last Jedi defenders are fond of arguing, that does not mean Luke would give up on trying to save him. Luke, better than any other character in Star Wars canon, recognizes the temptation of the Dark Side and knows that there is a better path for all to walk. Despite everything Kylo may have done, the Luke fans know and love understand he’d treat Ben Solo just as Jesus treated all those who scorned him — with compassion and understanding. After all, as Jesus is famous for saying while dying on the cross: “Forgive them father, for they know not what they do.” Luke would have forgiven Kylo Ren for his sins, and worked to save him.

Rey As Judas

Mr. Young argues that Luke removes himself from the intrigue of the galaxy so that he can “break the cycle of violence the Jedi seem destined to participate in.” Despite this assertion, I would argue there is a far less noble narrative reason for this development. I would argue that Luke does not exile himself as part of a tragic character arc in The Last Jedi. Instead, it is a ploy by Rian Johnson to remove Luke from being central to the saga and put Rey in his place as the hero of the story going forward.

In short, this is less a deep character decision made by a writer, and more of a cheap story contrivance to kill off the old in order to make room for the new.

In The Last Temptation of Christ, Judas is interpreted not as the ultimate betrayer of Jesus, but as Jesus’s most loyal friend who forces him to accept the plan God has for him, to the point of handing him over to the Romans to be crucified so that Jesus cannot give into his fear of death. Ultimately, it is this Judas who reminds Jesus of who he really is and gives Jesus the strength and courage to embrace his destiny.

Mr. Young argues that in The Last Jedi, Rey assumes the role Judas holds in The Last Temptation of Christ. She is there not to be trained by Luke, so much as to remind Luke of his true calling. As Mr. Young states in his article:

In The Last Temptation of Christ, Harvey Keitel’s Judas gets his best scene at the end of the film. He arrives with righteous fury and chides Jesus for ignoring his purpose and turning his back on his duty after failing his final temptation. The Last Jedi casts Rey in this role. She arrives on Ahch-To, determined to shake Luke from his doldrums and bring him back into the fight for good. She tells him, essentially, that he’s done the wrong thing and given in to the wrong temptation.

I find a few errors in the argument that Rey is a Judas character. Firstly, Judas is a secondary character to the main character — Jesus. In the new Star Wars saga, this is reversed. Rey is meant to be the main character and Luke a secondary one. When most stories introduced new heroes to an old narrative, there is a technique employed to help the audience accept these new heroes which is called “the passing of the torch.”

“The Passing of the Torch” is a narrative device which is meant to symbolically give one character’s job, duties, and responsibilities to another character. It’s a transitional writing tactic that is used to usher out older characters in favor of new ones, but to do so in a way where the audience accepts the transition. If Rey’s purpose was to spur Luke into action, as Keitel’s Judas did to Jesus, then Luke would have continued to be the main character of the saga. Instead, the audience is asked to abandon Luke in favor of Rey.

The only problem here is that Rian Johnson, for whatever reason, never allows Luke to “pass the torch” to Rey, so the audience is left without sufficient closure on Luke and without sufficient investment in Rey as the new main hero. Rian Johnson’s failure to “pass the hero torch” means that there will always be a disconnect between Rey as the saga’s main hero and a large portion of the fans who are still connected to Luke. And this is why so many fans are so focused on his lack of a satisfying character arc in The Last Jedi — because to them, Luke is still the main character, all due to this failure in writing on Johnson’s part.

The second argument against “Rey as Judas” in this comparison between The Last Jedi and The Last Temptation of Christ is that Rey is not the one who spurs Luke to return from exile and help the Resistance. Judas does indeed serve as the catalyst for Jesus’s redemption in The Last Temptation of Christ by reminding Jesus of his true purpose and helping him to find the strength he needs to make the hard choice of sacrificing himself. Rather than inspiring Luke and reminding him of who he really is, in The Last Jedi, Rey instead humiliates and abandons Luke in favor of facing Snoke and Kylo Ren without him. In essence, she gives up on Luke and decides to move the story forward on her own. It is not until Luke is visited by the ghost of Yoda that he realizes the error of his ways, thus negating any impact Rey had on the development of his character.

Ultimately, Rey did not change Luke. She did not fulfill the “Judas” role. And Luke did not pass the torch to her to take his place. Instead, Rey took it upon herself to dismiss Luke as the story’s hero and assume it without his blessing.

Luke’s Sacrifice

Did Luke Really Sacrifice Anything?

We now get to Mr. Young’s final comparison between Luke Skywalker and Jesus Christ, which is the ultimate redemption and sacrifice of the character. In his article, Mr. Young writes:

“Luke certainly wakes up, albeit slowly. But when he catches his would-be apprentice fraternizing with his nephew and she leaves having rejected him, Luke knows what he has to do. He gets on that proverbial cross with his sacrifice on Crait. He realizes that he’s more important as a story, a myth, a martyr, and he was selfish to think he could live out his life in any other way. He gives the world a spark of hope, then disappears, passing into myth.
At the end, no matter how difficult their trials had been, both Luke and Jesus end with a sense of peace and greater purpose. And both live beyond this moment of sacrifice, heading into immortality and an eternal life.”

I find this notion that Luke “sacrificed” himself to save the Rebellion to be fundamentally flawed. Though Luke does indeed end up dying at the end of the film, it can be argued that his emergence from self-imposed exile was not intended to be sacrificial. If Luke had gotten in his X-Wing and had actually traveled to Crait in person to help Rey, Leia, and the others, then it could be argued this notion is valid, since there’s actual danger involved in him doing so. But instead, his use of “Force Projection” means he’s essentially a hologram while on Crait, with nothing really at stake for the character.

Compare this to when Luke ultimately confronted Darth Vader and The Emperor. In Return of the Jedi, Luke physically surrendered himself as a ploy to get close to the Emperor, knowing full well it was dangerous but taking the risk that Darth Vader would not kill him. He then physically fights with Vader, despite having lost to him before due to Vader’s inherently superior skill. All while being tempted to the Dark Side by the embodiment of ultimate evil in the universe. In this instance, not only are all of Luke’s friends in jeopardy, but the fate of the Rebellion, Luke’s father, and the balance of good/evil in the galaxy hang in the balance.

In The Last Jedi, a hologram of Luke gets shot at by artillery and dodges some swings from Kylo Ren’s lightsaber while distracting the bad guys long enough for the surviving members of The Resistance to sneak away.

There is nothing at stake for Luke in this scenario. He was never a member of The Resistance. He never fought the First Order. Other than Leia, he didn’t know anyone inside the base at Crait. He has no intention of saving his nephew, and he can’t actually be killed by anything while he’s there. All this amounts to the fact that the concept of Luke “sacrificing” anything in the film’s climax is simply incorrect, because in order for there to be sacrifice, one must be in danger of having something taken from them.

This means Luke never ACTUALLY re-embraces his role of the hero like Jesus did in The Last Temptation of Christ. If there is any doubt that Luke ultimately rejects the core concept of his character, this is made clear when Luke flat out TELLS the audience that he’s not there to save Kylo Ren. This is a fundamental denial of who the character of Luke Skywalker is and the role he plays in the Star Wars saga.

Christ sacrificed himself in the name of love. His sacrifice was to illustrate God’s love for all humanity, despite their flaws and inherent evil. Luke did the same when it came to Vader. Despite Darth Vader being evil, Luke’s love for his father and willingness to sacrifice himself pulled Vader away from the Dark Side (evil) and into the Light Side (God’s Love). Had Luke given up on Vader the way Obi-Wan and Yoda already had, the Emperor would have ultimately prevailed and the Dark Side would have won.

Yet, when it comes to Kylo Ren, Luke is merely a distraction rather than a path to redemption and love. The Luke of The Last Jedi essentially abandons his nephew to evil. He makes no attempt to redeem him, to forgive him, or to show him a better way. Luke makes no attempt to heal Kylo Ren’s pain and show him the love and mercy he gave to Darth Vader. Instead, he tells Kylo flat-out that he is beyond saving and leaves with a flippant “See you around, kid.” No advice to help him. No words of regret or apology. No indication of hope.

That is a fundamental assassination of Luke Skywalker’s character. It goes against everything Luke was meant to represent in the original films. It goes against the hero mythos.

And it certainly goes against the “Christ Figure” trope.

Conclusion

Luke from The Last Jedi Is Not A Christ Figure

I commend Mr. Young for his passionate defense of a movie he seems to love, but I cannot agree with his conclusions or his arguments. I feel Mr. Young is blinded by brand loyalty and refuses to acknowledge real problems with The Last Jedi in favor of excusing poor writing and bad narrative elements. But more than anything, I feel that trying to justify how Rian Johnson chose to interpret the character of Luke Skywalker and actually condemn fans who do not like his interpretation is harmful to fandom as a whole. One can disagree with the fans on this issue, but one should also at least understand why they feel the way they do and acknowledge their grievances.

At the end of the day, the greatest sin of The Last Jedi, in my opinion, is the assassination of Luke Skywalker’s character. In trying to defend his point by comparing The Last Jedi to The Last Temptation of Christ, Mr. Young actually disproves his argument. In the end, Christ became the character his fans knew and loved.

Luke didn’t.