In 2008, Luke Skywalker was selected by Empire magazine as the 54th greatest movie character of all time. On their list of the 100 Greatest Fictional Characters, Fandomania.com ranked Luke at number 14.
Concept and creation
Luke Skywalker was initially called "Annikkin Starkiller", and went through multiple design changes. Luke was at one point designed as a 60 year-old grizzled war hero, and later as a Jedi Master, and also as a female.
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
The character's first full appearance in the series is in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. His character represents the hero archetype who is "the young man, called to adventure, the hero going out facing the trials and ordeals, and coming back after his victory with a boon for the community".
Luke lives a humdrum existence on Tatooine with his aunt and uncle, who have kept his father's true history a secret from him. He initially wants to join the Imperial Academy to become an Imperial pilot with his childhood friend Biggs Darklighter, but is held back by his uncle who needs his help on the moisture farm. He takes his first steps toward his destiny when he finds two droids, C-3PO and R2-D2, the latter of whom is carrying a message for Obi-Wan Kenobi, known to Luke as the hermit old Ben Kenobi. Obi-Wan tells Luke that his father was a Jedi and presents him with his father's lightsaber. He then tells him that his father was murdered by a traitorous Jedi named Darth Vader. Obi-Wan offers to take Luke to Alderaan and train him in the ways of The Force, but Luke rejects his offer.
Luke changes his mind when he discovers his aunt and uncle have been killed by Imperial stormtroopers, however. He and Obi-Wan obtain passage with the smugglers Han Solo and Chewbacca on their ship, the Millennium Falcon, only to find that Alderaan has been destroyed by the Empire's new superweapon, the Death Star.
The group sneaks onto the Death Star and rescues the captive Princess Leia; as they are escaping, Obi-Wan sacrifices himself in a duel with Vader. Luke is heartbroken, but finds the strength (with help from Obi-Wan's spirit) to join the Rebel Alliance and destroy the Death Star during the film's climactic battle.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
In Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, set three years later, Luke is now a lieutenant commander in the Rebel Alliance and in command of a fighter squadron. While on a mission on the ice planet Hoth, he is nearly killed by a Wampa; he escapes with the help of the Force and his lightsaber. In the frozen wasteland, he sees the spirit of Obi-Wan, who tells him to travel to the planet Dagobah and complete his training under Jedi Master Yoda.
When the Empire discovers the Rebel base on Hoth, Luke leads his squadron to cover the evacuation. Escaping Hoth in his X-wing, he travels to Dagobah, instead of regrouping with the Alliance. There, he meets Yoda and undergoes rigorous Jedi training, quickly increasing his power in the Force. However, he is warned that the Force is a double edged sword; its dark side is seductive and could corrupt him into an agent of evil if he gives into his anger and aggression.
His training is interrupted by a vision of his friends in pain. Against Obi-Wan and Yoda's advice, he travels to Cloud City to save them, only to be lured into a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader. As his mentors warned, Luke proves to be no match for Vader, who cuts off his right hand. The Sith Lord then reveals his true identity as Luke's father. Vader offers him the chance to turn to the dark side of the Force and rule the galaxy at his father's side. Horrified by this unexpected claim and the powerful temptation before him, Luke chooses to die rather than be corrupted and throws himself into a deep reactor chasm. However, he is sucked into a garbage chute to the underside of Cloud City and left hanging onto a weather vane. Leia, flying away from Cloud City in the Millennium Falcon, senses Luke's peril and turns the ship around to save him. Aboard the medical ship after rejoining the rebel fleet, Luke's missing hand is replaced with a prosthetic one.
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
A year after the events in The Empire Strikes Back, Luke, along with Leia, the droids, and Lando Calrissian, save Han Solo from the gangster Jabba the Hutt, who had acquired the carbonite-encased Solo. Luke offers to negotiate with Jabba, but instead is forced to fight a fearsome monster, the Rancor. When Luke kills it, Jabba sentences him to be thrown into The Pit of Carkoon, to be eaten by the Sarlacc. Luke escapes with R2's help, saving his friends and destroying Jabba's barge, with the aid of a new green lightsaber constructed following the loss of his first weapon in his duel with Vader.
During his return trip to Dagobah, Luke learns from the dying Yoda that Vader is indeed his father, and from Obi-Wan's spirit that he has a twin sister, which Luke immediately realizes is Leia. Obi-Wan warns him that his instincts "do him credit", but also warns him that they could be made to serve the Emperor. Yoda tells Luke that although he requires no further training, he will not truly be a Jedi until he confronts his father. Luke insists that there is still good left in Vader, and pledges to bring him back from the dark side. Obi-Wan, however, believes that Vader has completely consumed Anakin Skywalker, and must be destroyed in order to defeat the Empire.
Arriving on Endor as part of a Rebel commando squad, Luke surrenders to Vader in an attempt to bring his father back from the dark side of the Force. Vader rebuffs his entreaties and brings Luke to the Emperor on the second Death Star, in orbit around Endor.
The Emperor and Vader attempt to turn Luke to the dark side with promises to save his friends from certain death. When that fails, the Emperor goads Luke to strike him down to save the Rebels, who are losing a battle with the Empire on and over the forest moon of Endor. Luke momentarily lashes out in anger, but Vader blocks his strike, and father and son face each other in a final duel. Luke keeps his emotions under control until Vader senses Luke's feelings for his sister and threatens to turn her instead. At this threat Luke finally gives into his anger and attacks with full fury. Vader loses ground as Luke lands blow after blow; Luke knocks Vader to the ground and severs his father's mechanical right hand. With the Emperor ordering Luke to strike Vader down and take his place, Luke glances at his own bionic hand and realizes he's on the verge of following the same path to the dark side as his father. Luke regains composure, deactivates his lightsaber and throws it away, proudly declaring his allegiance to the Jedi.
Enraged, The Emperor attacks Luke with Force lightning, nearly killing him. In horrible pain, Luke calls out to Vader for help. In an act of self-sacrifice, his father seizes the Emperor and throws him to his death down a reactor shaft. In the process, he is mortally wounded by the Emperor's lightning. As Rebel fighters and the Falcon race toward the Death Star's main reactor, Luke (at his father's request) removes the mask that had encased his face, and looks upon his father's eyes for the only time. A redeemed Anakin Skywalker dies moments later, assuring his son that there is still good in him after all. Luke escapes with his father's remains moments before the Death Star is obliterated. On Endor, in the manner of a funeral, Luke burns the last vestiges of his father that had been Darth Vader on a pyre, a Jedi tradition. During the Rebel Alliance's victory celebrations on Endor, Luke sees the smiling spirits of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and his father, Anakin Skywalker.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
In chronological order of the Star Wars films, Luke Skywalker first appears in the ending of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, when he and his twin sister, Leia are born to Padmé Amidala on Polis Massa. When Padmé dies in childbirth, Jedi Masters Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi hide the children from their father and Emperor Palpatine, the ruler of the newly-declared Galactic Empire. Leia would go to Alderaan and grow up a princess, which was how she got the name and title, Princess Leia, the adopted daughter of Senator Bail Organa, and Luke would be taken to the desert planet of Tatooine to be raised as a moisture farmer by his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. Obi-Wan would then go into exile on Tatooine to keep an eye on Luke during his formative years.
Expanded Universe appearances
The Expanded Universe details Luke's exploits following the Rebel victory at Endor.
After the battle of Endor
In the novel The Truce at Bakura, set one day after the battle of Endor, Luke Skywalker and his friend Wedge Antilles recover a message droid from the titular planet, which was being invaded by the Ssi-Ruuk. Luke commands a task force, turning back the enemy army. He also meets Dev Sibwarra, a Force-sensitive human who had been captured by the Ssi-Ruuk, who is killed in the battle after turning against his captors.
In the novel The Courtship of Princess Leia, set four years after the Battle of Endor, Luke travels to the planet Dathomir. There, he discovers a group of Force-sensitive witches called the Witches of Dathomir, banded into two separate groups: a collective of benign, matriarchal clans; the one he is in contact with being the Singing Mountain Clan, and the witches who have turned to the dark side, called the Nightsisters. Discovering a prophecy in which it was told a Jedi would change the way of life on the land, Luke eventually realizes truly what the Force is for the first time in his life. While there, he destroys most of the Nightsisters (including their powerful leader, Gethzirion, and the galaxy's most powerful remaining warlord, Warlord Zsinj). Thanks to the help of the prophecy and witches, Luke recovers old Jedi records left by Yoda about 400 years prior. He decides to start a new Jedi Academy, something he has been trying to do for six months before the start of the novel by finding old Jedi records and archives.
In The Thrawn Trilogy, Luke meets former Emperor's Hand Mara Jade, who is bound by Palpatine's disembodied voice, that repeatedly commands "You will kill Luke Skywalker." Mara Jade is working with her boss, a fringe-of-the-galaxy smuggler named Talon Karrde, who also plays a crucial role in this era. Although she was ready to fulfill that order to stop the voice, circumstances force her to keep him alive long enough to have him help escape a mutual danger. Despite her threats, Luke learns of Mara's curse and vows to free her from it. Meanwhile, the rest of the New Republic is fighting against Grand Admiral Thrawn, and thanks to Leia's help, he is eventually defeated, although Luke tried several times to get near him and his ally, Joruus C'boath. Eventually, the desperate pair fight against Luke's clone, Luuke Skywalker, the apprentice of Joruus C'Baoth. During the fight, Mara Jade destroys the clone and, with Leia's help, destroys C'baoth. This entire time, C'boath has been obsessed with 'molding' Luke and Mara to serve him, perhaps due to the fact that the Spaarti cloning cylinders he was made from have a reputation of turning people insane later in life. Nonetheless, he is defeated along with Luuke, and Mara's sacrifice silences her curse and completes her reconciliation with the Jedi, whom she later joins.
Jedi Academy Trilogy
In the Jedi Academy Trilogy, Luke resigns his commission in the New Republic's starfighter corps to pursue his Jedi studies and rebuild the Jedi Order in the Massassi Temple on Yavin 4, a decision some anti-Jedi politicians use against him. Luke becomes the Order's de facto leader. His students in the ways of the Force include: Gantoris, Kam Solusar, Tionne, Streen, Cilghal, Kirana Ti and others.
An older and wiser Luke Skywalker also appears in the Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy video games at the rank of Jedi Master. In Jedi Outcast, Luke helps Kyle Katarn in his fight against Desann and Empire Reborn by driving off Desann and his Reborn forces from Valley of the Jedi.
In the Hand of Thrawn Duology, Luke, now a Jedi Master, works again with Mara Jade, who has learned to better her Force knowledge since her training at Luke's Jedi Academy. He falls in love with her and they eventually marry. Later, in Edge of Victory: Rebirth, they have a son whom they name Ben after Obi-Wan Kenobi, who used Ben as a pseudonym.
New Jedi Order and The Yuuzhan Vong Invasion
In the New Jedi Order series, Luke creates a new Jedi Council. He idealises a new conclave, made up of Jedi, politicians and military officers. Included in this new Jedi Order are Tresina Lobi, Kenth Hammer, Kyle Katarn, Kyp Durron, Cilghal, Saba Sebatynee and himself. From the politicians and military came new Chief of State Cal Omas, Admiral Sienn Sovv (Sullustan male) and four others.
In Force Heretic: Remnant, he spearheads the mission into the Unknown Regions during the Yuuzhan Vong invasion to find the mysterious planet of Zonama Sekot, a planet that creates living starships. After the invasion is defeated with the help of the new Mandalorian Warriors, a Sekotian fleet and a Galactic Alliance-Imperial Remnant fleet, Luke leads the New Jedi Order on Denon, the temporary capital of the Galactic Alliance and the site of the newly rebuilt Jedi Temple on Coruscant.
In The Swarm War, the New Jedi Order moves to Ossus, the site of former famous Jedi temples and libraries that were mostly destroyed 4,000 years prior. Upon the Killik's invasion of Chiss space and the transformation of most of the Myrkr mission survivors into Killik Joiners, Luke determines that the Killik's collective mind is being unconsciously controlled by a hive called the Dark Nest. The Dark Nest is controlled by a former Nightsister named Lomi Plo, who became their Unseen Queen with her ability to become invisible by exploiting the doubts of inferiors. One of the Myrkr mission survivors, Alema Rar, attempted to plant seeds of doubt in Luke's mind by suggesting that his wife, Mara, may be somehow responsible for the death of his mother, Padmé Amidala, which he almost believes because of Mara's previous involvement as the Emperor's Hand. This allows Lomi to escape from Luke. Luke discovers recordings of his father Force-choking his mother on Mustafar, his own birth, and his mother's death hidden inside the protective memory archives of R2D2. Because of this, he is able to overcome his doubts about Mara and defeat Lomi Plo in the final battle of the Swarm War, cutting her into four pieces. Luke also withdraws the Jedi from Cal Omas' Advisory Council, as he plans to create a Jedi Council that will give aid to the Galactic Alliance when needed. He also becomes the Grand Master of the Jedi Order to give the Jedi a clear sense of direction. He has told the Jedi to either follow his leadership and make the order their priority, or leave. Jedi Danni Quee and Tenel Ka have resigned because of their duties to Zonoma Sekot and Hapes, respectively, while Corran Horn tries to resign, but Luke talks him out of it. Luke is also forced to exile Tahiri, Lowbacca, and Tesar Sebatayne to Dagobah for divulging secret information to people outside the Jedi Order.
Legacy of the Force
In the Legacy of the Force series, Luke begins having visions of a figure cloaked in darkness destroying the galaxy and the Jedi Decree. In his dreams, this figure's presence is much like that of his father (as he appeared as Darth Vader). Luke has been troubled by the fact that he has been unable to discern the identity of this figure. Complicating matters even more is the recent schism that has developed between Luke and his nephew, Jacen Solo. Already a tremendously powerful Jedi Knight, Jacen has begun adopting radical and extreme interpretations of the Force, causing a dramatic change in his personality. Luke fears that Jacen is pursuing the same path that ultimately led to Anakin Skywalker's fall to the dark side.
In Bloodlines, the situation worsens when Luke's son, Ben, becomes Jacen's apprentice. Luke must also battle his wife, who refuses to confront Jacen for fear of alienating Ben. In Tempest, Luke determines that the dark figure from his dreams is Lumiya, a former Emperor's Hand now known as the "Dark Lady of the Sith". Luke and Lumiya had fought several times over the years, but when Mara is murdered in Sacrifice, Lumiya deceives Luke into believing that she killed her. They battle again, and Luke saves a weaponless Lumiya from falling to her death simply so that he can kill her himself. Luke returns to Coruscant where he is found by Ben, standing guard over Mara's body; upon speaking with his son, he realizes that Lumiya could not have killed her. Later in his private cabin, Luke breaks down over the death of his wife, knowing that her murderer is still at large. He does not realize that the killer is his own nephew, Jacen, who has now taken the Sith name Darth Caedus. In Revelation, Ben proves that Jacen killed Mara, but Luke is now reluctant to kill Jacen out of fear that he or his son will fall to the dark side in the process. (The decision is taken out of his hands in Invincible, when Jaina kills Jacen in a final lightsaber duel).
Fate of the Jedi
In this series of original novels, set about 40 years after A New Hope, Luke Skywalker, now in his late 50's, is deposed by the government from his position as Grand Master, and exiled from Coruscant. However, if he finds the reason of why Jacen Solo fell to the dark side, he can be allowed to return. Ben insists on coming with him. Together, father and son explore dangerous and little-known portions of the galaxy. Luke and Ben learn much about each other, about the Force, and about the great dangers threatening the Jedi. The great love the two surviving Skywalkers have for each other grows even greater as they repeatedly save each other's lives and explore the limits and powers and mysteries of the Force.
In the comic book series Star Wars: Legacy, set 133 years after Return of the Jedi, Luke appears as a Force ghost to his descendant Cade Skywalker, who has renounced his connection to the Force. Luke appeals to Cade to accept his Jedi lineage and fulfill his destiny to defeat the Sith, who by now have once again decimated the Jedi and taken over the galaxy.
Luke Skywalker appears in the Marvel-published Star Wars comics adaptations of the original trilogy as well as an ongoing series that ran from 1977–86. When Dark Horse acquired the license two years later, he appeared in numerous projects based on the franchise as well.
Luke Skywalker has been portrayed by at least four different actors.
Mark Hamill (Adult Luke)
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (May 25, 1977)
- The Star Wars Holiday Special (November 17, 1978)
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (May 21, 1980)
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (May 25, 1983)
- Star Wars: A New Hope Audio Drama (1981)
- Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Audio Drama (1983)
- He reprised his role as Luke Skywalker for a speaking role in a commercial for Vector Prime, the first of the New Jedi Order novels by science fiction and fantasy author R.A. Salvatore, in 2000. In the commercial, he briefly recalled his past experiences as a Jedi and with the Rebel Alliance, and told of some new threat that he was unsure he could defeat. This threat would be revealed in the book as an alien species from another galaxy known as the Yuuzhan Vong. To view the commercial, click here  or here.
- Hamill also played Luke in a number of comedy skits on TV over the years. In 1977, he briefly played Luke on The Donny and Marie Show Star Wars Tribute, and again on an episode of The Muppet Show in 1980. In more recent years, Hamill "reprised" his role by voicing both Luke and himself on shows such as Family Guy, The Simpsons, and Robot Chicken.
- Luke Skywalker also appeared in South Park episodes "Imagination Land II & III".
Aiden Barton (baby Luke)
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (May 19, 2005)
Bob Bergen (video games)
- Shadows of the Empire (1996)
- Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi (1998)
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (1998)
- Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance (1999)
- Star Wars: Force Commander (2000)
- Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds (2001)
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (2001)
- Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (2002)
- Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (2003)
- Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike (2003)
- Star Wars: Battlefront II (2005)
Joshua Fardon (audio)
In 2008, Luke Skywalker was selected by Empire magazine as the 54th greatest movie character of all time. Luke was also on the ballot for the American Film Institute's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains  On their list of the 100 Greatest Fictional Characters, Fandomania.com ranked Luke at number 14. IGN listed Luke as their 4th top Star Wars character, and was chosen twice by IGN's readers as one one of their favourite Star Wars characters. IGN's Jesse Schedeen also picked Luke Skywalker as one of the characters they most wanted to appear on the Wii, as well as listing Skywalker as one their favourite Star Wars heroes. Schedeen also listed the character as one of the Star Wars characters they wanted to see in Soulcalibur. IGN also called the fight between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi one the ultimate movie "boss battles". In a feature on speeches made by Luke Skywalker, IGN's Todd Gilchrist said that his favorite speech made by Luke was "I am a Jedi, like my father before me".
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 "Empire's The 100 Greatest Movie Characters". Empire Magazine. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 "The 100 Greatest Fictional Characters". Fandomania.com. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
- ↑ "Skywalker, Luke". Star Wars Databank. StarWars.com. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
- ↑ The Power of Myth, paperback, 1989. Joseph Campbell, Bill Moyers, 978-0385247740
- ↑ The Fourth Turning, 1997. William Strauss, Neil Howe. New York: Broadway Books
- ↑ pg 179 The Power of Myth, paperback, 1989. Joseph Campbell, Bill Moyers, 978-0385247740
- ↑ Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
- ↑ Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- ↑ Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
- ↑ Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
- ↑ http://www.starwars.com/eu/lit/novel/1.html
- ↑ http://www.theforce.net/books/unjoh/gallery/
- ↑ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains Official Ballot". American Film Institute. Retrieved April 9, 2011.
- ↑ "Top Star Wars Characters". IGN. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
- ↑ Phil Pirrello,"Who Is Your Favorite Star Wars Character?". IGN, August 18, 2010. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
- ↑ Jesse Schedeen,"Star Wars: Your Favorite Characters". IGN, February 6, 2009. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
- ↑ Jesse Schedeen,"Players Wanted: Characters We Want on the Wii". IGN, February 2, 2009. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
- ↑ Jesse Schedeen,"Top 25 Star Wars Heroes: Day 5". IGN, August 15, 2008. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
- ↑ Jesse Schedeen,"Players Wanted: Soulcalibur's Star Wars Fighters". IGN, August 5, 2008. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
- ↑ Phil Pirello, Scott Collura, Jesse Schedeen, Eric Goldman and Matt Fowler,"Ultimate Movie Boss Battles". IGN, December 6, 2010. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
- ↑ Todd Gilchrist,"Star Wars Speeches: Luke Skywalker". IGN, July 7, 2006. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
- ↑ UGO Team,"Best Heroes of All Time". UGO Networks, January 21, 2010. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
- ↑ Adam Rosenburg,"Star Wars Characters". UGO Networks, August 25, 2008. Retrieved April 3, 2011.