Kratos vs Luke Skywalker: How to Innovate a Protagonist

The transformation of the two characters over the course of their respective franchises

The release of God of War (2018) was met by nearly universal praise from critics, citing the powerful, protagonist-driven storyline as a refreshing return to the franchise. The development and characterisation of the franchise’s titular anti-hero, Kratos, and in particular his relationship with his new son, Atreus, form the bedrock of the installment’s critical success. In contrast, in a barrage of mixed reviews for The Last Jedi, one commonly cited flaw with the progression of the film’s narrative is Luke Skywalker’s transformation off screen, into the weary hermit he is depicted as in the film. This remarkable transformation from the shining, stereotypical sci-fi hero that people have idolised over the years, have left fans feeling disappointed with Disney’s interpretation of the character, and has not satisfied their expectations for the return of the character after 30 years.

A comparison between the two protagonists of the re-emerged/soft-rebooted franchises highlights the reasons why Kratos’ evolution was much more well-received than Luke Skywalker’s. The first example would be each protagonist’s interaction with past nostalgia, in particular Kratos’ Blades of Chaos and Luke’s lightsaber. Another example is how each protagonist faces and interacts with their former mentors to demonstrate their progression, in particular Kratos facing Athena and Luke reuniting with Yoda. Finally, as both protagonists have significant transformations off-screen with relatively low explanation, the way that their evolutions have been justified by not only their past events but by their current interpretations has ultimately affected how satisfied fans were with their current interpretations.

Tempered use of Nostalgia

One great example of how God of War (2018) effectively tempers the nostalgia of Kratos as a character, is when Kratos reunites with his famed Blades of Chaos. In God of War (2018), as Kratos and co must venture into the cold depths of Helheim, Mimir tells Kratos that in order to retrieve the heart of the Keeper of the Bridge of the Damned, his Leviathan axe will be of no help to him in the cold climate, and that he must use another weapon. This prompts Kratos to face his past and reclaim the weapons that brought about his blood-fueled infamy as the Ghost of Sparta, the Blades of Chaos. This cutscene is a slow-paced, meaningful moment in the game, supplemented by a nostalgic piece of music from the soundtrack, as this represents Kratos interacting with a moment of his past that he has previously decided to bury.

Kratos retrieves his old weapons from under his house in the Norse Realm

Kratos received the Blades originally from the Greek God of War, Ares, after Kratos pleaded with Ares to save his life in battle. Since that pledge of service, the Blades of Chaos were permanently infused to Kratos’ arms, as a reminder of the bloodshed he had committed as the champion to the God of War. It is with these Blades that Kratos ended up killing his wife and daughter, Lysandra and Calliope. Kratos was soon reprieved of the Blades after his defeat of Ares however, and soon hid them under the house he lived in when he raised Atreus in the Norse realm. Retrieving the Blades forced Kratos to face the horrific atrocities that he had buried, but also showed that he has grown beyond his former life, and his ability to use the Blades of Chaos to save his son rather than for his own selfish needs demonstrates his maturity as a character. This is an example of how the tempered use of nostalgia enhanced Kratos’ characterisation and was instrumental to our ability to relate to Kratos.

In contrast, a similar moment of temperament of nostalgia in The Last Jedi, is when Rey confronts Luke on Ahch-To with Anakin’s lightsaber. The scene begins in The Last Jedi moments after the end of the previous installment, The Force Awakens, with Rey having traveled across the galaxy to deliver the mythic lightsaber to the legendary Luke Skywalker, in an attempt to recruit him to the Resistance to defeat the First Order. On paper it sounds like the beginning of an epic moment, but instead it resulted in a lack-luster attempt at comedy, with Luke simply tossing the lightsaber off the cliff behind him and storming off to his hut. As the movie progresses, it is clear that this quick dismissal was meant to demonstrate Luke’s reluctance to return to his old Jedi ways, yet this scene was still received negatively by most fans, due to its lack of temperament of nostalgia surrounding the lightsaber.

Luke having just received Anakin’s lightsaber from Rey on Ahch-To

Even in The Force Awakens an entire, dramatic scene is dedicated to Rey simply presenting the lightsaber to Luke, resulting in Luke giving the weapon an emotion-filled stare, highlighting the significance of the weapon to the lore of the franchise. In stark contrast to the build up of Kratos reclaiming the Blades of Chaos, this scene effectively disregarded any emotional impact the lightsaber has on Luke Skywalker as a character. The scene could’ve been handled a number of different ways to temper the nostalgia of the lightsaber. Luke could have vocally refused to claim the lightsaber from Rey and stormed off to his hut, expressing his disregard about returning to his old life as a Jedi Master. He could have given the lightsaber back to Rey, again detailing how he does not wish to use the weapon because of the fear of his past. Perhaps the scene could’ve played out more like how Luke throws away his green lightsaber after defeating Darth Vader, as that action of throwing away his lightsaber symbolizes his rejection of The Emperor’s attempts to seduce Luke to the dark side of the force, after Luke realised that cutting off Darth Vader’s hand was reminiscent of the anger fueled removal of his own hand by Darth Vader himself. Overall, the lack of capitalizing on the significance of the moment of Luke receiving the lightsaber represented a clear lack of temperament of nostalgia surrounding Luke Skywalker as a character.

Moving Past a Former Mentor

Shortly after Kratos retrieves the Blades of Chaos from underneath his house in the Norse realm, Kratos is visited by what appears to be Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, who may or may not be simply a mental projection by Kratos himself. During the confrontation, Athena asserts that not matter what Kratos does, he will always be a monster, referring to his violent past as the Ghost of Sparta. Kratos agrees that he will always bear the burdens of his past life, but states he is no longer Athena’s monster, cementing the idea that he is no longer in league with the gods and is in charge of his own destiny. This somewhat short exchange was an incredibly important moment for Kratos in the game, as it represents how Kratos is on the path of moving on from his past, acknowledging that his annihilation of Olympus will always define him, but knowing that despite that he will live his life the way he wants to live it, as a man, and as a father. This scene is representative of Kratos moving past a former mentor of his, Athena, who has had a mixed past with Kratos.

Kratos sees a projection of Athena in the Norse Realm

In God of War (2005), Athena was responsible for Kratos’ ascension to god-hood, recruiting Kratos to defeat Ares in order to save Athens, by manipulating Kratos’ emotions surrounding his past service of Ares. She saves Kratos from committing suicide on the Suicide Bluffs, and grants Kratos the title of the God of War. In God of War 2, Athena reveals that Kratos is in fact the son of Zeus, after sacrificing herself to save Zeus from Kratos’ wrath, also highlighting that she is Kratos’ sister. In God of War 3, the now deceased Athena later visits Kratos after he fell from Mount Olympus, and tells Kratos that humanity cannot survive while Zeus reigns, and that he must destroy the Flame of Olympus to save them. To destroy the Flame of Olympus, Kratos had to open Pandora’s box, as Pandora is the only one that can destroy the Flame of Olympus, and in opening the box he gained the power of Hope. Athena humbly asks that Kratos give the power of Hope to her, so that she can use it to help all of mankind, to which Kratos refuses, impaling himself with the Blade of Olympus to give the power of Hope to all of mankind himself. Athena is ultimately disappointed in Kratos, as she wanted the power of Hope for herself, and unlike previous times of saving Kratos from death, she leaves him to die, showing her true motives. Kratos dismissing Athena’s asserting that Kratos has not changed, demonstrates Kratos’ maturity as a character, and the fact that he will no longer be manipulated by those who claim Kratos’ indebtedness, and has finally moved on from his past mentor.

A comparatively similar scene for Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi would be when Yoda visits Luke as he attempts to burn the sacred Jedi texts. In that scene, Luke goes to the tree where he keeps the ancient Jedi texts with a flare, intending to destroy the texts and ultimately wipe the Jedi Order from existence. He is met by Yoda at the tree, and after Luke informs Yoda of his intentions, Yoda does not try to stop him, and in fact after Luke hesitates, Yoda himself uses the force to strike a lightning bolt and destroy the tree himself. The following dialogue between the two presented two somewhat-opposing messages. The first was that although Luke hesitated, both Luke and Yoda agreed that the ancient Jedi texts were not as insightful as their legend claims, and it is in fact time for the Jedi Order to end. The second is that Luke cannot be held back by his failures and that Luke should not only teach Rey about his triumphs but also his failures, in order to make her a Jedi.

Luke reunites with the force ghost of Master Yoda, following the burning of the tree holding the ancient Jedi texts

As you can see, the two ideas are somewhat contradictory, in that Yoda helps Luke understand that it is time for the Jedi Order to end, but it is also important to train Rey to become a Jedi. On the surface it is unclear the direction that Luke must take in order to move on from his past self, and the teachings of his mentor, in order to complete his character arc. If the first message was the one to be taken on board, then this would make sense for Yoda to burn the tree and for Luke to effectively ‘move on’ from his own training as a Jedi and become something more. However this is apparently not the case, as Luke himself asserts in his confrontation with Kylo Ren that he ‘will not be the last Jedi‘, referring to the rise of Rey, effectively quashing the idea that the Jedi should end. If the second message was the one to be followed could’ve went back to find Rey and teach her the ways of the Jedi (and arguably might still be able to as a force ghost). However this also cannot be the case, as not only did he intend to burn the tree with the texts, but he accepted that Yoda completing the task was in fact the right thing to do. This conundrum of two opposing ideas makes it hard for Luke to successfully move past his former mentor and complete himself as a character.

Evolution as a Natural Progression

Another reason why Kratos’ evolution between his characterisation in the Greek mythology and the Norse mythology is well-received is because its causation is rooted in who Kratos has always been as a character, and therefore appears to be a natural progression. When describing Kratos, it is very easy to fall into stereotypes akin to the hack-and-slash genre, and use descriptions such as a blood-fueled warrior, havoc-wreaking monster or an engine of mythological destruction. However, it is also not incorrect to describe Kratos as a tragic anti-hero, someone who struggles with wanting to lead their own life, or even as a family-oriented person. Kratos’ deep affection for his family is rooted in the very origins of the series and it arguably the motivation for Kratos’ original conquest of Olympus. The reason why Kratos bears the red markings around his body, is because he painted them on himself in honour of his kidnapped brother, Deimos, who bore similar markings on his body as a birth defect. Kratos’ original hatred for Ares was borne from Ares’ manipulating Kratos into accidentally murdering his own wife and daughter whilst fulfilling his service to the God of War. It is not a stretch to say that Kratos would give anything to be reunited with his family again, as this literally happens when Kratos sacrifices his godly powers to be with his deceased daughter again in the Underworld during the events of God of War: Chains of Olympus. There are signs that what he seeks in life is a meaningful connection through a family, as when he spends time with Pandora during the events of God of War 3, they formed a bond somewhat akin to a father/daughter relationship to the point where he is reluctant to see her sacrifice herself in the Flame of Olympus.

Kratos and his son Atreus fighting side by side in the Norse Realm

From all this evidence of Kratos’ roots in family affection, it is not the biggest stretch to see that he is attempting to be a significant role model for his son Atreus in God of War (2018). It would make sense for Kratos to finally be able to focus on raising his son and be a good role model, after he fled the Greek realm following the destruction of Olympus to live his life as a man. Kratos is arguably emotionally vacant, following the death of his former family, the betrayal of Athena and the loss of Pandora, and trying to fill this void through loving his own son Atreus would be a very plausible pursuit. Spending more time raising Atreus also makes sense within the game, as it is highlighted early on that Atreus spent most of his early life with his deceased mother, and that one of her dying wishes was that Kratos take care of Atreus. Trying to raise Atreus to be human and benevolent as opposed to being an almighty god is also rooted in Kratos’ personal history, as Kratos has always had a deep-seated hatred of the gods and doesn’t want his son to turn out like he has, murdering his own father. Overall, it can be seen that Kratos becoming a thoughtful father after having being portrayed as a ruthless warrior isn’t such a dramatic transformation given an understanding of his characterisation, and could be recognised as a natural progression of the character.

In comparison, Luke Skywalker’s transformation from the Return of the Jedi to The Last Jedi is not only quite dramatic, but has very little foundation in what we know of the character from the rest of the series. Luke in Return of the Jedi is arguably walking the fine line between a Jedi Knight and a Jedi Master, having constructed his own new green lightsaber and has seemingly dealt with the realisation that Darth Vader is in fact his father. For the duration of that movie, Luke’s goal is not to destroy his evil father, but to save him and to return him to the light side of the force. The Emperor taps into Luke’s fear for his friends and anger for the Empire to spark a confrontation between Luke and Vader, but Luke ultimately forgoes killing Vader after defeating him, throwing away his lightsaber after regaining sight of his original purpose of saving Vader, rather than striking him down and take his place at the Emperor’s side. Luke has demonstrated that he has resisted the temptation to strike down the man responsible for so many of the deaths of those in the Rebellion, instead recognizing that there is still good left in his father and that he would resist the temptation of the dark side in order to save him. Luke at the end of Return of the Jedi has shown that he is able to overcome his own emotional reckoning, being the realisation that Darth Vader is his father, and that he stays true to his benevolent intentions, saving Darth Vader rather than killing him.

Luke crossing blades with his nephew Ben Solo, after suspecting he is turning to the dark side

Luke does not seem to embody these characteristics in The Last Jedi, and it is not exactly clear why as a character he would not be able to remedy these actions. In The Last Jedi, Luke lives as a hermit in isolation on Ahch-To following the destruction of his newly formed Jedi Order at the hands of his nephew, Ben Solo. Ben’s fall to the dark side was triggered by Luke attempting to kill him in his sleep after noticing that Ben had dark side tendencies, but ultimately hesitated at the last second. Luke was clearly unable to overcome his emotional reckoning, that being the understanding that Ben Solo was having a pull to the dark side, until the very last second, arguably demonstrating that he had still not overcome this character flaw, despite the events of Return of the Jedi. After Ben fell to the dark side, destroyed the New Jedi Order and joined the First Order as Kylo Ren, instead of staying true to his benevolent intentions of starting a new generation of Jedi and try to save his nephew from the dark side, as he had saved his father decades ago, Luke decided to retreat from the galaxy in shame of his failure. This is arguably against his original characterisation and is more in line with what Jedi Masters do in general (e.g. Obi-wan living on Tatooine and Yoda living on Dagobah) rather than what he would do himself. Overall, it can be seen that Luke’s transformation from Return of the Jedi to The Last Jedi isn’t entirely in-line with his characterisation, and the critical backlash of Luke in The Last Jedi could be because this transformation isn’t exactly a natural progression.

It is quite clear that the transformation of both Kratos and Luke Skywalker are remarkably different from their original portrays in previous installments of their respective franchises, however the critical success of the two characters is in stark contrast, arguably because of how they have been innovated. Whilst God of War (2018) understands the relevance of the nostalgia surrounding Kratos’ Blades of Chaos, The Last Jedi made short work of a comedic attempt to convey the importance of Luke reuniting with Anakin’s lightsaber. Kratos’ overcoming Athena’s haunting influence when obtaining the Blades of Chaos is far more satisfying as a progression than Luke’s reaction following the mixed messages from the reappearance of Master Yoda. Kratos’ progression into a father-figure was always rooted in his origins in the franchise, which made it appear as more of an evolution of the character, in comparison to Luke’s exodus from society because of his shame after previously having conquered his own demons. This comparison demonstrates that if you stay true to the original intentions of a character, even the most dramatic transformation can receive critical success.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Contributing writer for The Artifice.
Edited by Passerby, Karen, Sean Gadus.

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  1. All I want is for Luke to have a big action scene where he takes out dozens of Stormtroopers while Free Bird plays in the background. Is that too much to ask?

  2. Maryanne

    I have always liked Luke Skywalker as a character. A lot of people don’t like him because he’s whiny in the first one (even though he only whines about 2 times in the whole movie). I really hope they don’t have him going to the dark side because that would go completely against his character arc in Return of the Jedi where he refused to turn to the dark side. It would also just mean that there are no grey areas in this universe, only black and white. Great article (as always).

  3. This publication is seriously excellent. You have insights that are totally unique and eye-opening. Sharing this to my gamer and star wars friends.

  4. Lasonya

    I think they are doing themselves a great disservice by leaving out the wise old Mentor archetype. It is my favorite archetype in all of fiction and writing.

    And more and more movies are leaving it out now. Superhero movies, they don’t ever have one. There really isn’t one in the force awakens. They try and shoehorn Han Solo into that role but it doesn’t work at all and the audience isn’t buying it because they don’t give him enough screen time with Ray for it to be meaningful and he just doesn’t fit that role. And they seem to have removed Luke from the auction of being that role. And that role needs to be in the movie.

    There always has to be someone who has been there and done that to teach the hero things that they cannot learn on their own, things that they themselves learned back when they were the hero. The hero always becomes the next wise old Mentor, if they live long enough anyway. And Luke was the hero of the previous trilogy. If you don’t have a wise old Mentor then any powers gained by the hero are unbelievable and an accepted by the audience. Which is why, I think Ray gets so many accusations about being a Mary Sue. And I agree, she is. Why? Because she came to her powers entirely on her own, they are unearned and they are unbelievable because no one who had them gave them to her. A hero has to be given extra Talent OR extra powers or abilities or extra technological or spiritual gifts that will Aid them, things that they cannot get on their own but things that have to be given to them by someone who already has them, the wise old Mentor. That is why Rey is a Mary Sue because she had no mentor to give her anything and yet she just got all these powers out of nowhere.

    So I think movies in general these days do themselves a great disservice by leaving out the wise old Mentor archetype.

  5. In my opinion they should make one GOW game where he drinks a potion that makes him a little younger like god of war 3 and he starts being blood thirsty again and becomes bad ass with his son.

  6. Setsuko

    It’s depressing that in the older God of War as he could take on rooms full of crazy enemies but in 2018 God of War he struggles against 2-4 enemies at a time

  7. Oh, I love Luke. Like, I wanted to marry him as a kid. Still do. How can you not adore a character who goes from “…but I was gonna go to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!” to “I’ll not leave you here, I’ve got to save you!” (i.e., gains major hero-points) but remains, essentially, the same: with that honest moisture-farm-boy face and that big ol’ moisture-farm-boy smile. He’s so, so earnest — a trait that I think is underrated thanks to how flashy the Han Solos of the world are. And, granted, the Hans of the world are infinitely cooler than the Lukes of the world. But we owe the Lukes just as much love!

  8. Gertude

    After The Force Awakens there is only degradation of Luke Skywalker, no evolution.

  9. Luke was always a blind optimist. He was young, strong, and good. He brought Han into the rebellion. He learned the force, watched friends and loved ones die, blew up the Death Star and saved the galaxy. In the next movie he blindly rushed into danger to save his friends, risking everything in the face of overwhelming opposition and without even the support of his teachers… risking his legacy, his training, his life…. risking it all on a dream to save his friends. In the third, he turned Darth Vader, one of the greatest villains of all time, against his master and won the final battle, redeeming the ultimate villain in the process.

    So after all that, after inspiring a generation to be optimistic in the face of everything life throws at you, 30 years later he’s living on a secluded island after abandoning his friends, he’s blocked himself off from the force, throws his lightsaber off a cliff, and spends his time fishing and drinking milk out of an alien’s tit.

    Yoda and R2 essentially have to convince him to join the fight again, and he dies a meaningless death that basically does nothing but buy the rebellion an extra five minutes. He’s a marketing tool now. A plot device. The greatest optimist a generation has ever known is reduced to a coward and a failure and has to be convinced to enter the fray because he’s broken by a past that isn’t even clearly defined.

    The problem isn’t the idea… it’s an interesting idea. Failure, conflict, and emotional turmoil are all excellent plot devices. The problem is that those particular character arcs are intrinsically not related to the character Luke was in any way. Those were all the things he defeated already in a grand scale. It WASN’T Luke. He can’t exist in that way without being ruined, and that was the whole point of the movie…. to ruin him. To break it all down so something else can be built up. And nobody who loved Luke Skywalker for what he represented is going to like that. It’s fundamentally impossible to love an optimist for 30 years, to be inspired by that, and then suddenly be told he’s a grumpy failure and watch him die and be happy about that.

    Long story short, Rian seriously fucked up what to some people’s perspective was the greatest hero of all time. Some people think it’s awesome, the way he fucked him up, that it “needed to be done” to make the story more interesting. But to many of us, we needed a dash of Luke’s blind optimism now more than ever because the world is so fucked up, and we’re really pissed off that Rian and Disney missed an opportunity to inspire us again, to lift us up again. We don’t need Rey’s young, Luke-esque optimism… we need to see that optimism can be maintained. We need to see what it becomes with maturity, strength, wisdom and age. We still need that hero to inspire us to keep pushing against the Emperor’s the Vader’s, and the stormtroopers of the world. And we’re all just sitting here thinking, what a bunch of idots for making our hero throw his light saber away.

    • Spot on. Also, his reasons for wanting the Jedi to die didn’t make sense. It seems to be because the Jedi allowed the Empire to rise, but without the Jedi there would have been no one to fight them. Or the Jedi allowed Darth Vader to rise, but without the Jedi no one would have turned him back to good. Or that he allowed Kylo Ren to rise, although it was Snoke that turned him and Rey that fought him.

      It’s like he doesn’t realise that if the Jedi die the Sith won’t, and there’ll be no one around to fight them. If doesn’t make logical sense. It’s just a capitulation.

      He was always about fighting the good fight, seeing the best in people, and protecting his friends. It was sad to see that character do a complete 180, all because he felt he failed as a teacher.

    • This literally made me tear up. I’m 25 years old. Star Wars has been my favorite fictional universe for close to 20 years. I live and breathe Star Wars. The clash of light and dark, the struggle of good and evil. The power of faith and hope. I will never take anyone seriously again when they say the prequels were bad. I was fortunate enough to grow up with both the OT and the prequels so maybe I’m just biased now, but this was the first Star Wars movie that made me feel….bad. They destroyed the lore and ruined Luke. I liked TFA. I enjoyed Rogue One. This one was it. Unless people say they fix these issues in the next movie, I don’t think I’ll go see it and that breaks my heart. Thank you for voicing what I’m feeling. It may be silly, but Star Wars has been too big of a force in my life for me to not get emotional about it.

    • I think you summed is up very well.

      For me, not only did it ruin Luke as a character, it didn’t even do it in a way where when he did briefly return, it was sort of redeeming.

      I wanted to se thee “Legend of Luke Skywalker” return, not simply Luke as a character where he’s there for like one scene and helps out for a few minutes and then dies. He’d given up and doubted himself, but i think at some point he should have realized with Rei’s insistence and how she came to find Luke that it wasn’t simply him personally that mattered, but everything that he stood for. Regardless of whether the “legend” of him was real or not, the one thing it did give and what needed to return to the galaxy at that moment was hope.

      What i really hoped had happened was that after it showed the sunken X-wing and with the distress call, that Luke would swoop in (with him raising the X-wing like in ESB, Yoda by his side once more, instructing him how to reach out with the force like the first time) having gathered whoever he could (including Lando) and others who would rally around Luke. It would have shown that there was more to him than just who he was, with the galaxy rallying around the legend of Luke Skywalker and all the hope that such a legendary figure bought with them – like “Luke Skywalker’s returned to fight the First Order, we have a chance!” rather than any potential to use him in a way beneficial to the plot of the next movie being wasted.

      Basically, Luke should have been used as much more than simply himself as a character. There was more to him than that. Rather than paying homage to his actions in the original trilogy and his status, the movie instead does basically nothing with him and then decides he isn’t needed anymore. He was a figurehead for the fight against the Empire more so than any of the others, but here he’s relegated to more of a meaningless, throw-away character.

    • Every goddamn thing that I wanted. Thanks for articulating. Changing the plot arc for the sake of changing is really a bad idea!

  10. Christin

    I feel that Luke’s death in The Last Jedi was more satisfying than him getting murdered by Kylo Ren or Snoke, he sacrifices himself to save the Resistance and dies in peace.

    • Nah.

      Luke went from being a hero who believed he could turn his genocidal father to the light to a Jedi “master” who flaked out on his nephew over a premonition while he slept.

      The REAL Luke wouldn’t, not even for a moment, ponder murdering the child of his sister and best friend.

      The REAL Luke, in the wake of his temple being destroyed, wouldn’t run and hide and quit but rather rise to fight Ren.

      Instead, Luke has become a pathetic quitter, an almost child-murdering sociopath with nothing in common with his younger self.

      And this is after years of supposedly getting wiser and stronger with the Force.

      We never get to see Master Luke training new Jedi and succeeding. Instead he sucks at life and still needs Yoda to motivate him.

      And in the end, with one final chance to redeem his character and face Ren and the First Order he…..sits on a rock.

      Yup, Luke’s grand finale is not actually facing down the enemy, but rather sitting on a rock and dying of…what exactly? Being old? Being tired? Force cerebral hemorrhage? He couldn’t even be bothered to show up at the final fight in person and go out a hero, on his shield, like the warrior he was. This is the guy whose plan was to die on the Death Star in ROTJ. Now he just sits on a rock.

      You know what would’ve been a real homage instead of looking at the suns on a rock? Following through on the Leia message from R2-D2 that sparked his return. We see Luke’s sadness when the Leia recording says “help me Obi-Wan Kenobi…”. For him to return, in person, unleashing all of his power on the First Order and dying to save the resistance, would’ve been an ending worthy of his character and bookend the Leia/Obi-Wan recording moment nicely. The student would’ve truly become the master and died a hero.

      Instead, he wanted to murder kids and sit on rocks and dies from being tired. Awesome stuff, Rian.

    • Mozella

      I had no problem with Luke in this movie. I loved the idea of doing a ‘careful of meeting your heroe’s thing, and it made sense that these characters would have not stopped changing just because they had beaten the empire.

  11. Kratos might be weaker in the 2018 God of War, but his character model and the voice actor they chose for him are actually the best in my opinion.

  12. Kratos in the new God of War reminds me of Wolverine in Logan. The old age gets you.

  13. searchencrypt

    Yoda is still the man.

  14. God of War 3 has the best Kratos!

  15. I like how Kratos first went from a burtal blood raged crazed maniac to a peaceful man just trying to live in harmony with his son, and more sensetive than ever, the ptsd hit him really hard lol

    • Maya Cho

      Honestly , after playing the last one , i dont think i will return and play previous games bcz i fall in love with the new kratos , lore and combat system

  16. Luke is my favorite fictional character. He is the embodiment of everything good that we are capable of. He is loving, selfless, positive, and incorruptible, even though he has every right to be the exact opposite. He has been asked to deal with enough heartbreak and hardship to break 100 men, but he somehow keeps going.

  17. I think what they did with luke in ep6 wasn’t a flat hero story. He refused to defeat his father, ignored his masters and instead tryed to change darth varder back to anakin skywalker to bring balance to the force. He found his own path and is still convinced that jedis should not fight a war and kill for one party to benefit from (the opposite of what the old jedi order did during the war).

  18. This should have been the evolution of mark Hamill, from Luke sky walker to the Joker!

  19. Del Levin

    One of my most favorite, and memorable, was the 70’s Marvel universe Star Wars # 49. Luke goes to a planet for diplomatic reasons and finds an old alien who was injured years ago in the head and now believes he is a Jedi and carries a walking stick thinking it is his lightsaber. Luke keeps ignoring him and feels annoyed that he has to babysit him. At the end, he sacrifices his life to save his new friends. Luke gives him a Jedi funeral and hopes to one day be as good as a Jedi he was.

  20. Avril Utley

    I just don’t want people to think that Luke is a coward. Because if he is, it’ll go against everything he stood for in the original trilogy

  21. Tia Jung

    I really enjoy both the style and the substance of this piece. Keep up the good work.

  22. Just my opinion.

    Luke’s arc was written in such a way that you saw his ascent and fall and his rebirth in the OT.

    Luke in ep. 4 was just a kid and through a brief interaction with Obi Wan was exposed to the greatest power in the universe. He embraced it fully and challenged Han Solo about faith and belief and set up his journey with this hokey religion.

    In ep. 5 his faith in the force was challenged and he was shaken. He struggled in his training with Yoda and learned the truth about his father. The idealistic boy ceased to exist. He learned about the power of the dark side and how corrupting it was .

    In ep. 6 he seems different. He’s full of resolve and demonstrates his desire to not kill his father, and instead save him. He had faith that he could do it and it was a task in which his former mentor could not accomplish. He comes face to face with the evil emperor and while momentarily clouded with rage, he pulls back. He says no to the corruption and chooses to have faith in his father .

    So Luke’s journey is about his faith . He looked into the abyss and instead of arguing with it or fighting it , he embraced and controlled it and went another way. The new movie shows him having to re-learn a lesson he already knew . That faith in the force will guide him to the right path, but he has to be in control.

    Having that moment of weakness with Kylo and rejecting the force is a contradiction of his character that we all watched grow. Maybe if we had seen the fall or whatever you would like to call it in greater detail, maybe I could see why they would go this route. A 30 second flashback doesn’t do it justice and undermines Luke Skywalker.

    Again it’s my interpretation and you are welcome to disagrees.

  23. Luke’s not only my favourite Star Wars character, but definitely one of my favourite fictional characters in general. One of the most profound themes of the Original Trilogy is the power of redemptive love, and that, to me, is exactly what Luke represents.

  24. Kratos: a character that legit had no character development and was just an angry vengeful god killer throughout all his games, until this new one.

  25. Chassidy Pulliam

    New Kratos is awesome.

  26. Sean Gadus

    Great article, it looks at two iconic characters. Great job!

  27. i love the more weathered and down luke, it just makes for a more interesting story.

  28. Thank you for this article! It was very interesting!

  29. Atreus balances Kratos like the force balances Luke!

  30. Sarai Mannolini-Winwood

    An interesting discussion of comparisons. I would think however, that from a monomyth point of view that part of the point of the film is to reposition Luke no longer as the hero but now as the mentor, with Rey being the emerging hero? I think this then makes a comparison a little difficult.

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