They really did it. They brought Luke Skywalker back.
It’s a moment many Star Wars fans will never forget.
The X-Wing. The green lightsaber. The glove.
Even I, admittedly a casual Luke Skywalker fan, couldn’t contain my joy.
Like many of you reading this, I had my fair moment of hesitation when Luke pulled back that hood and Mark Hamill’s de-aged face came into view. I must have processed about a dozen thoughts in the span of about five seconds. Everything from Did they really need to use nostalgia to make a good finale? To LUKE SKYWALKER IS BACK, HECK YES, HISTORY HAS BEEN MADE.
This season alone, The Mandalorian brought back several fan-favorites. I’ll always harbor more excitement for Bo-Katan than Luke Skywalker because she’s among my top five favorite Star Wars characters of all time.
But Luke’s return was unique. No matter how many people speculated that it might happen, I’m not sure anyone actually believed it would.
This show really is becoming the epitome of the good that can come from certain elements of a show not being spoiled for the masses beforehand. Example: Grogu. And now, Jedi Master Luke. Childhood hero of so many fans, younger, older, male, female, and so on.
The Luke reveal wasn’t my personal highlight of the episode, season, or series. I’m much more concerned about Bo-Katan and her quest to regain control of Mandalore. But I’ve seen strong reactions on many sides to Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni’s decision to rope Luke into this story. I’m not sure those who are trying to sabotage the nostalgia angle are doing it for the right reasons.
There are two sides to this conflict: the side that feels Luke’s return was a cheap dose of nostalgia to make fanboys happy, and the side that doesn’t mind a good nostalgia trip because Luke Skywalker oh my god.
We have to be careful not to assume that one side of this argument necessarily skews younger or of a certain gender than the other. I’ve spoken with multiple people my age (we’ll call that “younger”) who don’t identify as male who were also speechless, in a good way, seeing Luke take off that hood.
It’s much more inclusive to assume that those who weren’t pleased with Luke’s return simply don’t consider him “their” hero. Which is completely valid. You’re less likely to run around your living room screaming for a character you don’t consider your favorite.
Here’s a much-needed reminder for the masses: Just because you don’t love a certain Star Wars character/movie/planet/book doesn’t mean everyone who loves it is wrong or somehow “less than.”
Luke Skywalker may not have been the character you looked up to growing up — you may not have seen yourself in his story for various reasons. But for every fan who doesn’t identify with Luke Skywalker on a personal level, there are plenty more who have grown up to be who they are today because of him.
One of the reasons the idea of Project Stardust first surfaced was the collective struggle of many people in this fandom who felt their opinions, preferences, and beliefs weren’t being taken seriously. Everyone deserves the chance to speak up and have their thoughts and feelings respected, even if there are disagreements.
We can’t look at someone crying tears of joy over Luke Skywalker’s entrance into The Mandalorian and judge them for being happy about Star Wars when many of us have come to spaces like this to vent about how our excitement over Star Wars was ridiculed. That’s not equality. That’s not respect.
Does Star Wars often lean heavily on nostalgia to give us warm fuzzies — perhaps too far, in some cases? Every franchise, especially the ones that have been sound for decades, is guilty of this. People like it. They want it. If seeing a young Luke Skywalker on screen again in 2020 gave someone a sense of hope for the first time in seven months, who are we to say that’s somehow wrong?
Maybe Luke Skywalker’s return didn’t do it for you. Or it made you question some fundamental principles you’ve built your personal fandom on. You’re allowed to feel what you’re feeling, and of course you’re allowed to express that in whatever medium is most accessible to you and your intended audience.
But think, for a moment, about those who were deeply impacted by this monumental Star Wars moment. Let them have this. Let them have this joy. Even if you don’t understand where it’s coming from. To deprive someone else of joy right now … that’s not what anyone needs.
The facts are these.
Luke Skywalker swept in to save the day.
Grogu chose his path, and for now, that’s where we leave him.
There is so much more Star Wars on the horizon — and if they’ve dared to bring Luke Skywalker onto the small screen, the possibilities truly are endless.
As Star Wars fans, it’s our job to love the parts of Star Wars we love and respect the opinions of those who don’t exactly align with ours.
The darksaber saga will continue, and my personal joy cannot be contained.
Everyone has their Star Wars obsession. As long as you’re not hurting anyone else with it, you have every right to joyfully yell about it.
This, after all, is the way.