Rian Johnson Strongly Disagrees With Renewed Luke Skywalker Criticism

Rey and Luke in Star Wars: The Last Jedi
(Image credit: (Lucasfilm))

It’s no secret that when Rian Johnson took over for Star Wars: The Last Jedi in 2017 many fans were unhappy with some of his decisions. Episode 8 is perhaps known as the most divisive film among fans of the franchise – yet Rise of Skywalker has just created a divide between audiences and critics. With the Skywalker Saga now concluded, fans are still debating about Johnson’s take on Star Wars and the writer/director is engaging in the discussion.

One fan took to Twitter to share an explanation by user LukeCSkywalker about the “fatal flaws” in character interpretation concerning Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi. In the essay of sorts, the fan points out why he believes Rian Johnson misread the iconic character. He first cites 1983’s Return of the Jedi, where he explains how Luke faces his final hurdle when he finally masters his major character flaw of “impulsive emotional action” and puts down his saber.

In the famous moment against Palpatine, the fan notes that he then and there becomes a true hero. He’d rather risk his life than turn to the Dark Side. He surpasses his father’s weakness and his character arc is complete. Yet, when we meet Luke in The Last Jedi he is flawed. The fan cites how Mark Hamill’s character considering murdering a young Kylo and lying to Rey about it “forgets everything” about Skywalker’s character arc. Rian Johnson responded with the following words:

I understand that point of view but I completely disagree with it. In fact I think it disrespects the character of Luke by treating him not as a true mythic hero overcoming recurring wounds & flaws, but as a video game character who has achieved a binary, permanent power-up.

Rian Johnson makes a good point here! Sure, it makes sense for fans to be taken aback by how dark Luke was in The Last JediJ.J. Abrams sure was! Yet, as the writer/director explains, just because Luke became a true hero 30 years prior, it doesn’t mean he’s not allowed to have character flaws moving forward.

Mark Hamill is portraying a human and if he was all high and mighty, and completely above conflict since learning to overcome his greatest flaw in the Original Trilogy, he would be more of a video game character! It’s interesting to see Rian Johnson pitch in on the “discourse," especially following all the negative comments The Last Jedi has received already.

Rian Johnson recently explained about how it would be “mistake” to try and appease Star Wars fans during the creative process. He said he wants to be challenged when he sits down to see a movie such as he was with Empire Strikes Back. Looking back, it looks like Rian Johnson and J.J. Abrams may not have been on the same page on the franchise.

What do you think about Luke Skywalker’s portrayal in The Last Jedi -- and The Rise of Skywalker, if you've seen it?

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.