Cinema Blend has an excellent piece on why Luke Skywalker is viewed as a villain in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I know, you’re thinking Luke isn’t the villain. But let’s expand on what the piece is saying.
First, the trailers.
Back up six months to the second teaser. We’ll call it a trailer because it clocks in at two minutes and the build up felt like an official trailer reveal.
And then the theatrical trailer from a few weeks ago.
In both, Luke is never seen. That’s important. We know him from the original trilogy as the hero of the Rebellion fighting the Empire. Now? The stories of the battles against the Empire are questioned. Han has to tell Rey and Finn they are true. The Jedi. The Darkside. All of it.
At first, you’re left wondering why there is no CNN in the Star Wars universe? Those lucky bastards…
But think about the originals. No, not the remasters. The originals. Everything we know of Luke is shrouded in secrecy. Even when Luke meets Han in A New Hope, Han questions the validity of ‘The Force.’
Han is technically old enough to remember the Clone Wars. If the Emperor’s propaganda machine was powerful enough to erase the memory of the Jedi from the public then, Luke sliding under the radar isn’t a stretch.[divider]Who Actually Saw Luke?[/divider]
Outside of him being a pilot in the Rebellion, who saw him as a Jedi? They are either dead – Vader, Emperor and Jaba. Or, they are family and close friends – Han, Leia and Lando.
There are not many people to push back against casting Luke as the enemy.
The First Order
That brings us to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The big bad in this is supposed to be The First Order against the Resistance. But, those in power think they are right. John Boyega’s Finn starts as a stormtrooper, convinced by First Order propaganda.
Luke assassinated the Emperor and Vader. The rebels were nothing but terrorists who attacked the Empire repeatedly. It’s not a complicated narrative to weave together. Then there is distance. The further you get from an event, the more pliable the story becomes.
The question is, how far does it go. Does Kylo Ren know the truth? Judging by his one-man fan club of Vader, I doubt it.
General Hux? I’d lean towards him knowing what’s going on. Snoke? Definitely. If I had to guess, Snoke (Andy Serkis) will be key in the trilogy. He’s Kylo’s master and pulling all the strings.[divider]Luke Can Be Both[/divider]
It’s telling that Luke is in none of the trailers. Sure, we think we see his hand and who else would be hanging out with R2? But, he’s not a central figure anymore. Was he being hunted? Has he gone full crazy old guy Obi-Wan? Is he searching for something the same as Kylo?
The great thing about how this is setting up is he can be both. For the First Order, he can serve as the propaganda foil. Snoke and possibly Hux get to use him as their foil. For resistance? Well, it seems no one has seen him in a bit. Rey and Finn? It takes Han to convince them the stories they have heard are real.
In the end, I think we are going to see Luke as the hero emerge, but much the same way Obi-Wan did in A New Hope. But, don’t discount the casting him as a villain by the First Order.
I can’t wait for December 18. It doesn’t even have to be great. Just good. Remember the plot of The Phantom Menace? A trade dispute. Yeah…
Give me the First Order propaganda storyline.