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The Real Reason Why Luke Skywalker Was Cut Out of Force Awakens

So you remember sitting through The Force Awakens and you get to the end and there (finally) is Luke Skywalker… and he just turns around and says… nothing. (!?) It’s a completely weird scene to begin with, especially when you consider how much Luke Skywalker concept art was done for the movie.

Well, it turns out that J. J. Abrams originally pushed hard to have Luke Skywalker made into a first class element of the film… but they just couldn’t make it work. Here’s why:

“Early on I tried to write versions of the story where [Rey] is at home, her home is destroyed, and then she goes on the road and meets Luke. And then she goes and kicks the bad guy’s ass,” Arndt said. “It just never worked and I struggled with this. This was back in 2012.” Apparently the issue was Luke’s presence was always upstaging everyone in the script. “It just felt like every time Luke came in and entered the movie, he just took it over,” Arndt continued. “Suddenly you didn’t care about your main character anymore because, ‘Oh f–k, Luke Skywalker’s here. I want to see what he’s going to do.’”

Well, that can sure got kicked down the road. You can almost pity Rian Johnson for having to deal with it. And even his solution to this almost begins to make sense. If the real Luke Skywalker shows up at all, the new sub par characters are shown for what they are: empty imitations with a veneer of Star Warsy stuff slathered over them. So the new “Not Luke Skywalker” has to come out of nowhere, drinking milk hot out of the space cow and behaving completely out of character.

Pulpy, old school adventurers are so appealing and so engaging… they had to wreck a four billion dollar franchise rather than give people a glimpse of an actual hero. It’s not because they didn’t try, either. Their concepts of how myth and storytelling work are fundamentally incompatible with the film series they were tasked with building off of.

There’s no way that what they wanted to do could work. And they didn’t know it until it was too late!

(h/t Bradford Walker for this video The Decline of Star Wars Part One— the Luke bit cited above is mentioned at the nineteen minute mark.)

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7 responses to “The Real Reason Why Luke Skywalker Was Cut Out of Force Awakens

  1. Corbet Abrahamson March 26, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    The unfortunate thing is there are easy ways this can be resolved, the top of the list being LET LUKE BE THE HERO you can have these new characters added let the viewers get to know and enjoy them, and then near the end give Luke the satisfying Jedi send off he deserves letting the new members pick up final victory. This establishes a respectful passing of the torch from the original characters and leaves the door open for possibly another trilogy. The way they’ve behaved with the original characters so far rubs me the wrong way because they’re using them for the benefit of their names to get people interested and then getting rid of them because they can’t be allowed to outshine the new people.

    • natewinchester March 27, 2018 at 8:22 am

      What like… in the original movie where Obi-Wan was doing most of the heroic work for the first segment of the movie before dying to pass on the torch to Luke who only accomplished something at the climax?

      Well since when has that ever worked??? ;)

      You’re right and this is what bugs me in trying to explain to people. A Mary/Marty Sue is not necessarily bad as long as the writer increases the challenges to the hero’s perfection. i.e. Superman-Doomsday Hence why on my personal MS scale I grade also by the challenges the hero faces. If your hero seems too strong, you need to increase the challenge.

      Likewise, in this, if one character keeps overshadowing your hero, you either need to make that character your protagonist, or make the hero more interesting. Hence my alternate take where star wars went post-apocalyptic (only not as dour and depressing) and rebuilding the galaxy a true challenge for Luke and the new generation.

      See also: Star Trek. TNG respected the originals, and still worked hard to be their own kind of heroes.

  2. RockyMountainNavy March 26, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    Shorter version – The writers sucked.

  3. scribesshade March 27, 2018 at 12:14 am

    A good writer would have made it work. Sadly TFA and TLJ have not had good writers.

  4. K.C. March 27, 2018 at 8:29 am

    If you can’t include Luke without him upstaging the new characters, then you’ve already failed at creating good new characters, and should head back to the drawing board.

    Seriously, “Our OCs couldn’t hold their own against Luke, so we had to remove Luke” is the level of writing I expect from amateur fanfiction writers, not professionals.

  5. Big Rich March 27, 2018 at 10:14 am

    It was reported over and over again that Harrison Ford had a big part in in the decision, agreeing to play Solo again only if Han died and the focus was mainly on Han.

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